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BIG TEN WIN PROJECTIONS: POST-WEEK 12

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Another one bites the dust... But it still wasn't Iowa.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Week 12 wasn't exactly full of great match ups, but it provided us with some real football weather, two wild outcomes, and our first division champion. From a Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff perspective, the two biggest results from Saturday were Iowa remaining unbeaten and Michigan State coming out on top in the Horse Shoe. I'll discuss the ramifications below, but first, let's look at some win projections.

With only one game left for each team, here are the overall season win projections:

THOR+ Rank B1G West Season Wins 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
18 Iowa 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 44.3% 55.7%
28 Wisconsin 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 43.4% 56.6% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
45 Nebraska 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 55.7% 44.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
66 Minnesota 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 56.6% 43.4% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
67 Northwestern 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 48.1% 51.9% 0.0% 0.0%
73 Illinois 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 51.9% 48.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
87 Purdue 44.4% 55.6% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
THOR+ Rank B1G East Season Wins 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
6 Ohio State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 60.8% 39.2% 0.0%
7 Michigan 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 39.2% 60.8% 0.0% 0.0%
37 Michigan State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 40.4% 59.6% 0.0%
43 Penn State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 59.6% 40.4% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
81 Maryland 46.8% 53.2% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
86 Indiana 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 55.6% 44.4% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
97 Rutgers 0.0% 0.0% 53.2% 46.8% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

And here are the conference win projections:

THOR+ Rank B1G West Conference Wins 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
18 Iowa 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 44.3% 55.7%
28 Wisconsin 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 44.4% 55.6% 0.0% 0.0%
45 Nebraska 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 55.7% 44.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
66 Minnesota 0.0% 0.0% 55.6% 44.4% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
67 Northwestern 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 47.1% 52.9% 0.0% 0.0%
73 Illinois 0.0% 0.0% 52.9% 47.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
87 Purdue 0.0% 44.4% 55.6% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
THOR+ Rank B1G East Conference Wins 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
6 Ohio State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 60.8% 39.2% 0.0%
7 Michigan 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 39.2% 60.8% 0.0%
37 Michigan State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 40.4% 59.6% 0.0%
43 Penn State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 59.6% 40.4% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
81 Maryland 45.8% 54.2% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
86 Indiana 0.0% 55.6% 44.4% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
97 Rutgers 0.0% 54.2% 45.8% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

There's a lot of red, seeing how every team has only two possible outcomes left for their regular season. And with the Ohio State loss this past weekend, Iowa is the only team that still has 12 wins as a distinct possibility. After being given no chance at reaching 12-0 before the season started, Iowa continues to laugh in the face of THOR+ because they now have better than 50% odds of going undefeated in the regular season. The Hawkeyes wrapped up the Big Ten West on Saturday, and are heading to Indianapolis no matter the outcome of the game this Friday. However, beating Nebraska in Lincoln to achieve a perfect regular season would be oh so bittersweet. Let's hope the dream season continues for at least one more week.

Now, if the Big Ten West gave us clarity this past weekend, the Big Ten East was the opposite. Ohio State had the chance to make it a two-team race for the division title, but couldn't beat a banged up Michigan State in Columbus. So, instead of the Buckeyes controlling their own destiny against Michigan this Saturday, it is now the Spartans who win the division if they can beat Penn State in East Lansing this weekend. That means there are three scenarios left for how the East can play out, and three different potential Big Ten Championship match ups for Iowa. Let's look at each of them and how it projects for Iowa.

Scenario 1: Michigan State Beats Penn State

Projected Odds of Happening: 60%

Big Ten East Champion: Michigan State

Projected Championship Game: Iowa (61%) 32, Michigan State (31%) 25

Iowa's Odds at 13-0: 34%

Scenario 2: Michigan State Loses, Michigan Beats Ohio State

Projected Odds of Happening: 24%

Big Ten East Champion: Michigan

Projected Championship Game: Iowa (39%) 20, Michigan (61%) 26

Iowa's Odds at 13-0: 22%

Scenario 3: Michigan State Loses, Ohio State Beats Michigan

Projected Odds of Happening: 15%

Big Ten East Champion: Ohio State

Projected Championship Game: Iowa (39%) 23, Ohio State (61%) 27

Iowa's Odds at 13-0: 22%

Out of the three possible outcomes for the East on Saturday, Michigan State clearly has the best chance of being declared the Big Ten East champ solely due to them not needing assistance from anyone else. If they win, they are in. Additionally, THOR+ also thinks that Michigan State being selected for the championship game is the best match up for Iowa. If that doesn't happen, THOR+ has basically the same odds for the Hawkeyes were they to play the Buckeyes or the Wolverines. Frankly, everyone in the conference has their weakness, and at this point, I'm convinced that Iowa has a legitimate chance to win the Big Ten no matter who ends up their opponent in Indianapolis.

