Illinois Football: Big Ten Championship game still in reach for Illini

Illinois football has hit a bit of a rough patch the past couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean we are out of the running to win the Big Ten West.

Yes, the loss to Purdue made things a lot more complicated for the Illini. There is still a path for the Orange and Blue to take on either Ohio State or Michigan in the Big Ten Championship game, though.

I believe Illinois can put up a good fight this weekend against Michigan. But, logic says, the odds of the Illini falling to the Wolverines are greater than the odds of us winning. So, let’s hypothetically say we drop the game to Michigan.

The final game of the season is at Northwestern. While the Wildcats have put up some good fights this season, I am going to give this game to the Illini. After this win, Illinois would then move to 8-4 on the season and 5-4 in the Big Ten.

Illinois football is going to need some help from the rest of the Big Ten West.

As of right now, there is a four-way tie for first place in the Big Ten West. That seems crazy, but Illinois fans are going to need this to get even crazier. That is right, we need this bad boy to be a five-way tie for the division lead when it is all said and done.

If Illinois splits the final two games of the season, we finish 8-4 overall and 5-4 in the Big Ten. Purdue, Iowa, and Minnesota need to split their final two games of the season. Lastly, Wisconsin needs to win their final two games of the regular season.

This would put Illinois, Purdue, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin in a five-way tie for first place in the Big Ten West. The divisional tie-breaker for the Big Ten, if it is greater than a two-way tie, goes by best record versus tied teams. So, the team that would go to the Big The Championship game would be the team that had the best record against the other four teams.

With the scenario I laid out above, Illinois would end up with a record of 3-1 against the other four teams. Purdue, Iowa, and Wisconsin would have a 2-2 record. Minnesota would finish last with a 1-3 record. This sends Illinois to Indianapolis.

What Illinois football fans need to happen this weekend.

  • Purdue loss to Northwestern – I am not too confident Purdue will fall to the Wildcats. This isn’t the game I am watching when it comes to the Boilermakers’ final two games. I think next week against Indiana on the road is a better chance for Purdue to lose. But falling to Northwestern would be huge.
  • Iowa loss to Minnesota – This is a matchup of two teams that need to lose. This is also Iowa’s best chance to lose. Their next game is at home against Nebraska. Falling to the Golden Gophers would be optimal right now. Minnesota would then take on Wisconsin in the final game of the season, which would then need to be a loss.
  • Wisconsin win over Nebraska – Illinois fans need the Badgers to run the table, and a win over Nebraska would be a good starting point. Wisconsin has come on strong the past few weeks, so I can see this win happening.

This is what Illinois fans need to keep an eye out for this weekend. Of course, a victory over Michigan would change everything, but I am trying to be more realistic. Let’s have the scenario above happen and let everything else fall into place next weekend.