Michigan State has clinched the Legends Division title and a spot in the first ever Big Ten Championship Game.
The 2011 Big Ten Championship Game is two weeks away, but already one spot in Indianapolis has been claimed. Michigan State demolished Indiana on Saturday to improve to 6-1 in the conference and clinch the Legends Division. Because Michigan blew out Nebraska, the Wolverines are the only team in the Legends Division with two losses. Since MSU holds the tiebreaker over Michigan, what happens next week is irrelevant to the Legends Division race.
The other spot in the Big Ten Championship Game -- and Michigan State's opponent in Indianapolis -- will be decided next week in Madison. Wisconsin will take on Penn State, and the winner will clinch the Leaders Division. If the Badgers win, a rematch will take place in Indy between Michigan State and Wisconsin, which played an amazing game earlier in the season in East Lansing. If the Nittany Lions are victorious, MSU and Penn State will meet in a continuation of the battle for the Land Grant Trophy.
For Michigan State, the Big Ten Championship Game will serve not only as a chance to win the conference title for the second year in a row, but it will also be an opportunity for the Spartans to clinch their first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1988. In 2008 and 2010, the Spartans were in the mix for a trip to the Rose Bowl, but they didn't control their own destiny at the end of the season. This year, with the Spartans set to play in the first ever Big Ten Championship Game, all they need is a win against Wisconsin or Penn State to punch their ticket to Pasadena.
Stay tuned to SB Nation Detroit for full coverage of the Big Ten Championship Game ... in another week. There is still one more week of conference play to take care of before all the focus is turned to the showdown in Indy between the Spartans and the winner of next week's Wisconsin/Penn State game.