The Big Ten has been a big mess most of the season, starting with the conference’s best team being ineligible to play in the conference championship game or a bowl game.
The conference race started to get some clarity this week, but there’s still plenty to be decided.
In the Leaders Division, Wisconsin (7-3 overall, 4-2 in the Big Ten) clinched a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday with an emphatic 62-14 win at Indiana. Even though the Badgers booked their trip to Indianapolis for the championship game, they are only tied for second place in the Leaders Division behind Ohio State (10-0, 6-0), who are unable to play in the game due to NCAA sanctions. The Badgers are also tied with Penn State (6-4, 4-2) in the division but like the Buckeyes, but the Nittany Lions are unable to play in the postseason due to their own NCAA sanctions stemming from the Jerry Sandusky scandal and cover-up. The Badgers are headed to the championship game by default.
A team with just four conference wins already clinched a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game, and that was only part of the conference’s crazy day.
Over in the Legends Division, Michigan (7-3, 5-1) survived a tight one at the Big House. The Wolverines tied the game in the final seconds, and then Devin Gardner’s 1-yard touchdown was the difference in a 38-31 overtime win over No. 24 Northwestern (7-3, 3-3). The win likely keeps the Wolverines alive for a conference title. The loss drops the Wildcats to 3-3 in the conference and out of the running for the division championship and a trip to the Rose Bowl.