So Green Akers did a solid look at the Legends division earlier today. Here is the OTE look at the State of the Race in the Leaders division. I even included my super unscientific percentages of going to Indianapolis for each team! They might even equal 100%. Maybe. Probably not.
Sorry, You're Not Eligible
Penn State 4-3 (1-2)
In a world where Penn State could go to Indianapolis, I would include some mathematical odds - still slim - of going. But, they aren't and even though you could win the division and have some pride and blah blah blah, we're going to put you in your own category up here for now. Still, there is ample room for you to make life miserable for other people, so at least you got that going. I'll let Aaron Yorke take it away!
Is there any point in writing about Penn State and the conference race? Penn State is not eligible for the B1G title because of BOWL BAN, so the team will have to focus on morale-based goals such as not allowing 63 points again and maybe finishing with a 6-6 overall record. Fortunately, the latter goal is very possible because of remaining home dates with Illinois and Purdue.
The Lions have played like doody on the road this season, so I'm not expecting much when State visits Minnesota and Wisconsin, but that home game versus Nebraska could turn into a fun shootout, so keep an eye on that one. Throughout the rest of the season, I'll mostly be watching Christian Hackenberg to see how he develops. I know he's "only" a freshman, but I think that if Hackenberg was going to be a truly great player we would have known it already. Just look what Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston have done in their redshirt freshman seasons.
Yes, there's a difference between being a true freshman and a redshirt freshman, but Hackenberg isn't in the same league as those guys. Can he get into that "Heisman" level with more experience? I think the next month will tell us a lot about Hackenberg's future. It's already clear that he's not a disaster like Rob Bolden was, but I'd like to see more Daryl Clark and less Anthony Morelli when I watch Hackenberg play in November.
Super Unscientific Chances of Indianapolis: (yet totally accurate for PSU) 0% :(
Breathing... I guess?
Purdue 1-6 (0-3)
They aren't mathematically eliminated yet, but uh, let's just all agree that Purdue will not be winning this division. Take it away Babaoreally!
The season has gone almost as bad as it possibly could so far. I don't see it getting any better; Purdue doesn't just lose, they lose badly. It would be a major upset if they even beat Illinois or Indiana. I wish the schedule would have had one terrible FBS team like UMASS on it, so we could see just how bad the Boilers really are. As it stands right now, they will take their place alongside 2012 Illinois and 2011 Indiana as the worst teams in recent B1G history.
Super Unscientific Chances of Indianapolis: 0.0000000001%
Illinois 3-4 (0-3)
Remember when Illinois was 3-1? That was awesome. Since that point? Well, remembering for a moment that Miami (OH) is quite definitely an abysmal team, Illinois has looked inept on defense and suspect on offense. To go to the CCG, much less go to a bowl, the Illini will have to win three of @PSU, @Indiana, OSU, @Purdue, NW. I see one win in there, maybe two because Indiana has a worst defense than Nebraska... which is to say they have a really bad defense.
So, while Illinois is also not technically out of the running - in that they haven't lost to OSU right now and have five games left - let's all agree that Illinois will not be winning this division. In fact, if you are an Illini fan, you're probably just really hoping that things just get better each week and maybe you sneak into a bowl.
Super Unscientific Chances of Indianapolis: 0.000000001% (which is 10x Purdue's, so there's that)
If You're Going to Lose, Lose to the Other Division So You're Still In It
Indiana 3-4 (1-2)
Seriously, the best way to lose is to keep it contained to the other division. That way, you still more or less control your own destiny. This is probably the best offense in the league and it is hampered by what is probably the worst defense in the league. But let's not even focus on the probabilities of Indianapolis. Here's Candystripes for Breakfast's look:
At 3-4 (1-2), Indiana is certainly not happy with where it stands right now, but given that all of its losses are to teams with better records than us, and one of the 3 wins is the first off Penn State in #iufb history, we can't be that disappointed either. The only game I'd really like to have back is the Navy game, only because with a little better offensive play, we probably win that game as well.
While the paranoia being encouraged over in Fanshots about Indiana potentially controlling its own destiny to Indy is amusing (and always welcome), the main goal, as always, is simply to make a bowl game. Right now, IU is still very much in position to do that, but is also playing with very little margin for error. A loss to Minnesota does not officially eliminated us from bowl contention, but forces a road game upset to be a necessary thing, instead of a nice bonus. However, if Indiana can simply hold serve and finish 3-2, expect Detroit (or possibly Dallas) to be a bit redder than usual come late December/early January.
Minnesota being bowl eligible already makes this Saturday's game more interesting than it was before. Since they no longer need the win, the potential for a letdown against the Hoosiers is high. Do the Gophers come out flat after the Nebraska upset? Does having a week off give Indiana's defense some time to get it together for the stretch run? If the answers to both of those questions are yes, then the Hoosiers are in very good shape for their bowl quest. If either answer is no, Indiana may have to pull off the unthinkable (win at Camp Randall) or the improbable (win in Columbus) to get their 6.
Super Unscientific Chances of Indianapolis: 2.9999999989%
I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends
Wisconsin 5-2 (3-1)
For all of the talk about Ohio State, Wisconsin is lurking just behind the Buckeyes and they mean business. The problem for the Badgers, however, is that they already lost to Ohio State. They literally control none of their destiny. Sure, they need to win out and their bigger goal is probably a BCS bowl if they can swing it, but Indianapolis would be grand, right?
At this point, OSU needs to drop two - due to the tiebreaker the Buckeyes have in head-to-head - and Wisconsin needs to win out. Is this completely out of the realm of possibility? Well, after the Penn State thrashing on Saturday, I'm pretty sure Urban has his team focused on end goals right now, but you never know. Teams lose games they shouldn't, especially in College Football. Wisconsin will now be a fan of "Team X facing the Buckeyes" from here on out.
Super Unscientific Chances of Indianapolis: 7%
This is Kind of Their Division Right Now
Ohio State 8-0 (4-0)
I tried baiting Ted into writing something really snarky about how the Buckeyes forgot that their was a division race even going on. He would not take the bait, which is wise considering just how hard it is to go undefeated. The Buckeyes currently have the nation's longest winning streak (20 and counting) and looked like the MURDERDEATHKILL Machine we knew they were capable of talent-wise on Saturday. Sure, Penn State's defense and offense is growing and we all know Purdue is totally going to nip the Bucks this weekend because that would be the most B1G thing ever, but for all intent and purpose, this is OSU's game to lose. Win out, win big, and Indianapolis is the preliminary destination. Big things could be in store for this team if all breaks right.
Super Unscientific Chances of Indianapolis: 90%