Indiana coach Tom Allen understands the challenges his team faces this weekend.
No. 4 Michigan is the Big Ten’s highest-ranked team and the one most likely to carry the conference banner into the College Football Playoff if anyone does.
Allen, of course, also knows the refrain echoing throughout his home state: Indiana hasn’t won at Michigan since 1967.
None of it matters to the Hoosiers, who ended a four-game losing streak Saturday and now need one more win to become bowl-eligible.
Saturday’s victory over Maryland should give the Hoosiers (5-5, 2-5 Big Ten) more than just an energy boost. They desperately needed a home win to build some momentum for the home stretch and to give themselves a realistic chance of becoming bowl-eligible for the third time in four years.
Now comes the harder part, winning No. 6 either at Michigan this weekend or at home against rival Purdue in their home finale.
For programs like Indiana’s, this time of the season can be quite challenging as speculation runs rampant about bowl destinations and coaching changes.
Just ask Purdue (5-5, 4-3), which is in a similar predicament in part for a very reason.
The Boilermakers also need one win to become bowl-eligible and host Wisconsin (6-4, 4-3) on Saturday before visiting Bloomington the following week.
The chatter around Purdue became more complicated after Louisville fired coach Bobby Petrino on Sunday and Boilermakers coach Jeff Brohm immediately jumped to the top of his alma mater’s wish list.
Brohm was peppered with questions about the opening Monday and tried to downplay the rumors emanating from his hometown.
Big 12 picture clears
Sixth-ranked Oklahoma or No. 7 West Virginia will play in the Big 12 championship game. They might be facing each other, too.
The Sooners, Mountaineers, No. 13 Texas and No. 18 Iowa State are the final four teams still in contention for the two spots in the Big 12 title game Dec. 1.
’Husker record in reach
The most productive four-game stretch of his career has put Stanley Morgan Jr. in position to leave Nebraska as the greatest receiver in program history.
Morgan has 178 receptions for 2,599 yards in his career and needs just four more catches and 91 yards in the last two games to pass Kenny Bell as the Huskers’ career leader in both categories.
Week 12 top games
■ Michigan State at Nebraska, noon (Fox)
■ Ohio State at Maryland, noon (ABC)
■*Notre Dame vs. Syracuse, 2:30 (NBC)
■ West Virginia at Oklahoma State, 3:30 (ABC)
■ USC at UCLA, 3:30 (Fox)
■ Indiana at Michigan, 4 (FS1)
■ Duke at Clemson, 7 (ESPN)
■ Kansas at Oklahoma, 7:30 (Fox)
* At Yankee Stadium