Over it and moving on: Big Ten Divisional Tiebreakers

Submitted by westwardwolverine on October 18th, 2015 at 8:44 AM

Its over. We lost on a 1/500 fluke according to ESPN (and really given the disparity between our special teams and their special teams, it was probably more like 1/1000). Doesn't change the trajectory of this team in any way in my mind other than a playoff shot is probably out the door. Oh and now we have to read stupid infographics after Harbaugh retires 14-1 against Sparty about how the new coach will be the first in seven to beat MSU in his first attempt. Sucks, but what can you do?

So moving on: We should win every game going into Ohio State and quite frankly, I think we beat them. Assuming the Buckeyes beat MSU the week before that (and I cannot fathom a world where they don't) and we beat OSU the next week, the three teams should all be 7-1 to end the year. Who wins the division? Are we out because we have a worse overall record? Is it the highest ranked team in some poll? Do we need to hope for Sparty to blow a game (unfortunately it looks like @Nebraska and home to PSU are the only other chances for a loss on their schedule) so that our head to head win vs. OSU gets us in? 

I know I could google this, but I wanted to get the conversation turned towards the future. 



October 18th, 2015 at 9:23 AM ^

If MSU loses 2 games and we win out, Michigan wins the division.  MSU plays @ Nebraska, @ Ohio State, and gets Penn State at home.  They could definitely lose 2 of those 3.  Michigan just needs to keep getting better every week, move on from this shitstorm, and let the anger & hate from this game fuel the fire.


October 18th, 2015 at 11:41 AM ^

I agree.

And honestly, looking at MSU's schdule, every team could definitely best them. Now, you might wanna say, yea right. But. That's why they PLAY. Becuase nothing is guaranteed.

Indiana has a crazy offense, and played OSU a few weeks ago until the end. Nebraska is never easy. Maryland has essentially no chance. And then they finish with Ohio State and Penn State, who will be fighting for a great bowl.

The idea that MSU couldn't drop a couple and we, due to karma, win out and surpass MSU isn't unthinkable in the least. And it would be such sweet sweet revenge. 

Did I want that win? Hell Yes. In light of tragedy, do I now want the next best thing? Hell Yes Again.

Indiana, Nebraska, Maryland, OSU (for that week), and Penn State, just became my new favorite teams, for each respective following week!

Red is Blue

October 18th, 2015 at 8:56 AM ^

I never got why out of conference record was used as a tie breaker. By extension, I also don't get why ranking matters. The out of conference schedules can be vastly different with respect to difficulty. Isn't the B1G encouraging teams to schedule tougher non-conference games? If so, why disadvantage teams who schedule tough OoC games and happen to lose?


October 18th, 2015 at 2:02 PM ^

It makes perfect sense to take into account rankings and I think that should be the first tiebreaker in a three way tie (when head-to-head doesn't decide it).  The reason being, the CFP polls are really the only way to actually take into account the strength of non-conf sched (without using algorithm rankings), and the conference should want the highest ranked team going to the conference championship because it means that team has the best chance of going to the playoff. Overall record should not be considered because non-conf schedules can be very different.  Alas, that is not the case.

Red is Blue

October 19th, 2015 at 11:11 AM ^

I put a lot less faith in the rankings taking into account SoS than you apparently do.  It seems  to me that SoS is generally used in the poll as a tie break between two teams with the same record.  Where you start in the ranking, and the timing of any losses you have is also important.  A team that starts with a higher ranking and loses early will generally be more highly ranked than a team that starts with a lower ranking and loses late.

How does a pollster take in account potentially extremely uneven SoS and different OoC records?   Should the pre-season prediction biases and the timing of loses be an important consideration of who wins the tie-breaker?




October 18th, 2015 at 1:32 PM ^

With two teams tied on in conference record, head to head is the tie break. So yes, if we win out, then we need MSU to lose twice in conference. We go to championship! I think MSU blows it against Indiana. Then we just have to hope they also lose to OSU. My ideal scenario is MSU loses to Indiana, Nebraska, OSU, and Penn State, all on fluke last second plays.


October 18th, 2015 at 9:25 AM ^

No, it's conference record that matters, not overall record. If MSU loses twice in the big ten and we win out then we would go to the conference championship game based on a head-to-head win over OSU (unlikely, I know) and the fact that we have 1 conference loss to state's 2. It's really unlikely to happen, but it's possible

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October 19th, 2015 at 12:43 AM ^

No, you are wrong. If MSU loses 2 of their remaining games, and we beat OSU (and win out), we would go to the championship.

Conference record is the only thing that matters in the B1G standings. 

We would be 7-1 in the B1G.

Ohio St (assuming they only lose to us) would be 7-1.

MSU would be 6-2.

Tie for first in the division between us and Ohio St., the first tie breaker is 

"(a)    If two teams are tied, the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the representative."



Therefore, we would go to the Big 10 championship game.

Of course, all of this relies on MSU losing 2 of their next games, and us winning all of ours. Pretty unlikely. But to say there's no chance of it is wrong in itself.


October 18th, 2015 at 12:43 PM ^

I'm not so sure.  This would be a real test for the voters.  Assuming this scenario happens, MSU would have lost to OSU, and their drop in rankings will depend on how badly they lose probably.  

If we then go on to beat an almost certainly #1 OSU the following week, the voters could easily justify moving us ahead of MSU depending on how they view yesterdays game.  Plus, we'll have a pretty significantly tougher SOS if Utah keeps doing what they're doing.

Moving us ahead of OSU might depend on us winning somewhat convincingly though as well.

Edit: This point is moot because overall record is first tiebreaker meaning they'd both have to lose another game (totaling 2 losses). In which case, we'd certainly be ranked ahead of both of them if we win out.


October 18th, 2015 at 2:11 PM ^

And actually, now that I read that tiebreaker rule #1 again, I think it would come down to the CFP rankings:

1.    The records of the three tied teams will be compared against each other.

I've now read this multiple different ways.  This could mean the overall records are compared against each other, but I actually think it means the records IN GAMES AGAINST EACH OTHER will be compared.  As someone mentioned above, this would leave all three teams 1-1 in games against the other two tied teams. (As opposed to 2000 when there was a three way tie at 6-2 but we lost to Purdue and NW and thus lost the tie breaker).

So I think we'd still have a chance to win the div with two losses over two one-loss teams!  Just gotta dominate the rest of the way.


October 18th, 2015 at 8:52 AM ^

MSU did enough tomfoolery to get to 21 and a Rudock-led offense probably won't put 21 on OSU. I think we finish 9-3/8-4, go to a nice bowl, and then people hype us as a top 10 team next season because of all the returners we have