clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

BIG TEN WIN PROJECTIONS: POST-WEEK 4

New, 27 comments

On the eve of Big Ten play, we have some shakeups in the win projections. Iowa and Michigan both rise, while Nebraska falls. LOL

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

This past weekend officially closed the books on the non-conference schedule for most of the Big Ten, Penn State and Rutgers aside. This means the games that really matter are about to start. Not that the games played outside the conference don't mean anything (they play a part in bowl seeding), but this week marks the beginning of the race for the Big Ten Championship. And on the eve of this major event, we have had some shakeups in the win projections.

THOR+ Rank B1G West Season Wins 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
20 Wisconsin 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 1.4% 4.3% 13.8% 26.1% 31.6% 18.1% 4.6% 0.0%
26 Iowa 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.4% 1.4% 5.8% 20.2% 27.6% 28.2% 14.0% 2.4%
43 Northwestern 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.2% 2.1% 10.3% 23.0% 30.1% 21.0% 10.8% 2.1% 0.4%
48 Nebraska 0.0% 0.1% 2.8% 10.4% 19.6% 28.5% 22.2% 11.9% 4.1% 0.4% 0.0% 0.0%
58 Illinois 0.0% 0.0% 2.4% 11.2% 25.2% 29.4% 20.6% 9.6% 1.5% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
71 Minnesota 0.0% 0.0% 3.3% 12.3% 21.9% 29.6% 20.4% 9.2% 2.8% 0.5% 0.0% 0.0%
86 Purdue 2.1% 11.7% 24.7% 29.5% 21.8% 7.3% 2.7% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
THOR+ Rank B1G East Season Wins 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
11 Michigan 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.5% 2.4% 9.5% 23.8% 31.5% 25.0% 7.3% 0.0%
14 Ohio State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.8% 3.0% 11.9% 25.9% 33.2% 19.6% 5.5%
30 Michigan State 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.3% 1.7% 10.7% 24.0% 28.0% 25.2% 9.0% 1.1%
51 Penn State 0.0% 0.0% 0.4% 2.3% 10.0% 22.5% 29.8% 21.8% 10.8% 2.3% 0.1% 0.0%
88 Maryland 0.0% 3.0% 16.5% 30.7% 27.0% 14.8% 6.5% 1.5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
98 Rutgers 0.0% 3.5% 18.1% 31.5% 26.6% 15.3% 4.2% 0.7% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
99 Indiana 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 5.3% 21.0% 27.7% 27.8% 13.8% 4.1% 0.3% 0.0% 0.0%

Get your pitchforks ready because after pitching a shutout against BYU and with Utah turning heads by stomping Oregon in Autzen stadium, Michigan has catapulted to the top of the Big Ten. I personally don't think they are the best team in the Big Ten, but there is an argument to be made that they are a top 25 team. And with Ohio State's offense still having efficiency issues and Michigan State beating MAC teams in a fairly unimpressive fashion, the Big Ten East could be more open than we thought. (Ohio State is still my pick, though.)

As for the West, that's also right, Iowa has launched themselves onto the cusp of the top 25 with a complete evisceration of a really crappy North Texas team. I'll have some cautionary words later, but THOR+ currently likes Iowa's chances at a double-digit win season. Wisconsin is still at the top with their easy schedule, but week 4 pits these two teams against each other with potential Big Ten West implications. This should be a fun week.

THOR+ Rank B1G West Conference Wins 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
20 Wisconsin 0.0% 0.1% 1.4% 4.3% 13.8% 26.1% 31.6% 18.1% 4.6%
26 Iowa 0.0% 0.4% 1.4% 5.8% 20.2% 27.6% 28.2% 14.0% 2.4%
43 Northwestern 0.2% 2.1% 10.3% 23.0% 30.1% 21.0% 10.8% 2.1% 0.4%
48 Nebraska 0.1% 2.8% 10.4% 19.6% 28.5% 22.2% 11.9% 4.1% 0.4%
58 Illinois 2.4% 11.2% 25.2% 29.4% 20.6% 9.6% 1.5% 0.1% 0.0%
71 Minnesota 3.3% 12.3% 21.9% 29.6% 20.4% 9.2% 2.8% 0.5% 0.0%
86 Purdue 2.1% 11.7% 24.7% 29.5% 21.8% 7.3% 2.7% 0.1% 0.1%
THOR+ Rank B1G East Conference Wins 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
11 Michigan 0.0% 0.0% 0.5% 2.4% 9.5% 23.8% 31.5% 25.0% 7.3%
14 Ohio State 0.0% 0.1% 0.8% 3.0% 11.9% 25.9% 33.2% 19.6% 5.5%
30 Michigan State 0.0% 0.3% 1.7% 10.7% 24.0% 28.0% 25.2% 9.0% 1.1%
51 Penn State 0.0% 1.2% 5.6% 20.7% 30.7% 25.4% 13.6% 2.7% 0.1%
88 Maryland 3.0% 16.5% 30.7% 27.0% 14.8% 6.5% 1.5% 0.0% 0.0%
98 Rutgers 7.2% 26.2% 33.6% 22.6% 8.3% 1.9% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%
99 Indiana 5.3% 21.0% 27.7% 27.8% 13.8% 4.1% 0.3% 0.0% 0.0%

