Big Ten championship game scenarios
The Big Ten schedule will need every single week available to it to determine who will play for this year’s Big Ten championship in Indianapolis. Both the East and West divisions are up for grabs going into the final week of the regular season, and it can be pretty easy to figure out who will be moving to the championship game.
The East will be the easiest to figure out as there is just one game that needs to be played to determine a division champion. Ohio State and Michigan likely are playing for more than just a Big Ten title shot when they square off in Columbus this weekend, but the first goal for both to clear is winning the East.
Things can be pretty easy to figure out in the West too, and Iowa will get a chance to take care of things a day before anyone else in the conference plays. But if the Hawkeyes stumble, then the door is wide open for Purdue. But if both the Hawkeyes and Boilermakers take a hit, who goes from the West?
Here is a look at the Big Ten championship game scenarios in play going into the final weekend of the regular season.
East Division: Winner of Ohio State vs. Michigan
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The most anticipated game on the Big Ten schedule this season will be played next weekend in Ohio Stadium as two bitter rivals square off one more time with the stakes as high as they can get in the Big Ten. The winner of next week’s game between Ohio State and Michigan will be the East Division winner after both teams have run the table to identical 11-0 records going into the final weekend of the season.
Michigan won last year’s contest in Ann Arbor to finally allow Jim Harbaugh to get over the Ohio State hurdle. Both teams are coming off close calls in Week 12 and should deliver a great game next week with the Big Ten and playoff stakes on the line.
West Division: Iowa in with a win
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Well, well, well. It seems you CAN be in position to win a division championship without a lick of offense. Iowa has managed to ride its defense to being in the most favorable position in the Big Ten West heading into the final weekend of the season. If Iowa wins its home game against Nebraska on the Friday after Thanksgiving, then the Hawkeyes can book their ticket back to Indy.
Iowa has won the past seven meetings with Nebraska.
West Division: Purdue rooting for Nebraska
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But what happens if Nebraska springs a miracle and wins at Iowa? Then watch out for the Purdue Boilermakers, because they would then have the inside track to its first Big Ten championship game appearance. Purdue would need to beat in-state rival Indiana a week after the Hoosiers played spoiler in a double overtime thriller at Michigan State.
This is the only way Purdue can reach the Big Ten championship game because the multi-team tiebreakers that are also on the table do not favor Purdue in any scenario. So Purdue will be pulling hard for Nebraska to snap its losing streak against the Hawkeyes.
West Division: Illinois rooting for chaos
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Despite its recent slide at the worst possible time, Illinois is still in the mix to come out with the division crown. It just needs a little bit of help but the multi-team tiebreakers all fall in their favor. So let chaos reign if you are the Illini.
Illinois wins a three-team tiebreaker with Purdue and Iowa because they own a better division record (5-1) than Purdue or Iowa (4-2).
Illinois also comes out on top in a situation with a four-team tie with Iowa, Purdue, and the winner of the Minnesota-Wisconsin game (the winner of the Minnesota-Wisconsin game cannot advance to the Big Ten championship game but does offer a different set of tiebreaker possibilities that favor either Illinois or Iowa).
West Division: Iowa's chaos scenario
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If Illinois stumbles against Northwestern and Purdue coughs one up against Indiana, then Iowa becomes the top team in the tiebreaker scenarios even if they lose to Nebraska. Iowa comes out on top of a three-team tiebreaker with the Hawkeyes, Purdue, and the winner of the Wisconsin-Minnesota game.
No matter who wins between the Badgers and Gophers, the tiebreakers in this scenario each favor Iowa due to being 2-0 in head-to-head matchups with Purdue and Wisconsin or Purdue and Minnesota.
So to recap, here are the possible B1G Championship Game matchups
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Ohio State vs. Iowa
Ohio State vs. Purdue
Ohio State vs. Illinois
Michigan vs. Iowa
Michigan vs. Purdue
Michigan vs. Illinois