State of the Race is back after a brief hiatus for the World Series and Election Night. Status Quo has held in the east with the top four teams winning all 8 of their games and the bottom three losing their 6.
As a reminder, the tie breaking scenarios are as follows:
Using Bill Connelly’s S&P+ Advanced Stat Profiles, we get the following projected records in the East:
The order of teams and likelihoods of representing the division in Indianapolis have not changed much over the past two weeks. Michigan held off MSU and throttled Maryland, Penn State crushed Purdue after a slow start and blew Iowa out of the water. Ohio State survived Northwestern and crushed Nebraska. Indiana was able to keep their slim hopes at a shared division crown (but not a trip to Indy) alive by beating Maryland and Rutgers.
Michigan is the only team that can win the division without help. The Wolverines 59% chance of finishing the year undefeated.
Ohio State needs to win out and have Michigan win their other two games, or have Penn State lose at least one time. The Buckeyes have a 32% chance of winning out.
Penn State needs to win at least two more games than Michigan and at least match OSU the rest of the way. The Wolverines have a 3% chance of losing 2 or more games so the odds are slim for the Nittany Lions, even with a 64% chance of finishing with one conference loss.
It is possible for the top four teams to finish tied at 6-3. It would require the following to happen:
- IU wins out (MI, PSU, PU) (2-1 against other 3, 5-1 in division)
- MI loses out (OSU, IU, IA) (1-2 against other 3, 4-2 in division)
- OSU beats MI and loses to MD & MSU (2-1 against other 3, 3-3 in division)
- PSU loses to IU and goes 1-1 against MSU & RU (1-2 against other 3, 3-3 in division)
MI and PSU would be eliminated by (b) 1, leavind OSU and IU.
IU would be eliminated by (a), head to head loss to OSU
OSU would face the winner of the West in Indy
IU can also finish in a 3-way tie with Michigan and OSU but OSU would win the tie-breaker with a 2-0 record against the other two.
The Hoosiers and the Terrapins are likely battling for the middle. Indiana beat Maryland two weeks ago but is only favored in their closing game against Purdue. Maryland will only be favored in their final game against Rutgers. Both teams need one win to reach bowl eligibility.
Michigan State and Rutgers have been dismal, losing all 12 of their conference games. Luckily for one of these schools, they play each other this weekend. The lose will likely finish winless, although Rutgers has a 1 in 4 chance of upsetting Maryland.
We have three East Division classes while Michigan travels to Iowa City. Penn State looks to keep their division hopes alive in Bloomington while Ohio State does the same in College Park.
The biggest game in the east race is between MSU and Rutgers. Can MSU turn a Playoff appearance into an 0fer season? Will Rutgers finally break through for a win? This is must-watch television for all lovers of morbid football.