If you’re a fan of college football, you’re probably a fan of chaos. Nowhere else does top teams look unstoppable one week, only to come back the next to lose as massive favorites.
That’s what the Big Ten West has been this season. Wisconsin started slow with a 0-2 in-conference record, though has bounced back with three straight impressive victories.
Iowa looked great to start the year, yet dropped a massive contest at Purdue. Illinois hasn’t looked great in Bret Bielema’s first season, yet it went on the road and beat Penn State. The Big Ten West now has four teams that have a legitimate shot at representing the division in the Big Ten Championship.
Minnesota and Wisconsin control their own destiny. But Iowa and Purdue are far from dead.
Putting away likely outcomes, there is one scenario where all four teams tie atop the division. Wisconsin will end up going to Indy in this scenario thanks to head-to-head records.
But nothing would more perfectly represent college football than four teams finishing with a 5-3 record atop the west. Here’s that scenario:
Wisconsin loses to Nebraska, wins other three contests
Oct 30, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Braelon Allen (0) rushes with the football during the third quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
This would mean Wisconsin (3-2) wins at Rutgers today, wins against Northwestern, loses against Nebraska and wins at Minnesota.
Final record: 6-3 (with wins against Purdue, Iowa and Minnesota)
Purdue loses to Ohio State, wins other three contests
Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell (16) throws the ball during a NCAA Big Ten Conference football game against Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.
211016 Purdue Iowa Fb 009 Jpg
This would mean Purdue (3-2) beats Michigan State, loses to Ohio State, beats Northwestern and beats Indiana.
Final record: 6-3 (with wins against Iowa, Minnesota)
Minnesota loses to Illinois and Wisconsin, wins other two contests
Sep 2, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Gophers running back Bryce Williams (21) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports
This would mean Minnesota (4-1) loses to Illinois, beats Iowa, beats Indiana and loses to Wisconsin
Final record: 6-3 (with a win against Iowa)
Iowa loses to Minnesota, wins other three contests
Oct 30, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Nick Herbig (19) strips the ball away from Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback Spencer Petras (7) during the second quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
This would mean Iowa (3-2) beats Northwestern, loses to Minnesota, beats Illinois and beats Nebraska.
Final record: 6-3 (without a win against Purdue, Wisconsin or Minnesota)
Wisconsin advances to Indianapolis in this scenario. But it is pure chaos.