What Are Penn State’s Chances Of Winning The Big Ten?
After a crazy and chaotic Saturday of college football, the Penn State Nittany Lions now find themselves with a great chance of winning the Big Ten East.
The first step to winning the Big Ten Conference is to win your division. By doing that you reach the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis. And all of a sudden, the Penn State Nittany Lions have a great chance of doing this.
After defeating the Indiana Hoosiers by a score of 45-31 on Saturday the Nittany Lions improved to 8-2 overall on the season. This includes the Nittany Lions being 6-1 in Big Ten Conference play. The 6-1 record puts them in a three-way tied atop the Big Ten East along with Michigan and Ohio State.
This three-way tie was forced due to Michigan losing on Saturday. The previously undefeated Wolverines lost 14-13 to Iowa on Saturday night. And with that loss, they opened the door for Penn State to reach the Big Ten Championship Game.
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Penn State, of course, defeated Ohio State but lost to Michigan. The Nittany Lions now need the Wolverines to lose another game this season. Luckily for Penn State, Michigan has a trip to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes left on the schedule.
If Penn State wins its two remaining games, which they should since Rutgers (2-8) and Michigan State (3-7) are the two worst teams in the Big Ten, and Michigan loses to Ohio State, then the Nittany Lions will be headed to Indianapolis on December 3 to play for the Big Ten Championship.
Personally, I believe that the Nittany Lions will win their two remaining games and finish the season 10-2. Furthermore, I also expect Ohio State to beat Michigan in two weeks.
Ever since the Buckeyes lost at Beaver Stadium, they have been a completely different team. Right now, they are playing better football than Michigan. Plus, the game being at the Horseshoe benefits them as well. If those things happen, the Nittany Lions will win the Big Ten East.
According to ESPN, Penn State has the best chance of winning the division out of any of the teams in the Big Ten East.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 13, 2016
So, it appears that their FPI projections also expect the Wolverines to lose to the Buckeyes next Saturday, while the Nittany Lions win out.
All of a sudden Penn State finds itself in a great position to reach the Big Ten Championship Game. If the Nittany Lions were to win that game and finish the season as champions of the Big Ten with an 11-2 record, reaching the College Football Playoff becomes a real possibility. But, to take a page out of Coach Franklin’s book, for now let’s keep the focus on Rutgers. Because for all of this to happen the Nittany Lions need to keep taking care of business.
Oh, and do not forget to root for Indiana when they play Michigan this Saturday. And, as weird as it may feel, be ready to be Buckeye fans on November 26.
Even if Penn State fails to reach the Big Ten Championship Game, or gets there and loses, it is incredible to even be having this conversation. No one expected the Nittany Lions to be this good in 2016. Especially after they were thumped by Michigan to start conference play. However, much to the credit of James Franklin and his players, the Nittany Lions have turned it around. And they could very possibly find themselves playing for a conference championship in three weeks.