Race for the Roses 2011: Week 3


Last week's action while we had the week off:

  • Purdue annihilated Minnesota 45-17 (and that score is deceptively close; it was 45-3 before a kickoff return TD at the end of the third quarter and another garbage-time drive). This just in: Minnesota is not good at football.
  • Illinois survived a shaky start (down 10-0 after a kickoff return TD and a fumble set up an Indiana FG) in Bloomington before cruising to a 41-20 win over Indiana. It's still tough to get a read on the Illini; they've thoroughly beaten two awful teams (1-AA South Dakota State, and Indiana), thumped a Sun Belt team that is doing well in conference but got thumped by the only other non-awful team they played (Arkansas State), and had close wins over two mediocre teams (Northwestern and Western Michigan) and one good one (Arizona State). With their next two games being Ohio State and at Purdue, questions will remain until their @PSU-Mich-Wisc stretch.
  • Penn State won a defensive showdown with Iowa, 13-3. Neither team managed much through the air; the difference was Penn State's ability to run the ball and capitalize on a short field after a sack-and-fumble near midfield at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
  • Bad Denard and a defense seemingly unprepared for Northwestern's bubble-screen-heavy offense showed up for the first half in Evanston and the Wildcats took a 24-14 lead into the half. Then Good Denard came out for the second half, the defense forced a couple of turnovers (although I'm still baffled at the interception not being overturned on replay), and Michigan scored four unanswered touchdowns to win 42-24.
  • Ohio State's offense looked surprisingly competent for 2 1/2 quarters as they raced to a 27-6 lead at Nebraska. Then Braxton Miller got hurt, Joe Bauserman put up an abominable 0.9 pass efficiency rating (1-10, 13 yards, 1 INT), and Nebraska roared back to win 34-27, dealing a serious blow to the Buckeyes' bowl hopes.

This week's games and standings tables after the jump.

Byes: Minnesota, Nebraska

Game of the Week: Michigan @ Michigan State
Even without the rivalry bragging rights, this would be a huge game. The winner will be the last team in the West Division without a loss and will have the tiebreaker edge if the division title should come down to that. Michigan's tougher schedule to date (in no small part because of Western Michigan's unexpected competence) and unbeaten record give them the edge according to both formulas: 66% in the no-margin formula, 74% (7 points) by the margin-aware ratings.

Mismatch of the Week: Indiana @ Wisconsin
"Ugly" doesn't begin to do this one justice. If Wisconsin fails to match the absurd 83 points they put up last year, it will be only because Bret Bielema has decided to be merciful. No-margin ratings still aren't terribly impressed with Wisconsin due to the horrible non-conference schedule and only one conference game to balance it, so they're only a 93% favorite; margin-aware bumps that up to 98% (26 points).

Other Big Ten Games
Ohio State @ Illinois: Illinois 87% no-margin, 82% (10.5 pts) margin-aware
Purdue @ Penn State: Penn State 82% no-margin, 86% (12 pts) margin-aware
Northwestern @ Iowa: Iowa 69% no-margin, 71% (6.5 pts) margin-aware

Projected Standings: No-Margin System

West Division

Team Rank Avg wins 8-0 7-1 6-2 5-3 4-4 3-5 2-6 1-7 0-8 Bowl Outright Share
Michigan 7 6.32 11.83% 33.50% 33.98% 16.30% 3.92% 0.45% 0.02% N/A N/A 100% 53.30% 76.33%
Michigan St 36 5.09 1.37% 9.50% 25.46% 33.37% 22.23% 7.10% 0.92% 0.04% N/A 99.03% 11.49% 27.67%
Nebraska 18 4.90 N/A 4.96% 23.73% 37.68% 24.94% 7.60% 1.04% 0.05% N/A 99.95% 7.42% 21.62%
Iowa 55 3.74 N/A 0.59% 5.61% 19.70% 32.54% 27.32% 11.67% 2.38% 0.18% 85.76% 1.48% 6.02%
Northwestern 87 2.49 N/A N/A 0.22% 2.88% 13.94% 31.55% 33.96% 15.30% 2.16% 32.78% 0.03% 0.39%
Minnesota 117 0.78 N/A N/A 1 in 370k 0.01% 0.27% 2.70% 14.63% 39.83% 42.57% 0.01% * *

 

Iowa's loss at Penn State pushes them to a fringe candidate; it's now primarily a three-team race between Michigan, MSU, and Nebraska, with Michigan having the inside track due to an unbeaten record and Nebraska trailing due to a conference loss already in the books.

