Transitive Rankings Post Week 13: Buckeyes Sneak into the Top Spot

The final week of Big Ten play sees a pretty big shift in the transitive rankings.  A somewhat surprising shakeup occurs at #1 and shocking wins by Indiana and Minnesota lead to a new bottom.  

The one-loss teams are sorted by their path to 5-loss Iowa.  (Iowa beat MSU who beat Wisconsin who beat OSU)  Since the top three group has no other outside losses, every team with a transitive win over any of them has to go through Iowa.  




1 Ohio State 109-7-3 (#8)

As the 1-loss team furthest away from Iowa, Ohio State narrowly edges out Wisconsin.  Their best wins ended up being the trio of Iowa, Penn State and Michigan, as Miami turned out to be a rather middling team (#56).  


2 Wisconsin 109-10 (#9)

Other than the obvious win over OSU, Wisconsin benefits from wins over a collection of the plentiful 7-5 Big Ten teams.  If Arizona State beats Arizona next week, Wisconsin should jump the Buckeyes.  


3 Nebraska 101-13-5 (#14t)

Nebraska has great wins over #10 Oklahoma State and #14t Missouri, but also lost to a 5-7 Texas.  


4 Michigan State 98-18-3 (#17)

MSU's loss to Iowa really hurts, though the win over Notre Dame helps a bit.  The Spartans are the only 1-loss team in the country to lose to a team with 4 or more losses.  (#20 Nevada is the only 1-loss team to lose to a 3-loss team in Hawaii; all other one-loss teams lost to teams with 1 or fewer losses).  


5 Michigan 87-26-6 (#26)

Michigan rises to the top of the 7-5 pile mostly on the strength of their win over now-respectable Notre Dame (#33).  Michigan also doesn't have a loss to a team with a losing record, which limits the downward pressure.    


6 Iowa 83-30-6 (#27)

Iowa has the only win of the lower group over the top three and a surprisingly decent win over Iowa State, but they also lost to Minnesota, Northwestern, and a middling Arizona team.  


7 Penn State 80-33-6 (#31)

Penn State has a decent win over Michigan, but also a moderately bad loss to Illinois.  


8 Northwestern 75-39-5 (#39)

Northwestern's win over Iowa helps quite a bit, as the best of their other six wins is over #70 Indiana.


9 Illinois 63-49-7 (#55)

Illinois has wins over 3 teams ranked higher (Penn State, Northwestern, Northern Illinois), but they lost to Minnesota.  In transitive rankings, losing to a team that couldn't beat South Dakota is an unpardonable offense.  Beating Fresno State would help a bit, but probably wouldn't change their conference rank.  


10t Minnesota 49-65-5 (#70t)

I'm not sure how they did it, but the Gophers crawled out of the cellar with two big wins.  In retrospect, they really only had two bad losses: Purdue and FCS North Dakota, who finished 4-7.  


10t Indiana 49-65-5 (#70t)

Indiana's story all season has been that they didn't really have many bad losses, but they also didn't have any decent wins.  They somewhat fixed the second part by beating Purdue, but their other 4 wins were over #105 Arkansas State, #116 Western Kentucky, #117 Akron, and FCS 1-10 Towson.  


12 Purdue 43-70-6 (#75)

For a team that was thought to be on the rise, Purdue just couldn't catch a break.  They also played a tough schedule: only their last loss to Indiana was to a team with a losing record.  




The shortest connection margin-based:

National Rank Team Margin Win-Loss
10 Nebraska 102-17
11 Ohio State 100-19
19 Wisconsin 91-28
22 Iowa 89-30
24 Illinois 85-34
31 Michigan State 81-38
35 Michigan 78-41
40 Penn State 75-44
79 Northwestern 44-75
82 Purdue 42-77
84 Minnesota 41-78
95 Indiana 34-85


As usual, these rankings like the Big Ten less in general and Wisconsin (who still only beat ASU by 1 at home) and Northwestern in particular.  

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