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2015 BIG TEN WIN PROJECTIONS: POST-WEEK 8

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Not much changed after week 8.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

A week after switching things up by going perfect in the Big Ten West, THOR+ decided to go back to business as usual this week and pick the East perfectly while missing both games in the West. Obviously, the games in the East were a little easier to call in week 8, as Ohio State and Michigan State -- teams who both possess very good offenses -- faced off against defense-optional teams in Rutgers and Indiana. Penn State did have its share of trouble with Maryland, but they eventually pulled out the win in the end.

Predictably, it was the Big Ten West that was less predictable. THOR+ called for one upset this week, and missed on it when Wisconsin handled Illinois with ease. Instead, the lone upset this weekend came when Northwestern got back on track and beat the favored Huskers in Lincoln.

With a 3-2 record in week 8, THOR+ has now been right 84% of the time in the Big Ten East and 71% of the time for the Big Ten West teams this year. If you are wondering how that compares to how THOR+ has done nationally this season, week 8 was nice enough to help push THOR+ up to 76% for all FBS teams in 2015.

To the win projections!

First, here are the 12-game season projections for all Big Ten teams.

THOR+ Rank B1G West Season Wins 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 Iowa 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.7% 5.6% 21.8% 43.2% 28.7%
38 Wisconsin 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 1.1% 9.0% 32.1% 38.3% 19.5% 0.0% 0.0%
41 Nebraska 0.0% 0.0% 4.5% 19.3% 37.6% 29.8% 8.8% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
50 Illinois 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 7.5% 29.3% 35.3% 22.1% 5.8% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
60 Northwestern 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 7.0% 25.8% 39.2% 23.5% 4.5% 0.0% 0.0%
78 Minnesota 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 19.1% 38.3% 30.9% 10.0% 1.7% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
79 Purdue 5.5% 25.6% 37.5% 23.3% 7.6% 0.5% 0.0% 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
8 Ohio State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.2% 6.9% 25.7% 46.3% 20.9%
12 Michigan 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 2.1% 11.3% 29.0% 39.7% 17.9% 0.0% 0.0%
42 Michigan State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 4.9% 27.6% 39.4% 25.0% 3.1%
54 Penn State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 10.6% 30.7% 36.3% 18.7% 3.7% 0.0% 0.0%
84 Maryland 0.0% 7.0% 26.6% 38.7% 22.7% 4.8% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
88 Rutgers 0.0% 0.0% 8.8% 30.6% 34.1% 21.9% 4.3% 0.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
89 Indiana 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 21.9% 43.1% 26.4% 8.2% 0.4% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

And here are the conference projections for all Big Ten teams.

THOR+ Rank B1G West Conference Wins 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
13 Iowa 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.7% 5.6% 21.8% 43.2% 28.7%
38 Wisconsin 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 1.1% 9.0% 32.1% 38.3% 19.5% 0.0%
41 Nebraska 0.0% 4.5% 19.3% 37.6% 29.8% 8.8% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
50 Illinois 0.0% 7.5% 29.3% 35.3% 22.1% 5.8% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
60 Northwestern 0.0% 0.0% 7.0% 25.8% 39.2% 23.5% 4.5% 0.0% 0.0%
78 Minnesota 0.0% 19.1% 38.3% 30.9% 10.0% 1.7% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
79 Purdue 5.5% 25.6% 37.5% 23.3% 7.6% 0.5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
THOR+ Rank B1G East Conference Wins 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
8 Ohio State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.2% 6.9% 25.7% 46.3% 20.9%
12 Michigan 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 2.1% 11.3% 29.0% 39.7% 17.9% 0.0%
42 Michigan State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 4.9% 27.6% 39.4% 25.0% 3.1%
54 Penn State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 10.6% 30.7% 36.3% 18.7% 3.7% 0.0%
84 Maryland 7.0% 26.6% 38.7% 22.7% 4.8% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
88 Rutgers 0.0% 17.2% 41.1% 32.8% 8.4% 0.5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
89 Indiana 21.9% 43.1% 26.4% 8.2% 0.4% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

With Iowa on the bye in week 8, Wisconsin carved out a spot as the clear #2 team in the West division when they beat the Fighting Illini, 24-13. Their win pushed Illinois into the dangerous 2-loss territory, while Northwestern's win over Nebraska kept them in ever-so-slight contention for at least one more week.