As for the division results, Michigan's jump gives them the best odds at running the conference table due to being favored at home against Ohio State at the end of the season. That's still only a 7% chance, though, and the end of the season is a long way away.

In the West, THOR+ thinks Iowa and Wisconsin are currently the two most complete teams, who also happen to possess cushy schedules. Meanwhile, Northwestern and Nebraska are on the outside looking in with one really good unit and one not-so-good unit. But it's still early, and the West could be won by any number of teams.

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
20 Wisconsin 8.5 4 11 5.5 1 8
26 Iowa 9.3 5 12 5.3 1 8
43 Northwestern 8.0 4 12 4.0 0 8
48 Nebraska 6.1 2 10 4.1 0 8
58 Illinois 5.9 3 10 2.9 0 7
71 Minnesota 5.9 3 10 2.9 0 7
86 Purdue 3.9 1 9 2.9 0 8
THOR+ B1G East Mean Wins Min. Wins Max. Wins Mean B1G Wins Min B1G Wins Max B1G Wins
11 Michigan 8.9 5 11 5.9 2 8
14 Ohio State 9.7 5 12 5.7 1 8
30 Michigan State 8.9 5 12 4.9 1 8
51 Penn State 7.0 3 11 4.3 1 8
88 Maryland 4.6 2 8 2.6 0 6
98 Rutgers 4.5 2 9 2.1 0 6
99 Indiana 6.4 4 10 2.4 0 6

Purdue managed to sneak a perfect conference season into the simulations, while Illinois and Minnesota did not. I'm sure if I ran something like 10,000 simulations the Illini and the Gophers would have snuck a few in too.

Lastly, before the individual schedules, notice that I am now including THOR+'s record in predicting wins and losses for each Big Ten team. That way you get an idea of which teams THOR+ has done well with and which teams it has struggled to get a grasp on. Games against FCS teams are not included.

Big Ten West

Iowa

Date Iowa Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Illinios State FCS W
9/12 Away Iowa State 80 W
9/19 Home Pittsburgh 42 W
9/26 Home North Texas 122 W
10/3 Away Wisconsin 20 38%
10/10 Home Illinois 58 72%
10/17 Away Northwestern 43 52%
10/31 Home Maryland 88 80%
11/7 Away Indiana 99 73%
11/14 Home Minnesota 71 75%
11/21 Home Purdue 86 80%
11/27 Away Nebraska 48 54%

THOR+ Record: 2-1 (66.7%)

Iowa has gained ground on Wisconsin each week since the season started. With home field advantage included for the Badgers, Iowa is now a 38% favorite on Saturday, when they were at something like 15% a few weeks ago. I'm a bit worried THOR+ is overreacting to murdering a terrible North Texas team (more on that in the power rankings), but if this offense is as good as THOR+ thinks right now -- the 20% of preseason projections still included are actually dragging the offense down a bit --  this could be closer to a 50/50 game.

Illinois

Date Illinois Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Kent State 115 W
9/12 Home W. Illinois FCS W
9/19 Away North Carolina 31 L
9/26 Home Middle Tennessee 57 W
10/3 Home Nebraska 48 53%
10/10 Away Iowa 26 28%
10/24 Home Wisconsin 20 39%
10/31 Away Penn State 51 40%
11/7 Away Purdue 86 53%
11/14 Home Ohio State 14 36%
11/21 Away Minnesota 71 47%
11/28 Neutral Northwestern 43 44%

THOR+ Record: 3-0 (100%)

Illinois struggled with Middle Tennessee and now it seems pretty clear (if it already wasn't) that they probably aren't competing for the Big Ten West this year. But, with Nebraska tumbling after an unimpressive showing against Southern Miss, the Illini are now slightly favored at home against the Huskers. This should be an interesting game in which we see each team's strength battle the other team's strength (Illinois defense, Nebraska offense) and each team's weakness battle the other team's weakness (Illinois offense, Nebraska defense). I still wonder if Illinois shouldn't be ranked lower than #58, but I guess Nebraska will be a good test to gauge this hypothesis.

