So you're telling me there's a chance?
Well, there is a little hope. With Tuesday's loss at Michigan, the Illini fall to 8-5 and into a fourth place tie with Wisconsin (who lost at Northwestern
tonight) in the Big Ten Conference standings. "We can still win it," said James Augustine. "Stranger things have happened. We have to win out probably. We've done it before."
For any chance at a conference title, the Illini would definitely have to win out. That would mean beating Iowa at home this Saturday and then getting wins at Minnesota and Michigan State. Considering that Iowa is first in the conference and Illinois is 2-4 away from Assembly Hall in Conference play, a win-out is a tall order.
But, even if they do win out, the two teams ahead of Illinois would have to slip up. Illinois could take care of that with Iowa, but that leaves the Buckeyes. After their win over Michigan State, Ohio State is sitting in the best position
. They play Michigan at home on Saturday followed by the bottom two teams in the conference: at Northwestern and home to Purdue.
Here's the breakdown:
- Illinois' last three conference games come against teams that are 20-18 in conference play. They have to win all three of them to share the title with Ohio State and possibly Iowa.
- Ohio State's last three games are against teams with a combined 16-25 record and Illinois needs for them to lose one.
- After playing at Illinois, Iowa is at home (where they haven't lost all season) to Penn State and Wisconsin. They are unlikely to lose either of those games.
For the Illini to get a share of the Big Ten Conference Title, they have to win their three remaining games and hope for Ohio State to slip up. Could it happen? Sure. Is it likely to happen? Not very. All along, Illini Wonk has said that 12-4 will win the conference this year. From where I sit, it looks possible that Ohio State will fulfill that prediction. What do you think?