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Around the Big Ten, Week 13: Ohio State triumphs, Mike Riley gets canned

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This post is very relevant for bowl selection.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

No. 9 Ohio State 31, Michigan 20

This was the only close game of the week in the Big Ten. The Michigan faithful will likely want to forget the John O’Korn era as quickly as possible. Michigan had a decent shot at winning this game at the Big House, but the Wolverines squandered a 20-14 lead in the third quarter as the offense completely fell apart. With Michigan down 24-20, O’Korn heaved the ball into the air and overthrew his receiver by 10 yards, giving Jordan Fuller the easiest interception of his life. That just about sums up the season for Michigan’s offense without Speight or Peters.

Credit to Michigan for staying in the game as long as it did, but another loss to Ohio State has to sting. I could dissect this more, but the main relevance for Northwestern fans is that Michigan is 8-4 and 5-4 in conference. Michigan’s best win is probably over Purdue back in Week 4. The Wolverines’ résumé is just not as good as Northwestern’s, and it’ll be a huge slight if Michigan gets bowl priority over a 9-3 Northwestern team. The rankings should bear that out.

Purdue 31, Indiana 24

Jeff Brohm’s side secured the Bucket for its first win over Indiana since 2012. The Boilermakers are now bowl eligible and deserve it after a fine season. Elijah Sindelar built off his excellent performance against Northwestern and looks like a classic Purdue quarterback prospect to watch out for in the coming years. Purdue was up 31-10 in the fourth quarter and the result was secured after about 25 minutes. It’s fair to say that Brohm has achieved more than Hazell ever achieved at Purdue in just one season. As for Indiana...another year to forget.

Iowa 56, Nebraska 14

Iowa nearly doubled up Nebraska’s total yardage and cruised to a comfortable win in Memorial Stadium. This Nebraska team feels like it gave up on Mike Riley when it lost in overtime to the Wildcats. After that, the defense has given up 50+ points in its last three games, and the Husker have been outscored 166-79. Mike Riley was fired immediately after the game after three seasons at the helm. He’s a nice guy, but going 19-19 and 12-14 in the Big Ten at Nebraska just won’t cut it, even if expectations are way higher than they should be. Next up, Scott Frost?

No. 5 Wisconsin, Minnesota 0

While this was yet another boring, dominant Wisconsin win over a bad Big Ten West team, events down south may have changed things dramatically for the Badgers. Auburn’s upset of Alabama will likely allow Wisconsin to jump Alabama for a spot in the CFP as long the Badgers win the Big Ten Championship Game against Ohio State. Wild, right? A Wisconsin win in the Big Ten would be simple for Northwestern’s bowl aspirations. Ohio State and Penn State will take the NY6, and the rest will fall as planned.

If Wisconsin falls to Ohio State though, who knows what will happen. The ripple effects will be huge. Ohio State’s hopes of the Playoff with two losses seem slim, but it’s not impossible. But if the CFP snubs the Big Ten entirely, Ohio State and Wisconsin will be headed to a NY6 Bowl. With so many good one-loss teams and an undefeated UCF out there, it’s hard to see the CFP taking three Big Ten teams to fill eight spots, especially with Notre Dame, TCU, USC, Stanford, the loser of Miami/Clemson, UCF, Georgia, and Auburn all hanging around. That would mean the bowl selection order for the Big Ten will include Penn State, which might bounce Northwestern all the way down to like, the Foster Farms Bowl. We have no idea.

Basically, Alabama’s loss and Wisconsin’s continued dominance ensures no one knows where Northwestern is heading for its bowl game.

Also Minnesota hasn’t scored in two straight games. Yikes.

No. 16 Michigan State 40, Rutgers 7

What a turnaround for Michigan State. Going from 3-9 to 9-3 in the East is pretty incredible. Rutgers had the ball for 12 minutes and 10 seconds in this game. That’s domination.

No. 10 Penn State 66, Maryland 3

Okay, maybe this is domination. Maryland kicked a field goal at the end of the third quarter down 52-3. I initially thought this consolation prize came at the end of the game, so I was surprised to learn they actually played a fourth quarter and Penn State scored another 14 points.