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College Football World Reacts To Michigan State's Upset Win

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker leads his team onto the field.

EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 14: Head coach Mel Tucker of the Michigan State Spartans leads his team onto the field against the Indiana Hoosiers at Spartan Stadium on November 14, 2020 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Time will tell if we get an undefeated team in the Big Ten Championship, but we definitely won't get two. No. 8 Northwestern just suffered its first loss of the year to Michigan State, which was 1-3 entering the week.

The good news for Northwestern is that they still have a very good chance of winning the Big Ten West. The Wildcats already have wins over their biggest foes in the division: Iowa, Purdue, and Wisconsin. Because the Badgers have three cancellations this year already, they will not reach the six-game threshold to make the conference title game, and have the head-to-head loss to Northwestern anyway. Every other team in the division has two losses or more.

This probably erases a dream run to the College Football Playoff though. Had Northwestern run the table, including a win against Ohio State (or perhaps Indiana) in Indianapolis, they would've presented a really interesting dilemma to the selection committee. That is now off the table.

The end to the game was particularly painful for Northwestern as well. After a big first down sack, Wildcats quarterback Peyton Ramsey and the offense faced a 3rd-and-20 from their own nine-yard line, with just five seconds left. Ramsey completed a pass over the middle, in hopes of starting off a crazy string of laterals for a miracle touchdown, but the first lateral was bobbled and returned for a Michigan State touchdown, pushing the score to 29-20.

Michigan State, in its first year under Mel Tucker, is not a good team yet, but they're plucky and competitive in the way that teams that are rebuilding hope to be. The Spartans pulled off a big upset of Michigan early in the year, and now they've taken down a Top 10 team.

The Northwestern loss isn't particularly great news for the Big Ten either. With today's game against Illinois off, if 4-0 Ohio State is now one cancellation away from being in the same situation as Wisconsin, with it very unlikely that the Big Ten's average games played falling far enough for a 5-0 Buckeyes team to reach the Big Ten Championship.

It is hard to know whether the selection committee will take a 5-0 or 6-0 Ohio State team without a great win, over a more well-challenged SEC team with a loss, for example. If Ohio State missed out on Indianapolis, the Big Ten is still planning for every team to that play this weekend, so the Buckeyes could draw a Wisconsin team that actually looks better on a resume than beating Northwestern would have. Of course, there are still many moving parts and dozens of scenarios out there. If we've learned anything this fall, it is that we have no idea how things will play out, or even what games will be played on a given weekend. [

UPSET IN EAST LANSING! 🚨@MSU_Football knocks off No. 8 Northwestern, and they end it in style with a score: pic.twitter.com/jsE42OrM7O

— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 29, 2020

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