In the East, Ohio State continues to be the favorite to take the division crown. Handing J.T. Barrett the keys to the offense has boosted their offensive numbers in the past week, which has subsequently shot them up to first place in the conference, according to THOR+. Also, subsequently, THOR+ has changed the projection of the potential Big Ten Championship. Instead of liking the Hawkeyes by a smidge, Ohio State is now favored over Iowa, 24-23 with a 54% win probability. Boo.

Now, here are the mean, min, and max projected wins for each Big Ten team based on the thousand simulations I ran.

THOR+ B1G West Mean Wins Min. Wins Max. Wins Mean B1G Wins Min B1G Wins Max B1G Wins
13 Iowa 10.9 8 12 6.9 4 8
38 Wisconsin 8.7 6 10 5.7 3 7
41 Nebraska 5.2 3 7 3.2 1 5
50 Illinois 5.9 4 8 2.9 1 5
60 Northwestern 7.9 6 10 3.9 2 6
78 Minnesota 5.4 4 8 2.4 1 5
79 Purdue 3.0 1 6 2.0 0 5
THOR+ B1G East Mean Wins Min. Wins Max. Wins Mean B1G Wins Min B1G Wins Max B1G Wins
8 Ohio State 10.8 8 12 6.8 4 8
12 Michigan 8.6 6 10 5.6 3 7
42 Michigan State 9.9 8 12 5.9 4 8
54 Penn State 7.7 6 10 4.7 3 7
84 Maryland 3.9 2 7 1.9 0 5
88 Rutgers 4.8 3 8 2.3 1 5
89 Indiana 5.2 4 8 1.2 0 4

Lastly, don't forget that the "THOR+ Record" down below indicates how well THOR+ has done picking the outcome of each FBS game for every team.

Big Ten West

Iowa

Date Iowa Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Illinois State FCS W
9/12 Away Iowa State 70 W
9/19 Home Pittsburgh 48 W
9/26 Home North Texas 126 W
10/3 Away Wisconsin 38 W
10/10 Home Illinois 50 W
10/17 Away Northwestern 60 W
10/31 Home Maryland 84 85%
11/7 Away Indiana 89 77%
11/14 Home Minnesota 78 85%
11/21 Home Purdue 79 85%
11/27 Away Nebraska 41 60%

THOR+ Record: 4-2 (66.7%)

One game at a time.

Illinois

Date Illinois Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Kent State 114 W
9/12 Home W. Illinois FCS W
9/19 Away North Carolina 11 L
9/26 Home Middle Tennessee 73 W
10/3 Home Nebraska 41 W
10/10 Away Iowa 13 L
10/24 Home Wisconsin 38 L
10/31 Away Penn State 54 45%
11/7 Away Purdue 79 54%
11/14 Home Ohio State 8 33%
11/21 Away Minnesota 78 54%
11/28 Neutral Northwestern 60 54%

THOR+ Record: 5-1 (83.3%)

Illinois' loss to Wisconsin didn't technically take them out of contention in the Big Ten West, but it pretty much did. At this point, the Illini would need Iowa and Wisconsin to finish with three conference losses and they would need to win their remaining 5 games. And considering one of those remaining games is against Ohio State, I think it's safe to say that they won't be winning the Big Ten West this season.

Minnesota

Date Minnesota Team Rank Projected Win%
9/3 Home TCU 15 L
9/12 Away Colorado State 76 W
9/19 Home Kent State 114 W
9/26 Home Ohio 87 W
10/3 Away Northwestern 60 L
10/10 Away Purdue 79 W
10/17 Home Nebraska 41 L
10/31 Home Michigan 12 26%
11/7 Away Ohio State 8 13%
11/14 Away Iowa 13 15%
11/21 Home Illinois 50 46%
11/28 Home Wisconsin 38 40%

THOR+ Record: 5-2 (71.4%)

Thanks to the impossibility of losing to the bye week, Minnesota is also still technically in the chase for the West. That shouldn't last much longer, though, as their schedule of death really kicks into full gear over the next month.

