With just three weeks remaining in the regular season the race for the Rose Bowl is taking form. This year’s Rose Bowl will be held January 1st in Pasadena. Here’s a look at the current race in the Big Ten and Pac 12.
Big Ten: Ohio State is undefeated, winners of 21 straight, and has a clear path to take home first place in the Big Ten Leaders division. Due to their victory over second place Wisconsin the Buckeyes would have to lose two of their remaining games to not make the Big Ten title game. In the Legends division, the race is still wide open, with Michigan State the one team that controls their own destiny. Michigan State is undefeated in the division but has three relatively tough games remaining. The Spartans travel to Northwestern and Nebraska followed by a home matchup with Minnesota. If they win out, they’re in. If they lose one or two games the Spartans open the path for Nebraska or Minnesota to take the Legends Division. The Minnesota Gophers are the surprise Big Ten team, winners of four straight conference games. The Gophers have already defeated Nebraska and finish up the regular season at Michigan State. If the Spartans lose at Northwestern or Nebraska and Minnesota wins out the Gophers would advance to the Big Ten title game. Nebraska, who won at Michigan this past weekend, hosts Michigan State in Lincoln on Saturday. If the Huskers defeat the Spartans and win their remaining games they’ll take the Legends Division.
Ohio State will be heavily favoured in the Big Ten title game, no matter who represents the Legends Division. If Alabama Crimson Tide and Florida State win out the Rose Bowl will likely feature an undefeated Ohio State versus either Stanford or the Pac 12 South representative.
Pac 12: With Stanford’s victory over Oregon on Thursday the Cardinal control their own destiny in the Pac 12 North race. The Cardinal have a tough game with USC this coming weekend but wrap up conference play with a bad California team. They would need to lose both their remaining conference games for Oregon to overcome them, an extremely unlikely scenario. The race in the Pac 12 South is still very much wide open. First place Arizona State will take home the division if they win their remaining games including a key matchup with UCLA. The same goes for UCLA who will once again represent the Pac 12 South in a big rematch versus Stanford if they win out. Third place USC is on a hot streak lately but would need to defeat a good Stanford team this weekend as well as knock off UCLA in the battle of Los Angeles to end the season. Due to USC’s loss at Arizona State, the Trojans would still need major help to beat the Sun Devils. Arizona State’s late comeback versus Utah this weekend may have any realistic shot of USC winning the division. If the Trojans can defeat Stanford and win out there is still an outside shot though. ASU still has games remaining versus UCLA and their annual rivalry game with Arizona.
Rose Bowl Projection: It’s tough to see anyone beating Ohio State in the Big Ten title game. The same goes for Stanford in the Pac 12. Look for Stanford to knock off UCLA in the Pac 12 Title game, setting up a very attractive Rose Bowl matchup between the third and fourth ranked teams in the country, Ohio State and Stanford.