There has been a lot of talk about our chances of winning the Big Ten this year and going to the Rose Bowl. People are confused about who we should be cheering for and who we want to lose. I've done some searching into the various tie breakers and I've come to the conclusion we're not dead yet. But like the knight in The Holy Grail we've lost an arm and a leg and it's not looking good.
Now, if four teams all go 6-2 in the conference they are all declared co-champions. Dumb, but this is how the Big Ten works. What we're really interested in is who goes to the Rose Bowl. We all want to play on the big stage on New Years day. But let's face it. The team that goes to the Rose Bowl is perceived to be the champion. Nobody says "Hey remember that year we were Big Ten Champs and went to the Capital One Bowl?"
It goes without saying we have to win the rest of our games. We're already two games behind Ohio State and Michigan so another loss would leave us hoping for crazy things like Minnesota beating Michigan. So we're at the end of our rope and there is no more room for error. Our best chance is to somehow work a tie and win out in the tie breaker. Let's take a look at how the tie breaking system.
- An ineligible team shall not be considered in the standings for determination of the conference representative.
- If there is a tie for the championship, the winner of the game between these two teams shall represent the conference.
The head-to-head kills us against Michigan and Illinois. We basically need these teams to lose three conference games. Thankfully Illinois already has two losses and still has to play Ohio State. So the chances of them ending up with three losses is pretty good. But in order to bypass the head-to-head hurdle with Michigan we would need them to lose three of four games against Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State. Possible, but unlikely they lose three of those games. But they may lose two if they don't get Hart and Henne healthy again.
Here is the rest of the two team tie breaking procedure.
- If there is still a tie for the championship, or if the tied teams did not play each other, the team that played more games against Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams shall be eliminated.
- If there is still a tie, or if the tied teams did not play each other, or if both teams played the same number of games against an FCS team(s), the representative shall be determined on the percentage basis of all games played.
- If there is still a tie, the most recent team earning BCS automatic selection shall be eliminated.
Realistically the chances of there being just two teams with 6-2 records is remote at this time. If it's us and Michigan or us and Illinois we lose due to the head-to-head.
Our chances are much better if we move on to the three or four way tie breakers. What we need is a triangle where Ohio State beats Michigan and we beat Ohio State. And of course we need Ohio State and Michigan to drop another game somewhere. Both play the Badgers so we should all be the biggest Wisconsin fans this side of Madison. This would give the three teams identical 6-2 records. In this case, as hard as it would be to believe, we would win out on the tie breaker.
- If three teams are tied, and if one team defeated both of the other teams, then that team shall be the representative.
- If three teams are still tied, and if two of the three teams defeated the third team, the third team is eliminated, and the remaining two teams shall revert to the two-team tie procedure.
- If three teams are still tied, and there is a tie game between two of the three teams, or if two or all three of the teams did not play each other, the representative shall be determined on a percentage basis of all games played except, if one or two of the tied teams played more games against an FCS opponent than the other tied teams, then said team or teams shall be eliminated, and the remaining two teams, if applicable, shall revert to the two-team tie procedure.
- If three teams are still tied, and one of the three teams is eliminated through the percentage basis of all games played, the remaining two teams shall revert to the two-team tie procedure.
- If three teams are still tied, and all three teams have the same winning percentage of all games played, the most recent team representing the conference shall be eliminated, and the two remaining teams shall revert to the two-team tie procedure.
So if we beat Ohio State and Ohio State beats Michigan then #1 and #2 are ruled out. Going to #3 we look at overall records. Michigan would be ruled out at that point based on their losses to Oregon and Appalachian State. But what's interesting here is that Ohio State would also lose out because they played Youngstown State, a Football Championship Subdivision team.
But again here we're hoping for Wisconsin to knock them both off. If Wisconsin manages to do so they will also likely be 6-2 creating a four way tie. I won't post the tie breakers, but once again the Badgers would lose out to us in this scenario because they played The Citadel, a Div I-AA school.
So there is your wish list. We need to win out. We need Ohio State to beat Michigan. And we need the Buckeyes, Illini and Wolverines to lose one other game somewhere. Wisconsin is not a threat to us as long as we win out. So with that, here are the remaining schedules.
Thoughts? What is the most likely scenario in your mind?
|Penn State||Ohio State||Michigan||Illinois|
|Week 1||Ohio State||@ Penn State||Minnesota||BYE|
|Week 2||Purdue||Wisconsin||@ Michigan State||@ Minnesota|
|Week 3||BYE||Illinois||@ Wisconsin||@ Ohio State|
|Week 4||@ Michigan State||@ Michigan||Ohio State||Northwestern|