Now, here are the projected mean, max, and min wins for each team:

THOR+ B1G West Mean Wins Min. Wins Max. Wins Mean B1G Wins Min B1G Wins Max B1G Wins
18 Iowa 11.6 11 12 7.6 7 8
28 Wisconsin 8.6 8 9 5.6 5 6
45 Nebraska 5.4 5 6 3.4 3 4
66 Minnesota 5.4 5 6 2.4 2 3
67 Northwestern 9.5 9 10 5.5 5 6
73 Illinois 5.5 5 6 2.5 2 3
87 Purdue 2.6 2 3 1.6 1 2
THOR+ B1G East Mean Wins Min. Wins Max. Wins Mean B1G Wins Min B1G Wins Max B1G Wins
6 Ohio State 10.4 10 11 6.4 6 7
7 Michigan 9.6 9 10 6.6 6 7
37 Michigan State 10.6 10 11 6.6 6 7
43 Penn State 7.4 7 8 4.4 4 5
81 Maryland 2.5 2 3 0.5 0 1
86 Indiana 5.4 5 6 1.4 1 2
97 Rutgers 4.5 4 5 1.5 1 2

THOR+ had its worst week in the Big Ten in week 12, missing on Indiana, Northwestern, Rutgers, and Michigan State. I was fully prepared for the Rutgers and Indiana games to be wrong, but the Northwestern and Michigan State games surprised me. Anyway, THOR+ is now at 71.2% for the season in picking Big Ten West teams and 80% in picking teams from the East. Overall, THOR+ is 75.7% for the conference, which is actually right on the nose for how THOR+ has picked all FBS games this season. Weird.

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 49 W
9/26 Home North Texas 125 W
10/3 Away Wisconsin 28 W
10/10 Home Illinois 73 W
10/17 Away Northwestern 67 W
10/31 Home Maryland 81 W
11/7 Away Indiana 86 W
11/14 Home Minnesota 66 W
11/21 Home Purdue 87 W
11/27 Away Nebraska 45 56%

THOR+ Record: 8-2 (80%)

Misses: at Iowa State, at Wisconsin

The regular season boils down to this game. Iowa, playing for a perfect regular season. Against Nebraska, playing for bowl eligibility (LOL). Both fan bases hate each other, and I'm pretty sure both teams are on the same page. If this isn't a rivalry yet, let's see how celebrating 12-0 on Nebraska's home field goes over.

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 2 L
9/26 Home Middle Tennessee 80 W
10/3 Home Nebraska 45 W
10/10 Away Iowa 18 L
10/24 Home Wisconsin 28 L
10/31 Away Penn State 43 L
11/7 Away Purdue 87 W
11/14 Home Ohio State 6 L
11/21 Away Minnesota 66 L
11/28 Neutral Northwestern 67 47%

THOR+ Record: 8-2 (80%)

Misses: vs. Wisconsin, at Purdue

Illinois is playing for bowl eligibility and the only thing standing in their way is Northwestern's defense.

Minnesota

Date Minnesota Team Rank Projected Win%
9/3 Home TCU 22 L
9/12 Away Colorado State 85 W
9/19 Home Kent State 112 W
9/26 Home Ohio 95 W
10/3 Away Northwestern 67 L
10/10 Away Purdue 87 W
10/17 Home Nebraska 45 L
10/31 Home Michigan 7 L
11/7 Away Ohio State 6 L
11/14 Away Iowa 18 L
11/21 Home Illinois 73 W
11/28 Home Wisconsin 28 44%

THOR+ Record: 9-2 (81.8%)

Misses: at Colorado State, at Purdue

Minnesota is playing better lately, and it has them up to #66 in the nation, according to THOR+. That makes this upcoming game against Wisconsin closer than what it was looking like a month ago. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if Minnesota pulled out a close one at home.

