Few people figured that after Iowa yielded 599 total yards and 41 points to Penn State on Nov. 5, the Hawkeyes would do something a week later that opened up new worlds for the Nittany Lions that no one previously could have imagined.

A three-touchdown underdog to No. 3 Michigan, the Hawkeyes upset the previously undefeated Wolverines, 14-13, with a 33-yard field goal on the final play of the game Saturday night. That dropped Michigan into a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten East at 6-1 with Penn State and Ohio State.

The Lions, who came in at No. 10 in the College Football Playoff rankings, kept pace Saturday with a 45-31 victory at Indiana, their sixth win in a row. The Buckeyes rolled up 62 points for the second straight week, defeating Maryland by 59.

The scenario is crystal clear: If Penn State wins its last two regular-season games against Rutgers and Michigan State - teams that have combined for one Big Ten victory - and Ohio State defeats Michigan in their annual showdown on Nov. 26, the Nittany Lions will win the division and advance to the conference championship game Dec. 3 in Indianapolis.

In that situation, the Lions and Ohio State finish with 8-1 records in the division but Penn State gains the tiebreaker because of its Oct. 22 victory over the Buckeyes at Beaver Stadium.

What happens beyond that is anyone's guess. Wisconsin is tied with Nebraska at 5-2 in the West, but the Badgers already have defeated the Cornhuskers. If Wisconsin and Penn State meet for the Big Ten championship, the winner is guaranteed a spot in the Rose Bowl but not necessarily the College Football Playoff.

The thought is that a one-loss Ohio State would be more likely to get a spot in the playoff than a two-loss Big Ten champion, whether it would be the Lions or the Badgers. And Michigan, even with two defeats, would probably earn a higher-tier bowl (Orange, Cotton) than the loser of the Big Ten title contest.

So that would mean the conference runner-up likely would have to settle for the Outback Bowl.

Still, a lot can happen. The Lions rose to No. 9 Sunday in the Associated Press poll. On Tuesday night, they will see the newest CFP rankings, perhaps thinking they can move up from No. 10 to No. 8 considering the two teams directly ahead of them - Texas A&M and Auburn - each lost on Saturday.

But they're not thinking of that, if coach James Franklin's posts on Twitter are any indication as he tries to set his team's sights on its next game at Rutgers (2-8, 0-7).

After Michigan lost, Franklin got on Twitter late Saturday night and wrote "Rutgers" 11 straight times, followed by "complete focus on Rutgers nothing else!"

He followed that Sunday morning with three mentions of Rutgers followed by a quote from legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden: "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

@joejulesinq