Well here we are, somehow, climbing the Coaches' Poll:
10. Michigan State (from 13)
11. Wisconsin (from 4)
13. Nebraska (from 11)
17. Michigan (no change)
19. Penn State (from 22)
Illinois Zooked out from 21.
Does Penn State deserve to be higher? We need to remain indifferent to that question until we're talking about single digit rankings, but Houston is in another universe but undefeated at 18, and Michigan remains as they always are at this time of year: great against bad teams and on losing streaks against better ones -- even the last second Notre Dame win doesn't look like mich right now.
You'd be wrong, but if wanted to rank Penn State quantifiably right now you could go as high as 7th or 8th; they don't have any worse a resume as Oregon or anyone else in the Big Ten for that matter.
Glass ceiling. There was this:
Despite the incessant arm waiving of the short Wisconsin cheerleader, that ball was in. Now, instead of the top Big Ten team in the top four, the loser to loser Notre Dame appears to be the best team in the conference. With voters unable to muster more than a top ten ranking, everyone else near the top suffers.
This is still unbelievable.
Michigan State 3-0
Penn State 4-0
Ohio State 1-2
The division thing is inverting my third party rooting interests in the Big Ten. Because we were able to put national championship hopes aside early, winning the conference is the only thing. Where we as Penn State fans would normally hope Wisconsin would have won yesterday to give our Michigan State-less schedule added computer juice (the BCS was a tiebreaker, after all), now I want all losers all the time in the Pig Division.
Indoors in Indy, the Roadmap continues. And boy are we getting them. Ohio State has probably found their formula, even if it is a marginal one, but sit with two losses out of division. If Wisconsin loses one more time -- they're at Ohio State this week -- Penn State could be in a situation where they're able to lose one of their final two and still play in the Big Ten Championship game.
And think about this: if Penn State is able to beat Illinois, Nebraska at home and an Ohio State team they seem to match up well against, a Wisconsin loss before the Penn State game renders the finale in Madison irrelevant, which could be an interesting twist on the quarterback rotation end game.
Even if I take the optimism shoes off, Penn State at the very least has total control of their destiny.
BCS. The good folks at SBNation.com exclude Penn State from the top 15 but call the Big Ten a big winner in the projected BCS standings, the reason? Two BCS bids now that we have such a soft gooey top. In fact, Nebraska is actually sitting ahead of both Wisconsin and Michigan state right now.