Halfway through the Big Ten season, the Gophers haven’t ruled anything out.
Gophers acting head coach Tracy Claeys wasn’t suggesting fans should order tickets for the Big Ten Championship Game. He simply said the team was still in contention for a Legends Division title.
Claeys had mentioned that the team needed to reset its goals after clinching a bowl berth with last Saturday’s victory over Nebraska.
“Until we’re proven differently, [a team with] two losses still has a chance to win the division,” Claeys said, referencing the Gophers’ 2-2 Big Ten record. “If you lose three, you don’t have a chance. But up until this point, if you lose two, in our [division], you’re still going to have an opportunity.”
Northwestern is 0-4 in the Big Ten and out of contention. But here’s a look at the title chances for the rest of the Legends Division:
Michigan State (4-0 in Big Ten)
Next five weeks: Michigan, bye, at Nebraska, at Northwestern, Minnesota.
Title chances: If the Spartans defeat Michigan and Nebraska, they’ll be in the driver’s seat. They lead the nation in scoring defense at 12.3 points per game. But their four conference victories have come against Iowa, Indiana, Purdue and Illinois — not a marquee list. Connor Cook has had good weeks and bad weeks at quarterback. The defense is stifling, but with an inconsistent offense, this team is hardly a lock.
Next five weeks: at Michigan State, Nebraska, at Northwestern, at Iowa, Ohio State.
Title chances: The Wolverines need to win their next four games before facing what looks to be a superior Ohio State team. Quarterback Devin Gardner must limit his turnovers, and Michigan’s defense needs to play much better than it did in a 63-47 win over Indiana. Winning at Michigan State would be key because the Wolverines get Nebraska and Ohio State at home. Michigan is 19-0 at home under Brady Hoke.
Next five weeks: Northwestern, at Michigan, Michigan State, at Penn State, Iowa.
Title chances: The Cornhuskers must win four of their final five, at least, especially the games against Michigan and Michigan State. That’s no easy task, especially considering Nebraska got outplayed by the Gophers last weekend. An injured Taylor Martinez isn’t the answer, so maybe Tommy Armstrong Jr. has to lead the offense. The defense has struggled against the run, but Northwestern, Michigan and Penn State are better at passing than running.
Next five weeks: Wisconsin, at Purdue, bye, Michigan, at Nebraska.
Title chances: The Hawkeyes would need to win their last four games and have Michigan State stumble three times, since the Spartans already defeated Iowa. The Hawkeyes played right with Ohio State two weeks ago, and if they can upset Wisconsin on Saturday, a 6-2 Big Ten finish is possible. Iowa has held opponents to 18.1 points per game, third fewest in the conference, so it’ll continue trying to win with its suffocating style.
Next five weeks: at Indiana, Penn State, bye, Wisconsin, at Michigan State.
|Tampa Bay||11/2/14 12:00 PM|
|Arizona||11/2/14 12:00 PM|
|Philadelphia||11/2/14 12:00 PM|
|NY Jets||11/2/14 12:00 PM|
|Jacksonville||11/2/14 12:00 PM|
|San Diego||11/2/14 12:00 PM|
|Washington||11/2/14 12:00 PM|
|St. Louis||11/2/14 3:05 PM|
|Denver||11/2/14 3:25 PM|
|Oakland||11/2/14 3:25 PM|
|Baltimore||11/2/14 7:30 PM|
|Indianapolis||11/3/14 7:30 PM|
|Cleveland||11/6/14 7:25 PM|
|(2) Florida State||42||FINAL|
|Air Force||10:30 AM|
|(19) Oklahoma||11:00 AM|
|(24) Duke||11:00 AM|
|(21) East Carolina||11:00 AM|
|Boston College||11:30 AM|
|North Carolina||11:30 AM|
|Central Mich||12:00 PM|
|Western Mich||1:30 PM|
|Western Ky||2:00 PM|
|NC State||2:00 PM|
|(10) TCU||2:30 PM|
|(20) West Virginia|
|Georgia State||2:30 PM|
|Texas State||3:00 PM|
|New Mexico St|
|Arkansas State||4:00 PM|
|South Alabama||4:00 PM|
|New Mexico||4:30 PM|
|(4) Auburn||6:00 PM|
|(7) Ole Miss|
|Old Dominion||6:00 PM|
|Colorado State||6:00 PM|
|San Jose St|
|(1) Miss State|
|Southern Miss||7:00 PM|
|(6) Notre Dame||7:00 PM|
|Oklahoma State||7:00 PM|
|(11) Kansas State|
|(13) Ohio State|
|(14) Arizona||9:30 PM|
|San Diego St||9:30 PM|
|(18) Utah||10:00 PM|
|(15) Arizona State|
|Utah State||10:00 PM|
|Bowling Green||11/4/14 7:00 PM|
|Toledo||11/4/14 7:00 PM|
|Buffalo||11/5/14 7:00 PM|
|Northern Ill||11/5/14 7:00 PM|
|(22) Clemson||11/6/14 6:30 PM|
|Memphis||11/7/14 6:30 PM|
|Utah State||11/7/14 7:00 PM|
|(12) Baylor||11/8/14 2:00 AM|
|(11) Kansas State||11/8/14 2:00 AM|
|Brt Columbia||6:00 PM|
|Toronto||11/2/14 11:00 AM|
|Ottawa||11/7/14 6:00 PM|
|Calgary||11/7/14 9:00 PM|
|Montreal||11/8/14 3:00 PM|
|Edmonton||11/8/14 6:00 PM|
|Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois||6 pm||X||42-20|
|Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St.||2:30 pm||X||35-24|
|Sep 13 - at TCU||3 pm||X||30-7|
|Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St.||3 p.m.||X||24-7|
|Sep 27 - at Michigan||2:30 pm||X||30-14|
|Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern||11 am||X||24-17|
|Oct 18 - vs. Purdue||11 am||X||39-38|
|Oct 25 - at Illinois||11 am||X||28-24|
|Nov 8 - vs. Iowa||11 am|
|Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State||TBA|
|Nov 22 - at Nebraska||TBA|
|Nov 29 - at Wisconsin||TBA|