I like this, but in my opinion, it's not good enough. Why just assume Illinois loses to Michigan or Nebraska loses to Wisconsin? I expanded on this to include all possible scenarios. Shoutout to @Illini2010-11 and @suburbanILLINI for getting me thinking about this.
So your telling me theres a chance?I like this, but in my opinion, it's not good enough. Why just assume Illinois loses to Michigan or Nebraska loses to Wisconsin? I expanded on this to include all possible scenarios. Shoutout to @Illini2010-11 and @suburbanILLINI for getting me thinking about this.
There are eight (8) games involving western division teams that still can influence the Big Ten West standings:
Illinois @ Michigan
Iowa @ Minnesota
Northwestern @ Purdue
Wisconsin @ Nebraska
Illinois @ Northwestern
Nebraska @ Iowa
Minnesota @ Wisconsin
Purdue @ Indiana
I refuse to just accept any particular outcome. Thus, there are 2 to the 8th possible results of these 8 games, or 256 different outcomes. Of those 256 outcomes, Illinois can still win the West in 90 of them (or roughly 35%), including still winning the division outright with no tiebreakers (24 out of the 256; 9.4% of possible outcomes). Admittedly, 69 of these scenarios require Illinois to at least beat Michigan, with 52 of them requiring Illinois to win both games. In all 89 scenarios, Illinois needs help... in many cases, a LOT of help.
For starters, I do want to point out that the percentages I’m using are not probabilities. The probability of Illinois winning the west is probably quite low (less than 5% would be my guess). These are just the percentages of outcomes possible.
For Illinois to outright in the division (meaning no tiebreakers at all; even head-to-head), they would need to win both remaining games and have none of Purdue, Iowa, and Minnesota also win their final two games. This makes up 24 of the possible outcomes.
Illinois can win if they go 2-0 and Purdue goes 1-1 or 0-2 regardless of whether Iowa or Minnesota goes 2-0 (they cannot both go 2-0 due to playing each other next week). Illinois would own every head-to-head tiebreaker in that scenario. This also makes up 24 of the possible outcomes.
Illinois can win if they go 2-0, Purdue goes 2-0, and Iowa goes 2-0 (NOT MINNESOTA). Rule B2 would give the tiebreaker, and thus the division, to Illinois based on them having the best record against the west. Rule B1 wouldn’t matter since all three teams would have a 1-1 record against each other. Therefore it’s important that in this scenario Minnesota doesn’t go 2-0. Purdue beat both of us. This makes up the final 4 possible outcomes of Illinois going 2-0 and winning the division.
All-in-all, there are 64 scenarios where Illinois can go 2-0, and they would win the West in all but 12 of them (all instances where Purdue is the only other team that goes 2-0, or Minnesota also goes 2-0 along with Purdue).
If Illinois goes 0-2 there is no scenario in which they can win the division (I think that makes sense and doesn’t come as a shocker to anyone). There are 64 scenarios where Illinois could go 0-2. I would put the chance of this happening low, too, although not as low as them going 2-0. For those non-math people at home, the fact that there 64 instances where Illinois goes 2-0 and 64 chances where Illinois goes 0-2 is not a coincidence. Just an FYI.
Illinois can still win the division if they go 1-1. This is where it gets both complicated and fun. If Illinois goes 1-1, it comes to tiebreakers, which can range from a simple head-to-head, all the way to how the tied teams played against the next best team that isn’t tied (and an even crazier scenario I’ll talk about at the end).
The simplest method for a 1-1 Illinois to with the West is for Purdue to go 0-2 and no other team to go 2-0. Just like earlier, Illinois would own all tiebreakers in that scenario which would either include head-to-head games against Iowa or Minnesota or the best record among all tied teams (Rule B1). This makes up 16 of the possible outcomes.
It may be shocking, but it is still possible for all five teams in contention to end 5-4 (every team goes 1-1 except Wisconsin, which would go 2-0). Wisconsin would need to win over Minnesota. Minnesota would need to win over Iowa. Iowa would need to beat Nebraska. Purdue and Illinois would need to go 1-1 against their opponents. In this scenario, Illinois would win due to their better record against the tied teams (3-1 while the best any other team would be is 2-2). This makes up 4 of the possible outcomes.
In any other scenario where Illinois goes 1-1, and no team goes 2-0, Iowa absolutely has to also go 1-1 with a win over Minnesota with the exception of three random scenarios. Not counting those three random scenarios, Illinois going 1-1 with Iowa going 1-1 with a win over Minnesota results in tiebreakers where Purdue gets eliminated before head-to-head matchups. Illinois then wins every head-to-head matchup. This makes up 14 of the possible outcomes.
In the other three scenarios where Illinois goes 1-1, and Minnesota goes 1-1 with a win over Iowa, Wisconsin must win their final 2 games. This would make sure there’s a 4-way tie for first, and Purdue gets eliminated before head-to-head matchups. This only accounts for 3 of the possible outcomes.
The final weird scenario (remember, I mentioned that earlier) is the scenario that happens exactly like this: in week 12 Illinois beats Michigan, Iowa beats Minnesota, Purdue beats Northwestern, and then Wisconsin beats Nebraska. In week 13 Northwestern beats Illinois, Nebraska beats Iowa, Minnesota beats Wisconsin, and Indiana beats Purdue.
In this instance we would have a 4-way tie for first, which isn’t the end of the world (remember, it’s still possible to have a five-way tie!). Looking at all the records of the tied teams, we would see Illinois, Iowa, and Purdue all have a 2-1 record, with Minnesota having a 0-3 record. Thus, we eliminate Minnesota, and they would be 4th place (more on this in a bit).
The next rule is to compare their record against the western conference. They would all be 4-2.
The next rule is to compare the records of the three tied teams based on winning percentage against the next highest placed teams in their division in order of finish. Minnesota is the next best team. But remember, they went 0-3 against Illinois, Iowa, and Purdue in this scenario, so that doesn’t help. So I think we would look at the next best team, which would be Wisconsin. Iowa and Illinois beat Wisconsin, but Purdue didn’t, so they would be eliminated, and then Illinois wins the division based on head-to-head with Iowa. This only accounts for 1 possible outcome.
So, there you have it. In exact detail, there are the 90 outcomes we want to happen the next two weeks. We are rooting for the beloved. We are rooting against Purdue. And strangely enough, we’re probably rooting for Iowa… at least this weekend.
If you are interested in my methodology, here’s my spreadsheet: Big Ten West Division (you'll want to zoom out to see it all ). This shows all possible outcomes sorted by number of tiebreakers needed to get a winner. And here is the link to the Big Ten Division tiebreakers: Big Ten West Tie Breakers.
At the end of the day, none of this changes anything, but it’s fun to look at, and it also shows how it’s not quite as simple as Ryan Burns states it is.
Have a great Sunday everyone!
Tough call here, but focus on the eight year old and not penalize him for behavior he was not responsible for back when he was 4 years old. Just saying.