- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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There are only four weeks left in the regular season. Let that sink in for a moment. Where did the time go?
We're entering the real home stretch of the season now. So let's update the Big Ten division races and see where they stand:
Driver's seat: Ohio State. The Buckeyes are 5-0 in the conference and hold a one-game lead and the tiebreaker over Wisconsin. If the Buckeyes simply beat Illinois and Indiana in their next two games, they will clinch a spot in Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship game.
Top contender: Wisconsin (4-1) would need to win out and have the Buckeyes lose twice. With Ohio State's schedule, that seems highly improbable.
Still alive: Penn State (2-2) and Indiana (1-3) could still win the division but would need Ohio State to lose out (the Nittany Lions have already lost to the Buckeyes). Not happening.
Eliminated: Illinois (0-4), Purdue (0-4)
Driver's seat: Michigan State is also 5-0 in league play and holds head-to-head tiebreakers with Michigan and Iowa. The Spartans are off this week before finishing at Nebraska, at Northwestern and home vs. Minnesota.
Top contender: Nebraska is the only other Legends team with fewer than two losses and gets the Spartans at home in Week 12. But first the Huskers have to go to Michigan this week, and they haven't exactly been rolling along lately.
Still alive: Minnesota (3-2) would need to win out, including a victory over Michigan State in the season finale, and have the Spartans lose somewhere else. The Gophers would own the head-to-head tiebreaker over MSU and Nebraska in that scenario. Michigan (2-2) needs a lot of help after losing to the Spartans last week. The Wolverines would need to win out and have Michigan State lose its final three games. If that were to happen, Michigan would go to Indy because it would own the head-to-head tiebreakers against Nebraska and Minnesota.
Virtually eliminated: Iowa (2-3). Since the Hawkeyes lost to Michigan State, they'd need to win out, for the Spartans to lose out and hope for a multi-way tie atop the division at 5-3. Iowa would then hold head-to-head tiebreakers against Minnesota, Nebraska and Michigan. To say that's a long shot would be an understatement.
Eliminated: Northwestern (0-5)
2dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy
3dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy
4dDan Murphy and Mitch Sherman