Nebraska

Date Nebraska Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home BYU 31 L
9/12 Home South Alabama 115 W
9/19 Away Miami (Florida) 59 L
9/26 Home Southern Mississippi 58 W
10/3 Away Illinois 73 L
10/10 Home Wisconsin 28 L
10/17 Away Minnesota 66 W
10/24 Home Northwestern 67 L
10/31 Away Purdue 87 L
11/7 Home Michigan State 37 W
11/14 Away Rutgers 97 W
11/28 Home Iowa 18 44%

THOR+ Record: 8-3 (72.7%)

Misses: vs. BYU, vs. Northwestern, at Purdue

Seriously, you guys, if Iowa can't celebrate 12-0 in front of a packed Kinnick crowd, finishing a perfect season in Memorial Stadium is a nice second option. The goalposts should be easier to get out of an open-air stadium.

Northwestern

Date Northwestern Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Stanford 8 W
9/12 Home Eastern Illinois FCS W
9/19 Away Duke 68 W
9/26 Home Ball State 109 W
10/3 Home Minnesota 66 W
10/10 Away Michigan 7 L
10/17 Home Iowa 18 L
10/24 Away Nebraska 45 W
11/7 Home Penn State 43 W
11/14 Home Purdue 87 W
11/21 Away Wisconsin 28 W
11/28 Neutral Illinois 73 53%

THOR+ Record: 5-5 (50%)

Misses: vs. Stanford, at Duke, at Nebraska, vs. Penn State, at Wisconsin

The Wildcats continue to thumb their collective nose at THOR+ and win, despite possessing one of the worst offenses in the nation. They passed their most difficult remaining test last week, and now the only thing standing in their way of 10 wins this season is an Illini squad with a lame duck coach.

Purdue

Date Purdue Team Rank Projected Win%
9/6 Away Marshall 53 L
9/12 Home Indiana State FCS W
9/19 Home Virginia Tech 61 L
9/26 Home Bowling Green 36 L
10/3 Away Michigan State 37 L
10/10 Home Minnesota 66 L
10/17 Away Wisconsin 28 L
10/31 Home Nebraska 45 W
11/7 Home Illinois 73 L
11/14 Away Northwestern 67 L
11/21 Away Iowa 18 L
11/28 Home Indiana 86 56%

THOR+ Record: 6-4 (60%)

Misses: vs. Bowling Green, vs. Minnesota, vs. Illinois, vs. Nebraska

Purdue is another team that THOR+ has had some trouble with, and I have a sneaking suspicion THOR+ is going to miss on them again this week. But it is a rivalry game and it is in West Lafayette, so I guess anything could happen.

Wisconsin

Date Wisconsin Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Neutral Alabama 5 L
9/12 Home Miami (Ohio) 117 W
9/19 Home Troy 92 W
9/26 Home Hawai'i 113 W
10/3 Home Iowa 18 L
10/10 Away Nebraska 45 W
10/17 Home Purdue 87 W
10/24 Away Illinois 73 W
10/31 Home Rutgers 97 W
11/7 Away Maryland 81 W
11/21 Home Northwestern 67 L
11/28 Away Minnesota 66 56%

THOR+ Record: 8-3 (72.7%)

Misses: vs. Iowa, at Illinois, vs. Northwestern

I'm still not sure how Jazz Peavy wasn't awarded a touchdown for this catch. And, since that's likely the difference between 9 and 10 wins, I'm really thankful I'm not a Badger fan.

Big Ten East

Indiana

Date Indiana Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home S. Illinois FCS W
9/12 Home Florida International 104 W
9/19 Home Western Kentucky 35 W
9/26 Away Wake Forest 90 W
10/3 Home Ohio State 6 L
10/10 Away Penn State 43 L
10/17 Home Rutgers 97 L
10/24 Away Michigan State 37 L
11/7 Home Iowa 18 L
11/14 Home Michigan 7 L
11/21 Away Maryland 81 W
11/28 Away Purdue 87 44%

THOR+ Record: 6-4 (60%)

Misses: vs. Western Kentucky, at Wake Forest, vs. Rutgers, at Maryland

Indiana's chances at a bowl game come down to a road game with Purdue. Despite THOR+ having it out for the Hoosiers this season, I would expect Indiana to win this game.

