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The State of the Race: Leaders Division, Week 12

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Look, I'm not sure why we're even still calling this a 'Race' so much as a foregone conclusion, but let's check in with our contestants nonetheless...

Guess What? Not Eligible... Not that it Matters

Penn State 5-4 (2-3)

Good News: Despite what has been an up and down year, you have a freshman phenom at Quarterback who is learning on the job and can only get better - in theory. You are playing tough in spite of scholarship reductions. Oh, and you can get to at least .500 when you beat on Purdue this weekend because that's what we do this year in the B1G.

Bad News: Um, that defense... It also is probably not good that you'll have at least one more down year and then some rebuilding before this gets fixed. Oh, and you aren't going to Indianapolis regardless. So there's that.

Super Unscientific Chance of Indianapolis: 0%

If Only You Could Blame Ineligibility

Purdue 1-8 (0-5)

Good News: Last week you scored two touchdowns increasing your B1G scoring on the season 82 percent. You also took snaps in the redzone for the first time since September. Oh, and Etling did not throw an interception. This ends the good news portion of your week.

Bad News: Iowa gave you a short field on your first score, and proved you still do not have a good offense. While Etling didn't throw an interception, he was pretty woeful regardless. Your offense is still awful. Your defense gave up 318 rushing yards. Oh, and you still haven't beaten a FBS team. Maybe next year guys...

Super Unscientific Chance of Indianapolis: 0%

Illinois 3-6 (0-5)

Good News: Putting up 35 points is good. Remaining in striking distance going into the fourth quarter for two weeks in a row is good. Nathan Scheelhaase throwing down 450 yards and running for 45 more is good.

Bad News: Losing threeve B1G games in a row is bad. Giving up a ghastly amount of yards on the ground is bad. Oh, and basically nixing any outside chance of a bowl is bad. As a consolation prize for your better play as of late, you get to host Ohio State.

Super Unscientific Chance of Indianapolis: 0%

Watch the World Burn

Indiana 4-5 (2-3)

Good News: You're not mathematically eliminated from going to Indianapolis. All you need to do is sweep Wisconsin, Ohio State and Purdue, and have both Wisconsin and Ohio State lose out. Oh, and you'd even go bowling in this scenario!

Bad News: Your defense is a sieve, that loss to Navy looks even more egregious now, and let's all be honest, you are not sweeping Wisconsin and Ohio State.

Super Unscientific Chance of Indianapolis: .05%

The Biggest Fans of Whoever is Playing Ohio State

Wisconsin 7-2 (4-1)

Good News: You're becoming a fringe BCS team, you have a great run game, you get to face Indiana's defense, Arkansas sucks, and you are also not mathematically eliminated from going back to Indianapolis. You just need Ohio State to lose two out of three to Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan... which brings me to -

Bad News: That last part isn't going to happen. You lost H2H to the Buckeyes, and your BCS hopes hinge on the great desert screw job (TM Ted Glover). I'm not saying it's impossible that you don't win the B1G - as you have been doing it for a while now consistently - but things are looking a little less likely. Considering the murderdeathkill machine being built in Columbus, your best hope is to actually just win out, win big, and increase your BCS potential. Then you hope the Buckeyes sneak into the BCS Championship game so you can go lose the Rose Bowl again.

Super Unscientific Chance of Indianapolis: 8.95%

Champions... Seriously

Ohio State 9-0 (5-0)

Good News: You have Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan standing in the way of you and two undefeated regular seasons in a row. Throw in whoever wins the right to go to Indianapolis from the Legends and you can be 25-0 going to... well that's kind of where the good news ends.

Bad News: Most likely, you're odd man out of the BCS championship. But hey, it's cool to be undefeated two years in a row and not have a shot at a National Championship, right? No complaining. You just go win a B1G Championship and let the points lie where they can. Oh, and don't stub your toe against Illinois or something silly like that.

By the way, I wrote this entire piece and then Mike emailed the following poem that rendered my piece moot:

Ohio State
Even if Ohio State loses, Ohio State.
If Ohio State loses two games, Wisconsin
Unless Wisconsin loses two games, then...Ohio State

Yeah, we're at the point where the clinching scenarios are:

  • Win 2/3
  • Win 1 + Wisconsin Lose 1
  • Wisconsin lose 2 + Indiana lose 1

Let's all agree Ohio State is probably winning this division. But that's what polls are for I suppose.

Super Unscientific Chance of Indianapolis: 91%