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Updated Big Ten projections after six weeks

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Last week, the numbers said what we all assumed, that we were heading for a Michigan State-Wisconsin Big Ten title game. And then Wisconsin went and laid the biggest egg imaginable.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Win projections

So I'd like to think that the F/+ ratings are at least semi-respected and relatively accurate.

I just wanted that clear because I can now say that a semi-respected set of football numbers has Northwestern winning the Big Ten West.

East F/+ Ranking Proj. Conf. Wins Last Week (Change) With Week 7 win With Week 7 loss
Michigan State (1-0, 4-1) 14 6.28 5.71 (+0.57) 6.41 5.41
Ohio State (1-0, 4-1) 13 6.12 5.33 (+0.79)

Penn State (1-1, 4-1) 29 4.70 4.05 (+0.65) 5.06 4.06
Rutgers (1-1, 5-1) 38 3.81 2.85 (+0.96)

Maryland (1-1, 4-2) 53 3.29 4.26 (-0.97)

Michigan (0-2, 2-4) 55 2.30 3.05 (-0.75) 2.94 1.94
Indiana (0-1, 3-2) 68 2.01 2.57 (-0.56) 2.75 1.75
West F/+ Ranking Proj. Conf. Wins Last Week (Change) With Week 7 win With Week 7 loss
Northwestern (2-0, 3-2) 45 5.46 4.47 (+0.99) 6.11 5.11
Nebraska (1-1, 5-1) 25 5.04 5.14 (-0.10)

Minnesota (1-0, 4-1) 42 4.95 4.88 (+0.07) 5.30 4.30
Iowa (1-0, 4-1) 54 4.57 4.21 (+0.36) 4.84 3.84
Wisconsin (0-1, 3-2) 43 4.10 5.69 (-1.59) 4.26 3.26
Purdue (1-1, 3-3) 84 2.21 1.48 (+0.73) 3.08 2.08
Illinois (0-2, 3-3) 85 1.15 2.32 (-1.17) 2.00 1.00

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

EAST
Serious contenders: Michigan State, Ohio State
Minor contenders: Penn State

Once again, I'm considering anybody within about 0.75 wins of the lead "serious" and anybody within about 1.50 (or, in Penn State's case, 1.60) "minor." With this much of the season remaining to me, that sounds about right.

No matter what parameters we assign here, the bottom line is that it's Michigan State, Ohio State, and everybody else in the East. Maryland could have positioned itself for a darkhorse run of sorts, but the Terps spit the bit, as they say, against Ohio State last weekend and tumbled pretty far in the F/+ ratings. Ohio State, meanwhile, looked excellent and reminded us that writing the Buckeyes off after the Virginia Tech stumble might have been an iffy thing to do.

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

In one day, Wisconsin managed to shave off more than 1.5 expected wins; I honestly wouldn't have guessed that was possible. But that's what happens when you lose a game you're supposed to win and look bad enough doing it that you fall from 19th to 43rd in the rankings.

So if Wisconsin is no longer a top-20 team, then that opens up a crazy race. The Badgers might still bounce back and prove that last week's quarterback misery was a brief fluke, but if they don't, then any other West team not named Purdue or Illinois could take charge at some point soon.

This weekend's Minnesota-Northwestern game is a big one. As we'll see, Northwestern's advantage in this race is that the Wildcats already have two wins under their belt, and that their likely losses are closer to being tossups than Minnesota's are. The 2-0 start (with two wins over more highly-ranked teams, no less) is how NU has the overall edge here despite being the No. 4 team in the division in terms of F/+.

A loss in Minneapolis would get rid of a lot of the Wildcats' margin for error, though it wouldn't end their chances by any means. Meanwhile, Nebraska is a game behind in the loss column but is still in pretty good shape if/when Northwestern and Minnesota both lose. All three of those teams still have to play each other, so this new version of Northwestern will need to maintain form if it wants to reach the title game.