Nebraska

Date Nebraska Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home BYU 35 L
9/12 Home South Alabama 115 W
9/19 Away Miami (Florida) 68 L
9/26 Home Southern Mississippi 72 W
10/3 Away Illinois 50 L
10/10 Home Wisconsin 38 L
10/17 Away Minnesota 78 W
10/24 Home Northwestern 60 L
10/31 Away Purdue 79 58%
11/7 Home Michigan State 42 58%
11/14 Away Rutgers 88 61%
11/28 Home Iowa 13 40%

THOR+ Record: 6-2 (75%)

Sitting at 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the conference, Nebraska's dreams of winning the West are now officially dead. And, you know what? Maybe getting that third Big Ten loss out of the way early was a good thing for the Huskers. Now they can focus on their other important goal: trying to obtain bowl-eligibility. I know I always find that it's easier to accomplish something when I set my sights on one clear goal. Maybe Mike Riley is a genius, after all.

But, in all seriousness, Nebraska will be sitting at home this Christmas if they can't find a way to beat one of Iowa or Michigan State.

Northwestern

Date Northwestern Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Stanford 6 W
9/12 Home Eastern Illinois FCS W
9/19 Away Duke 28 W
9/26 Home Ball State 110 W
10/3 Home Minnesota 78 W
10/10 Away Michigan 12 L
10/17 Home Iowa 13 L
10/24 Away Nebraska 41 W
11/7 Home Penn State 54 55%
11/14 Home Purdue 79 64%
11/21 Away Wisconsin 38 33%
11/28 Neutral Illinois 50 46%

THOR+ Record: 4-3 (57.1%)

THOR+ has Northwestern pegged as an 8-win team right now. And with how bad their offense is this year, I would agree with that projection. They do still have a chance at the division if Iowa finds a way to lose three games, though. So, dare to dream, I guess.

Purdue

Date Purdue Team Rank Projected Win%
9/6 Away Marshall 63 L
9/12 Home Indiana State FCS W
9/19 Home Virginia Tech 58 L
9/26 Home Bowling Green 44 L
10/3 Away Michigan State 42 L
10/10 Home Minnesota 78 L
10/17 Away Wisconsin 38 L
10/31 Home Nebraska 41 42%
11/7 Home Illinois 50 46%
11/14 Away Northwestern 60 36%
11/21 Away Iowa 13 15%
11/28 Home Indiana 89 61%

THOR+ Record: 4-2 (66.7%)

I'm not sure why I haven't asked this yet until now, but: will Purdue beat an FBS team this year? Honest question. Let me know what you think and who you think their first victim may be.

Wisconsin

Date Wisconsin Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Neutral Alabama 17 L
9/12 Home Miami (Ohio) 121 W
9/19 Home Troy 94 W
9/26 Home Hawai'i 104 W
10/3 Home Iowa 13 L
10/10 Away Nebraska 41 W
10/17 Home Purdue 79 W
10/24 Away Illinois 50 W
10/31 Home Rutgers 88 76%
11/7 Away Maryland 84 61%
11/21 Home Northwestern 60 67%
11/28 Away Minnesota 78 60%

THOR+ Record: 6-2 (75%)

With another Wisconsin win, their odds of losing again continue to dwindle. Ideally, I would love for them to win out and for Iowa to finish undefeated, helping make Iowa's 12-0 look better. Of course, with 5 games left, I'm still worried about Iowa dropping a couple. So, with that in mind, I wouldn't shed a tear if Wisconsin fell into that 2-loss tier at some point.

Big Ten East

Indiana

Date Indiana Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home S. Illinois FCS W
9/12 Home Florida International 82 W
9/19 Home Western Kentucky 43 W
9/26 Away Wake Forest 97 W
10/3 Home Ohio State 8 L
10/10 Away Penn State 54 L
10/17 Home Rutgers 88 L
10/24 Away Michigan State 42 L
11/7 Home Iowa 13 23%
11/14 Home Michigan 12 23%
11/21 Away Maryland 84 39%
11/28 Away Purdue 79 39%

THOR+ Record: 4-3 (57.1%)

Indiana went from starting 4-0 to being on the cusp of missing a bowl game. If they do miss the post season, does Kevin Wilson keep his job?

