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2015 BIG TEN WIN PROJECTIONS: POST-WEEK 6

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After week 6, Iowa and Michigan continue to be the early favorites to play for the Big Ten Championship.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Week 6 is now over and some things have changed within the Big Ten conference. Mainly in the West, of course, where Iowa extended their unbeaten streak to 6 games and is now the only unblemished team left in their division. Wisconsin did keep their Big Ten West dreams alive, however, as they delivered the Huskers another heart-breaking, late game loss. Nebraska is now, subsequently, right on that dangerous two-loss ledge, where they are likely going to have to win out to stay in the race for the West. Meanwhile, Northwestern got hammered by Michigan, but are still fine with only one loss and the opportunity to hand the Hawkeyes their first one this week. Oh, and Illinois and Minnesota are still alive with only one conference loss.

In the East, there are still 4 undefeated teams in conference play. That will be reduced to two after this weekend, as Michigan battles in-state rivals Michigan State and Ohio State faces off against Penn State.

Let's look at the win projections, shall we?

THOR+ Rank B1G West Season Wins 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
21 Iowa 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.5% 5.5% 17.6% 31.7% 31.5% 13.2%
39 Wisconsin 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.3% 2.5% 10.2% 25.6% 33.2% 22.8% 5.4% 0.0% 0.0%
42 Nebraska 0.0% 1.0% 5.1% 14.5% 31.6% 29.3% 15.8% 2.7% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
46 Northwestern 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 1.4% 8.1% 23.4% 33.0% 23.2% 9.4% 1.5% 0.0%
50 Illinois 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 3.9% 17.3% 30.6% 29.8% 14.9% 3.5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
72 Minnesota 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 7.9% 25.4% 33.3% 23.7% 7.5% 1.8% 0.4% 0.0% 0.0%
90 Purdue 6.9% 21.3% 36.8% 23.5% 9.1% 2.3% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
THOR+ Rank B1G East Season Wins 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
5 Michigan 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.2% 2.0% 9.0% 26.4% 40.4% 22.0% 0.0%
27 Ohio State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.3% 2.3% 12.0% 27.6% 32.8% 20.9% 4.1%
47 Penn State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 2.3% 14.1% 29.9% 29.5% 18.3% 5.4% 0.5% 0.0%
49 Michigan State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 1.2% 9.6% 24.5% 35.6% 22.1% 6.2% 0.8%
86 Maryland 0.0% 4.9% 20.7% 32.9% 27.5% 11.5% 2.3% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
87 Rutgers 0.0% 3.4% 17.2% 32.7% 25.3% 15.9% 4.7% 0.8% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
92 Indiana 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 6.3% 25.4% 36.5% 21.6% 8.2% 1.8% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%

Those are the total win projections for the season. Here are the conference ones:

THOR+ Rank B1G West Conference Wins 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
21 Iowa 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.5% 5.5% 17.6% 31.7% 31.5% 13.2%
39 Wisconsin 0.0% 0.3% 2.5% 10.2% 25.6% 33.2% 22.8% 5.4% 0.0%
42 Nebraska 1.0% 5.1% 14.5% 31.6% 29.3% 15.8% 2.7% 0.0% 0.0%
46 Northwestern 0.0% 1.4% 8.1% 23.4% 33.0% 23.2% 9.4% 1.5% 0.0%
50 Illinois 0.0% 3.9% 17.3% 30.6% 29.8% 14.9% 3.5% 0.0% 0.0%
72 Minnesota 0.0% 7.9% 25.4% 33.3% 23.7% 7.5% 1.8% 0.4% 0.0%
90 Purdue 6.9% 21.3% 36.8% 23.5% 9.1% 2.3% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
THOR+ Rank B1G East Conference Wins 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
5 Michigan 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.2% 2.0% 9.0% 26.4% 40.4% 22.0%
27 Ohio State 0.0% 0.0% 0.3% 2.3% 12.0% 27.6% 32.8% 20.9% 4.1%
47 Penn State 0.0% 0.0% 2.3% 14.1% 29.9% 29.5% 18.3% 5.4% 0.5%
49 Michigan State 0.0% 0.0% 1.2% 9.6% 24.5% 35.6% 22.1% 6.2% 0.8%
86 Maryland 4.9% 20.7% 32.9% 27.5% 11.5% 2.3% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%
87 Rutgers 6.4% 24.9% 36.2% 21.6% 9.2% 1.6% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
92 Indiana 6.3% 25.4% 36.5% 21.6% 8.2% 1.8% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%

The West is pretty clearly Iowa's to lose until they actually, you know, lose. Their odds at going 12-0 actually decreased a bit from last week because they went from likely being way over-ranked at #10 by THOR+ to a more appropriate (in my eyes) #21 this week. But their game against Northwestern on Saturday will likely have pretty big ramifications for the West. If Iowa wins, their odds at winning the conference take a huge jump. If they lose, this will become a real multi-team struggle for the division title.

