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Updated Big Ten projections through 8 weeks

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Another week, another new title game.

Eric Francis

Win projections

So a funny thing happened last week: both of last week's division favorites (Michigan State, Minnesota) won, and both of them lost their Favorite status anyway.

The numbers were quite impressed with Ohio State and Nebraska, in other words.

Odds of Big Ten conference records
East F/+ Ranking Proj. Conf. Wins Last Week (Change) With Week 9 win With Week 9 loss
Ohio State (2-0, 5-1) 8 7.25 6.33 (+0.93) 7.40 6.40
Michigan State (3-0, 6-1) 18 6.56 6.53 (+0.03) 6.64 5.64
Maryland (2-1, 5-2) 35 5.15 3.43 (+1.71) 5.48 4.48
Penn State (1-2, 4-2) 42 3.46 4.13 (-0.68) 4.31 3.31
Rutgers (1-2, 5-2) 48 2.95 4.35 (-1.40) 3.84 2.84
Michigan (1-2, 3-4) 55 2.61 3.01 (-0.40) 3.53 2.53
Indiana (0-3, 3-4) 83 0.88 0.74 (+0.14)

West F/+ Ranking Proj. Conf. Wins Last Week (Change) With Week 9 win With Week 9 loss
Nebraska (2-1, 6-1) 17 6.26 5.68 (+0.58) 6.37 5.37
Minnesota (3-0, 6-1) 39 5.58 5.72 (-0.15) 5.69 4.69
Iowa (2-1, 5-2) 46 4.70 4.77 (-0.07)

Northwestern (2-2, 3-4) 57 4.12 4.73 (-0.61)

Wisconsin (1-1, 4-2) 49 3.29 3.46 (-0.18) 3.95 2.95
Purdue (1-3, 3-5) 67 2.63 2.49 (+0.13)

Illinois (0-3, 3-4) 90 0.57 0.63 (-0.05) 1.47 0.47

EAST

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

Maryland and Rutgers essentially traded places on Saturday, with Maryland looking decent enough in holding off Iowa and Rutgers getting smacked around by Ohio State. The Terps moved from 46th to 35th while the Scarlet Knights fell from a confusing 24th to 48th. (The confusing rankings tend to take care of themselves over time.) Combined with a schedule that features five teams that are falling to some degree (three of them are on the road, though), suddenly Maryland's outlook is pretty rosy.

At least until next week, when everything flips again.

Still, the biggest movement came from the other team in the Ohio State-Rutgers game. Ohio State has destroyed everything in sight since the discouraging loss to Virginia Tech (a loss that now looks only slightly less confusing than Indiana's win over Missouri) and is up to eighth in the F/+ rankings. Michigan State, meanwhile, is stuck in the low teens for one reason or another. And now Ohio State is a favorite to win at East Lansing and therefore win the division.

At least until next week. The Big Ten forecast has been awfully damn static.

WEST
Serious contenders: Nebraska, Minnesota
Minor contenders: Iowa

Meanwhile, Nebraska faced a Northwestern team that had basically fought Minnesota to a draw in Minneapolis, beaten Wisconsin, and whipped Penn State; after a pretty even first half, the Huskers laid the hammer down in the second and rose from 22nd to 17th in the rankings. Minnesota, meanwhile, needed a late field goal to get past Purdue at home, and didn't rise at all. As a result, despite a one-game disadvantage in the loss column, Nebraska is favored to catch up to and pass Minnesota. The Huskers have at least a 70 percent chance of winning every remaining game, while the Gophers have an 18 percent chance at home against Ohio State and an 18 percent chance on the road against Nebraska.

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) 5






Indiana (0-3) 4
1




Iowa (2-1) 2


1 1 1
Maryland (2-1)
1

2 2
Michigan (1-2) 2 1
1


1
Michigan State (3-0)

1

1 1 2
Minnesota (3-0) 2



1 1 1
Nebraska (2-1)





1 4
Northwestern (2-2)
1
1 1

1
Ohio State (2-0)




1
5
Penn State (1-2) 1 1 1



2
Purdue (1-3) 1
1
1 1

Rutgers (1-2) 2 1


1
1
Wisconsin (1-1) 1
4

1

70+% games: Nebraska 5, Ohio State 5, Michigan State 3, Iowa 2, Maryland 2, Minnesota 2, Penn State 2.

Nebraska and Ohio State are your new favorites, basically because of the number of easy games. I feel like NU's odds of beating Iowa below (79%) are awfully high, but ... well, Nebraska has looked awfully good for a while now.

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 2.0% 0.0%
6-2 40.1% 3.1%
7-1 56.6% 39.9%
8-0 1.3% 56.9%

No slog here, though there's still a solid chance at a 6-2 champion in the West.

All Projections

Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
9 25-Oct-14 Maryland Wisconsin 66.7%
9 25-Oct-14 Michigan Michigan State 8.1%
9 25-Oct-14 Minnesota Illinois 89.3%
9 25-Oct-14 Ohio State Penn State 86.0%
9 25-Oct-14 Rutgers Nebraska 11.2%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
10 01-Nov-14 Illinois Ohio State 1.4%
10 01-Nov-14 Indiana Michigan 17.5%
10 01-Nov-14 Maryland Penn State 61.1%
10 01-Nov-14 Northwestern Iowa 26.0%
10 01-Nov-14 Purdue Nebraska 4.7%
10 01-Nov-14 Wisconsin Rutgers 36.1%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
11 08-Nov-14 Iowa Minnesota 27.6%
11 08-Nov-14 Michigan Northwestern 40.5%
11 08-Nov-14 Ohio State Michigan State 63.6%
11 08-Nov-14 Penn State Indiana 80.8%
11 08-Nov-14 Wisconsin Purdue 64.0%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
12 15-Nov-14 Indiana Rutgers 13.1%
12 15-Nov-14 Iowa Illinois 83.6%
12 15-Nov-14 Michigan State Maryland 64.6%
12 15-Nov-14 Nebraska Wisconsin 80.1%
12 15-Nov-14 Ohio State Minnesota 82.2%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
13 22-Nov-14 Indiana Ohio State 1.4%
13 22-Nov-14 Maryland Michigan 72.4%
13 22-Nov-14 Minnesota Nebraska 17.9%
13 22-Nov-14 Northwestern Purdue 42.2%
13 22-Nov-14 Penn State Illinois 86.0%
13 22-Nov-14 Rutgers Michigan State 11.4%
13 22-Nov-14 Wisconsin Iowa 35.0%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
14 28-Nov-14 Nebraska Iowa 78.8%
14 29-Nov-14 Illinois Northwestern 14.7%
14 29-Nov-14 Michigan Ohio State 3.2%
14 29-Nov-14 Michigan State Penn State 75.6%
14 29-Nov-14 Minnesota Wisconsin 60.4%
14 29-Nov-14 Purdue Indiana 63.0%
14 29-Nov-14 Rutgers Maryland 21.6%