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In a B1G Country: Week 11 Recap, Week 12 Preview

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With the East mostly settled, all attention now turns to the Quadrangle of Hate in the West.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week's Games

Ohio State 49, Michigan State 37

So much for the division title. OSU has the tiebreaker edge over both MSU and Maryland now, although they lose any tie that involves Michigan (in the extremely unlikely event that that matters). Meanwhile, MSU needs to win out and hope for help from any two of Minnesota (maybe), Michigan (highly doubtful), and Indiana (when pigs fly).

Minnesota 51, Iowa 14

That's a nice way to kick off Quadrangle of Hate play for the Gophers. Iowa scored the first points of the game six minutes in and the last points with 14 seconds left; everything in between was pure annihilation. Minnesota racked up 291 rushing yards and moved the ball efficiently with their rare passes (138 yards on just 14 attempts); Iowa finished with 205 total yards and three turnovers. The 7-minute stretch just before halftime was the killer, as two fumbles helped Minnesota expand a 14-7 lead to 35-7 at the half.

Wisconsin 34, Purdue 16

Turnovers (two for Wisconsin) helped keep this one vaguely competitive, but the Boilers had no answer for Melvin Gordon (25 carries for 205 yards and a touchdown) and couldn't get anything at all going on the ground themselves. Purdue's sole touchdown came on a 79-yard pass to Akeem Hunt, cutting Wisconsin's lead to just 8 midway through the third quarter; however, their next three possessions all went backwards. With the loss, Purdue is the first team in the Big Ten officially eliminated from bowl contention.

Penn State 13, Indiana 7

If your quarterback barely breaks 40% completions and throws two picks, one of which goes for a touchdown, you might have a bad offense.

If you have a 92-yard touchdown run and still average just 4.4 yards per carry on the day (1.9 on the other 36 carries), you might have a bad offense.

If you do those things against Indiana ... there's no "might" about it. You definitely have a bad offense. Fortunately for the Nittany Lions, so does Indiana without Nate Sudfeld.

Michigan 10, Northwestern 9

Apparently these two teams saw the abomination unto offensive football that was Penn State-Indiana and decided to try to one-up it. Eight teams average more yards of total offense per game than these two teams combined to produce (520), and thanks to sacks being counted as rushing yardage Northwestern went backwards on the ground for the day. The Wildcats didn't even break 100 total yards until the fourth quarter, before a 95-yard drive ending in a field goal and a 74-yard touchdown drive ending with Trevor Siemian slipping and falling down on a two-point conversion attempt, a fittingly slapstick end to a game that featured six turnovers, a blocked field goal, a drive starting at the opposing 15 yard line and ending with a punt, and all sorts of other general incompetence.

East Division Race

Odds are based on my margin-aware ratings (available here); W-L only ratings are available here.

Team Avg wins 0-8 1-7 2-6 3-5 4-4 5-3 6-2 7-1 8-0 Bowl Div Title
Ohio State 7.73 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1 in 19,900 0.77% 25.26% 73.96% Yes 99.62%
Michigan State 6.38 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0.46% 9.62% 41.42% 48.50% N/A Yes 0.38%
Maryland 4.69 N/A N/A N/A 5.75% 33.94% 45.55% 14.76% N/A N/A Yes 1 in 135,000
Michigan 3.46 N/A N/A N/A 54.80% 44.17% 1.03% N/A N/A N/A 45.20% 1 in 449,000
Penn State 2.84 N/A N/A 30.14% 55.68% 14.18% N/A N/A N/A N/A 90.62% No
Rutgers 2.09 N/A 12.68% 66.90% 19.44% 0.97% N/A N/A N/A N/A 87.32% No
Indiana 0.77 33.27% 56.22% 10.41% 0.09% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0.09% No

Tiebreakers

Michigan wins every tie that they could be involved in - they would have head-to-head over Maryland and OSU; a three-way tie with MSU and OSU would eliminate MSU first on division record; and a four-way tie would put them and OSU at 2-1.

