The Big Ten West seemed all but settled a few weeks ago with the Illini on the rise. Now it’s a two-team race without the Illini.
The Big Ten West has always been the losing division, and the West Division is fundamentally known for being so inferior to the East Division. Regardless, the western league offers more challengers for the title game than the eastern league. We know it’s one of two teams, sometimes three, on the east side of the Big Ten every year. The West has usually been one of two teams lately, but since 2000 there have been a comparatively large number of different teams. This year, it looked very much like Illinois to win the Big Ten West as they rolled into a relatively easy part of their schedule.
Illinois had Nebraska, Michigan State and Purdue after a bye. They beat Nebraska away and had Michigan State at home right after being smoked and 8 players suspended by Michigan. Illinois lost. They then play Purdue at home for their last easy chance to secure the Big Ten West. Illinois lost. Then of course they go to Michigan and have played their best football all year but only two weeks late.
We also knew, whether it was the umpires, the NCAA, the football gods, or whoever, the Michigan team wouldn’t lose this game a week before their biggest rivalry game since 2006. The fact of the matter is that Illinois may have had one of the easiest routes to the Big Ten title game and they just gave it away.
So who’s looking good to win the Big Ten West? Well it seems like a two horse race at the top and to be honest the top of the general classification is hard to take. We all thought they were dead, but Iowa has risen to take the lead alongside Purdue.
Both conference records sit at 5-3, while three teams below them sit at 4-4 in the Big Ten conference. Iowa will play Nebraska in Iowa on Friday the 25th, where things are looking pretty good for Iowa for many reasons. Purdue has to play in Indiana on Saturday the 26th where it really could go either way as Purdue is the most volatile team in America each year. Indiana played horribly this year but last week they beat Michigan State in OT so who really knows.
If both Iowa and Purdue lose and the teams win 4-4 then it would be a 5 team tie for the Big Ten West using all sorts of tiebreakers and I just don’t know what that lies There are five different teams. That’s just too many scenarios. We’ll have to wait and see how games play out this week to see who makes the trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game. All in all, Big Ten West was fun until Illinois finally did what they did. Now the Big Ten West are the mess of substandard football again.