As for the East, it is still wide open, but Michigan is playing the best football of any team in the Big Ten right now. They are pretty clearly the favorite, but there are still 3 other teams with no conference losses in the East that could increase their chances of a division championship with wins this weekend.

For now, though, the early favorites to play for a Big Ten Championship are Iowa and Michigan. If that game were to be played today, THOR+ would give Michigan a 63% chance of winning and projects a final score of 20-13. Whatever.

Here are the mean, min, and max wins for each team based on the thousand simulations run.

THOR+ B1G West Mean Wins Min. Wins Max. Wins Mean B1G Wins Min B1G Wins Max B1G Wins
21 Iowa 10.3 7 12 6.3 3 8
39 Wisconsin 7.8 4 10 4.8 1 7
42 Nebraska 5.4 2 8 3.4 0 6
46 Northwestern 8.0 5 11 4.0 1 7
50 Illinois 6.4 4 9 3.4 1 6
72 Minnesota 6.0 4 10 3.0 1 7
90 Purdue 3.1 1 7 2.1 0 6
THOR+ B1G East Mean Wins Min. Wins Max. Wins Mean B1G Wins Min B1G Wins Max B1G Wins
5 Michigan 9.7 6 11 6.7 3 8
27 Ohio State 9.7 6 12 5.7 2 8
47 Penn State 7.7 5 11 4.7 2 8
49 Michigan State 8.9 6 12 4.9 2 8
86 Maryland 4.3 2 8 2.3 0 6
87 Rutgers 4.5 2 8 2.1 0 6
92 Indiana 6.1 4 10 2.1 0 6

Lastly,  before I move to the individual team schedules, I should give you the weekly update on how THOR+ is doing picking the Big Ten. THOR+ picked every game right except Minnesota vs. Purdue in week 6. On the season, it has picked 81.6% of Big Ten games correctly, which is slightly better than the 76.9% it has been in all FBS games in 2015. However, that is thanks largely to the Big Ten East, where THOR+ has called 89.5% of all games correctly, while only hitting 73.7% of the Big Ten West games on the mark. Remember, the listed "THOR+ Record" under each team tells you how well THOR+ has done picking wins and losses for that team.

Big Ten West

Iowa

Date Iowa Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Illinois State FCS W
9/12 Away Iowa State 76 W
9/19 Home Pittsburgh 38 W
9/26 Home North Texas 128 W
10/3 Away Wisconsin 39 W
10/10 Home Illinois 50 W
10/17 Away Northwestern 46 57%
10/31 Home Maryland 86 82%
11/7 Away Indiana 92 74%
11/14 Home Minnesota 72 78%
11/21 Home Purdue 90 83%
11/27 Away Nebraska 42 54%

THOR+ Record: 3-2 (60%)

Injuries or not, Iowa's odds of finishing with 10 or 11 wins are essentially equal at this point with a 13% chance of going undefeated. Considering the Northwestern game is only a 57% win probability, if the Hawkeyes find a way to win on the road this weekend, next week's win projections should favor 11 wins with a better chance at 12-0. New Kirk Ferentz can barely contain his excitement.

Illinois

Date Illinois Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Kent State 112 W
9/12 Home W. Illinois FCS W
9/19 Away North Carolina 17 L
9/26 Home Middle Tennessee 56 W
10/3 Home Nebraska 42 W
10/10 Away Iowa 21 L
10/24 Home Wisconsin 39 52%
10/31 Away Penn State 47 42%
11/7 Away Purdue 90 58%
11/14 Home Ohio State 27 44%
11/21 Away Minnesota 72 50.4%
11/28 Neutral Northwestern 46 49%

THOR+ Record: 5-0 (100%)

Illinois is technically still in the race for the West, but a remaining schedule full of coin flips doesn't exactly make their likelihood of winning the division all that great.

