Big Ten rooting interests: Week 14

It's the penultimate version of rooting interests, the post that examines the Big Ten's contenders for three goals -- national championship, BCS at-large berth and division titles -- and what they should root for in the upcoming weekend of games. The division titles are all wrapped up, so this will only look at the national title and the at-large race.

For BCS at-large berths, I'm considering only teams currently in the BCS standings.

Let's begin ...


B1G candidate: No. 3 Ohio State (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten)

The Buckeyes should root for ...

  • Auburn to beat Alabama. This is the big game on tap in Week 14, and an Alabama loss would put Ohio State in the coveted top two of the BCS standings. Although it would then spark debate about whether the Tigers should leapfrog the Buckeyes, Auburn would need a lot of help for that to happen.

  • Florida to beat Florida State. Urban Meyer would love to see his old team pull off a massive upset against its in-state rival. A Florida State loss would eliminate the Seminoles from the title chase.

  • Texas A&M to beat Missouri. It's unlikely the Tigers would leapfrog a 13-0 Ohio State team, but just to be sure, Ohio State would benefit from a second Missouri loss.


B1G candidates: No. 11 Michigan State (10-1, 7-0) and No. 15 Wisconsin (9-2, 6-1)

The Spartans and Badgers should root for ...

  • South Carolina to beat Clemson. This is the big one for BCS at-large purposes. Clemson will clinch a BCS at-large berth with a win, while a second loss could knock the Tigers out of the mix.

  • TCU to beat Baylor. Assuming Oklahoma State goes on to win the Big 12 championship, Baylor could be in position for an at-large berth if it wins remaining games against TCU and Texas. A second loss would virtually eliminate the Bears from the at-large mix.

  • San Jose State to beat Fresno State on Friday. A Fresno State loss eliminates the potential BCS buster from the mix. There's still an undefeated Northern Illinois team at No. 14, and the Huskies play in the MAC championship next Friday.

  • Each other to lose. A Wisconsin loss to unranked Penn State at home knocks the Badgers out of the at-large mix. If Michigan State loses to Minnesota at home, its only chance to make the big bowls would be to beat Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.