Big Ten rooting interests: Week 15

It's the final 2013 version of rooting interests, the post that examines who Big Ten teams should be pulling for in order to achieve different goals. The picture is pretty clear for No. 2 Ohio State and No. 10 Michigan State, who meet in Saturday night's Big Ten championship and who both are likely assured of spots in BCS bowls. No. 21 Wisconsin played its way out of the at-large mix last week with a home loss to unranked Penn State.

This will be short and sweet, so let's begin.


B1G Candidate: Ohio State (12-0)

The Buckeyes should root for ...

  • Missouri to beat Auburn. Although the SEC champion will lobby for a spot ahead of Ohio State no matter what, No. 5 Missouri would have a tougher case than No. 3 Auburn. Either team would need a major boost in the polls to have a chance to jump an undefeated Buckeyes squad.

  • Duke to beat Florida State. A Florida State loss would remove the Seminoles from the championship chase, so Ohio State wouldn't have to worry about the SEC champion taking its spot in Pasadena on Jan. 6.


B1G candidates: Michigan State (11-1) and Ohio State (12-0)

The Spartans and Buckeyes should root for ...

  • Bowling Green to beat Northern Illinois. The 14th-ranked Huskies can clinch an at-large spot with a win in the MAC championship game. A loss to Bowling Green frees up a spot.

  • Texas to beat Baylor and Oklahoma to beat Oklahoma State. Losses by either the Bears or Cowboys -- or both -- would take the Big 12 out of the at-large picture. Baylor, at No. 9 in the BCS standings, is a big threat for an at-large berth.

  • Stanford to beat Arizona State. Although Stanford wouldn't be a strong at-large candidate with three losses and a small fan base, an Arizona State loss would eliminate the slim possibility of the Pac-12 having two teams in the big bowls (even though No. 12 Oregon should be eligible).