If Michigan is not involved, OSU wins all ties, having swept MSU and Maryland. In the extremely unlikely event that they are not part of the tie (the only such tie possible would be MSU and Maryland at 6-2 with OSU at 5-3), Maryland would have to beat MSU to create that tie and would therefore win.

Ohio State (8-1, 5-0 in conference)

Remaining Schedule

November 15: at Minnesota (76% chance to win, projected margin +7)
November 22: Indiana (109-to-1 favorite, +28.5)
November 29: Michigan (97.7%, +23)

Scenarios

Win out: Win all three games and OSU not only goes to the conference title game but has a shot at the playoff (although they probably need help, most likely in the form of a two-loss Big XII champion). Odds: 73.96%

Win any two games: With the tiebreaker edge over MSU, this is enough without any help (although it takes them out of the playoff picture). Odds: 25.26%

Win any one game + Michigan State loses a game: OSU holds the tiebreaker over both MSU and Maryland, so 6-2 is still fine as long as MSU doesn't finish 7-1. Odds: 0.40%

Lose out, Michigan State beats Maryland and loses the rest, Michigan loses to Maryland: A three-way tie between MSU, OSU, and Michigan would go to Michigan, so Michigan has to drop out for OSU to win. Odds: 1 in 3,750,000

Lose out, Maryland beats Michigan and Michigan State but loses to Rutgers, Michigan State loses at least one of Rutgers/Penn State: Again, Michigan has to pick up a loss because they win all ties at 5-3 if they get there; a tie with Maryland and possibly MSU is fine. Odds: 1 in 1,990,000

Total: 99.62%

Clinch this week with: win + MSU loss

Michigan State (7-2, 4-1)

Remaining Schedule

November 15: at Maryland (67%, +4.5)
November 22: Rutgers (94.0%, +17)
November 29: at Penn State (77%, +7)

Scenarios

Win out, Ohio State loses at least two: This gives MSU the division outright at 7-1. Odds: 0.38%

Beat Maryland and either Rutgers or Penn State, Ohio State loses out: This also results in an outright title, though at 6-2 instead of 7-1. Odds: 1 in 111,000

Beat Rutgers and Penn State, Ohio State loses out, Maryland loses at least one: With a loss to Maryland, Maryland would also have to lose one to drop them to 5-3, leading to an outright title again. Odds: 1 in 154,000

Total: 0.38% (best-case scenario: 2.34% with a win over Maryland and OSU loss to Minnesota)

Eliminated this week with: loss + OSU win

Maryland (6-3, 3-2)

Remaining Schedule

November 15: Michigan State (33%, -4.5)
November 22: at Michigan (56%, +1.5)
November 29: Rutgers (81%, +8.5)

Scenario

Win out and Ohio State loses out: Maryland has to finish ahead of Ohio State to have a chance, and the win over Michigan State means that they would have the tiebreaker if both teams finish 6-2.

Odds: 1 in 135,000 (best-case scenario: 1 in 10,400 with win over MSU and OSU loss to Minnesota)

Eliminated this week with: loss or OSU win

Michigan (5-5, 3-3)

Remaining Schedule

November 15: bye
November 22: Maryland (44%, -1.5)
November 29: at Ohio State (2.3%, -23)

Scenario

Win out, Ohio State loses out, Michigan State loses at least two: Beating Maryland will take care of them, so Michigan only needs the help to bring MSU and OSU down. Michigan wins any tie.

Odds: 1 in 449,000 (best-case scenario: 1 in 38,200 with MSU and OSU losses this week)

Eliminated this week with: OSU win

Bowl odds: 45.20%

Penn State (5-4, 2-4)

Remaining Schedule

November 15: Temple (non-conference; 69%, +5)
November 22: at Illinois (61%, +2.5)
November 29: Michigan State (23%, -7)

Bowl odds: 90.62%

Rutgers (5-4, 1-4)

Remaining Schedule

November 15: Indiana (83%, +10)
November 22: at Michigan State (6.0%, -17)
November 29: at Maryland (19%, -8.5)

Bowl odds: 87.32%

Indiana (3-6, 0-5)

