COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The winner of Saturday’s game between No. 2 Ohio State (11-0, 8-0) and No. 3 Michigan (11-0, 8-0) will clinch the Big Ten East division title. But in the West, it’s a little more open and complex.
Three teams from the Big Ten West still have a chance to win the divisional title and earn a place in the conference championship game in Indianapolis on Dec. 3. Here is how each team can clinch a 13th game before bowl season starts.
Iowa (7-4, 5-3)
As the top team in the West right now, the only team that controls its own destiny is Iowa. The Hawkeyes play Nebraska at 4 p.m. on Friday, and a victory would put them into its second consecutive Big Ten title game.
Last season, Iowa lost to Michigan 42-3 in the conference championship. This season, the Hawkeyes lost to the Buckeyes 54-10 at Ohio Stadium and fell to the Wolverines 27-14 in Iowa City.
Purdue (7-4, 5-3)
Second in the standings is Purdue, which needs some help to win the West title for the first time. The Boilermakers are in Bloomington, Indiana, on Saturday for game at Indiana at 3:30 p.m.
In order to hop over Iowa, Purdue will need a win over the Hoosiers and Nebraska to help them out with an upset Friday. Neither Ohio State or Michigan played Purdue in the 2022 regular season.
Illinois (7-4, 5-3)
The only other team with a chance is Illinois, which also has never made a Big Ten championship game. Simply put, the Illini will root for mayhem and disorder this weekend for its shot against Ohio State or Michigan.
Illinois is in Evanston, Illinois, to play Northwestern on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. For the Illini to get to the conference championship, it needs to beat Northwestern, Iowa lose to Nebraska, and Purdue lose to Indiana. If all of that happens, Illinois would hop over both teams and make the conference title game.
In the event Iowa, Purdue, and Illinois all lose, Iowa would advance on tiebreakers.
The Illini almost sent the Wolverines to Columbus with a loss before falling 19-17 in Ann Arbor. Ohio State has not played Illinois since 2017.