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Updated Big Ten projections through 7 weeks

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Get your Minnesota vs. Michigan State tickets now.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Again, we start with the use of a fun new slider tool. On the left are my Big Ten projections from three weeks ago; on the right, today. Poor Indiana.

Win projections

(Note: this week's F/+ rankings are the first of the season to include special teams as a standalone component. Adding that meant for some strange movement unrelated to the actual games on the field in Week 7.)

East F/+ Ranking Proj. Conf. Wins Last Week (Change) With Week 8 win With Week 8 loss
Michigan State (2-0, 5-1) 19 6.53 6.28 (+0.25) 6.58 5.58
Ohio State (1-0, 4-1) 16 6.33 6.12 (+0.20) 6.61 5.61
Rutgers (1-1, 5-1) 24 4.35 3.81 (+0.54) 5.07 4.07
Penn State (1-2, 4-2) 40 4.13 4.70 (-0.56)

Maryland (1-1, 4-2) 46 3.43 3.29 (+0.14) 3.74 2.74
Michigan (1-2, 3-4) 53 3.01 2.30 (+0.71)

Indiana (0-2, 3-3) 85 0.74 2.01 (-1.27) 1.69 0.69
West F/+ Ranking Proj. Conf. Wins Last Week (Change) With Week 8 win With Week 8 loss
Minnesota (2-0, 5-1) 39 5.72 4.95 (+0.78) 5.84 4.84
Nebraska (1-1, 5-1) 22 5.68 5.04 (+0.64) 5.90 4.90
Iowa (2-0, 5-1) 52 4.77 4.57 (+0.20) 5.46 4.46
Northwestern (2-1, 3-3) 54 4.73 5.46 (-0.74) 5.50 4.50
Wisconsin (1-1, 4-2) 51 3.46 4.10 (-0.64)

Purdue (1-2, 3-4) 70 2.49 2.21 (+0.28) 3.37 2.37
Illinois (0-3, 3-4) 86 0.63 1.15 (-0.53)

Poor Northwestern's reign as West Favorite ended with a kick return touchdown. Thanks to decent odds of beating either Minnesota or Nebraska, Northwestern's win probability was 5.46 a week ago. As I mentioned then, that's great as long as you actually beat Minnesota or Nebraska. Now that they fell to the Gophers via late kick return, their wins have fallen to 4.73, fourth in a suddenly crowded West.

EAST
Major contenders: Michigan State, Ohio State
Minor contenders: none

Penn State let one get away in Ann Arbor; a win would have kept the Nittany Lions within Minor Contender range, but alas. Barring some craziness from Rutgers, we're looking at a winner-take-all battle between Michigan State and Ohio State in East Lansing on November 8. You probably didn't need win probabilities to tell you that.

(Rutgers, by the way, is indeed 24th in the latest rankings. The Scarlet Knights have a top-20 special teams unit, top-40 offense, and top-40 defense. No major strengths, few weaknesses. And they're still in the wrong division if they want to win a title.)

WEST
Serious contenders: Minnesota, Nebraska
Minor contenders: Iowa, Northwestern

The West is a couple of upsets from becoming a giant mess. Let's walk through this scenario with the above projections:

* Purdue beats Minnesota. Shut up, it could happen. Purdue's been ... not terrible lately.

* Northwestern beats Nebraska.

* Iowa beats Maryland.

With the numbers above, that means means that you'd have the following distribution of win probabilities in the West: Northwestern 5.50, Iowa 5.46, Nebraska 4.90, Minnesota 4.84, Wisconsin 3.46, Purdue 3.37. That's four teams within 0.66 wins of the lead and six within 2.13 with still half the conference season to go. The numbers at the bottom of the post tell us there's about a 0.8% chance of that happening, but let's root for that, huh?

Sure bets

Here are the remaining in-conference win probabilities, broken into ranges.