East Division

Team Rank Avg wins 8-0 7-1 6-2 5-3 4-4 3-5 2-6 1-7 0-8 Bowl Outright Share
Illinois 8 6.38 13.32% 34.30% 33.39% 15.29% 3.37% 0.33% 0.01% N/A N/A 100% 35.38% 60.55%
Wisconsin 13 5.96 6.46% 25.60% 35.69% 23.27% 7.63% 1.25% 0.09% 1 in 37,800 N/A >99.99% 20.01% 42.22%
Penn State 19 5.64 4.01% 18.72% 33.24% 28.58% 12.55% 2.68% 0.22% N/A N/A 99.78% 13.66% 32.23%
Purdue 78 3.33 0.01% 0.26% 2.48% 11.70% 28.40% 34.10% 19.10% 3.95% N/A 42.85% 0.26% 1.48%
Ohio State 71 2.08 N/A N/A 0.05% 0.98% 7.24% 24.30% 38.16% 24.99% 4.27% 32.57% 0.01% 0.12%
Indiana 112 1.28 N/A N/A 1 in 29,900 0.12% 1.47% 8.89% 27.23% 40.01% 22.28% 0.12% * *

 

Illinois remains at the top here due to an extra win in the books, getting Wisconsin at home, and having played more than one actual opponent to date. Penn State is surprisingly making this into a three-team race. Purdue and Ohio State both remain in the hunt for a TicketCity Bowl berth (or Motor City Bowl, if Northwestern also makes a bowl).

Projected Standings: Margin-Aware System

West Division

Team Rank Avg wins 8-0 7-1 6-2 5-3 4-4 3-5 2-6 1-7 0-8 Bowl Outright Share
Michigan 6 6.92 28.64% 42.00% 22.76% 5.82% 0.73% 0.04% 1 in 113k N/A N/A 100% 75.14% 90.83%
Nebraska 22 4.84 N/A 2.79% 21.71% 41.14% 26.38% 7.12% 0.82% 0.03% N/A 99.97% 3.12% 11.44%
Michigan St 36 4.82 0.57% 5.48% 20.06% 34.64% 28.38% 9.86% 0.98% 0.03% N/A 98.99% 4.39% 13.81%
Iowa 51 3.78 N/A 0.44% 5.06% 20.29% 34.42% 27.51% 10.41% 1.77% 0.11% 87.72% 0.65% 3.37%
Northwestern 71 2.65 N/A N/A 0.28% 3.63% 16.50% 34.04% 32.43% 12.13% 0.99% 45.70% 0.01% 0.18%
Minnesota 116 0.48 N/A N/A 1 in 10.8M 1 in 108k 0.04% 0.67% 6.59% 32.23% 60.47% * * *

 

As with last week, Michigan is a much larger favorite, with Illinois on the schedule instead of Wisconsin. Nebraska and MSU are in a dead heat for second place, with Iowa dropping back due to their loss at Penn State.

East Division

Team Rank Avg wins 8-0 7-1 6-2 5-3 4-4 3-5 2-6 1-7 0-8 Bowl Outright Share
Wisconsin 7 6.88 26.91% 42.06% 23.92% 6.28% 0.79% 0.05% 1 in 89,900 1 in 10.3M N/A >99.99% 55.92% 79.40%
Illinois 17 5.69 3.55% 18.47% 35.33% 30.03% 10.96% 1.60% 0.07% N/A N/A 100% 11.25% 28.59%
Penn State 26 5.45 1.86% 14.87% 32.51% 31.69% 15.31% 3.48% 0.28% N/A N/A 99.72% 7.21% 21.04%
Purdue 73 3.11 1 in 74,600 0.07% 1.18% 8.28% 25.41% 36.00% 23.40% 5.65% N/A 34.94% 0.06% 0.52%
Ohio State 50 2.22 N/A N/A 0.04% 1.08% 8.45% 27.96% 39.07% 20.98% 2.42% 37.53% * 0.07%
Indiana 100 1.18 N/A N/A 1 in 186k 0.04% 0.78% 6.67% 25.93% 42.44% 24.14% 0.04% * *

 

Wisconsin's death machine offense and huge margins of victory propel them to the lead here; Penn State's softer remaining schedule (no Michigan) puts them a close second to Illinois.

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