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Long Losing Streaks and Other Statistical Notes from the Big Ten

Or how likely is it that wisconsin beats Purdue again?

Syndication: Milwaukee Joe Koshollek / Journal Sentinel files, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

In observance of Purdue’s upcoming annual loss to wisconsin, I thought I would explain to non-Purdue fans why this game will be a loss. I’ve seen too many fans of other Big Ten teams that seem to think Purdue has a chance this week. Every Purdue fan and even Vegas knows this to be incorrect and I have the data to educate the rest of you why.

While I was having fun with looking at numbers, I decided to expand the article to include some other very exciting statistical happenings in the Big Ten this week. I’m sure the fans of some of the other Big Ten programs will enjoy them as much as I do.


Losing Streaks

To put into context how likely it is that Purdue loses to the dastardly Badgers, I’m going to start by listing all of the currently active losing streaks to a single opponent in the Big Ten that are over 10 games.

26 - Ohio State Buckeyes over Indiana Hoosiers

15 - wisconsin Badgers over Purdue Boilermakers

11 - Ohio State Buckeyes over Minnesota Gophers

10 - Penn State Nittany Lions over Purdue Boilermakers

9* - Ohio State Buckeyes over Northwestern Wildcats

*this one is joining the list soon enough so I felt it was necessary to include it. Sorry, MNWildcat.

That’s the entirety of the list. Ohio State dominating conference opponents and Purdue struggle bussing against Penn State and wisconsin (but not Ohio State). Let’s dive into each instance further.

26 - Ohio State Buckeyes over Indiana Hoosiers

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 23 Ohio State at Indiana
Ohio State is sacking Bloomington
Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last Indiana win - 1988, 41-7

Last Indiana tie - 1990, 27-27

The Hoosiers last non-loss against Ohio State came so long ago, it was a tie. This massacre of a losing streak has only included 6 one-possession losses. When you think of Indiana’s chances against the Buckeyes every year, you quickly conclude that they will lose. But at least Ohio State has the best winning percentage of every NCAA Division 1 program so it’s not too embarrassing. Indiana’s winning percentage is uhhh... not the best. More on Indiana later in the article.

15 - wisconsin Badgers over Purdue Boilermakers

Syndication: Journal-Courier
This team again?
Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Last Purdue win - a 26-23 pointer in 2003.

Your favorite team has lost their last 15 (soon to be 16) against the Badgers. I have never witnessed a Purdue win (I started watching Purdue football as a freshman in 2007). This long, national nightmare includes losses to Barry Alvarez, Bret Bielema, Gary Andersen, Barry Alvarez again, and Paul Chryst. Just three of those losses have been close: 2004 (3 points), 2017 (8), and 2018 (3). Before this bullshit started with Orton’s fumble, the overall series was Purdue 29 - 8 ties - wisconsin 36. Now, it’s not even close.

The game script will look the same as every other wisconsin-Purdue game for the past two decades. wisconsin hands the ball off to [enter running back’s name here] and he will run for 300 yards while his backup chips in another 200 on the ground. Rinse and repeat next year and recognize that the one good thing to come out of the end of divisions is this game will stop being a yearly thing.

11 - Ohio State Buckeyes over Minnesota Gophers

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Ohio State at Minnesota
Another Buckeyes touchdown... yawn

Last Minnesota win - 2000, 29-17

Look, while I personally think it’s quite easy to beat Ohio State, there really isn’t a ton of shame in losing to them again and again or say... 39 of the last 41 times. Some teams just have another’s number and when you don’t play every year it becomes even more difficult to pull off an upset.

10 - Penn State Nittany Lions over Purdue Boilermakers

Last Purdue win - 2004

NCAA Football: Penn State at Purdue
Probably shouldn’t leave him open
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps because these two teams seem to hardly ever play each other, it may be difficult to recall that this streak is up to 10 games. While Penn State never feels like a game Purdue should win, it hasn’t ever felt out of the realm of possibility.

9 - Ohio State Buckeyes over Northwestern Wildcats

Star Wars Celebration IV
This battle station is fully armed and operational
Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Last Northwestern win - 2004, 33-27

Northwestern last won in 2004 which was their first win over the Buckeyes since Nixon held office. With the current scheduling plan, it seems plausible that another 33 year gap in on the books. Once again though, there is no shame in losing to Ohio State.

As you can see from the above list, Purdue losing to wisconsin is somewhere in between the likelihood of Indiana losing to Ohio State and Northwestern losing to Ohio State. Both are near certainties as is this weekend’s upcoming loss to the Badgers.

Other Very Important Celebrations / Statistical Observations

No. 1 - Race to 700 Won

Maybe “won” is the incorrect word to use here, but congratulations are in order to the Indiana Hoosiers football program on becoming the first NCAA Division 1 football program to lose 700 games with their loss this past weekend to the Terrapins of Maryland! The Hoosier faithful made sure to mark the occasion in style.

The Hoosiers were also passed by Wake Forest in winning percentage earlier this season, becoming the worst P5 winning percentage of all time (0.4205 vs. Wake’s 0.4211) and were able to hold off the hard charging Northwestern Wildcats (690) and Rutgers Scarlet Knights (685) to reach this illustrious milestone first. For those curious, the contributions to Indiana’s achievement by Big Ten programs closely mirrors the accomplishments of each of the contributors:

  • Ohio State 77
  • Purdue 75
  • Michigan 61
  • Michigan State 49
  • Northwestern 47
  • Iowa 46
  • Illinois 45
  • Wisconsin 41
  • Minnesota 40
  • Penn State 23
  • Nebraska 9
  • Maryland 4
  • Rutgers 3

Really is crazy how closely that mirrors the Big Ten pecking order over the years.

I reached out to my fellow writers for comment:

stewmonkey13: “Lol”

BuffKomodo: “It’s honestly amazing this program hasn’t been shuttered at some point due to its awfulness. Or even had discussions of getting shuttered. Oh well. It’s a badge of dishonor and I wear it just so everyone knows I have terrible tastes in football.”

Kind of...: “I stand by everything I said in my hate piece from 2021. Indiana for Kansas, straight up.”

No. 2 - Iowa Hawkeyes touchdowns

(former) Hawkeye WR Charlie Jones - 9 TDs

Hawkeye offense - 7 TDs

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

This observation needs no further explanation. Look upon it in all its glory.

No. 3 - Last time Illinois and Purdue were both ranked at game time? 2001!

Syndication: Journal-Courier Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier via Imagn Content Services, LLC

We aren’t there yet (and I doubt Purdue is actually ranked come November 12th because if you were paying attention they are going to lose to wisconsin), but the last time these two proud programs were both ranked for a game against each other was 2001. Illinois won the conference that season beating out 2nd and 3rd place Michigan and Ohio State while Purdue took home (tied) 4th. This has the potential to be the most important Cannon game since that season.