- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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With three weeks left in the regular season, the contenders for the Big Ten title are dwindling. Let's take a look at who's left and what they need to do to get to Indianapolis on Dec. 7:
Controls own destiny: Ohio State (5-0 Big Ten). Because the Buckeyes own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Wisconsin, they need just two more wins to clinch a spot in the Big Ten championship game.
Needs help: Wisconsin (4-1) needs Ohio State to lose at least twice in its final three games -- a dicey proposition, as the Buckeyes have yet to lose at all under Urban Meyer.
Needs a miracle: Indiana (2-3). The Hoosiers play Wisconsin and Ohio State in the next two weeks, and if they win out, the Buckeyes lost out and the Badgers dropped at least one more game, they would win the division. That's about as likely as Indiana's defense pitching a shutout.
Controls own destiny: Michigan State (5-0) and Nebraska (4-1). This Saturday's showdown in Lincoln, Neb., could be a de facto division title game. The winner simply would need to win its final two games for a spot in Indy. If Michigan State loses on Saturday, it would need the Huskers to drop one of their final two games against Penn State and Iowa. If Nebraska loses, it will be eliminated because of head-to-head losses to Michigan State and Minnesota.
Needs help: Minnesota (4-2). First things first: The Gophers need to win out. If Nebraska wins on Saturday, Minnesota would need the Huskers to lose one of their final two games. Then, by beating Michigan State in the season finale, the Gophers would win the division on tiebreakers. If the Spartans win on Saturday, Minnesota would need Michigan State to lose at Northwestern on Nov. 23 to have a chance.
Needs a miracle: Iowa (3-3) has a faint pulse in the division race thanks to its win over Minnesota earlier this season. The Hawkeyes would need to win out and have Michigan State, Nebraska and Minnesota all finish 5-3. They would then own tiebreakers over two of those three teams, as Iowa and Nebraska play in the season finale.