Sure bets

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

Team / Range 0-19%
Chance
20-29%
Chance
30-39%
Chance
40-49%
Chance
50-59%
Chance
60-69%
Chance
70-79%
Chance
80-99%
Chance
Illinois (0-2) 3 2 1




Indiana (0-1) 3 3



1
Iowa (1-0)

3
2 1 1
Maryland (1-1)
2 2 1
1

Michigan (0-2) 2
2
1 1

Michigan State (1-0)




2 2 3
Minnesota (1-0)

3

1 2 1
Nebraska (1-1)



2 2 1 1
Northwestern (2-0)

1 2
1 1 1
Ohio State (1-0)

1

2 1 3
Penn State (1-1)

2

1 3
Purdue (1-1) 3 3





Rutgers (1-1)
2 1
1 1
1
Wisconsin (0-1)

1 2
2 1 1

Again, Northwestern's likely losses are less likely than Minnesota's, but that only matters until Northwestern actually loses those games.

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 8.1% 1.7%
6-2 52.0% 25.4%
7-1 35.7% 51.0%
8-0 4.3% 21.9%

Basically, anybody that can get to 6-2 has a chance to win the West, and Northwestern (49.4%), Nebraska (35.7%), Minnesota (33.1%), Iowa (23.0%), and Wisconsin (11.9%) can all still get there. And Purdue (0.1%), of course.

Odds of Big Ten conference records

All Projections

Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
7 11-Oct-14 Illinois Wisconsin 15.7%
7 11-Oct-14 Indiana Iowa 26.8%
7 11-Oct-14 Michigan State Purdue 87.3%
7 11-Oct-14 Northwestern Minnesota 35.0%
7 11-Oct-14 Penn State Michigan 63.4%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
8 18-Oct-14 Iowa Maryland 36.0%
8 18-Oct-14 Michigan State Indiana 82.0%
8 18-Oct-14 Nebraska Northwestern 57.3%
8 18-Oct-14 Purdue Minnesota 15.2%
8 18-Oct-14 Rutgers Ohio State 22.3%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
9 25-Oct-14 Maryland Wisconsin 31.4%
9 25-Oct-14 Michigan Michigan State 14.9%
9 25-Oct-14 Minnesota Illinois 74.4%
9 25-Oct-14 Ohio State Penn State 61.3%
9 25-Oct-14 Rutgers Nebraska 32.5%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
10 01-Nov-14 Illinois Ohio State 5.9%
10 01-Nov-14 Indiana Michigan 27.8%
10 01-Nov-14 Maryland Penn State 25.1%
10 01-Nov-14 Northwestern Iowa 42.4%
10 01-Nov-14 Purdue Nebraska 11.3%
10 01-Nov-14 Wisconsin Rutgers 33.5%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
11 08-Nov-14 Iowa Minnesota 29.9%
11 08-Nov-14 Michigan Northwestern 30.6%
11 08-Nov-14 Ohio State Michigan State 36.8%
11 08-Nov-14 Penn State Indiana 72.4%
11 08-Nov-14 Wisconsin Purdue 73.6%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
12 15-Nov-14 Indiana Rutgers 19.3%
12 15-Nov-14 Iowa Illinois 68.1%
12 15-Nov-14 Michigan State Maryland 73.2%
12 15-Nov-14 Nebraska Wisconsin 56.3%
12 15-Nov-14 Ohio State Minnesota 67.5%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
13 22-Nov-14 Indiana Ohio State 9.6%
13 22-Nov-14 Maryland Michigan 38.6%
13 22-Nov-14 Minnesota Nebraska 30.2%
13 22-Nov-14 Northwestern Purdue 72.8%
13 22-Nov-14 Penn State Illinois 79.4%
13 22-Nov-14 Rutgers Michigan State 22.4%
13 22-Nov-14 Wisconsin Iowa 43.4%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
14 28-Nov-14 Nebraska Iowa 62.9%
14 29-Nov-14 Illinois Northwestern 16.3%
14 29-Nov-14 Michigan Ohio State 14.9%
14 29-Nov-14 Michigan State Penn State 61.2%
14 29-Nov-14 Minnesota Wisconsin 37.6%
14 29-Nov-14 Purdue Indiana 28.7%
14 29-Nov-14 Rutgers Maryland 57.5%