Team / Range 10-19%
Chance
20-29%
Chance
30-39%
Chance
40-49%
Chance
50-59%
Chance
60-69%
Chance
70-79%
Chance
80-89%
Chance
Illinois (0-3) 4 1





Indiana (0-2) 5
1




Iowa (2-0)
2 1

2 1
Maryland (1-1)
2 1 2
1

Michigan (1-2) 2
1
1

1
Michigan State (2-0)




3 1 2
Minnesota (2-0)
1 1

2
1
Nebraska (1-1)




1 4 1
Northwestern (2-1)
1 1

2
1
Ohio State (1-0)

1

2 1 3
Penn State (1-2)

2


1 2
Purdue (1-2) 2
2

1

Rutgers (1-1)
1 2

1
2
Wisconsin (1-1) 1 1 2
1 1

70+% games: Nebraska 5, Ohio State 4, Michigan State 3, Minnesota 3, Penn State 3, Rutgers 2, Iowa 1, Michigan 1, Northwestern 1.

Minnesota is a game up on Nebraska at the moment, and that's a very good thing for the Gophers because Nebraska is a favorite in each game the rest of the way (and a reasonably heavy favorite in five of six). Minnesota, meanwhile, has two potentially likely losses: Ohio State at home and Nebraska on the road. Might need to win one of those two to stay at the top of the West list.

Slog Level Delta

Here are the odds of a division champion finishing with a particular record:

Record West Winner East Winner
4-4 0.0% 0.0%
5-3 4.5% 0.6%
6-2 47.3% 19.8%
7-1 44.8% 50.7%
8-0 3.4% 28.8%

Barring the crazy-unlikely picture I painted above, we're looking at a 7-1 East champion (shading toward 8-0) and either a 6-2 or 7-1 West champion.

Odds of Big Ten conference records

All Projections

Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
8 18-Oct-14 Iowa Maryland 30.7%
8 18-Oct-14 Michigan State Indiana 94.8%
8 18-Oct-14 Nebraska Northwestern 77.4%
8 18-Oct-14 Purdue Minnesota 12.1%
8 18-Oct-14 Rutgers Ohio State 28.1%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
9 25-Oct-14 Maryland Wisconsin 40.7%
9 25-Oct-14 Michigan Michigan State 11.5%
9 25-Oct-14 Minnesota Illinois 87.7%
9 25-Oct-14 Ohio State Penn State 68.2%
9 25-Oct-14 Rutgers Nebraska 32.4%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
10 01-Nov-14 Illinois Ohio State 1.7%
10 01-Nov-14 Indiana Michigan 13.6%
10 01-Nov-14 Maryland Penn State 28.8%
10 01-Nov-14 Northwestern Iowa 36.0%
10 01-Nov-14 Purdue Nebraska 5.8%
10 01-Nov-14 Wisconsin Rutgers 17.8%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
11 08-Nov-14 Iowa Minnesota 22.7%
11 08-Nov-14 Michigan Northwestern 36.8%
11 08-Nov-14 Ohio State Michigan State 39.1%
11 08-Nov-14 Penn State Indiana 87.0%
11 08-Nov-14 Wisconsin Purdue 67.3%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
12 15-Nov-14 Indiana Rutgers 3.2%
12 15-Nov-14 Iowa Illinois 77.2%
12 15-Nov-14 Michigan State Maryland 73.7%
12 15-Nov-14 Nebraska Wisconsin 74.8%
12 15-Nov-14 Ohio State Minnesota 67.3%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
13 22-Nov-14 Indiana Ohio State 1.7%
13 22-Nov-14 Maryland Michigan 44.2%
13 22-Nov-14 Minnesota Nebraska 24.2%
13 22-Nov-14 Northwestern Purdue 64.1%
13 22-Nov-14 Penn State Illinois 87.2%
13 22-Nov-14 Rutgers Michigan State 30.1%
13 22-Nov-14 Wisconsin Iowa 39.3%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
14 28-Nov-14 Nebraska Iowa 76.9%
14 29-Nov-14 Illinois Northwestern 13.5%
14 29-Nov-14 Michigan Ohio State 10.4%
14 29-Nov-14 Michigan State Penn State 66.1%
14 29-Nov-14 Minnesota Wisconsin 62.1%
14 29-Nov-14 Purdue Indiana 62.6%
14 29-Nov-14 Rutgers Maryland 67.4%