Minnesota

Date Minnesota Team Rank Projected Win%
9/3 Home TCU 14 L
9/12 Away Colorado State 83 W
9/19 Home Kent State 112 W
9/26 Home Ohio 44 W
10/3 Away Northwestern 46 L
10/10 Away Purdue 90 W
10/17 Home Nebraska 42 46%
10/31 Home Michigan 5 25%
11/7 Away Ohio State 27 24%
11/14 Away Iowa 21 22%
11/21 Home Illinois 50 49.6%
11/28 Home Wisconsin 39 44%

THOR+ Record: 4-2 (66.7%)

Minnesota is 4-2 on the year. It doesn't feel like that's the case. But, alas, they are. Unfortunately, Purdue was the last really bad team left on their schedule. It's now sink or swim time for the Gophers' season.

Nebraska

Date Nebraska Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home BYU 52 L
9/12 Home South Alabama 117 W
9/19 Away Miami (Florida) 53 L
9/26 Home Southern Mississippi 79 W
10/3 Away Illinois 50 L
10/10 Home Wisconsin 39 L
10/17 Away Minnesota 72 54%
10/24 Home Northwestern 46 60%
10/31 Away Purdue 90 61%
11/7 Home Michigan State 49 61%
11/14 Away Rutgers 87 60%
11/28 Home Iowa 21 46%

THOR+ Record: 5-1 (83.3%)

Nebraska likely has to win their final 6 games of the season for a chance to win the West. They need to win 4 more to get bowl eligible. Both are technically possible, but far from guaranteed. Purdue and Rutgers should be sure wins, but getting two more from Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan State, and Iowa will be difficult. LOL.

Northwestern

Date Northwestern Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Stanford 4 W
9/12 Home Eastern Illinois FCS W
9/19 Away Duke 24 W
9/26 Home Ball State 100 W
10/3 Home Minnesota 72 W
10/10 Away Michigan 5 L
10/17 Home Iowa 21 43%
10/24 Away Nebraska 42 40%
11/7 Home Penn State 47 58%
11/14 Home Purdue 90 72%
11/21 Away Wisconsin 39 38%
11/28 Neutral Illinois 50 51%

THOR+ Record: 3-2 (60%)

Losing to Michigan was expected. Losing 38-0... not so much. I'm just hoping this doesn't motivate Northwestern for this weekend's huge game.

Purdue

Date Purdue Team Rank Projected Win%
9/6 Away Marshall 65 L
9/12 Home Indiana State FCS W
9/19 Home Virginia Tech 51 L
9/26 Home Bowling Green 66 L
10/3 Away Michigan State 49 L
10/10 Home Minnesota 72 L
10/17 Away Wisconsin 39 25%
10/31 Home Nebraska 42 39%
11/7 Home Illinois 50 42%
11/14 Away Northwestern 46 28%
11/21 Away Iowa 21 17%
11/28 Home Indiana 92 60%

THOR+ Record: 3-2 (60%)

So, is it finally time to start asking the question: Does Darrell Hazell survive this season?

Wisconsin

Date Wisconsin Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Neutral Alabama 10 L
9/12 Home Miami (Ohio) 115 W
9/19 Home Troy 102 W
9/26 Home Hawai'i 105 W
10/3 Home Iowa 21 L
10/10 Away Nebraska 42 W
10/17 Home Purdue 90 75%
10/24 Away Illinois 50 48%
10/31 Home Rutgers 87 75%
11/7 Away Maryland 86 62%
11/21 Home Northwestern 46 62%
11/28 Away Minnesota 72 56%

THOR+ Record: 5-1 (83.3%)

Wisconsin kept their division title hopes alive with a last-second field goal in Lincoln. They should be pulling for a Northwestern win this weekend.

Big Ten East

Indiana

Date Indiana Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home S. Illinois FCS W
9/12 Home Florida International 73 W
9/19 Home Western Kentucky 19 W
9/26 Away Wake Forest 78 W
10/3 Home Ohio State 27 L
10/10 Away Penn State 47 L
10/17 Home Rutgers 87 54%
10/24 Away Michigan State 49 27%
11/7 Home Iowa 21 26%
11/14 Home Michigan 5 18%
11/21 Away Maryland 86 39%
11/28 Away Purdue 90 40%

THOR+ Record: 3-2 (60%)

Indiana without Nate Sudfeld and Jordan Howard is as bad as you would expect them to be. I still have no idea how they played Ohio State so close without them.

