EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 19: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Michigan State Spartans gives a thumbs up to the crowd while leaving the field after the victory against the Indiana Hoosiers at Spartan Stadium on November 19, 2011 in East Lansing, Michigan. The Spartans defeated the Hoosiers 55-3. (Photo by Mark A. Cunningham/Getty Images)
Michigan State is in a bit of an odd situation going into Saturday's game at Northwestern. The Spartans have already clinched the Big Ten's Legends Division, and they know a week from Saturday they will be playing in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game. In a sense, a loss against Northwestern wouldn't be a big deal.
Of course, just because the division race has already come to a close doesn't mean Michigan State is going to roll over for Northwestern. Although there is nothing at stake as far as a trip to the Rose Bowl is concerned, Michigan State is playing for a 7-1 finish in the conference, a 10-2 regular season record and double-digit wins for the second year in a row. The Spartans also don't want to open up the possibility of Michigan tying for first in the division and getting to be called co-champions.
Northwestern comes into this game looking to keep its winning streak going. The Wildcats started off the season with two straight wins before dropping five straight games. Since then, Northwestern has won consecutive games against Indiana, Nebraska, Rice and Minnesota. Upsetting the Spartans would be a good way to finish the season for Northwestern.
Kickoff for this game is set for noon on the Big Ten Network.