Here we will put Big Ten teams into 4 tiers for their potential on making the College Football Playoff. The tiers will include Eliminated, Must Win Out, Need A Signature Win, and In Good Position. Teams will move within the categories based on weekly performances until they hit eliminated.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-3)-The Scarlet Knights have already fired their Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator after being outscored 82-0 in their first two conference games.
Purdue Boilermakers (1-3)-Purdue came into the season with high hopes of contending in the West Division this year but they have been hit hard by the injury bug this season. They lost starting Quarterback Elijah Sindelar for the season and have now dropped three games.
Northwestern Wildcats (1-3)-Northwestern coming off of a season in which they appeared in the Big Ten Championship game have fallen flat offensively and the defense hasn’t been good enough to make up for it. This will be a learning season for Hunter Johnson a former five star recruit.
Illinois Fighting Illini (2-2)-Illinois was a long shot to begin with but started the season off 2-0 and pushed Nebraska to the brink. Illinois looks improved and heading in the right direction as of now under Lovie Smith.
Maryland Terrapins (2-2)-Three weeks ago this team was looked at as one of the most impressive teams in the Big Ten and then the offense hit a wall. Josh Jackson has not looked the same since the Syracuse game and Maryland has struggled in all aspects.
Indiana Hoosiers (3-2)-Indiana had looked good until the Ohio State game and then they ran into Michigan State for their second loss. Indiana is that team that can beat anybody on any day but struggles with consistency. Had they of won against the Spartans they would not be eliminated yet.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-2)-The optimism that surrounded the program preseason has worn off and they have not looked good the last two games. Technically they can still win the West division but the team will have to play much, much better.
Must Win Out
Michigan Wolverines (3-1)-Michigan got the match-up they needed to figure out the offense against Rutgers. Most of the time you can’t recover from a lopsided loss but with the remaining schedule for the Wolverines, it will be possible.
Michigan State Spartans(3-1)-Michigan State can beat anyone in the Big Ten if the offense shows competency. Any team in the tough East Division will be in the playoff with one loss, so there is no more room for error for the Spartans.
Need A Signature Win
Penn State Nittany Lions (4-0)-Penn State is very close to the next tier as they have dominated every team they have played besides Pittsburgh. With the remaining schedule featuring multiple ranked opponents the Nittany Lions can still drop a game and make the Playoff.
Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-0)-Minnesota are the cardiac Gophers this season as all four wins have come in one score games. While they have struggled against lesser competition they have come away with the win and that is what matters.
In Good Position
Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0)-The Buckeyes have been the best team by far in the Big Ten. They have not shown any weakness as of yet and handled every opponent easily. The schedule stiffens up a little bit starting this week, but as long as they play their game they are the team to beat.
Wisconsin Badgers (4-0)-Wisconsin has the best win in the Big Ten this year with their blowout victory over Michigan. Perception took a little step back after struggling a little bit with Northwestern but that’s a tough match-up. While Wisconsin has looked good we wont know how good they are until Jack Coan has to win the game for them.
Iowa Hawkeyes (4-0)-The Hawkeyes have played one close game with the instate rival Cyclones and dominated in every other game. Iowa features a balanced offense and a good defense that will make them a favorite in almost every game. We will know a little more after their match-up against Michigan this week.