Johnson: When the season ends, it will be the Badgers teaching the Spartans how to Bucky

Chris Johnson

The number of Big Ten teams included in the second edition of the BCS standings released Sunday is equal to the number of Northwestern wins in conference play thus far this season. As a result, no Big Ten team will be featured in the BCS National Championship Game. Regardless, there’s still something worth playing for. Like, I don’t know, that game in California – the one with the roses.

Michigan State’s thrilling upset of Wisconsin not only dethroned what was the conference’s only national title contender – it also shook up the race for Big Ten supremacy. More importantly, a Rose Bowl berth is now wide open – although the door shut on the Wildcats a long time ago.

With six weeks remaining in the college football regular season, here are my top four teams in the Big Ten, two from the Leaders Division and two from the Legends Division. One from each division will play in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game on Dec. 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium, with the winner getting a shot in “The Granddaddy of Them All.”


  1. Wisconsin-Despite their loss on Saturday night, the Badgers remain the favorites to represent the Big Ten in Pasadena for the second year in a row. Russell Wilson is no longer relevant in the Heisman Trophy race, but he remains one of the most dynamic players in the country. Wilson, coupled with Wisconsin’s powerful two-headed running attack (Montee Ball and James White), makes this offense the conference’s best.
  2. Penn State-We all witnessed it Saturday night: Penn State can actually score points. So what if it was against the 10th-ranked scoring defense in the Big Ten? Like the Badgers, JoePa’s crew has a balanced offensive attack with tailback Silas Redd and quarterback Matt McGloin. Most impressive, however, is the Nittany Lions defense, led by All-America contender, defensive tackle Devon Still. Penn State has benefited from an early soft schedule, but will be tested over the coming weeks with home games against Illinois and Nebraska before going on the road to take on Ohio State and Wisconsin to finish the season.


  1. Michigan State – The Spartans have pulled off upsets at home in consecutive weeks, destroying the viability of two Heisman campaigns along the way. Michigan State is giving up less than 14 points per game. I usually stay away from