It's easy to call Wisconsin the Big Ten's best team right now, especially since the Badgers just got done thumping Northwestern 70-23.
But it's slightly harder to understand why Wisconsin is the likely Big Ten champion and Rose Bowl-bound.
Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan State have all completed their regular seasons with 11-1 marks and 7-1 records in the Big Ten. And they've inflicted their losses in a modified rock-paper-scissors style: Wisconsin fell to Michigan State, but Ohio State lost to Wisconsin, while Michigan State lost to Iowa — which would have been a part of a four-way tie atop the Big Ten if not for losses to Northwestern and Minnesota. That all means that head-to-head tiebreakers cannot separate those teams.
The next Big Ten tiebreaker, then, is placement in the final BCS rankings. It's safe to assume, given that all three teams won today, that their order will remain the same from last week's BCS standings, which had Wisconsin seventh, Ohio State eight, and Michigan State tenth. If that order does hold, Wisconsin will head to the Rose Bowl as the Big Ten champion, Ohio State will likely be selected as an at-large team and head to the Sugar Bowl, and Michigan State will end up on the outside looking in at the BCS, likely facing off with an SEC team in the Capital One Bowl.
So, if you're a Wisconsin fan, you have the BCS to thank for this year's Rose Bowl berth. And if you're an Ohio State or Michigan State fan, you have the BCS to blame for missing the Granddaddy of Them All.