Minnesota

Date Minnesota Team Rank Projected Win%
9/3 Home TCU 34 L
9/12 Away Colorado State 65 W
9/19 Home Kent State 115 W
9/26 Home Ohio 59 W
10/3 Away Northwestern 43 33%
10/10 Away Purdue 86 49%
10/17 Home Nebraska 48 49%
10/31 Home Michigan 11 31%
11/7 Away Ohio State 14 20%
11/14 Away Iowa 26 25%
11/21 Home Illinois 58 53%
11/28 Home Wisconsin 20 34%

THOR+ Record: 3-1 (75%)

Minnesota snuck away with a close win against a MAC team for the second week in a row. Meanwhile, their stock continues to tumble and their Big Ten schedule hasn't gotten any easier.

Nebraska

Date Nebraska Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home BYU 50 L
9/12 Home South Alabama 121 W
9/19 Away Miami (Florida) 38 L
9/26 Home Southern Mississippi 74 W
10/3 Away Illinois 58 47%
10/10 Home Wisconsin 20 42%
10/17 Away Minnesota 71 51%
10/24 Home Northwestern 43 55%
10/31 Away Purdue 86 57%
11/7 Home Michigan State 30 47%
11/14 Away Rutgers 98 63%
11/28 Home Iowa 26 46%

THOR+ Record: 3-1 (75%)

A week after I wondered when Nebraska's defense would fall in the eyes of THOR+, they come away with a less-than-inspiring win against Southern Miss and their Defense+ rating is now more in line with what the eyeballs are seeing. Accordingly, they have tumbled and their win projections are now a lot closer to that of a slightly above average team. It's still early and they haven't played any real Big Ten games yet, but there should be some real concerns just west of us on I-80.

Northwestern

Date Northwestern Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Stanford 10 W
9/12 Home Eastern Illinois FCS W
9/19 Away Duke 28 W
9/26 Home Ball State 104 W
10/3 Home Minnesota 71 67%
10/10 Away Michigan 11 26%
10/17 Home Iowa 26 48%
10/24 Away Nebraska 48 45%
11/7 Home Penn State 51 60%
11/14 Home Purdue 86 72%
11/21 Away Wisconsin 20 30%
11/28 Neutral Illinois 58 56%

THOR+ Record: 1-2 (33.3%)

Northwestern is 4-0 and that's pretty neat, but now the next test begins. They passed the non-conference exam, but the next four games are probably the most crucial for them in conference play. If they can come away 2-2 or better, they should still be contenders for the Big Ten West come November. If they go 1-3 or worse, then all that's left to play for is a nice bowl seeding.

Purdue

Date Purdue Team Rank Projected Win%
9/6 Away Marshall 70 L
9/12 Home Indiana State FCS W
9/19 Home Virginia Tech 68 L
9/26 Home Bowling Green 83 L
10/3 Away Michigan State 30 21%
10/10 Home Minnesota 71 51%
10/17 Away Wisconsin 20 18%
10/31 Home Nebraska 48 43%
11/7 Home Illinois 58 47%
11/14 Away Northwestern 43 28%
11/21 Away Iowa 26 20%
11/28 Home Indiana 99 63%

THOR+ Record: 2-1 (66.7%)

Oh, Purdue. I'm sorry. I am so, so sorry.

Wisconsin

Date Wisconsin Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Neutral Alabama 7 L
9/12 Home Miami (Ohio) 117 W
9/19 Home Troy 94 W
9/26 Home Hawai'i 84 W
10/3 Home Iowa 26 62%
10/10 Away Nebraska 48 58%
10/17 Home Purdue 86 82%
10/24 Away Illinois 58 61%
10/31 Home Rutgers 98 86%
11/7 Away Maryland 88 72%
11/21 Home Northwestern 43 70%
11/28 Away Minnesota 71 66%

THOR+ Record: 4-0 (100%)

Wisconsin dropped this week because their offense has not looked particularly explosive this year and the preseason projections are slowly being weeded out. The offense is not terrible, but it doesn't look nearly as scary as it has in past years. The defense has been pretty stout, though, which means we could be in for a defensive slugfest in Madison this weekend. I'm excited.

Big Ten East

Indiana

Date Indiana Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home S. Illinois FCS W
9/12 Home Florida International 79 W
9/19 Home Western Kentucky 39 W
9/26 Away Wake Forest 81 W
10/3 Home Ohio State 14 22%
10/10 Away Penn State 51 25%
10/17 Home Rutgers 98 57%
10/24 Away Michigan State 30 17%
11/7 Home Iowa 26 27%
11/14 Home Michigan 11 21%
11/21 Away Maryland 88 38%
11/28 Away Purdue 86 37%

THOR+ Record: 1-2 (33.3%)

Another week and Indiana is still the worst undefeated football team in the nation, according to THOR+. They remind me of Rutgers last year. The 2014 Scarlet Knights went 4-0 over their non-conference schedule and even started the season 5-1. They then went on to lose 4 of their next 6. (They did win a bowl game, though!) Illinois was my preseason candidate to start fast and finish ugly, but Indiana has a chance to do the same. Sorry for constantly being negative, Indiana fans, but at least Jordan Howard is pretty cool.

