While national headlines centered on the undefeated teams and Johnny Football’s heroic efforts this week, the Big Ten conference has a heated race for the top spot in the Legends Division.
While Wisconsin has locked up a spot in the Big Ten Championship with both Ohio State and Penn State bowl ineligible, the Legends division is a two-horse race pitting Nebraska and Michigan against each other.
Entering the week, Northwestern was in contention for the division, but they fell in heartbreaking fashion to Michigan. The win kept the Wolverines alive while eliminating the Wildcats. For Northwestern, all three of their losses are a result of their inability to close out games. In all three losses, they led by double digits only to blow their lead.
With two teams fighting for one spot in the Big Ten title game, the last two weeks of the season are sure to be filled with excitement.
Here’s a quick preview of what’s to come for both teams in the final weeks:
Michigan (5-1, 7-3 overall)
Their last two games are against Iowa at home and a road trip to Ohio State. The Hawkeyes have lost four in a row and need to win out to qualify for a bowl game. With an inconsistent offense, Michigan should be able to pull out the win.
That would set up an all-important Ohio State game to close out the season. For the Buckeyes, that will be their last game of the season and their unofficial bowl game. Also, they will more than likely be competing for an undefeated season, something that the players will definitely want. With all that at stake, this game will be Michigan’s hardest contest of the year.
Nebraska (5-1, 8-2 overall)
Unlike the Wolverines, the Huskers close out with two winnable games. They’ll face a Minnesota team that has yet to defeat a formidable conference opponent (their conference wins are against Illinois and Purdue).
Nebraska will then face Iowa, who could be coming off a loss against Michigan. If that is the case, Iowa will be unable to earn a bowl bid, which could leave them with nothing to play for.
No team has been hotter than Nebraska in the Big Ten. With four straight wins and an impressive comeback win over Penn State, they are the favorite to win the Legends.
And considering they have a much easier path compared to Michigan over the next two weeks and because they own the tiebreaker, the Huskers are closing in on their first Big Ten Championship berth in just their second year in the conference.
- Josh Harvey -
Kyle Phillippi covers the Big Ten Conference for BigRedReport.com. His work has also been featured in Big Red Report Magazine and FOXSports.com.
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