Is it too early to break down Legends race?

Is it too early to break down Legends race?

We knew it was going to be a wild Legends Division race, and it’s lived up to the hype. Every team has played two Big Ten games, with the results yielding a pair of 2-0, 1-1 and 0-2 teams. The preseason contenders with the favorable schedules, Michigan State and Nebraska, are off to perfect starts, while the preseason contenders with the unfavorable schedules, Michigan and Northwestern, check in at 1-1 and 0-2, respectively.

[ MORE: Tom Dienhart answers Legends Division questions in his Mailbag ]

So, is the four-team race now a two-teamer? Not yet. The Huskers and Spartans may sit atop the division, and they may be the only Legends teams with sub-.500 slates remaining (see breakdown below), however there’s plenty of intradivision action to come.

Still, it does seem as though the winner of the Michigan State-Nebraska game on Nov. 16 will be in the driver’s seat for Indianapolis. Something else working in Michigan State and Nebraska’s favor: Iowa and Michigan, the teams directly behind them in the standings, both have to play No. 3 Ohio State, the Big Ten’s clear-cut best team.

That’s huge, leaving many asking who has the edge when it comes to the Huskers and Spartans? Yes, already.

It all depends on how one looks at it. Each has three home/road games left. That’s a draw. Michigan State’s opponents own a combined 3-8 Big Ten record; Nebraska’s are 5-7. We can basically call that a draw. Both play Illinois and Purdue from the Leaders Division (Nebraska drilled both, while Michigan State plays each the next two weeks). Draw, again.

But Michigan State has the easier third cross-division foe (vs. Indiana, which it beat; Nebraska plays at Penn State). That’s advantage Michigan State. In Nebraska’s favor – as mentioned above – it entertains Michigan State.

Basically, it’s too early to say with any certainty who will win this thing or how many teams will be in the race. For what it’s worth, I still like Nebraska. I picked them in the preseason and I give them the advantage, based on the home game vs. Michigan State. Prediction: The head-to-head tiebreaker will decide this race.

What say you?

Here’s a look at the remaining schedules:

MICHIGAN STATE (2-0)
vs. Purdue (0-2)
at Illinois (0-1)
vs. Michigan (1-1)
at Nebraska (2-0)
at Northwestern (0-2)
vs. Minnesota (0-2)
Opponents’ record: 3-8

NEBRASKA (2-0)
at Minnesota (0-2)
vs. Northwestern (0-2)
at Michigan (1-1)
vs. Michigan State (2-0)
at Penn State (1-1)
vs. Iowa (1-1)
Opponents’ record: 5-7

MICHIGAN (1-1)
vs. Indiana (1-1)
at Michigan State (2-0)
vs. Nebraska (2-0)
at Northwestern (0-2)
at Iowa (1-1)
vs. Ohio State (2-0)
Opponents’ record: 8-4

IOWA (1-1)
at Ohio State (2-0)
vs. Northwestern (0-2)
vs. Wisconsin (2-1)
at Purdue (0-2)
vs. Michigan (1-1)
at Nebraska (2-0)
Opponents’ record: 7-6

NORTHWESTERN (0-2)
vs. Minnesota (0-2)
at Iowa (1-1)
at Nebraska (2-0)
vs. Michigan (1-1)
vs. Michigan State (2-0)
at Illinois (0-1)
Opponents’ record: 6-5

MINNESOTA (0-2)
at Northwestern (0-2)
vs. Nebraska (2-0)
at Indiana (1-1)
vs. Penn State (1-1)
vs. Wisconsin (2-1)
at Michigan State (2-0)
Opponents’ record: 8-5

And here are the expanded standings:
Legends Division

About Brent Yarina BTN.com senior editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.
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