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First Legends Division race could be legendary

[ 11 ] November 7, 2011 |

“We try to stay off elevators,” coach Kirk Ferentz said of the highs (upsetting Michigan) and lows (losing against Minnesota) of college football. “It’s the world we live in.” (AP photo)

Whiplash anyone?

If Iowa beats 13th-ranked Michigan State on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium—where the Hawkeyes have defeated the Spartans seven games in a row – it’s acceptable to look ahead.

Unless you’re suiting up for the 11 a.m. game, it’s all right to glance ahead at the Dec. 3 Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.

If the Hawkeyes successfully pull off the Michigan State-Purdue-Nebraska trifecta, they’re outright champion of the Legends Division. If something happens on the road to Indy, then the outcome becomes a head-shaking puzzle — with the final piece possibly not fitting until after Thanksgiving.

“We try to stay off elevators,” coach Kirk Ferentz said of the highs (upsetting Michigan) and lows (losing against Minnesota) of college football. “It’s the world we live in.”

What will Michigan State players have to say about the race this week?

Hard telling; they’ve been put off-limits to reporters for the second time this season. The other was during the week leading up to the Spartans’ win against Ohio State.

This much, though, is known:

Michigan State enters the final three regular-season weeks leading the Legends with a 4-1 record. Iowa, Nebraska and Michigan are tied for second at 3-2.

If Iowa wins out, then it’s simple:

Hawkeyes win Legends Title.

If something else happens, then it could be:

Legends Leaders Tied in Knots.

And if that’s the situation, here’s the condensed version of the Big Ten’s tie-breaking system:

Two-team tie: The winner of the head-to-head game advances to Indianapolis. Iowa holds the tiebreaker against Michigan, Michigan State beat the Wolverines, and Nebraska beat Michigan State

More than two tied: The tie is broken according to how the teams fared against each other.

Still tied: Record against division-only competition.

Still tied: Record of the tied teams against the next-highest team.

Still tied: Record against common conference opponents.

Still tied: Highest ranked team on Nov. 27 BCS poll – unless they’re within one place of each other. If that’s the case, then it’s head-to-head.

Hop aboard the Hawkeye rollercoaster. Fasten your seatbelt. It could be a wild three-week ride.

“It’s not over,” linebacker James Morris said. “We’ve still got a lot to play for.”

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LEGENDS BREAKDOWN

MICHIGAN STATE 4-1: at Iowa, vs. Indiana, at Northwestern (Big Ten record of opponents: 5-12)

IOWA (3-2): vs. Michigan State, at Purdue, at Nebraska (Big T en record of opponents: Big Ten record of opponents: 9-6)

NEBRASKA 3-2: at Penn State, at Michigan, vs. Iowa (Big Ten record of opponents: 11-4)

MICHIGAN 3-2: at Illinois, vs. Nebraska, vs. Ohio State (Big Ten record of opponents: 8-7)

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DEPTH CHART UPDATE

Steve Bigach has moved from defensive tackle to defensive end as Iowa tries to find depth at the position after Dominic Alvis suffered a season-ending knee injury last Saturday against Michigan. He is listed as a backup, behind Lebron Daniel.

 

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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