Maryland

Date Maryland Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Richmond FCS W
9/12 Home Bowling Green 83 L
9/19 Home South Florida 87 W
9/26 Away West Virginia 12 L
10/3 Home Michigan 11 25%
10/10 Away Ohio State 14 15%
10/24 Neutral Penn State 51 36%
10/31 Away Iowa 26 20%
11/7 Home Wisconsin 20 28%
11/14 Away Michigan State 30 20%
11/21 Home Indiana 99 62%
11/28 Away Rutgers 98 48%

THOR+ Record: 2-1 (66.7%)

Basketball season is almost here, Terps fans.

Michigan

Date Michigan Team Rank Projected Win%
9/3 Away Utah 24 L
9/12 Home Oregon State 92 W
9/19 Home UNLV 60 W
9/26 Home BYU 50 W
10/3 Away Maryland 88 75%
10/10 Home Northwestern 43 74%
10/17 Home Michigan State 30 68%
10/31 Away Minnesota 71 69%
11/7 Home Rutgers 98 88%
11/14 Away Indiana 99 79%
11/21 Away Penn State 51 63%
11/28 Home Ohio State 14 61%

THOR+ Record: 4-0 (100%)

I'm still not sold on Michigan's offense, but their defense should keep them in every game.

Michigan State

Date Michigan State Team Rank Projected Win%
9/4 Away Western Michigan 93 W
9/12 Home Oregon 77 W
9/19 Home Air Force 66 W
9/26 Home Central Michigan 105 W
10/3 Home Purdue 86 79%
10/10 Away Rutgers 98 72%
10/17 Away Michigan 11 32%
10/24 Home Indiana 99 83%
11/7 Away Nebraska 48 53%
11/14 Home Maryland 88 80%
11/21 Away Ohio State 14 34%
11/28 Home Penn State 51 69%

THOR+ Record: 4-0 (100%)

Michigan State isn't winning in particularly convincing fashion and their Oregon win looks a little less shiny now. But if they keep winning, it shouldn't matter. The 2009 Iowa team didn't win in a particularly pretty manner and that season turned out nicely.

Ohio State

Date Ohio State Team Rank Projected Win%
9/7 Away Virginia Tech 68 W
9/12 Home Hawai'i 84 W
9/19 Home Northern Illinois 37 W
9/26 Home Western Michigan 93 W
10/3 Away Indiana 99 78%
10/10 Home Maryland 88 85%
10/17 Home Penn State 51 75%
10/24 Away Rutgers 98 78%
11/7 Home Minnesota 71 80%
11/14 Away Illinois 58 64%
11/21 Home Michigan State 30 66%
11/28 Away Michigan 11 39%

THOR+ Record: 4-0 (100%)

Offensive consistency issues aside, I still think Ohio State is the best team in the conference. I think they could slip up once, though, and it could be potentially bad if that happens to come against a team that hails from the state of Michigan.

Penn State

Date Penn State Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Away Temple 41 L
9/12 Home Buffalo 95 W
9/19 Home Rutgers 98 W
9/26 Home San Diego State 107 W
10/3 Home Army 97 74%
10/10 Home Indiana 99 75%
10/17 Away Ohio State 14 25%
10/24 Neutral Maryland 88 64%
10/31 Home Illinois 58 60%
11/7 Away Northwestern 43 40%
11/21 Home Michigan 11 37%
11/28 Away Michigan State 30 31%

THOR+ Record: 4-0 (100%)

Penn State hasn't beaten anybody worth a damn, and they haven't really played anyone good, outside of Temple. We can say with relative confidence that their offense sucks, but it's their defense that could be the saving grace of their season. If they are elite, they could surprise some people. If they aren't, this could be a hell of a disappointing season for Nittany Lion fans.

Rutgers

Date Rutgers Team Rank Projected Win%
9/5 Home Norfolk State FCS W
9/12 Home Washington State 90 L
9/19 Away Penn State 51 L
9/26 Home Kansas 119 W
10/10 Home Michigan State 30 28%
10/17 Away Indiana 99 43%
10/24 Home Ohio State 14 22%
10/31 Away Wisconsin 20 14%
11/7 Away Michigan 11 12%
11/14 Home Nebraska 48 37%
11/21 Away Army 97 42%
11/28 Home Maryland 88 52%

THOR+ Record: 2-1 (66.7%)

Hey, like I said last week, at least you're not Kansas football, Rutgers.