(AP) -- Ohio State fans need to root for Michigan. Seriously.
The Buckeyes' loss last Saturday to Penn State has created this somewhat uncomfortable situation, where their fans have to pull for their hated rival. Here's why: The sixth-ranked Buckeyes can win a three-way tiebreaker in the Big Ten East among themselves, Michigan and Penn State if all finish 8-1 in the conference, which would mean the Buckeyes beating the Wolverines in the regular-season finale.
If Michigan were to lose before Nov. 26, Ohio State would need another Penn State loss to win the division and move on to play for the Big Ten title with an 8-1 record.
Of course, the Buckeyes still need to take care of their own business, and that starts Saturday at home against Northwestern. As for No. 2 Michigan, a short road trip to Michigan State is up next. The Spartans have owned the rivalry lately, but they also currently own a five-game losing streak.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio built a Big Ten power on a foundation of victories against Michigan. Seven in the last eight meetings to be exact. The Spartans have also won two of the last three Big ten titles, beating Ohio State along the way each time.
It is a long shot, but nothing would be more Michigan State than beating Michigan and in the process helping to eliminate Ohio State.