Maryland

Date Maryland Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Richmond FCS W
9/12 Home Bowling Green 36 L
9/19 Home South Florida 26 W
9/26 Away West Virginia 30 L
10/3 Home Michigan 7 L
10/10 Away Ohio State 6 L
10/24 Neutral Penn State 43 L
10/31 Away Iowa 18 L
11/7 Home Wisconsin 28 L
11/14 Away Michigan State 37 L
11/21 Home Indiana 86 L
11/28 Away Rutgers 97 54%

THOR+ Record: 8-3 (72.7%)

Misses: vs. Bowling Green, vs. South Florida, vs. Indiana

Maryland is a raging dumpster fire this year. I'll be curious to see who ends up being their next head coach.

Michigan

Date Michigan Team Rank Projected Win%
9/3 Away Utah 33 L
9/12 Home Oregon State 102 W
9/19 Home UNLV 99 W
9/26 Home BYU 31 W
10/3 Away Maryland 81 W
10/10 Home Northwestern 67 W
10/17 Home Michigan State 37 L
10/31 Away Minnesota 66 W
11/7 Home Rutgers 97 W
11/14 Away Indiana 86 W
11/21 Away Penn State 43 W
11/28 Home Ohio State 6 61%

THOR+ Record: 10-1 (90.9%)

Misses: vs. Michigan State

That punt miscue from 5 weeks ago looms large...

Michigan State

Date Michigan State Team Rank Projected Win%
9/4 Away Western Michigan 82 W
9/12 Home Oregon 21 W
9/19 Home Air Force 65 W
9/26 Home Central Michigan 77 W
10/3 Home Purdue 87 W
10/10 Away Rutgers 97 W
10/17 Away Michigan 7 W
10/24 Home Indiana 86 W
11/7 Away Nebraska 45 L
11/14 Home Maryland 81 W
11/21 Away Ohio State 6 W
11/28 Home Penn State 43 60%

THOR+ Record: 9-2 (81.8%)

Misses: at Michigan, at Ohio State

The Spartans are such a weird team. They play everybody close, no matter how good or bad they are. And they keep winning the big road games that no one expects them to win. Go figure.

Ohio State

Date Ohio State Team Rank Projected Win%
9/7 Away Virginia Tech 61 W
9/12 Home Hawai'i 113 W
9/19 Home Northern Illinois 48 W
9/26 Home Western Michigan 82 W
10/3 Away Indiana 86 W
10/10 Home Maryland 81 W
10/17 Home Penn State 43 W
10/24 Away Rutgers 97 W
11/7 Home Minnesota 66 W
11/14 Away Illinois 73 W
11/21 Home Michigan State 37 L
11/28 Away Michigan 7 39%

THOR+ Record: 10-1 (90.9%)

Misses: vs. Michigan State

Ohio State and Michigan State played the weirdest game of the week. I don't even know where to start or how to discuss it here quickly. So, I'll just direct you to the advanced stats box score.

Penn State

Date Penn State Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Away Temple 32 L
9/12 Home Buffalo 100 W
9/19 Home Rutgers 97 W
9/26 Home San Diego State 56 W
10/3 Home Army 103 W
10/10 Home Indiana 86 W
10/17 Away Ohio State 6 L
10/24 Neutral Maryland 81 W
10/31 Home Illinois 73 W
11/7 Away Northwestern 67 L
11/21 Home Michigan 7 L
11/28 Away Michigan State 37 40%

THOR+ Recored: 10-1 (90.9%)

Misses: at Northwestern

I still wouldn't be totally surprised if Penn State pulled the upset this weekend. I was thinking the Michigan game at Happy Valley would be a decent chance for it, but maybe it will be this weekend. Or maybe not.

Rutgers

Date Rutgers Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Norfolk State FCS W
9/12 Home Washington State 46 L
9/19 Away Penn State 43 L
9/26 Home Kansas 114 W
10/10 Home Michigan State 37 L
10/17 Away Indiana 86 W
10/24 Home Ohio State 6 L
10/31 Away Wisconsin 28 L
11/7 Away Michigan 7 L
11/14 Home Nebraska 45 L
11/21 Away Army 103 W
11/28 Home Maryland 81 46%

THOR+ Record: 7-3 (70%)

Misses: vs. Washington State, at Indiana, at Army

Bowl eligibility is off the table, but Rutgers could still potentially win the battle of terrible football teams who recently joined the Big Ten.