Iowa’s stunning upset of No. 3-ranked Michigan would normally have people in Columbus, Ohio, celebrating, but the Hawkeyes might have made it tougher for No. 5 Ohio State to win the Big Ten.
By beating the Wolverines at Kinnick Stadium, Iowa has actually increased the chances of Penn State winning the division, not Ohio State. Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State are all currently tied atop the East with identical 6-1 conference records.
If Penn State can win at Rutgers and at home against Michigan State, the Nittany Lions would win the East if Michigan loses again, either to Indiana next week or at Ohio State in two weeks.
Should the Buckeyes beat Michigan State next and then the Wolverines at Ohio Stadium, Penn State and Ohio State would finish tied at 8-1. The Nittany Lions would earn the trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship game because they beat the Buckeyes at Beaver Stadium.
Had Michigan defeated Iowa and then Ohio State knocked off the Buckeyes, there would have been a three-way tie atop the East. Penn State’s extra loss, at Pittsburgh, would have knocked it out of the tiebreaker, and then Ohio State’s win against Michigan would have pushed the Buckeyes to Indianapolis.
The College Football Playoff picture is also much less clear after a wacky Saturday. No. 2 Clemson, No. 4 Washington, No. 8 Texas A&M and No. 9 Auburn also lost along with the Wolverines. If Michigan beats Indiana, Ohio State and the West winner, the Wolverines will make the field.
Ohio State will likely be No. 2 in the CFP rankings released Tuesday, but the Buckeyes might not even play in the Big Ten title game. No team has reached the Playoff in the first two years without winning a conference title.
If Ohio State beats Michigan, that complicates things … and could send Penn State to play for a Big Ten championship. It would be a remarkable turnaround after the Nittany Lions began the season 2-2.