Division Tie Breakers

Submitted by wildbackdunesman on October 25th, 2011 at 7:08 PM

I know it is way too early and there is a lot of work left to be done, but...


BigTen Division Tie Breakers:

1. Conference record

2. Head-to-head record

3. Record within the division

4. BCS ranking



Current Standings:

* - Michigan State 3-0 6-1
* - Michigan 2-1 6-1
* - Nebraska 2-1 6-1
Iowa 2-1 5-2
Minnesota 0-3 1-6
Northwestern 0-4 2-5

In order for Michigan to reach the conference championship game it looks like we's need MSU to lose twice in order to pass them as they have us head to head.

There can't be a 3 way tie of one loss teams -- as Michigan vs MSU is the only matchup yet to have happened in the top 4 of the division.  It will be tough for us to win out and have MSU lose twice.

It is possible for Michigan to win a 3 way tie of 2 loss teams against MSU and either Iowa or Nebraska...assuming we beat the other one and MSU loses to them.  What helps us there is that both MSU and Iowa have a loss out of conference lowering their BCS ranking, because at that point we'd have a better overall record.



October 25th, 2011 at 7:12 PM ^

I like how Minnesota is ranked higher than Northwestern because they start with an 'M' instead of an 'N'.

On topic, didn't this happen a couple years ago when Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech had a three way tie and it came down to BCS rankings?


October 26th, 2011 at 9:49 AM ^

What determines the division winner?  Is it just division record? There is no mention of overall record.  Would it be possible (hypothetically) for MSU to lose all non-division games and win all division games and win the division with a 5-7 record?  While Michigan could be 11-1 with their only loss to MSU and be 2nd in the division?


October 26th, 2011 at 10:47 AM ^

Hypothetical: If MSU goes 5-0 in division but loses the 2 B1G non-division games to finish 5-2 in B1G & 5-0 in the Legends division and Michigan goes 6-1 with it's 1 loss being to MSU to finish 6-1 in B1G & 4-1 in Lengends division Michigan wold win the division?


MSU division record 5-0 B1G record 5-2

Michigan division record 4-1 B1G record 6-1

= Michigan Legends division champs?



October 26th, 2011 at 11:14 AM ^

Exactly. Division record only comes into consideration after conference record and head to head.

Of course, the only non-West division game that MSU has left is against Indiana (their protected crossover game .... yeah) so if they lose 2, they're likely going to be division games.


October 25th, 2011 at 7:22 PM ^

What happens if both Mich teams win out, then Mich St loses the rematch in the B1G championship game.  Would we then have a chance of being the second B1G BCS team or the fact that they made the championship game outweighs the fact that they have two losses.

Also, I know the conference isn't guaranteed two BCS berths but it is a trend.

coastal blue

October 26th, 2011 at 9:34 AM ^

of an 11-1 Michigan team getting passed over for an 11-2 MSU team. Just because we've been out of the BCS picture for a few years doesn't change the fact that we would pull far better numbers than Sparty ever could. There is literally no way MSU would take the the second BCS spot over us. (Think about when Kansas got in over Missouri over a few years ago for an actual technical example.)

Win out and we go to a BCS bowl one way or another. 

One thing's for sure: Michigan fans aren't as arrogant as we used to be. 

State Street

October 25th, 2011 at 7:28 PM ^

In that hypothetical I could see them choosing UM: we would have 1 loss to MSU's 2.  

However, why couldn't there be a 3 way tie between UM, MSU, and Nebraska?  If each team finishes with one loss, we would have beaten Nebraska and NU would have beaten MSU.  In that case each team would be 1-1 against the group and the tiebreaker would come down to BCS ranking.  Possible?


October 25th, 2011 at 7:51 PM ^

BCS bowls usually take the highest ranked non-divisional champion for a second berth.

On top of that, even if Michigan is ranked 14, and MSU is at 7 or something, we'll get the nod. There are only so many traditional programs left in the BCS standings at the moment (us, Nebraska, PSU, Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas). One of those teams easily gets a bid over Sparty if they're eligible, regardless of record.


October 25th, 2011 at 8:08 PM ^

Especially when you cross out Georgia (three teams rule) and one of the B1G teams for the same reason, and figure that Oklahoma still has a good shot at getting the autobid. Assuming we win all the remaining regular season games, we'll be in a BCS bowl unless we choke epically in the BTCG (after Sparty would choke even more epically to put us there in the first place). Actually, scratch that. Nebraska or PSU could take a spot from us. No chance Sparty does, though.


October 25th, 2011 at 7:32 PM ^

that was a freaking mess the yeat Texas, OK, and Tech all tied. That may have been the worst tie breaker ever. Tech knocks off number 1 sooners on the road if i recall right and doesnt get the nod.

coastal blue

October 26th, 2011 at 9:37 AM ^

Texas should have gotten the title game spot. 

They beat OU by 10 at a neutral field and lost at TT by a last second touchdown. 

OU blew out TT at home late in the season, so of course that was all voters cared about. 


October 25th, 2011 at 7:33 PM ^

1.  Combined number of felonies and misdemeanors on roster.

2.  Combined number of players suspended by the B1G on the roster.

3.  Number of coaches who have admitted in public that they coach their team to play illegally on every play and hope they don't get caught.

4.  Head coach made out of the highest percentage of vinegar and water.

I think we're in trouble here.

Mr. Yost

October 25th, 2011 at 7:33 PM ^

Go 11-1, and get to a BCS game even if it's not 12-1 and the Rose Bowl. After the past 3 years anyone who complains at that should be junk punched. Stood up. And junk punched again.


