Sports

Can Nebraska Still Win the 2011 Big Ten Championship?

| by Alex Groberman

Well, that was quick.

A mere week after systematically destroying the Michigan State Spartans in a 24-3 romp, the Nebraska Cornhuskers were upset by the Northwestern Wildcats 28-25.

The latest BCS rankings, which we’ll have on Opposing Views as soon as they break, will inevitably have the Huskers back outside the top 10.

Putting the specifics of that horrendous loss to Northwestern aside for a moment, it’s important to understand what the ramifications of the defeat are for Nebraska.

Prior to this, the Bo Pelini-led bunch essentially had a red carpet path to emerge as the top team in the Legends Division – presuming they won out. Then in the championship against, most likely, the Wisconsin Badgers, the Huskers would have had the opportunity to avenge their loss from mid-season and emerge as Big Ten champs.

That is no longer the case.

Because the Iowa Hawkeyes defeated the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday, they -- along with the Huskers and Wolverines -- have two losses on the year. Michigan State -- who barely escaped with a victory against the vastly inferior Minnesota Gophers -- has only one.

What does this all mean?

It means that in order to even have a shot at the Big Ten championship this year, the Huskers cannot afford to lose again. Luckily for them, two out of the three games remaining on their schedule are against foes who they can knock out of the division race. On November 19 Nebraska is due to square off against the Michigan Wolverines, and on the 25th they’ll close things out with a battle against Iowa.

Presuming that the Huskers win both of those games -- along with next week’s outing against the Penn State Nittany Lions -- they’ll still need the Spartans to fall at some point. With games against both the Hawkeyes and the Wildcats on the agenda over the next three weeks, the possibility of that occurring is decent.

Of course, if Nebraska loses again – it’s game over, season over.

Check out the highlights and lowlights from Saturday’s outing via the NU Bears below.