Maryland

Date Maryland Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Richmond FCS W
9/12 Home Bowling Green 44 L
9/19 Home South Florida 45 W
9/26 Away West Virginia 36 L
10/3 Home Michigan 12 L
10/10 Away Ohio State 8 L
10/24 Neutral Penn State 54 L
10/31 Away Iowa 13 15%
11/7 Home Wisconsin 38 39%
11/14 Away Michigan State 42 28%
11/21 Home Indiana 89 61%
11/28 Away Rutgers 88 46%

THOR+ Record: 5-1 (83.3%)

THOR+ is giving Maryland a 5% chance of reaching bowl-eligibility. Honestly, that seems high to me.

Michigan

Date Michigan Team Rank Projected Win%
9/3 Away Utah 21 L
9/12 Home Oregon State 103 W
9/19 Home UNLV 80 W
9/26 Home BYU 35 W
10/3 Away Maryland 84 W
10/10 Home Northwestern 60 W
10/17 Home Michigan State 42 L
10/31 Away Minnesota 78 74%
11/7 Home Rutgers 88 86%
11/14 Away Indiana 89 77%
11/21 Away Penn State 54 66%
11/28 Home Ohio State 8 57%

THOR+ Record: 6-1 (85.7%)

Michigan needs to win out to keep their division hopes alive. It's certainly possible, but, thanks to those last two games, it's definitely not guaranteed.

Michigan State

Date Michigan State Team Rank Projected Win%
9/4 Away Western Michigan 81 W
9/12 Home Oregon 64 W
9/19 Home Air Force 86 W
9/26 Home Central Michigan 75 W
10/3 Home Purdue 79 W
10/10 Away Rutgers 88 W
10/17 Away Michigan 12 W
10/24 Home Indiana 89 W
11/7 Away Nebraska 41 42%
11/14 Home Maryland 84 72%
11/21 Away Ohio State 8 22%
11/28 Home Penn State 54 63%

THOR+ Record: 7-1 (87.5%)

Michigan State is still undefeated and will remain so for at least one more week.

Ohio State

Date Ohio State Team Rank Projected Win%
9/7 Away Virginia Tech 58 W
9/12 Home Hawai'i 104 W
9/19 Home Northern Illinois 53 W
9/26 Home Western Michigan 81 W
10/3 Away Indiana 89 W
10/10 Home Maryland 84 W
10/17 Home Penn State 54 W
10/24 Away Rutgers 88 W
11/7 Home Minnesota 78 87%
11/14 Away Illinois 50 67%
11/21 Home Michigan State 42 78%
11/28 Away Michigan 12 43%

THOR+ Record: 8-0 (100%)

What happens if Ohio State beats Michigan State (and Minnesota and Illinois), but loses to 1-conference loss Michigan? I am not an expert on tiebreakers, so I'm really curious as to who would win this chaos.

Penn State

Date Penn State Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Away Temple 25 L
9/12 Home Buffalo 105 W
9/19 Home Rutgers 88 W
9/26 Home San Diego State 74 W
10/3 Home Army 101 W
10/10 Home Indiana 89 W
10/17 Away Ohio State 8 L
10/24 Neutral Maryland 84 W
10/31 Home Illinois 50 55%
11/7 Away Northwestern 60 45%
11/21 Home Michigan 12 34%
11/28 Away Michigan State 42 37%

THOR+ Record: 8-0 (100%)

Penn State could legitimately lose their final 4 games.

Rutgers

Date Rutgers Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Norfolk State FCS W
9/12 Home Washington State 66 L
9/19 Away Penn State 54 L
9/26 Home Kansas 116 W
10/10 Home Michigan State 42 L
10/17 Away Indiana 89 W
10/24 Home Ohio State 8 L
10/31 Away Wisconsin 38 24%
11/7 Away Michigan 12 14%
11/14 Home Nebraska 41 39%
11/21 Away Army 101 51%
11/28 Home Maryland 84 54%

THOR+ Record: 4-2 (66.7%)

The win over Indiana was fun while it lasted.