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State of the Race, B1G East: It's a Three-Horse Race

Who of Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State will come out on top?

We enter the final two weeks of conference play with things very much up in the air.  Michigan is the only team that can clinch a berth in Indianapolis by winning out (54% chance) even after their loss to Iowa.  S&P+ still gives Michigan a 54.45% chance of reaching Indy.  While the loss didn’t really impact Michigan’s chances, it more or less flipped Ohio State (42.4 to 7.36) and Penn State’s (2.3 to 38.19%).  S&P+ gives the following projected records:

Team Overall B1G East West East H2H Wins Proj East H2H Wins
PSU 9.83 2.17 7.83 1.17 4.83 1.17 3 0 OSU, MD, IU MSU, RU
MI 10.53 1.47 7.53 1.47 5.53 0.47 2 1 PSU, RU, MSU, MD OSU, IU
OSU 10.4 1.6 7.4 1.6 4.4 1.6 3 0 IU, RU, MD MSU, RU
IU 5.93 3.07 3.93 5.07 3.03 2.97 0.9 2.1 MSU, MD, RU
MD 5.97 6.03 2.97 6.03 1.79 4.21 1.18 1.82 MSU, MD, RU RU
MSU 3.2 8.8 1.2 7.8 1.2 4.8 0 3 RU
RU 2.18 9.82 0.18 8.82 0.18 5.82 0 3

The big issue with the S&P+ projections is that they do not account for Michigan’s loss of quarterback Wilton Speight.  The Wolverines host IU this weekend in a game that may not be as much of a sure thing as it looked a week ago.  If IU can pull off the upset, Penn State will be the massive favorite going into the final week (unless Rutgers pulls the biggest upset of the conference season).

Penn State has an 83% chance of winning out and holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over OSU.  If the Nittany Lions win out, OSU will not play in Indy.  Ohio State needs to win at least one more game than Penn State and beat Michigan.  The Buckeyes can still make Indy with a loss this week provided they beat Michigan and Penn State loses out.

Aside from the top, two teams are still fighting for bowl eligibility.  Indiana head to Michigan and then hosts Purdue in the season finale.  S&P+ gives IU an 89.9% chance of qualifying for a bowl.  Maryland Travels to Nebraska this weekend then hosts Rutgers in their finale.  S&P+ gives the Terrapins an 83% chance of getting to six.

MSU obliterated Rutgers in the battle for the basement last week.  The Spartans host Ohio State and finish their season in Happy Valley.   MSU played Michigan tough at home and will look to spoil another Buckeye season.  The Spartans could get to 5 wins but S&P+ only gives them just under a 1% chance.

Rutgers is facing a winless campaign.  The Scarlet Knights host Penn State this weekend and travel to Maryland to close out their year.  S&P+ gives them a 2% chance against PSU and a 16% chance against Maryland.  Rutgers is 4-19 in nearly three years of B1G play and has regressed each season.