The final BCS standings of 2013 have been released, the next-to-last standings ever as the BCS will be replaced by a four-team playoff starting next season, and the ramifications for the Big 10 are that two teams will be playing in BCS bowl games while another is in the standings, but far out of the picture.
The No. 4 Michigan State Spartans, who moved up six spots because of their win in the Big 10 Championship game, will represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. Their opponent will be the No. 5 Stanford Cardinal, the Pac-12 champion. A victory in this game would not only bring the Rose Bowl trophy back to the Big 10 for the first time in years, but could move Michigan State as high as No. 2 in the final BCS standings which are released after all the bowl games have been played.
The other Big 10 team that will be playing in a BCS bowl game is the No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes. Down five spots because of their loss to Michigan State yesterday, the Buckeyes will face the Clemson Tigers, an at-large from the ACC, in the Orange Bowl. A victory in this game would give the Big 10 a coveted potential two BCS bowl game victories if the Spartans can take care of business, which would go a long way to improving the perception of the Big 10.
The final Big 10 team that appears in this week’s standings is the Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin moved up two spots to No. 19 because of losses by teams in front of them. The Badgers will play the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day. While the Capital One is not a BCS bowl game, it is the top-tier of New Year’s Day bowl games for the Big 10.
If all three of these Big 10 teams can win their bowl games, the chances that the Big 10 will finish the season with three teams in the top 15 of the BCS standings is good. That momentum will be good for the conference to take into 2014 and the new playoff system.