October 25th, 2011 at 9:39 PM ^

You could make those statements in a context-less vaccum and be reasonably sure that you'd be correct.

But this year's Big Ten has no elite teams and every game is winnable.

Based on  our chances of beating our remaining opponents being

purdue -90, iowa - 55, illinois - 55, nebraska -45, ohio state - 50

probability math says a 6% chance of 11-1.

And that assumes that each game (and its probability of M winning) is independent, when in reality those %'s probably rise with each succesive win.


October 25th, 2011 at 8:17 PM ^

4 out of 5 of MSU's games are against divisional foes. So, if they lose 2 games, unless they lose to Indiana, they will have 2 division losses. If we beat Nebraska and Iowa, win 2 of the other 3, and Nebraska wins the rest of their games, then we will win the division.


October 26th, 2011 at 2:48 AM ^


Look at the 3rd tie breaker. If we are in a 3-way tie with MSU and Nebraska, MSU having an additional loss in the conference knocks them out and gives us the tie breaker. If they lose to Indiana and one of the other teams, then it goes to BCS ranking. MSU will be ranked lower for having 3 losses and I would imagine that we would be within 1 of Nebraska or ranked ahead of them considering we just beat them. So, as long as we beat Nebraska and Iowa, win 2 of the other 3, Nebraska wins out, and MSU loses at least 2, we are probably set. If MSU beats Indiana then that seals it given the rest of the above.


October 25th, 2011 at 8:23 PM ^

Road games in the B1G are tough. Last year they got blown out by Iowa on the road and needed a big comeback (complete with trick play) to beat Northwestern. They did lose by 18 to ND this year and while the score was farther apart than the game, they still were outplayed some.

The harder part is for us to win 4 of 5 games. If we do that, I think we will all be happy regardless.


October 25th, 2011 at 8:41 PM ^

I think record within the Division should be the first thing  they look at.  Why should you be penalized if you play tougher teams from the other side? 


October 25th, 2011 at 9:53 PM ^

We need a week or two to really get a better sense of the standings. Any of the top 4 teams still have a good chance, the bottom two do not. That is all we've really learned. MSU is in the driver's seat, but it does seem likely they lose one or twice. I think they'll lose on the road this weekend.

It really hurts to think about what this looks like if Ohio had beaten MSU/Nebraska.






coastal blue

October 26th, 2011 at 9:41 AM ^

If we win out, we will be in a BCS bowl game. It's as simple as that. 


Let's say MSU wins out and wins their rematch against Wisconsin. They would seal the auto-bid and Wisconsin would have two losses to our one. We get that nod over Wisconsin every time. 

Or, if MSU loses the rematch to Wisconsin, they would have two losses to our one and once again, we would easily step in over them as we can draw far better TV ratings, ticket sales, etc. 

turd ferguson

October 26th, 2011 at 12:29 AM ^

If we win out, I think we probably go to the BTCG.  Here's MSU's remaining schedule:

@ Nebraska
vs. Minnesota
@ Iowa
vs. Indiana
@ Northwestern

Their homes games are soft, but I bet they lose on Saturday and then split the Iowa and Northwestern games.

I just doubt that we'll win out.  If that happens, we have to hope for a multi-team tie and hope for the best with tiebreakers.


October 26th, 2011 at 12:31 AM ^

I just want us to win all our games and Denard to start hitting 75% of his passes. We're not going to play for the NC so whatever bowl we go to, I just hope it's someplace warm.

BTCG? Great. If Not? Meh.


October 26th, 2011 at 7:19 AM ^

Until the BCS is completely objective, why don't you make it something fun, like Blogpoll ranking, or Oiuja Board ranking. Does the BCS not use the Coaches' Poll...and has the Coaches' Poll not been gamed in the past by less-than-scrupulous coaches?
<br>Division champ should be:
<br>Division record
<br>Head to head
<br>Conference record
<br>Overall record
<br>Putting conference record first rewards teams with weaker interdivision schedules. To put division record at #3 minimizes the point of divisions, in the first place.


October 26th, 2011 at 9:48 AM ^

The counterpoint, of course, is that putting conference record third minimizes the point of having a conference. In you situation, you have two conferences with a loose affiliation who agree to have a playoff.

There is literally no sports league that ranks division record first -- NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL -- all of them favor the greater information available from a greater pool of results. NCAA football is unique in creating a system where a certain number of games don't count meaningfully toward championships, but to reduce that number to 5 games would introduce a number of unrepresentative division champions that would potentially hurt the league.

Example. Team A goes 5-3 in conference, losing every cross division game. They also lose a non-conference game for a final record of 8-4, finishing out of the final rankings.

Team B goes 11-1, losing only at Team A on a Hail Mary after their star player goes out with a sprained ankle. They finish #4.

In the other division, Team C has run the table and haven't played Team B. They beat Team A by 35, and are ranked #2, (behind a 10-2 SEC team that has signed 246 recruits over the course of three years, commentators rave about that team's depth of talent.)

Is it in the best interest of the conference, and the wider exercise of "who is the best team in conference" to have the 5-3 (5-0) team make the championship game over the 7-1 (4-1) team?


October 26th, 2011 at 10:55 AM ^

Or, to put it more bluntly, if you think the Michigan State-Wisconsin game should not affect the Big Ten standings, then why is the Big Ten making those teams play each other in the first place?  Why not just have a 5-game conference schedule of division games and let the teams fill out the other 7 games in their schedule against whomever they want.

Division-only records is a terrible idea, which is why no league in the nation uses that system.