Remaining Schedule

November 15: at Rutgers (17%, -10)
November 22: at Ohio State (109-to-1 against, -28.5)
November 29: Purdue (60%, +2.5)

Bowl odds: 0.09%

West Division Race

Team Avg wins 0-8 1-7 2-6 3-5 4-4 5-3 6-2 7-1 8-0 Bowl Div Title
Nebraska 6.25 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0.74% 11.58% 49.63% 38.05% N/A Yes 49.56%
Wisconsin 6.11 N/A N/A N/A N/A 1.90% 17.68% 47.86% 32.56% N/A Yes 46.21%
Minnesota 4.51 N/A N/A N/A N/A 56.58% 35.91% 7.08% 0.43% N/A Yes 2.41%
Iowa 3.98 N/A N/A N/A 25.39% 52.93% 19.77% 1.92% N/A N/A Yes 1.83%
Northwestern 3.20 N/A N/A 14.17% 51.25% 34.58% N/A N/A N/A N/A 1.60% No
Illinois 2.04 N/A 27.54% 44.80% 23.65% 4.01% N/A N/A N/A N/A 27.66% No
Purdue 1.93 N/A 28.22% 50.52% 21.26% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A No No

Tiebreakers

Two-way ties will be decided by the head-to-head outcome; the only one of these to have been played yet is Minnesota defeating Iowa.

Three-way ties must always be 1-1 head-to-head (there is no scenario where a team can be tied with two teams it beat and ahead of the fourth team). Therefore, division record is the key tiebreaker, which will always favor Iowa and Nebraska over Minnesota and Wisconsin in these scenarios (Minnesota can only be involved in a three-way tie at 6-2 by beating Ohio State and losing a second division game); if both Iowa and Nebraska are involved, the winner of their game wins the tie.

A four-way tie at 5-3 is still possible: Iowa must lose to Illinois and beat both Nebraska and Wisconsin, while Minnesota must lose to Ohio State, beat the winner of Nebraska-Wisconsin, and lose to the loser of that game. In this case, Minnesota and Iowa would be 2-1 against the tied teams and eliminate Nebraska and Wisconsin (both 1-2), then Minnesota would win the tiebreaker over Iowa.

The most entertaining scenario: Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin win this weekend, while Iowa and Nebraska win next weekend. That leaves all four teams tied at 5-2 going into the final weekend, with each one holding the tiebreaker over one of the two teams they could potentially tie with (Minnesota over Iowa, Nebraska over Minnesota, Wisconsin over Nebraska, Iowa over Wisconsin). All four teams would still be alive going into the final weekend, with none of the four controlling their own destiny. That combination of results is the only one that leaves all four teams alive going into the final weekend; the odds of that happening are 1 in 68 (1.48%).

Nebraska (8-1, 4-1)

Remaining Schedule

November 15: at Wisconsin (49.4%, even)
November 22: Minnesota (89%, +13)
November 28: at Iowa (86%, +11)

Scenarios

Win out: This would win the division outright at 7-1 and potentially put Nebraska in the hunt for the playoff, although they're a longer shot than Ohio State at this point. Odds: 38.05%

Beat Wisconsin and Minnesota, Iowa loses at least once: This lets Nebraska clinch before Thanksgiving weekend, as Iowa would have a third loss and Nebraska would have the tiebreaker over the Minnesota-Wisconsin winner. Odds: 5.27%

Beat Wisconsin and Iowa, Minnesota loses twice: Minnesota picks up a third loss and Nebraska holds the tiebreaker over Wisconsin if needed. Odds: 2.82%

Beat Wisconsin and Iowa, Minnesota beats Ohio State, Wisconsin beats Minnesota and Iowa: This results in a three-way tie with Wisconsin and Minnesota, which Nebraska wins on division record. Odds: 0.68%

Beat Minnesota and Iowa, Wisconsin loses twice: Wisconsin gets a third loss and Nebraska holds the tiebreaker over Minnesota if needed. Odds: 1.51%

Beat Minnesota and Iowa, Wisconsin beats Iowa, Minnesota beats Ohio State and Wisconsin: This also results in a three-way tie which goes to Nebraska on division record. Odds: 1.24%

