What can we take from the results on Saturday to project what will happen going forward? ESPN’s Football Power Index has some surprising numbers, starting with the fact that Wisconsin now has the best chance to win the Big Ten:
FPI’s chances for each team to win the conference:
- Wisconsin: 36.4 percent (up from 15.7 percent)
- Michigan: 34.1 (down from 64.9)
- Penn State: 19.4 (up from 1.3)
- Ohio State: 8.8 (down from 17.1)
- Nebraska: 1.2
- Iowa: 0.1
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 13, 2016
- Penn State: 52.8 percent
- Ohio State: 51.2
- Iowa: 47
- Northwestern: 45
- Michigan: 33.5
- Wisconsin: 32.3
- Nebraska: 28.9
- Maryland: 12.9
- Minnesota: 6
- Illinois: 2.8
- Indiana: 1.6
- Michigan State: 1.0
- Rutgers: 1.0
- Purdue: 0.9
What do all these numbers mean?
- Wisconsin is favored to win the Big Ten in part because Penn State will likely win out and win the Big Ten East. An 11-2 Badgers team would be a strong College Football Playoff contender, even if Wisconsin doesn’t get a rematch against Ohio State or Michigan. But Wisconsin has better odds to win against Penn State than against either the Buckeyes or Wolverines.
- FPI thinks Ohio State will beat Michigan. The Buckeyes have a 57.3-percent chance to win the showdown in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes are also a huge favorite against Michigan State (93.1 percent), so 11-1 is slightly more likely than not right now.
- Michigan takes a big-time hit after losing to Iowa. The Wolverines were at 64.9 percent to win the Big Ten and at 40.3 to win out only one week ago. Now the Wolverines are behind Wisconsin with the second-best odds to win the conference. But still, if the Wolverines win out, they’ll be a playoff team.
- Penn State is only No. 21 in the FPI. For context, Michigan is second and Ohio State is third. The Nittany Lions are big favorites against Rutgers (94.4 percent) and Michigan State (83.3).
- Ohio State has less than a 10-percent chance to win the Big Ten. This is a team that could find itself No. 2 in plenty of polls. If the Buckeyes go 11-1 but don’t win the Big Ten East, the selection committee will have a team with one of the best resumes in the nation, even if Ohio State isn’t a division champion.