The Nebraska Cornhuskers and Michigan Wolverines will square off this weekend for all the marbles in one of the most historically respected stadiums in the land – Michigan Stadium, a.k.a. The Big House.
As it stands, the Michigan State Spartans currently sit one game ahead of the 8-2 Huskers and Wolverines. At this point, though it appears as if Michigan State has a red carpet rolled from their university all the way to the Big Ten championship (as representatives of the Legends Division), Saturday’s outing could still have some ramifications for them.
If Michigan State beats the Indiana Hoosiers this weekend and Michigan beats Nebraska, Michigan State automatically gets entry into the Big Ten championship game. If Michigan State wins and Nebraska beats Michigan, then Nebraska stays alive for another week and has to hope that the following week produces a Spartans loss while they earn another win.
If Michigan State loses on Saturday, the winner of Nebraska versus Michigan would be placed in a tie with the Spartans – which theoretically benefits the Huskers because they hold a tiebreaker over the Spartans.
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Of course, this tangled web could have easily been avoided entirely by Nebraska if the team hadn’t choked away a game they very clearly should have won against a second-rate Northwestern Wildcats squad two weeks ago. Even though they mildly redeemed themselves with an emotional victory over the Penn State Nittany Lions last week, the Huskers will have to live with the knowledge that they could have controlled their own destiny instead of having to hope that Michigan State trips up.
What’s done is done, though. The Huskers made their bed and now they have to make the best of the situation. At this point, the most important thing to remember is that unlike Michigan, all Nebraska has to do this weekend is win, baby, win. Regardless of what happens with Michigan State, so long as the Huskers do what they need to do, they live to fight another week.
Will they? That remains to be seen. However, it’s worth acknowledging that head coach Bo Pelini understands what’s at stake.
"We've got a lot to play for," he told reporters. "We're going into a tough environment against a good football team."
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Nebraska vs. Michigan kicks off at 12:00 p.m. eastern time on Saturday.