So here’s where I’m dropping our podcast previewing the most consequential week of Big Ten action yet. I think I’ll use this space to set the scene:
- #21 Illinois leads the Big Ten West by a game. For the first time since 2011 and for only the third time in the last 20 years, the Purdue Cannon game will feature a ranked team! Purdue will make their last stand Saturday. What does that mean? Well...
With An Illinois Victory
- Northwestern is eliminated outright, as there are not enough games left to pick up 5 conference wins
- Nebraska, Purdue and the loser of the afternoon contest between Iowa and Wisconsin will also be eliminated because Illinois will have head-to-head wins against every West team that would be involved in a 5-4 or 6-3 tiebreaker scenario
- The only way for Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin to win the West is to win out and for Illinois to lose to Michigan AND Northwestern. Minnesota ends the season playing Iowa and Wisconsin, so there can only be one.
With A Purdue Victory
- Northwestern needs to beat Minnesota to stay alive. Due to the construction of their schedule and their win over Nebraska, a 7-way tie at 4-5 would hand the division to the Cats. Tiebreakers would narrow it down to them and Illinois, over whom they would have the head-to-head. They also need Michigan to beat Nebraska.
- Nebraska would need to beat Michigan to stay alive because their only path to the division title is for them to finish 5-4 and everyone else to finish 4-5. Nebraska beating Michigan eliminates Northwestern.
- Everyone else is alive!
If you want a bizarre finish to this race, root Purdue.
If you want to be on the right side of history, root Illinois. Bert has avenged every 2021 loss he’s had the chance to avenge this year.