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State of The Race: Michigan in Control of the East as October Comes to a Close

Can Penn State catch the Wolverines?

New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Boston College v Penn State
Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Penn State completed step one towards an improbable East Division Title. The Nittany Lions need Michigan to lose twice more as they would lose a tie with the Wolverines and a three way tie at 1 loss with Michigan and Ohio State. Using Bill Connelly’s Advanced Stat Profiles, we get the following projected records.

Nate Peterson

Michigan is still favored in every game the rest of the way with a 67% chance of winning in Columbus. Michigan is projected to go 12-0 58% of the time.

Penn State needs Michigan to lose twice which is only projected to happen ~4% of the time. The Nittany Lions are projected to win out 35% of the time, giving them a 1.4% chance at finishing ahead of Michigan.

Ohio State will need to win out (21% chance) and have one of two things happen.

  1. Michigan has to win all of their remaining games except against Ohio State. This leads to either a two-way tie or a three-way tie with Penn State. Ohio State would win either tie-break.
  2. Penn State loses at least once (65% chance). The Buckeyes lose a two-way tie with Penn State due to the head-to-head loss.

Maryland picked up a win over Michigan State moving the Terrapins up to 4th after an Indiana loss to Northwestern. Rutgers lost to Minnesota. Nobody wants or needs to revisit that game.

MSU and Rutgers are still winless in conference play with that game being each team’s best shot at a win the rest of the season.

The teams at the top are all expected to win and win big this weekend. Michigan State has had a great run over the last half decade+ but Big Brother is running at full power and looking for revenge. Look for Penn State to handle Purdue with ease. We will find out if Northwestern has returned to form or if they are just beating bad teams when they head to Columbus. Look for Ohio State to come out fast and furious to make up for last weekend.

The biggest game with respect to the division standings is Maryland at Indiana. Maryland can clinch bowl eligibility with a win, while Indiana will need to spring a major upset if they don’t.