The Spartans are No. 10 in the BCS Standings heading into the Big Ten Championship Game, ranked No. 9 in Coaches Poll, No. 10 in Harris Poll and No. 11 in computers.
*NOTE: We want to promote discussion and debate here. Don't pollute this debate with tinfoil hat conspiracies about the Big Ten already set to screw MSU or suspensions to Ohio State players or whatever. You make everyone look bad and don't provide anything useful to the discussion.
|BCS||Harris Poll||USA Today||Computer Rankings|
College Gameday will be in Indianapolis. If MSU beats Ohio State, it goes to the Rose Bowl. We know this.
If MSU loses, it needs to stay in the top 14, and, assuming OSU would go to the national championship, the Rose Bowl likely would want to pick a Big Ten team as a replacement for the 100th game, which means MSU if it's eligible. In order to be eligible, MSU can probably only afford a respectable loss. Still, MSU's .653 rating at No. 10 is significantly ahead of LSU's .421 rating at No. 15.
As far as rooting interests in that scenario, you want Florida State over Duke (so Duke doesn't steal a spot), Texas over Baylor (to knock Baylor back), Oklahoma State over Oklahoma (to knock the Sooners back and give auto-bid to Cowboys), Bowling Green over Northern Illinois (to open the auto-bid NIU has), Stanford over Arizona State (to knock ASU back and secure auto-bid for Cardinal, who are ahead of MSU). As far as Auburn vs. Missouri, an Auburn win could knock Missouri far back, but a Missouri win would secure the title spot for OSU, so it may not be a huge difference.
There are 10 spots. Six go to BCS conference winners, one is set to go to NIU, and one will likely go to Alabama. That leaves two spots.
Oregon and Clemson are looking for an at-large bid without playing. MSU's gap ahead of them is also somewhat significant. The Ducks have some OK wins, like MSU, but a bad loss to Arizona, have struggled in recent weeks and a comment about not caring about the Rose Bowl could deter the bowls. If Ohio State is in the national championship, Oregon can't go to the Rose Bowl to face Stanford, so that would hurt them. Clemson has two blowout losses and one OK win over a then-healthy but now 8-4 Georgia.
The Big Ten ties to the Rose Bowl and ability to travel likely mean they would take MSU, if the Spartans are there. The team that could get screwed the most in all of this would be 11-1 Baylor if they beat Texas. They're not appealing because they don't travel well, though their resume isn't all that impressive, either.
In the end, there is a lot of football to be played. Beat Ohio State, and you don't have to worry about any of it.