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Crazy Train: How Purdue Could Still Win the B1G West

I swear I'm not smoking anything right now. Just procrastinating real work. But seriously though, there is still a very slim chance.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

What I am about to present is extremely unlikely, and that might be an understatement. There is probably a better chance of me winning the lottery while being eaten by a Great White shark and get struck by lightning at the same time here in my apartment in Michigan, than this scenario I am about to present. But let's just have some fun before all our hopes are dashed after this Saturday.

Technically, Purdue could still win out, win the B1G West, and play in the Big Ten Championship in Indy this December. Technically. Before we go into the details, let's look at the current B1G West standings:

Iowa 4-0
Wisconsin 4-1
Northwestern 2-2
Minnesota 1-3
Illinois 1-3
Purdue 1-3
Nebraska 1-4

Purdue currently sits at 1-3 in conference play thanks to their performance against Nebraska, and if they win their remaining 4 games in conference, they would finish the season at 5-3. Since no other B1G West team has reached 5 conference wins yet, Purdue is already in good shape.

So if Purdue wants to win the division and play in the B1G Title game, here's everything that needs to happen:

Step 1: Purdue needs to win the rest of its games. Well, we're off to a pleasant start...Purdue has no room for error if they want to go to a bowl game with 6 losses so far this season, let alone win the division. Purdue still has to play Illinois, at Northwestern, at Iowa, and Indiana. Not exactly an easy task, especially with NW's and Iowa's rankings and Iowa's undefeated recorded. Purdue would have to pull off 2 upsets in a row on the road just to complete this step. If they lose just one game, they can only finish with 4 conference wins and would knock them out of the race. Wisconsin already has 4 wins, and since they own the tie breaker against Purdue, Wisconsin would finish ahead of the Boilermakers. And while we're talking about the Badgers...

Step 2: Wisconsin has to lose the rest of their games. Hey, I thought this was supposed to get easier...Wisconsin's remaining games are at Maryland, Northwestern, and at Minnesota. So sure, Wisconsin COULD lose all of those games (Let's Go Turtles, Wildcats, and Gophers!), but it's very likely they will win one of those games. They just need to win 1 game to knock out Purdue, as that would push them to 5 wins, and if Purdue reaches 5 wins, Wisconsin owns the tie breaker as previously mentioned.

Step 3: Iowa can only win 1 more game. Iowa still has to play at Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue, and at Nebraska. If Step 1 is completed, they would have already lost one of those games. Since they already have 4 wins, Purdue could afford to have Iowa win 1 more game since Purdue would own the tie breaker. We'd prefer if they beat IU this Saturday and then lose their remaining games. #OMHR

Step 4: Minnesota just has to lose 1 more game. With the Gophers playing at Ohio State, at Iowa, Illinois, and against Wisconsin, they should be expected to lose one of those games. They are already sitting at 3 B1G losses, and a 4th would prevent a tie breaker if Purdue reaches 5-3. Also, we need them to beat Wisconsin, and maybe Iowa too to help Purdue.

Step 5: Don't worry about Nebraska or Illinois (or Nebrnois), or even Northwestern. This is the easiest step for Purdue. Nebraska is already sitting at 1-4, so even if they defeated Michigan State, at Rutgers, and Iowa, the best they could do is 4-4, which would be shy of Purdue's 5-3 record. The same would go for Illinois, as Purdue would give them their 4th loss in conference play if Purdue wins its remaining games from Step 1. Hell, the same applies to NW (excuse me, NU for our readers in Evanston). If Purdue beats the Wildcats from Step 1, Northwestern could win the rest of their games, but they would finish with a 5-3 record as well and Purdue would own the head-to-head tie breaker. Even if Iowa, Northwestern, and Purdue finish with 5-3 records, Purdue would have beaten both of them and wouldn't have to worry about the Playoff Rankings (I think). But for safety, let's assume they drop 1 more, probably to Penn State as George RR Martin will be there to host another Purple Wedding.

So, let's say that, somehow, if the ghosts of David Ross and George Ade came down and helped the Boilermakers and their B1G West opponents complete all these steps, this is how the final B1G West Standings would look:

Purdue 5-3
Iowa 5-3
Northwestern 4-4
Wisconsin 4-4
Minnesota 4-4
Nebraska 3-5
Illinois 1-7

With teams winning/losing to in their remaining games:

Team: Wins against: Losses against:
Purdue Illinois, Northwestern, Iowa, Indiana None
Iowa Indiana Minnesota, Purdue, Nebraska
Northwestern Wisconsin, Illinois Purdue, Penn State
Wisconsin None Maryland, Northwestern, Minnesota
Minnesota Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin Ohio State
Nebraska Rutgers, Iowa Michigan State
Illinois None Purdue, Ohio State, Minnesota, Northwestern

Obviously, some of these wins/loses could be shuffled around and Purdue could still win the West, but I just decided to pick some realistic wins in order for a very unrealistic scenario to work out. It's a fun to think that Purdue mathematically has a chance to win the division at this point, despite their awful performance throughout the season. But as we have seen many times throughout the season, Chaos always finds away.

And maybe Purdue does win, faces Michigan State in Indy, finishes what they started on October 3rd, and beats MSU for the B1G Title. It could even be against Ohio State and be called Purdue Harbor Part 3! And given that the winner of the B1G Championship has always been selected for the Playoffs since the Playoffs started...

Okay, I'm getting waaaay ahead of myself. This could easily be flushed away this Saturday, either with Purdue losing to Illinois or Wisconsin winning at Maryland this weekend. Regardless of those results, it was still fun just to draw up this scenario. Anyways...