While Michigan relishes in its recent thrashing of obviously over-rated Notre Dame, the fact remains the Wolverines, barring some major upsets, are all but mathematically eliminated from the Big Ten championship race.

In order for that to happen, Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State would all have to end up with two league losses, and the Wolverines would have to win the conference’s complicated tie-breaker rules, in case of a three-way tie. This column does not have enough space to explain it now. I’ll get into that later, if necessary.

The main problem for Michigan is Penn State and Ohio State are both currently undefeated.

Ohio State still has to play Penn State, so one of them has to lose.

If Penn State beats Ohio State, and the Buckeyes then lose to Michigan, Ohio State would also have two losses.

But Penn State would still be undefeated. Vice versa, if Ohio State beats Penn State, then the Buckeyes would still be undefeated.

The only thing that could throw the Big Ten East into a three-way tie at the top requires some major upsets.

Besides the Ohio State game, Penn State still has games left with undefeated Minnesota, at Indiana, and hapless Rutgers.

Ohio State has hapless Maryland and Rutgers before ending the season at home vs. Penn State and at Michigan, who they’ve beaten 14 of the last 15 years.

U-M visits Maryland on Saturday, before hosting in-state rival Michigan State, visiting Indiana and hosting Ohio State.

Indiana, which is 3-2 in the Big Ten East and an honorable mention selection in this week’s AP poll, could help determine the champion. Michigan and Penn State have games left with the surprising Hoosiers.

Idle thought

It’s high school playoff time again, and high-time the Michigan High School Athletic Association considers reducing its 11-man playoff field. With two divisions of the ever-expanding 8-man game, there’s simply too many divisions for 11-man. In my opinion, way too many 5-4 teams (over 50 this year) were needed to fill the 11-man field.

Dear coaches: Making the playoffs with a 5-4 record is not a feather in your cap, when in all probability your team gets clobbered in the pre-districts.

Top College Game

Florida 27, Georgia 23

The No. 6 Gators (7-1) invade the No. 7 Bulldogs (6-1). Last time I looked Georgia was a 3-point favorite. Don’t believe it.

Top High School Game

Berrien Springs 20, Kalamazoo United 13

The undefeated Shamrocks beat United 23-12 earlier in the season, but both Berrien Springs’ quarterback Nick Nelson and standout running back Danny Vinson left last week’s game with injuries. Hopefully both will be back at full strength for this surprising Division 5 matchup.

Why surprising? United needed a 35-27 upset of previously unbeaten Schoolcraft last week to reach the playoffs.

On with the forecast:


Last week: 12-3, .800

Season: 140-31, .819


Div. 3

Edwardsburg 31, St. Joseph 14

Div. 4

Paw Paw 35, Vicksburg 18

Div. 5

B. Springs 20, K. United 13

Dowagiac 28, Hopkins 27

Div. 6

Brandywine 33, Constantine 22

Div. 7

Schoolcraft 37, Hartford 21

Lawton 27, Centreville 17

Div. 8

Cassopolis 42, White Pigeon 17


Last week: 31-14. .689

Season: 369-86, .811


Appalachian St. 38, Ga. Southern 20

Baylor 35, West Virginia 14


Navy 42, UConn 10


Michigan 49, Maryland 7

Notre Dame 35, Va. Tech 14

CMU 24, N. Illinois 23

EMU 28, Buffalo 27

Illinois 42, Rutgers 10

Indiana 34, Northwestern 23

Nebraska 31, Purdue 28

Air Force 31, Army 17

Arizona 34, Oregon St. 31

Auburn 38, Mississippi 24

Boise State 42, San Jose St. 28

Cincinnati 37, E. Carolina 10

Colorado State 42, UNLV 31

Florida 27, Georgia 23

Florida State 30, Miami, Fla. 24

Fla. Inter. 31, Old Dominion 13

Liberty 34, UMass 10

Kansas State 31, Kansas 27

Marshall 34, Rice 21

Memphis 34, SMU 31

Miss. State 34, Arkansas 24

N. Texas 33, UTEP 16

Nevada 34, N. Mexico 28

Oklahoma St. 31, TCU 27

Oregon 35, USC 28

Pittsburgh 24, Georgia Tech 14

S. Carolina 35, Vanderbilt 10

Syracuse 28, Boston College 24

Tennessee 27, UAB 18

Texas A&M 52, San Antonio 10

Tulane 31, Tulsa 20

UCF 42, Houston 21

UCLA 34, Colorado 31

Utah 35, Washington 3

Utah State 27, BYU 23

Virginia 31, N. Carolina 28

Wake Forest 28, N.C. State 17

Al Arend is a sports correspondent for The Herald-Palladium. His weekly football predictions appear every Thursday throughout the season.