State of the Race is back after a brief hiatus for the World Series and Election Night. The West has see a bit of a shakeup at the top with Wisconsin jumping Nebraska and Minnesota jumping Northwestern.
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 West:
Wisconsin has jumped into the driver’s seat with wins over Nebraska and Northwestern in back to back weeks. If the Badgers win out, they will play in Indianapolis. Minnesota righted the ship after an 0-2 start to conference play, beating 4 of the bottom five teams in the conference. The Gophers also control their own destiny and will reach Indy with three more wins. The Gophers will have to go through Nebraska, Northwestern, and Wisconsin and only get the Wildcats at home. S&P+ gives Wisconsin a 69% (nice) chance of winning out but only see the Gophers going 7-2 5% of the time.
Nebraska’s back to back losses mean they will need to win out (25%) and have the Badgers lose at least once (31%) to clinch the division outright (7.75%). Northwestern and Iowa will need to win out and hope for the right ties to advance to Indy.
Illinois could still finish atop the division at 5-4. There are two scenarios that give us A 6-WAY TIE. HOLY. SHIT.
- IL wins out (WI, NW, IA) (3-2 against other 6, 3-3 in div.)
- IA beats MI & NE and loses to IL (2-3 against other 6, 3-3 in div.)
- NW beats MN & PU and loses to IL (2-3 against other 6, 3-3 in div.)
- MN goes 1-1 against WI & NE while losing to NW (2-3 against other 6, 3-3 in div.)
- WI goes 1-1 against MN & PU while losing to IL (4-1 or 3-2 against other 6, 4-2 in div.)
- NE goes 1-1 against MN & MD while losing to IA (2-3 or 3-2 against other 6, 3-3 or 4-2 in div.)
Scenario 1: MN beats NE, loses to WI
Wisconsin wins tie-break via (b) 1, best record against other 5
Scenario 2: MN beats WI, loses to NE
IA, NW, MN eliminated by (b) 1, worse record against other 5
IL eliminated by (b) 2, worse record in division
NE eliminated by (a) head-to-head loss
Wisconsin is West representative in Indy.
The biggest game in the West this week is between the Gophers and Cornhuskers in Lincoln. The loser is likely eliminated from the West race while the winner still stands a chance. Wisconsin hosts Illinois while Northwestern looks to avoid a Purdue Harboring in West Lafayette. Iowa hosts Michigan and will hope to not get beat any worse than last week.