Brent Yarina, Senior Editor, February 3, 2014

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 senior editor Brent Yarina covers football and men's basketball for 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.