Yarina: A look at top teams' remaining slates

Here’s something everyone should be able to agree on: At the midway point of the Big Ten season, the conference title race is down to three teams. The teams are Michigan (8-1), Michigan State (8-1) and Iowa (6-3). The rest of the Big Ten is competing for fourth place and a first-round bye in the Big Ten tourney. Who’s going to win? That’s a tough question, but I’ve broken out the remaining schedule for each contender to try to make sense of it all.

With all the parity this season, no one will be surprised to find out each team has a similar schedule left.

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vs. Nebraska (3-5)
at Iowa (6-3)
at Ohio State (4-5)
vs. Wisconsin (4-5)
vs. Michigan State (8-1)
at Purdue (3-6)
vs. Minnesota (4-5)
at Illinois (2-7)
vs. Indiana (4-5)
Opponents record: 38-42; .475%
Home/away split: 5/4

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vs. Penn State (3-6)
at Wisconsin (4-5)
vs. Northwestern (5-5)
vs. Nebraska (3-5)
at Purdue (3-6)
at Michigan (8-1)
vs. Illinois (2-7)
vs. Iowa (6-3)
at Ohio State (4-5)
Opponents record: 38-43; .469%
Home/away split: 5/4

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IOWA (6-3)
vs. Ohio State (4-5)
vs. Michigan (8-1)
at Penn State (3-6)
at Indiana (4-5)
vs. Wisconsin (4-5)
at Minnesota (4-5)
vs. Purdue (3-6)
at Michigan State (8-1)
vs. Illinois (2-7)
Opponents record: 40-41; .494
Home/away split: 5/4

So, Iowa, which is two games off the pace, has the toughest remaining schedule – but even it’s opponents are a combined sub-.500. Michigan and Michigan State, basically, boast equal schedules, which means this race could go down to the wire.

There’s also this: All three teams have five home games left, and each plays the other two contenders one more time.

My thoughts? Michigan State takes the crown. Healthy or not, the Spartans are going to remain in this race. The good news is, Adreian Payne has to return at some point. Right? Give this team a healthy Payne, and it’s going to be tough to beat.

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.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (3 Comments)
KC Tom on 2/3/2014 @ 9:30pm EDT Said:

Or one could say Michigan has 2 difficult road (IA, tOSU) and 2 difficult home (WI, MSU) and maybe IU who drubbed than by 12, MSU has 3 difficult road games (WI, MICH, tOSU), and 1 home vs Iowa, and Iowa has only 1 difficult road gm (MSU) anhard difficult home games, so if home and away vs contenders is the yard stick, it appears that Iowa has the easiest path, not the most difficult, like only the Won Loss % might appear to show.

donnie on 2/4/2014 @ 9:58am EDT Said:

im a hawks fan but my allegence aside i think after thi week we will know much more about the bigten race. if iowa can win both of there games they will be my favorite. if michigan sweeps iowa i beleve they may be the front runner. mich state has some very difficult road games coming up so i dont forsee them making the run to the title especially since two very important starters are hurt

Jerrel Palmer on 2/4/2014 @ 9:30pm EDT Said:

MICHIGAN has the better all around team . imo it is there year to take the big ten tittle . but they are 3 or 4 teams that could get hot in the tourney and win it all ! the BIG TEN is the BEST CONFERENCE in AMERICA !