Who is the Big Ten’s Best Shot at the Playoff?

The Big Ten has had a wild couple of weeks. The conference looks drastically different than it did just two weeks ago. Wisconsin now is the highest ranked Big Ten school in the CFP rankings at number 8. They are also one of the five remaining undefeated teams in the FBS. There is a lot of talk as to if an undefeated Wisconsin will make the playoff. It’s been well documented here and other places that Wisconsin has played nobody yet this season. They will have played no ranked opponents until this coming weekend when Iowa comes to town. At best, they will get 3 ranked wins before the end of the year as they have Iowa, Michigan (who would need to jump into the rankings), and the Big Ten East division winner. I don’t think Michigan jumps into the rankings as they play Maryland this weekend. So assume they can two wins against ranked opponents. I don’t think there is anyway they get in over a Clemson, Oklahoma, and even an Auburn if they can find a way to beat Georgia this weekend.

That is why I believe that Michigan State has the best shot in the Big Ten to make the playoff. They, much like most other teams, must win out. If they do so, the 11-2 Spartans would own wins against Michigan, Iowa, Penn State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. There only two losses would be against Notre Dame, one of the best teams in the country, and on the road at Northwestern, where they lost in triple overtime. I think they would have a better resume than the winner of the Big 12, who may easily have two losses as well, and the winner of the Pac 12, who at best will have 2 wins verses ranked opponents. If the playoff committee uses the eye test, I think Michigan State passes that as well. They have a great young quarterback in Brian Lewerke, playmakers in L.J. Scott and Felton Davis III to go along with a stingy defense. I believe that if the Spartans can win out, they would be a playoff team for the second time in four years.

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