Total: 49.56% (94.87% with win over Wisconsin, 5.41% with loss)

Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1)

Remaining Schedule

November 15: Nebraska (50.6%, even)
November 22: at Iowa (78%, +7.5)
November 29: Minnesota (83%, +9.5)

Scenarios

Win out: This would result in an outright division title. Odds: 32.56%

Beat Nebraska and Iowa, Minnesota loses twice: This could clinch the division for Wisconsin before Thanksgiving, as Minnesota would have three losses and Wisconsin would have the tiebreaker over Nebraska if needed. Odds: 4.66%

Beat Nebraska and Minnesota, Iowa loses at least once: Iowa picks up a third loss and Wisconsin has the tiebreaker over the other two. Odds: 8.53%

Beat Iowa and Minnesota, Nebraska loses twice: Nebraska picks up a third loss and Wisconsin has the tiebreaker over Minnesota if needed. Odds: 0.46%

Total: 46.21% (90.31% with win over Nebraska, 0.93% with loss)

Minnesota (7-2, 4-1)

Remaining Schedule

November 15: Ohio State (24%, -7)
November 22: at Nebraska (11%, -13)
November 29: at Wisconsin (17%, -9.5)

Scenarios

Beat Nebraska and Wisconsin (with or without win over Ohio State): Even with a loss to Ohio State, this would suffice as Minnesota would hold all possible tiebreakers. Odds: 1.82%

Beat Ohio State and Nebraska, Wisconsin loses twice: Like Nebraska and Wisconsin, Minnesota can clinch a week early via this scenario; Wisconsin would have three losses and Minnesota would hold the tiebreaker over the Nebraska-Iowa winner. Odds: 0.22%

Beat Ohio State and Wisconsin, Nebraska loses twice: This takes Nebraska out of the picture while Minnesota holds the tiebreaker over Wisconsin or Iowa. Odds: 0.26%

Beat Nebraska only, Iowa beats Nebraska and Wisconsin but loses to Illinois, Nebraska beats Wisconsin: This results in a four-way tie, with Minnesota and Iowa having the advantage at 2-1 head-to-head. Odds: 0.04%

Beat Wisconsin only, Iowa beats Nebraska and Wisconsin but loses to Illinois, Wisconsin beats Nebraska: Same four-way tie, different route to achieve it. Odds: 0.07%

Total: 2.41% (3.86% with win, 1.96% with loss)

Iowa (6-3, 3-2)

Remaining Schedule

November 15: at Illinois (62%, +3)
November 22: Wisconsin (22%, -7.5)
November 28: Nebraska (14%, -11)

Scenarios

Win out, Minnesota loses at least twice: This drops Minnesota to three losses while Iowa owns the tiebreaker over the Wisconsin-Nebraska winner. Odds: 1.77%

Win out, Minnesota beats Ohio State and Nebraska, Wisconsin beats Nebraska and Minnesota: This creates a three-way tie with Minnesota and Wisconsin, which Iowa wins via division record. Odds: 0.02%

Win out, Minnesota beats Ohio State and Wisconsin, Nebraska beats Wisconsin and Minnesota: Same idea, but this time Nebraska is the third team in the tie. Minnesota is eliminated by division record, then Iowa wins on head-to-head over Nebraska. Odds: 0.03%

Total: 1.83% (2.94% with win; eliminated with loss)

Northwestern (3-6, 2-4)

Remaining Schedule

November 15: at Notre Dame (non-conference; 4.6%, -18.5)
November 22: at Purdue (47%, -0.5)
November 29: Illinois (73%, +7)

Bowl chances: 1.60%

Illinois (4-5, 1-4)

Remaining Schedule

November 15: Iowa (38%, -3)
November 22: Penn State (39%, -2.5)
November 29: at Northwestern (27%, -7)

Bowl chances: 27.66%

Purdue (3-7, 1-5)

Remaining Schedule

November 15: bye
November 22: Northwestern (60%, +2.5)
November 29: at Indiana (43%, -1.5)