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Big Ten Standings Breakdown: 2 Weeks Left

The winner of OSU-Michigan will go to Indy, but who will clinch the West? Plus, who’s going bowling this year?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 12 Nebraska at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


Ho hum. The winner of OSU- Michigan will win the East. Both teams have a 1 game lead over PSU and own the tiebreaker over the Nittany Lions. This week doesn’t even matter in terms of Big Ten standings, but both teams will need to win to keep pace in the CFP race.


256. There are 256 combinations of outcomes for the Big Ten West division, stemming from 8 games, all of which have standings implications. I have my excel spreadsheet at the ready as I dive into the standings and see how things can shake out. I feel like Charlie hunting down Pepe Silvia.

Purdue wins if:

The easiest path for Purdue is to win out and have Iowa lose to either Minnesota or Nebraska. Purdue does not hold the tiebreaker over the Hawkeyes, so they must finish below Purdue for the Boilermakers to win the crown.

There are 10 scenarios in which Purdue goes 1-1 down the stretch and still makes it to Indy but these would then require all hell to break loose and anarchy in the streets. I’d prefer the above method of Purdue winning the West.

Purdue odds of winning the West: 50.52%

Iowa wins if:

Iowa is in a similar boat as Purdue, as their easiest path is to win out and bank on a loss by Illinois. Considering that Illinois has to play Michigan next week, Iowa should like its chances.

Again, there are scenarios in which Iowa wins the West after splitting its final 2 games, but they all require Northwestern to upset Illinois in the final week.

Iowa odds of winning the West: 26.58%

Illinois wins if:

Illinois will likely need to beat Michigan to have a shot at the West. However, Illinois is in a good spot should the division champion be decided by tiebreakers, having beaten Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa earlier this season. It’s because of those tiebreakers that the Illini still have a chance.

Illinois odds of winning the West: 12.38%

Minnesota wins if:

Minnesota must beat Iowa and have Purdue lose to Northwestern or Indiana to stay alive. Also, Illinois must lose at least 1 game and Minnesota pretty much must beat Wisconsin too. There are only 2 scenarios where Minnesota loses to Wiscy and wins the West, so they need to bank on winning out and getting help.

Minnesota odds of winning the West: 10.23%

Wisconsin wins if:

A LOT goes right for the Badgers. Losing to Iowa basically eliminated Wisconsin as there are only 3 ways for the Badgers to win the West. All 3 scenarios involve Wisconsin beating Minnesota and Nebraska, Iowa losing out, Illinois losing out, and Purdue losing 1 or both of its games. Possible but not likely.

Wisconsin odds to win the West: .09%

All odds are based off ESPN’s game analytics


So far, 8 Big Ten teams have become bowl eligible, with Purdue and Iowa getting to 6 wins yesterday. They join Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Maryland, Illinois, and Minnesota as teams that get at least 1 extra game this season. 3 Big Ten teams are already ineligible for a bowl game as Indiana, Nebraska, and Northwestern all have at least 7 losses. That leaves Michigan State, Rutgers, and Wisconsin as the only teams fighting to secure their postseason.

MSU (5-5): The Spartans need 1 more win to make a bowl in back-to-back years under Mel Tucker and they look to make it next week against Indiana. If they can’t take care of business, it could be trouble as the season closes with a matchup with PSU in Happy Valley.

Rutgers (4-6): Rutgers will need to win out to become bowl eligible meaning wins at home against Penn State and on the road at Maryland. This looks like a daunting task for the Scarlet Knights, and 6 wins looks out of reach.

Wisconsin (5-5): The Badgers will need to at least split victories against Nebraska and Minnesota to get their sixth win. Wisconsin has been up and down this season so a 6-6 record seems fitting.