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Creeping the B1G: The Big Ten’s Last Hope Rolls On

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Wisconsin overcomes four turnovers to roll past Iowa.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten’s playoff hopes remain alive for another week, as chaos elsewhere is starting to clear the path for a potential undefeated Wisconsin to make its way to the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame, coming off a loss to Miami, is all but eliminated from contention, while Georgia, also coming off a loss at the hands of Auburn, does not have any more margin for error. With the Pac-12 playing itself out of contention, we’re left with the possibility that four conference champions will get their bids after all.

No. 13 Ohio State 48, No. 12 Michigan State 3

Ohio State beat Penn State in the closing minutes of the game two weeks ago, and followed it up with one of the worst losses in school history. Michigan State beat Penn State a week ago on a last-second field goal, and followed it up with the worst loss in Mark Dantonio’s history as Michigan State coach. Lesson here is don’t beat Penn State. There isn’t much to say about this game other than the fact that Urban Meyer (or, more accurately, Kevin Wilson) decided to let J.K. Dobbins and Mike Webber lose, and the duo combined for 286 yards on the ground. Funny what happens when you do the thing that works.

What this means for Ohio State: The chances that they lose to Illinois are slim to none, so the Buckeyes are going to Indianapolis.
Up Next: vs Illinois
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What this means for Michigan State: The chances that the Spartans lose to either Maryland or Rutgers are slim to none, so congratulations on your second place finish!
Up Next: vs Maryland

Indiana 24, Illinois 14

The Hoosiers played with fire in this one, being up 14-0 at the half, only to find themselves in a dogfight late at 17-14. Both of these teams have had trouble closing games late, so one of them had to fold down the stretch. Unfortunately for the Illini, it was they who would end up losing a winnable game. As per Indiana, it must feel nice not having to play the top of the conference anymore. It likely had everything to do with their ability to close this game out.

What this means for Indiana: A third straight bowl bid is still alive if they can manage the next two games.
Up Next: vs Rutgers
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What this means for Illinois: Soon it’ll all be over. If they want to beat Ohio State to get some confidence for next season, though, I won’t complain.
Up Next: at Ohio State

Michigan 35, Maryland 10

Brandon Peters isn’t being asked to shoulder the offense’s load, and it’s working out quite well for the Wolverines. Peters went 9 of 18 for 145 yards and two touchdowns, the team rushed for 160 yards, but a few short fields made for an easy game that didn’t need a lot on the offensive side. Michigan would be up by 28 before Maryland scored the first points of the game, and the Wolverines cruised from there.

What this means for Michigan: The possibility of 10 wins for the third straight season under Jim Harbaugh is still there. They’ll just need to beat the likely Big Ten Championship Game participants to get there.
Up Next: at Wisconsin
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What this means for Maryland: Like Indiana and Rutgers, they have to win out to make a bowl. That’s probably not going to happen.
Up next: at Michigan State

No. 8 Wisconsin 38, No. 20 Iowa 14

Another week, another multiple-turnover performance having little effect on the Badgers. Wisconsin had four turnovers in this game, two of which were of the Pick Six variety. Unfortunately for Iowa, those would be the only points of the game. Not to mention, the Hawkeyes had three turnovers of their own which the Badgers turned into points. Wisconsin’s defense suffocated Iowa all game long, and a game that was fairly competitive midway through the third quarter turned into a laugher, because Iowa couldn’t do anything when they had the ball. I’ve said regularly that Wisconsin being so sloppy would cost them a game at some point, but maybe this is just who they are: A team that will do just enough on offense, but with a defense that can get them out of holes when they need to. Let’s see how that plays out over the next three games.

What this means for Wisconsin: They clinched the Big Ten West with the win. They’ll await the East representative, which is going to be Ohio State unless the impossible happens.
Up Next: vs Michigan
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What this means for Iowa: Another eight-win season is on the table, as their last two opponents don’t leave much to be desired.
Up Next: vs Purdue

Minnesota 54, Nebraska 21

Looks like P.J. Fleck’s crew is starting to learn how to row the boat, as the Golden Gophers boat raced the Huskers from start to finish. Minnesota ran for 409 yards (makes you think), with Demry Croft amassing 183 of those. As such, he only needed to throw the ball 15 times. Tanner Lee missed the second half with what doctors called an “impact migraine,” which sounds like a fancier word for concussion. But hey, I’m not a doctor, so don’t take my word for it.

What this means for Minnesota: If they can win one of their last two games, they’re in a bowl. Otherwise, their APR is one of the highest in the country.
Up Next: at Northwestern
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What this means for Nebraska: They’d better hope Florida isn’t making a move on Scott Frost right now.
Up Next: Saquon Barkley’s bid for the single game rushing record.

No. 25 Northwestern 23, Purdue 13

Northwestern continues its path to a decent season after a terrible start, while Purdue continues its descent to reality after a promising start. Elijah Sindelar threw the ball 60 times in this contest, connecting on 37 of those. Not to be outdone, Clayton Thorson threw the ball 46 times in the contest, connecting on 26 of the attempts. Meanhile, neither team ran for 100 yards, as the Wildcats ran for 94 and the Boilermakers ran for 40. I didn’t realize this game had Big 12 rules all of the sudden.

What this means for Northwestern: Had they not lost to Duke earlier in the season, they could be looking at the possibility of another 10-win season. Could still happen if they win out, including their bowl game.
Up Next: vs Minnesota
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What this means for Purdue: If they somehow beat Iowa, the Bucket game could be for bowl eligibility.
Up Next: at Iowa