Eric Francis/Getty Images
So, let's take a look at our final tally. According to the Fearless Forecast, Nebraska ends up at 10-2. If we look at the formula described in the introduction:
Better Win: Six (win all = six wins)
Should Win: Four (win a majority = three wins)
Might Win: Two (lose a majority = one win)
Won't Win: Zero
So, either way, Nebraska ends the season at 10-2, with a 6-2 conference record. Iowa and Minnesota do not have the talent to be legitimate division title contenders. Michigan State has the defense to win a conference, but I remain to be convinced about their offense.
Northwestern has the squad capable of winning the Legends Division, without question. But the schedule makers did the Purples no favors, giving them road games at Nebraska and Iowa and putting cross-divisional games against Ohio State and Wisconsin (in Madison, no less) on the calendar. That gauntlet looks too rough to call a division crown for Northwestern.
Which leaves Michigan and Nebraska to fight it out for a trip to Indianapolis. I already have Michigan beating Nebraska, which means the Wolverines will hold a tiebreaker over NU. So lets take a look at Michigan's schedule.
Of course, Michigan has to play Ohio State in a cross=divisional game, although it does get the Buckeyes in the Big House. Michigan also has to travel to Penn State, Michigan State, Northwestern and Iowa, with Nebraska its only competitive conference game at home (other than Ohio State).
In addition to an Ohio State loss, Michigan would have to lose two more conference games for Nebraska to win the division. Losing one more game, and ending at 6-2, is certainly plausible. But I don't see two additional losses for the Wolverines with Devin Gardner at the helm.
So, sorry, Nebraska fans. Even with a softer schedule in 2013, I do not see Nebraska getting a shot to avenge its loss in the conference title game this season. A 10-2 record might be good enough, though, to earn Nebraska an at-large BCS berth. And at least Bo Pelini won't lose four games this season!
If you’d like to contact Patrick, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or you could always use the Twitter machine to follow @patrickrunge.