Maryland

Date Maryland Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Richmond FCS W
9/12 Home Bowling Green 66 L
9/19 Home South Florida 58 W
9/26 Away West Virginia 36 L
10/3 Home Michigan 5 L
10/10 Away Ohio State 27 L
10/24 Neutral Penn State 47 36%
10/31 Away Iowa 21 18%
11/7 Home Wisconsin 39 38%
11/14 Away Michigan State 49 30%
11/21 Home Indiana 92 61%
11/28 Away Rutgers 87 43%

THOR+ Record: 4-1 (80%)

Randy Edsall is done. Meanwhile, Maryland's season has been done since week 2.

Michigan

Date Michigan Team Rank Projected Win%
9/3 Away Utah 26 L
9/12 Home Oregon State 96 W
9/19 Home UNLV 70 W
9/26 Home BYU 52 W
10/3 Away Maryland 86 W
10/10 Home Northwestern 46 W
10/17 Home Michigan State 49 83%
10/31 Away Minnesota 72 75%
11/7 Home Rutgers 87 89%
11/14 Away Indiana 92 82%
11/21 Away Penn State 47 68%
11/28 Home Ohio State 27 74%

THOR+ Record: 6-0 (100%)

The game in Ann Arbor this week has some pretty big implications for the Big Ten East.

Michigan State

Date Michigan State Team Rank Projected Win%
9/4 Away Western Michigan 108 W
9/12 Home Oregon 85 W
9/19 Home Air Force 71 W
9/26 Home Central Michigan 94 W
10/3 Home Purdue 90 W
10/10 Away Rutgers 87 W
10/17 Away Michigan 5 17%
10/24 Home Indiana 92 73%
11/7 Away Nebraska 42 39%
11/14 Home Maryland 86 70%
11/21 Away Ohio State 27 30%
11/28 Home Penn State 47 57%

THOR+ Record: 6-0 (100%)

Looking at the current rankings for each of Michigan State's past opponents, it's pretty clear that Michigan will pose the biggest test for the Spartans thus far this season.

Ohio State

Date Ohio State Team Rank Projected Win%
9/7 Away Virginia Tech 51 W
9/12 Home Hawai'i 105 W
9/19 Home Northern Illinois 57 W
9/26 Home Western Michigan 108 W
10/3 Away Indiana 92 W
10/10 Home Maryland 86 W
10/17 Home Penn State 47 70%
10/24 Away Rutgers 87 69%
11/7 Home Minnesota 72 76%
11/14 Away Illinois 50 56%
11/21 Home Michigan State 49 70%
11/28 Away Michigan 5 26%

THOR+ Record: 6-0 (100%)

It's now week 7, and I'm still wondering when Ohio State will start clicking on all cylinders. Time is running out, but they are still unbeaten.

Penn State

Date Penn State Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Away Temple 34 L
9/12 Home Buffalo 97 W
9/19 Home Rutgers 87 W
9/26 Home San Diego State 99 W
10/3 Home Army 88 W
10/10 Home Indiana 92 W
10/17 Away Ohio State 27 30%
10/24 Neutral Maryland 86 64%
10/31 Home Illinois 50 58%
11/7 Away Northwestern 46 42%
11/21 Home Michigan 5 32%
11/28 Away Michigan State 49 43%

THOR+ Record: 6-0 (100%)

Penn State hasn't played a road game -- and, consequently, a good opponent -- since the first week of the season. I'd imagine this game ends in a similar fashion.

Rutgers

Date Rutgers Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Norfolk State FCS W
9/12 Home Washington State 82 L
9/19 Away Penn State 47 L
9/26 Home Kansas 121 W
10/10 Home Michigan State 49 L
10/17 Away Indiana 92 46%
10/24 Home Ohio State 27 31%
10/31 Away Wisconsin 39 25%
11/7 Away Michigan 5 11%
11/14 Home Nebraska 42 40%
11/21 Away Army 88 43%
11/28 Home Maryland 86 57%

THOR+ Record: 3-1 (75%)

Rutgers' upset bid against Michigan State ended when the Scarlet Knights spiked the ball on 4th down. Hmm... Yeah, that seems fitting.