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B1G West Race: A Race In Name Only?

Hey there friends. Now that the race for the B1G West is about over, why don't we talk about it?

Everything is B1G except the can of spray paint that was used to fill in the letters.
Everything is B1G except the can of spray paint that was used to fill in the letters.
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

I apologize profusely for not having this be a more regular effort during the season, but holy crap life and voting Michigan bottom-half of the conference in the OTE Power Polls can be time consuming.

The Leader

Iowa (8-0, 4-0)

Remaining Schedule: at Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue, at Nebraska

My Predicted Finish: 3-1

Do you know who has the biggest inferiority complex in all of sports right now? Iowa football fans.  All you need to do is wait for them to say anything along the lines of "8-0" or "We're undefeated," throw in a little pause and a "Yeah, but..." and they'll explode.  And you know what?  Both sides are right.  It takes good football and some luck to go 8-0, which is why Minnesota hasn't done it since Pearl Harbor.  The really scary thing is that we're the toughest thing between Iowa and 12-0, although we should all keep an eye on that Black Friday matchup with Nebraska.

The Contenders

Northwestern (6-2, 2-2)

Remaining Schedule: Penn State, Purdue, at Wisconsin, "at" Illinois (in Chicago)

My Predicted Finish: 3-1

Since the Gophers softened up Northwestern for the rest of the conference, things have not been pretty.  Sure, they beat Nebraska. But everybody's beating Nebraska right now that we softened them up.  Fortunately for our favorite nerds, they've got 2 very winnable games left (Purdue, Illinois) 1 interesting game (wisconsin), and then the suddenly formidable Penn State. They'd need quite a bit of luck to catch Iowa, and I just don't see that happening with the Hawkeyes holding the tiebreaker.

wisconsin (7-2, 4-1)

Remaining Schedule: at Maryland, Northwestern, at Minneosta

My Predicted Finish: 1-2

Stop. Take a look at the wisconsin schedule.  Now think about how pathetic anything less than 11-1 with that slate is, and how I think they're going to go 8-4.

Yeah, But...

Minnesota (4-4, 1-3)

Remaining Schedule: at THEE Ohio State University, at Iowa, Illinois, wisconsin

My completely biased predicted finish: 3-1

Let's go over a list of what's went well for Minnesota this year: ______.  Ok, now that we've got that out of the way we can talk about what's coming up.  Minnesota played one of their 3 best games of the year last Saturday, and are now 1-2 in those games.  And we're not going to beat tOSU, but I do think we may be able to cover the spread thanks to the Buckeyes losing to BYE last weekend.  But (and as always, this is a huge but) we are able to continue to play like we did against Michigan, we're going to go 3-1 down the stretch.  The Defense looked much better with the return of BBC, and the offense looked Good for 59:43.  There's no reason to think that Illinois, an average wisconsin, and a good Iowa can't be beat by the squad we saw on Saturday.

Hey, this isn't 9-4

Nebraska (3-6, 1-4)

Remaining Schedule: Michigan State, at Rutgers, Iowa

My predicted finish: 1-2

You fired Bo Pelini because he's got a potty mouth and 9-4 isn't good enough for Nebraska.  At least you can put something about the Minnesota win on your Christmas cards this year.  Maybe a caption that says "Hey, we'd almost have a winning record if football games were 58 minutes!"  And one last thing: the last time Mike Riley won a division, it was in Canadian football (Do metric wins count differently) and I was still in Kindergarten.

What are you doing?

Illinois (4-4, 1-3)

Remaining Schedule: at Purdue, Ohio State, at Minnesota, Northwestern

My predicted finish: 1-3

Purdue (2-6, 1-3)

Remaining Schedule: Illinois, at Northwestern, at Iowa, Indiana

My predicted finish: 0-4

These two get paired together because they belong together.  The only reason that Nebraska isn't here is because Mike Riley won't get fired after one pathetic season.  Both of them probably should be looking for new coaches next year, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit if Purdue AD Morgan Burke was too busy cashing BTN checks to realize he even had a football team under his supervision.  Both of these teams are messes, and the only redeeming quality is that they both found a way to beat Nebraska.