Thanks to the football gods' hatred of Indiana, PSU's chances of winning the Big Ten's automatic BCS went from "this could really happen if PSU just wins out" to awful on Saturday, but the mathematical possibility still exists.
To earn the auto BCS bid, PSU must either win the league outright, or PSU can tie with other teams for the conference title and still get the BCS bid provided PSU played and beat all of those other teams. Other than that, it can't happen. Here's how it could happen:
1A or B. PSU wins out. This must happen in all scenarios* due to the Alabama game. Yep, a road game against an OOC opponent may cost us the Big Ten's Rose Bowl bid. If it's any consolation, Iowa feels the same pain.
Situation A (more likely than B, less preferable because it involves more OSU wins): Ohio State beats Iowa:
2A. Either Northwestern or Minnesota beats Iowa. (possible, especially considering Iowa's troubles with Northwestern)
3A. Wisconsin must lose 2 between Indiana, Michigan, and Northwestern (more possible than you think: Wisconsin has a history of epic fail in the Big House and is not built to come back against teams, which is pretty much what everybody has to do against Northwestern)
Situation B (preferable but far less likely): Iowa beats Ohio State:
2B. Iowa must lose to both Northwestern and Minnesota. (No)
3B. Wisconsin must lose 2 between Indiana, Michigan, and Northwestern. (see above)
If either of those two scenarios plays out, PSU would be tied with, at a maximum, Ohio State and Michigan State teams that PSU beat head-to-head. According to the Big Ten's tiebreaker rules, Penn State would get the BCS bid and go to the Rose Bowl.
What this means as far as who we're cheering for and when:
1. Penn State winning. Duh.
2. Whoever's playing Iowa, especially Ohio State. This may make you feel wrong and dirty, but does anybody honestly think Iowa beating Ohio State and lose to both Minnesota and Northwestern is anything more than a theoretical possibility? I don't.
3. Whoever's playing Wisconsin. OBSIMH, you know we love you, but business is business.
4. We are huge Northwestern fans from here on out.
*Situation Impossible, where PSU doesn't win out and still gets the Big Ten's auto bid:
1. PSU loses to Indiana, but beats Ohio State and Michigan State. There is no mathematical possibility of losing to Michigan State or Ohio State and still doing this.
2. Iowa loses out
3. Michigan beats Ohio State
4. Northwestern wins out
5. Wisconsin loses out.
6. Michigan State loses to Purdue.
If you can't see why I call this situation impossible, you haven't been paying attention to this season. In this scenario, PSU finishes 5-3 in the league, and is tied with, at a maximum, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, and Northwestern teams that PSU beat, in which case PSU gets the auto bid.
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