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Big Ten Notebook: Michigan State clinches share of Legends Division title

BY RYAN PROBASCO | NOVEMBER 20, 2013 5:00 AM

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As the weeks continue to pass, it’s becoming increasingly clear who the Big Ten’s best two teams are — Ohio State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) and Michigan State (9-1, 6-0 Big Ten).

Whether the two teams will punch tickets to BCS bowl games later in the year still remains to be determined, but it appears more likely each week that the two squads will eventually battle it out in the conference’s third championship game.

But despite the likeliness of the eventual matchup between the schools, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer iterated his team won’t lose its focus on the regular season.

“No not at all. That [the BCS standings] won’t even really be addressed at all,” Meyer said during Tuesday’s teleconference. “I used to address it every Sunday, and I just kind of brushed it over quickly and made it clear we have too many things that we have too many things to be working on and focused on. We have our hands full to slow down an Indiana team.”

Ohio State’s remaining slate includes games against Indiana and Michigan, opponents that the Buckeyes will be heavily favored against.

Michigan State can clinch a Legends Division title with a win against Northwestern this week. The Spartans will then close their season on Nov. 30 at home against Minnesota.

Four Big Ten schools appear in latest BCS rankings; Week 13 offers teams a chance to jockey for bowl position

Minnesota (8-2, 4-2 Big Ten) has arguably been the conference’s most surprising team in 2013, and the Gophers were rewarded for their efforts in the latest BCS rankings — the first time Minnesota appeared in the rankings since 2008.

Minnesota came in at No. 25 in the standings and was joined by three other Big Ten teams: Ohio State (No. 3), Michigan State (No. 13), and Wisconsin (No. 19).

Being ranked is an accomplishment in its own right for the Gophers, but Week 13 of the season is an opportunity for Minnesota to accomplish even more. If it can beat Wisconsin, it will give Minnesota 9 wins and likely a trip to a very respectable bowl game.

“Wisconsin has no weakness,” head coach Jerry Kill said during Tuesday’s teleconference. “Its defense is playing at very high level. Our job is to make sure [the players] take it one day at a time.”

Iowa also has a chance to bolster its postseason destination this weekend in a game against Michigan. Currently, the Hawkeyes and Wolverines both have 3-3 records in conference.

A win for either team will play a key role in how lucrative and attractive of a bowl game the teams appear in, but Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz isn’t interested in speculating where his team will play at season’s end and iterated that it’s too early to start guessing.

“I read all that last week and put it down, and clearly nobody knows anything about anything right now, other than there may be certain things,” Ferentz said. “But the landscape looks different today than it did a week ago, and it’ll probably keep changing.”


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