The Wolverine

November 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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years and laid an egg at Nebraska Oct. 29, falling 24-3 when they had a chance to all but ice the division. They still travel to Iowa, never an easy trip for a MSU team, and they���ve got a potentially tricky road game at Northwestern to finish the season. They���ve also got probable home wins with Minnesota and Indiana, and two of MSU���s division rivals in Nebraska and Michigan have several tough games down the stretch, including one against each other on Nov. 19. Ohio State (Leaders): OSU���s win over Wisconsin looms large in that it could be the difference in the event of a three-way tie atop the Leaders Division. The improving Buckeyes play Indiana and Purdue before hosting Penn State, a winnable (but likely low scoring) game in which victory would set up a huge seasonending clash with Michigan. Ohio State has lost two conference games, but would hold the tiebreaker over both Penn State and Wisconsin should it beat PSU and then the Nittany Lions fall at Wisconsin in the season finale. ��� Looking Back Most Improved Team Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Spartans claimed a win over linebacker Brandin Hawthorne and U-M, giving MSU a tiebreaker advantage over the Wolverines. photo by per kjeldsen Illinois is reeling but has played solid teams well, and Nebraska and Ohio State are proving to be two of the Big Ten���s better teams. U-M would likely have to win at least three of its final four battles to have a chance to play in the inaugural title game. Penn State (Leaders): If Penn State is going to win a division title, it���s going to have to earn it. The Nittany Lions host Nebraska before traveling to Ohio State and Wisconsin to finish the year, match22��� the wolverine��� ������ November 2011 ups with arguably the conference���s three best teams. They could well finish third or fourth in the division despite having a two-game lead over the Buckeyes and Badgers with only three games left to play. Contenders With Easiest Road To a Division Title Michigan State (Legends): Michigan State���s toughest opponent down the stretch could be itself. The Spartans have been a poor road team in recent Nebraska (Legends): The Cornhuskers received a rude Big Ten introduction when Wisconsin pounded them 48-17 on the national stage, and seemed down and out in falling behind by three scores to Ohio State at home. A furious, second half rally beat the Buckeyes, 34-27, and they notched their most impressive showing of the year in shutting down Michigan State, 24-3 Oct. 29. Nebraska is playing its best football of the season heading into November, though big games at Penn State and Michigan loom. Ohio State (Leaders): Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller���s emergence has given the Buckeyes hope when many left them for dead. Ohio State was missing five of its best players due to suspensions when they lost 10-7 to Michigan State, but they rebounded from a heartbreaking defeat at Nebraska to handle Illinois on the road and trip up Wisconsin at home. The Bucks should be 5-2 in the conference and playing for a division title when they travel to Michigan Nov. 26.

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