To no one's surprise, Michigan State led the way Tuesday night for the Big Ten, landing at No. 8 in the inaugural 2014 college football playoff rankings.
The Spartans (7-1, 4-0) are fresh off a 35-11 victory over rival Michigan and rank No. 6 in the Coaches' Poll and No. 8 in the Associated Press Poll.
Ohio State (6-1, 3-1)--their closest competitors in the CFB playoff poll--needed double-overtime to slip by Penn State, 31-24, likely leading to its slightly low No. 16 ranking. The Buckeyes are No. 13 in the Coaches' and AP polls--and they face Michigan State on Nov. 8 in East Lansing.
Nebraska (7-1, 3-1) rounded out the Big Ten's Big Three, coming in at No. 17. Despite a valiant fourth-quarter comeback, the Huskers fell 27-22 on Oct. 4 to the Spartans, who are atop the B1G East Division standings.
The Huskers are perched above the West, so there could be a rematch Saturday, Dec. 6 at the league title bout in Indianapolis.
However, getting into the playoffs could be tricky, even if the Spartans win the Big Ten championship. With the SEC West commanding the nation's attention, and three of four playoff spots, the Spartans can only hope that No. 1 Mississippi State, No. 3 Alabama and No. 4 Auburn fall victim to their horrifying schedules, which would open the race for the rest of the field.
MSU--the one down south--already beat Auburn, 34-23. It plays Alabama on Nov. 15, and it ends the year at CFB playoff No. 7 Ole Miss. Prior to playing MSU, the Tide have to face LSU--then it ends the season by hosting Auburn.
It's a cluster down there. Teams such as TCU, Notre Dame, Georgia and Oregon are crossing their fingers in hopes that the odds play out in their favors.
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