Looking Ahead, the Future of the Big Ten Could Be Decided Today

By Jake Anderson on October 20, 2018 at 12:05 pm
Brian Lewerke escapes the Michigan defensive line
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Today is a B1G day for the conference.

With Ohio State facing Purdue and an in-state showdown in up north, today could either simplify or complicate the future of the Big Ten East. 

No. 2 Ohio State and No. 6 Michigan sit at the top of the divisional standings, each with a conference record of 4-0. No. 24 Michigan State is close behind at 2-1. 

Big Ten East Standings
Team Today's Opponent Conference Record Overall Record
No. 6 Michigan  @ No. 24 Michigan State 4-0 6-1
No. 2 Ohio State @ Purdue 4-0 7-0
Maryland @ No. 19 Iowa 2-1 4-2
No. 24 Michigan State No. 6 Michigan 2-1 4-2
No. 18 Penn State Indiana 1-2 4-2
Indiana @ No. 18 Penn State 1-3 4-3
rutgers @ Northwestern 0-4 1-6

If Michigan State wins today, Ohio State would be in sole possession of the top spot of the Big Ten East with a win against Purdue. A Wolverine loss would likely push them out of playoff contention and severely hurt their hopes of a conference championship as the Spartans would stay alive in the Big Ten East. 

If Michigan wins today, it would stay atop the Big Ten East. Michigan State would have to kiss their conference championship hopes goodbye as Michigan adds another ranked-win to their resume, its second in as many weeks. A Buckeyes win would keep them and Michigan tied for the top spot in the division. 

Maryland could become a player for the Big Ten East title with a win today against No. 19 Iowa. With games against Michigan State, Ohio State, and Penn State remaining, however, it seems unlikely that the Terrapins will be able to continue their incredible play. 

In any situation, an Ohio State loss would not be detrimental, though not suggested. A Buckeyes' loss would push Ohio State out of the top spot in the division. With games remaining against both the Spartans and the Wolverines, the scarlet and gray would have the opportunity to recover and regain the top spot in the conference by winning out. 

Looking ahead, Michigan has two currently-ranked teams remaining on their schedule (No. 18 Penn State in two weeks, No. 2 Ohio State). Michigan State's last ranked opponent of the year will be in three weeks against the Buckeyes as well. Ohio State's last two ranked opponents include the two schools from Michigan. 

 Looking West, anything can happen. Northwestern stands at the top of the standings at 3-1, but three teams sit right behind them at 2-1. 

Big Ten West Standings
Team Today's Opponent Conference Record Overall Record
Northwestern Rutgers 3-1 3-3
No. 19 Iowa Maryland 2-1 5-1
Purdue No. 2 Ohio State 2-1 3-3
No. 23 Wisconsin @ Illinois 2-1 4-2
Illinois No. 23 Wisconsin 1-2 3-3
Minnesota Nebraska 0-3 3-3
Nebraska @ Minnesota 0-4 0-6

Little will likely be solved in the division today. Northwestern plays Rutgers, No. 23 Wisconsin plays Illinois, No. 19 Iowa travels to Maryland, and Purdue hosts Ohio State. Assuming the ranked teams take care of business (bold assumption, I know) and the Rutgers continue to Rutger, only Purdue would take a loss, pushing them to 2-2 with little chance to make the conference championship game. 

All fourteen Big Ten teams will be playing today in what should be a fantastic day of conference football. 

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