WNUR’s Greg Mroz discusses the Leaders and Legends division races in Volume 10 of his weekly column, B1G Ten Ballin’.
Volume 10: Through The Looking Glass
With week 10 of the Big Ten season upon us, we can now start to understand where this conference is going. The conference is having a down year and as a result, the Big Ten Championship game is going to mean that much more to whoever is in it. More than likely, the Rose Bowl will be the only BCS game that the Big Ten will be in this year, and by rule, the winner of the Big Ten Championship is going to the Rose Bowl. Who is going to make the trip to Lucas Oil Stadium? Well, lets take a look and find out!
The Leaders division is going to be one that is very easy to predict. The winner starts with a W, ends with an N, and has Isconsi in the middle. That’s right, it’s the Wisconsin Badgers, the one eligible team that hasn’t shown that they are completely inept to winning football games. Purdue and Illinois haven’t won a game in conference yet, so it can pretty much be safely assumed that neither of them will make it to Indianapolis. The only other team that can possibly win it is Indiana, and they only have one conference win. The best two teams in the division are Ohio State and Penn State, and they aren’t even eligible to win it. If Wisconsin ends up not going to Indy, something went seriously out of proportion.
The Legends division is a whole other story, but one that needs some delineating. Nebraska’s one loss in conference is to Wisconsin. Michigan’s one conference loss is to Nebraska, and then Northwestern has losses to Penn State and Nebraska. For Nebraska, if they win out, they are going to Indianapolis, yet that is easier said than done. Their next two games are against Michigan State and Penn State, both are teams with good running games, which is bad for Nebraska, because the Huskers have a terrible run defense. They finish up with Minnesota and Iowa, which are games that I am going to give them Ws for the sake of argument here.
In order for Northwestern, who currently has two conference losses, to make it to Indy, they have to win out and hope that Nebraska loses two more games. This is not likely to happen, but if it does, then the Wildcats will have pulled off something nobody would’ve expected them to do. They would have to beat Michigan, Michigan State, and Illinois in order to do it. Anything can happen, and that is what you have got to love about college football.
Then there is Michigan, who has to finish with a better record than Nebraska in order to go to Indy. A tie will not suffice, because Nebraska holds the tiebreaker based upon their head to head matchup. The one tough game that is left on the schedule for Michigan is their end of the year tilt with Ohio State, which is a game they will more than likely lose. Essentially, if Michigan loses again, they are finished.
Iowa has only two losses, and with winnable games against Indiana and Purdue the next two weeks, the Hawkeyes could find themselves in contention to go to Indy themselves. However, their last two games of the year are against Michigan and Nebraska, and Iowa already has lost the head to head tiebreaker with Northwester. In order for Iowa to go to Indy, a multitude of things need to happen, but after their performance against Northwestern, the championship may be the last thing on their minds.
It is a fun and intriguing race, and like I said last week, we will know more next week than we did this week. We just have to keep viewing this race through the looking glass in order to truly understand what is going on.