Big Ten Football Q&A: Handicapping the Crazy Legends Division Race and More

Andrew Coppens@@andycoppensContributor IOctober 10, 2013

EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 05:  Kain Colter #2 of the Northwestern Wildcats celebrates a touchdown catch against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ryan Field on October 5, 2013 in Evanston, Illinois. Ohio State defeated Northwestern 40-30.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This week we're unveiling two new features here on the Big Ten blog for Bleacher Report, and after showing you our "Big Ten Notebook" earlier this week, welcome to the new "Big Ten Q&A."

Each Thursday we will look at some of the best questions posed and submitted to me via the comments section in articles, from the Bleacher Report inbox and, of course, from Twitter

So, don't be shy, and let's kick things off with an intriguing question! 

This division is one I thought I had figured out entering Big Ten play, but after two weeks and at least one game in conference for each team in the division, the only thing I'm sure of at this point is that Minnesota won't win the division. 

Michigan is 5-0 on the season, but a quick look at its schedule shows the road is about to get a heck of a lot harder.

After two games against Penn State and Indiana out of the Leaders Division over the next two weeks, the Wolverines will play four straight against the rest of the Legends Division.

It will be a three-game stretch that will really help shape the race as Michigan will play Michigan State, Nebraska and Northwestern in back-to-back-to-back weeks to start November.

Because of that, we aren't likely to know a whole lot about this division race until the middle of November. I wouldn't be surprised if it came down to the final week of games between at least two of the teams, including Michigan, Nebraska or Northwestern. 

For me, there won't be a Legends Division champion with less than two conference losses, but if there is, I'd look to Michigan or Nebraska to be that team based on performances so far. Northwestern's schedule is just so hard at the top that they need other teams to lose more than one game to stay in the race, in my mind. 

It will be a fun race to watch and unfortunately, the Big Ten will likely get hammered because the division is likely to beat itself up once again before getting to the Big Ten Championship game against Ohio State (see the answer to the question below for why I say that). 


There are some really good points for each team in this type of question, but for me, it is Wisconsin that needs this game more than Northwestern.


UW is already two games back of Ohio State in their division race while Northwestern has yet to play any division games. If the Wildcats were to lose and win every division game, they would have a pretty good chance of being in the mix at the end of the year. 

That would be a 6-2 conference record, and as I said in the answer to the above question, I see the winner of the division with a minimum of two losses. So, Northwestern could well be in the mix with these two loses.

Wisconsin? Not so much.

Besides, have you seen how easy (on paper, of course) Ohio State's schedule is? I sure as heck don't see two loses coming from a schedule that features just one currently ranked opponent. 

I will say this though—both teams need this game if they want to at least hope to avoid the "just not good enough" label. 


*Andy Coppens is the Big Ten Lead Writer. You can follow him on Twitter @andycoppens.