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Updated Big Ten conference projections through 11 weeks

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The Big Ten is Ohio State's conference to lose at this point, though this weekend's Wisconsin-Nebraska and Ohio State-Minnesota games will go a long way toward determining who the Buckeyes face in the conference championship game.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Win projections

As with the Big 12, the Big Ten West currently gives us a two-way race with a three-way tie for first.

Odds of conference records
West F/+ Ranking Proj. Conf. Wins Last Week (Change) With Week 11 win With Week 11 loss
Wisconsin (4-1, 7-2) 19 6.22 5.78 (+0.43) 6.62 5.62
Nebraska (4-1, 8-1) 14 6.08 6.29 (-0.22) 6.67 5.67
Minnesota (4-1, 7-2) 34 4.55 3.94 (+0.61) 5.40 4.40
Iowa (3-2, 6-3) 56 4.03 4.79 (-0.76) 4.31 3.31
Northwestern (2-4, 3-6) 67 3.10 3.54 (-0.44)

Purdue (1-5, 3-7) 65 2.30 2.50 (-0.20)

Illinois (1-4, 4-5) 84 1.71 1.53 (+0.19) 2.44 1.44
East F/+ Ranking Proj. Conf. Wins Last Week (Change) With Week 11 win With Week 11 loss
Ohio State (5-0, 8-1) 3 7.81 7.26 (+0.56) 7.97 6.97
Michigan State (4-1, 7-2) 25 6.32 7.20 (-0.88) 6.62 5.62
Maryland (3-2, 6-3) 42 4.66 4.63 (+0.03) 5.37 4.37
Michigan (3-3, 5-5) 55 3.42 2.98 (+0.44)

Penn State (2-4, 5-4) 44 3.10 2.78 (+0.32)

Rutgers (1-4, 5-4) 62 2.11 1.99 (+0.12) 2.32 1.32
Indiana (0-5, 3-6) 82 0.58 0.79 (-0.21) 1.37 0.37

West

Right now, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are all tied at 4-1 in conference play. Nebraska and Wisconsin play each other this weekend, which means only one of them has a shot at 7-1. Then, they take turns heading to Iowa City and hosting Minnesota. The Gophers, meanwhile, drew the short straw from the schedule makers.

  • Nebraska: at Wisconsin (win probability: 40%), Minnesota (81%), at Iowa (85%)
  • Wisconsin: Nebraska (60%), at Iowa (83%), Minnesota (79%)
  • Minnesota: Ohio State (15%), at Nebraska (19%), at Wisconsin (21%)

Basically, all three teams control their destiny, and the schedule makers did a nice job of setting up some huge games down the stretch. Unfortunately, only two of the three teams have decent odds of winning their remaining games.

The good news, I guess, is that Minnesota only has a 54 percent chance of finishing 0-3. That means there's an almost 50-50 chance that the Gophers land some sort of upset. But they'll need two of them to have a chance in the West. In 10,000 simulations, the West champion was 7-1 69.5% of the time and was 6-2 30.5% of the time.

So yeah, right now we'll assume that the Nebraska-Wisconsin winner is the West winner. And Wisconsin has improved just enough in recent weeks for home field advantage to swing the percentages ever so slightly in the Badgers' favor.

East

Ohio State wins the division if it finishes 7-1 or better. The odds above say there's a 99.4% chance the Buckeyes finish 7-1 or better.

I don't think we need to go into any further detail. Minnesota has requested, and might receive, some pretty impressive winter weather this weekend, and hey, the Gophers having a 15% chance does mean they'd win 1-2 of every 10, right? So yeah, if the Buckeyes lose this weekend, we'll open up the investigation next Wednesday. But I'm going to let that happen first.

All Projections

Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
12 15-Nov-14 Indiana Rutgers 20.6%
12 15-Nov-14 Iowa Illinois 72.3%
12 15-Nov-14 Michigan State Maryland 70.5%
12 15-Nov-14 Nebraska Wisconsin 40.2%
12 15-Nov-14 Ohio State Minnesota 84.7%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
13 22-Nov-14 Indiana Ohio State 1.4%
13 22-Nov-14 Maryland Michigan 59.2%
13 22-Nov-14 Minnesota Nebraska 18.9%
13 22-Nov-14 Northwestern Purdue 35.3%
13 22-Nov-14 Penn State Illinois 80.1%
13 22-Nov-14 Rutgers Michigan State 8.9%
13 22-Nov-14 Wisconsin Iowa 83.2%
Week Date Road Home Road Team's %Chance
14 28-Nov-14 Nebraska Iowa 85.3%
14 29-Nov-14 Illinois Northwestern 24.3%
14 29-Nov-14 Michigan Ohio State 2.0%
14 29-Nov-14 Michigan State Penn State 71.2%
14 29-Nov-14 Minnesota Wisconsin 21.3%
14 29-Nov-14 Purdue Indiana 63.9%
14 29-Nov-14 Rutgers Maryland 22.6%

Title Games and Title Odds

So basically, it's Ohio State vs. either Wisconsin, Nebraska, or (probably not) Minnesota.

Ohio State vs. Wisconsin: Buckeyes 77%
Ohio State vs. Nebraska: Buckeyes 75%
Ohio State vs. Minnesota: Buckeyes 89%

Perhaps the most interesting facet of the remaining conference race is the role the West champion might have on the Buckeyes' national title chances. From today's Playoff projections at SB Nation:

Nebraska at Wisconsin. Wisconsin's rebound has made this a much tougher game than it appeared a few weeks ago, especially if the Huskers' star running back, Ameer Abdullah, is at less than 100 percent health. Not only does NU need to win to keep faint Playoff hopes alive, Ohio State might need to beat an 11-1, top-10 Nebraska team in the Big Ten title game to have a shot.

At eighth in the Playoff rankings, Ohio State has some catching up to do. Blowing out a top-10 Nebraska team might be the most direct route for doing that. Wisconsin can all but prevent that from happening this weekend.