Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Big Ten Notebook: Idle Buckeyes move up in BCS Standings

The SportsXchange

For one week at least, the Big Ten's focus shifted away from idle Ohio State to the other teams competing for division titles and national recognition.

Still, it was a good week for the Buckeyes. Though they had a bye on Saturday, they benefited from Oregon's 26-20 loss to Stanford on Thursday night, moving up to No. 3 in the BCS Standings behind Alabama and Florida State.

Ohio State (9-0) is now one loss away by either of those teams from possibly making the BCS championship game if they can remain undefeated. Its last three regular-season games are against Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

One of the Big Ten teams that could boost Ohio State's computer ranking is Wisconsin, which hasn't lost since its Sept. 28 game in Columbus. The Badgers were one of the teams making the biggest move in the Associated Press Top 25 on Sunday, jumping four spots to No. 17 after a 27-17 victory at home over Brigham Young in a nonconference game and are No. 22 in the BCS Standings.

Wisconsin (7-2) would need two losses by Ohio State to win the Leaders Division and reach the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 7 in Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium, but a BCS bowl berth is still within reach if the Badgers win out.

Michigan State (8-1) moved up a notch and is ranked No. 16 in this week's BCS Standings. The Spartans, who were idle on Saturday, travel to Lincoln, Neb., this week for a showdown against Nebraska (7-2) for the biggest game to date in the Big Ten. The winner will have the inside track to the Legends Division title and a spot in Indianapolis.

Nebraska is on the cusp of the Top 25 after coming away from Michigan with a 17-13 win on Saturday. The Cornhuskers trail Michigan State, which has never beaten Nebraska, by one game in the division.

Surprising Minnesota cracked the Top 25 for the first time since 2008 with a No. 25 ranking the coaches' poll but still remain outside the Top 25 in the BCS Standings. The Gophers ran their winning streak to four with a 24-10 victory over Penn State on Saturday.

It has been a long time since Minnesota has won four consecutive Big Ten games in one season. The last such winning streak came 40 years ago in 1973 when Tony Dungy, who went on to win a Super Bowl as coach of the Indianapolis Colts, was the starting quarterback for the Gophers. If they can make it five straight in two weeks against Wisconsin, it would be Minnesota's longest streak since 1962.

Meanwhile, Michigan (6-3) and Penn State (5-4) are headed in the opposite direction. The free-falling Wolverines' loss at home to Nebraska on Saturday was their second in a row and third in conference play.

FIVE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 11 IN THE BIG TEN:

1. Nebraska keeps finding ways to win. After the Cornhuskers lost at Minnesota on Oct. 26, it looked as though their season would nosedive. But they miraculously beat Northwestern with a last-second desperation pass and then scored with 2:03 left on Saturday at Michigan for a 17-13 victory. Now they play host to Michigan State with a possible Big Ten championship game berth at stake.

2. Minnesota's mojo is real. The Gophers handled Penn State on Saturday for their fourth straight win since coach Jerry Kill took a leave of absence to handle his medical issues. Kill has certainly provided inspiration, but the players also are performing on the field in all phases.

3. Michigan can't run the ball a lick. Two straight games with negative rushing yards have left the Wolverines in a funk. The offensive line can't seem to protect quarterback Devin Gardner, who was sacked seven times by Nebraska on Saturday. With games remaining at Northwestern and Iowa and at home against Ohio State, Michigan will have to work hard for another win this season.

4. Wisconsin is playing as well as anyone outside of Ohio State in the Big Ten. The Badgers were dominating in Saturday's win over Brigham Young, and they're just a blown call at Arizona State and a seven-point loss to the Buckeyes from being unbeaten. Whether they have a shot at a BCS bowl game remains to be seen.

5. Iowa has not reached the level it enjoyed four years ago when it went to a BCS bowl, but the Hawkeyes took a step toward restoring respectability after last year's 4-8 season with a win at Purdue at Saturday that made them bowl eligible. Now they hope to finish strong after a bye week with games against Michigan and Nebraska.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (44)