We’re almost there. And Ohio State didn’t make it.

The Buckeyes, winners of 25 straight, lost to fall out of position to defend their national title. Barring a Penn State upset of Michigan State, the Buckeyes probably are headed to the Rose Bowl to represent the Big Ten.

No rematch between Nick Saban and Urban Meyer.

Michigan State replaced Ohio State as the Big Ten’s likely Playoff representative with its victory over the Buckeyes. Iowa remains in contention if it can beat Nebraska then win the Big Ten title game.

In the SEC, Alabama remains in position, needing only a victories over Auburn and Florida to nail down a College Football Playoff spot. But the Crimson Tide is followed by four Big Ten teams, two of which will tumble after this weekend’s schedule.

There’s plenty of potential for a shakeup, beginning Friday with Iowa at Nebraska, which beat Michigan State at home two weeks ago.

In the Big Ten, Ohio State could re-enter the Playoff picture with a victory at Michigan, coupled with a Michigan State loss.

What will happen? You take it on faith. You take it to the heart … It’s the waiting is the hardest part.

Let’s take a look at this week’s SEC-Big Ten rankings:


1. Alabama (10-1)
2. Michigan State (10-1)
3. Ohio State (10-1)
4. Iowa (11-0)
5. Michigan (9-2)
6. Florida (10-1)
7. Ole Miss (8-3)

Alabama is on top thanks to its victory at Mississippi State. The Crimson Tide has played like the No. 1 team in the country the past month after slipping past Tennessee. We’re throwing the records out the window at the top of the list — well, almost. Iowa isn’t as good as Michigan State or Ohio State, and may not be as good as Michigan or Ole Miss. But the Hawkeyes are unbeaten. Florida might be the eighth-best team in the SEC, behind the entire SEC West — the Gators had Will Grier when they beat LSU.


8.  Mississippi State (8-3)
9. Northwestern (9-2)
10. Arkansas (6-5)
11. Wisconsin (8-3)

Mississippi State has a chance to climb into the upper echelon with a victory over Ole Miss. Northwestern will reach 10 victories with a triumph over Illinois. Arkansas and Wisconsin should also finish the regular season with victories.


12. LSU (7-3)
13. Tennessee (7-4)
14. Georgia (8-3)
14. LSU (7-3)
15. Penn State (7-4)
16. Texas A&M (8-3)

Tennessee is learning how to win, albeit by playing the dregs of the SEC East. The others appeared ready to soar earlier in the season, only to fall back in the standings.


17. Auburn (6-5)
18. Indiana (5-6)
19. Nebraska (5-6)

OK, Nebraska has won two in a row and has a real opportunity to beat Iowa. Auburn will go to a bowl game due to victories over Jacksonville State (in overtime), San Jose State and Idaho. Indiana can qualify by beating pitiful Purdue.


20. Minnesota (5-6)
21. Illinois (5-6)
22. Kentucky (5-6)
23. Vanderbilt (4-7)
24. Missouri (5-6)
25. South Carolina (3-8)
26. Rutgers (4-7)
27. Maryland (2-9)
28. Purdue (2-9)

Minnesota, Illinois and Kentucky could qualify for bowl games most of us won’t watch. The teams left home for the holidays should hit the weight room until spring practice.