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Here's How The Big Ten Would Handle A 3-Team Tiebreaker

A Michigan fans reaction to the end of the Michigan Michigan State game.

Michigan Fans

On Saturday, Michigan State snuck past Michigan on a touchdown off of a fumbled punt. The Spartans now have an important edge on the Wolverines, but the game proved that the two teams are incredibly close. Ohio State beating Michigan State, and Michigan defeating Ohio State in "The Game" definitely seems plausible at the moment, and if those three teams don't lose to anyone else, the Big Ten could find itself with a ridiculous tiebreaker scenario. A three-way tie between the Buckeyes, Spartans, and Wolverines would negate the first four tiebreakers: records vs. one another, records vs. rest of division, records vs. highest finishers in the division, and record against common conference opponents. The fifth tiebreaker sends things to the College Football Playoff poll, which could complicate things further. ESPN's Brian Bennett has more:

The fifth tiebreaker states that the highest ranked team in the College Football Playoff poll would be the division representative in Indianapolis, unless the two highest-ranked teams are within one spot of each other. So if, say, Ohio State was No. 4 and Michigan was No. 5 and Michigan State 7th, the Wolverines would go based on their head-to-head win vs. the Buckeyes.

Michigan jumping a higher ranked Ohio State would be controversial to begin with, but this scenario could also have the three teams waiting for a few days to find out which team heads to Indianapolis at all.

The potential issue here, of course, is that the playoff selection committee's poll does not come out until Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. ET. So we could have a situation where all three teams are waiting around for three full days after their regular-season finale, unsure who is advancing to play the West Division champion. That would make for a nightmare situation in terms of game preparation for the East teams and the West winner. Add in ticket sales, hotel rooms and other travel arrangements, and it becomes total chaos.

If this comes to pass, we have to imagine that the Big Ten will look to streamline their process going forward. Right not, it definitely doesn't seem like too much of a stretch.

[ESPN]