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Topic: 2020 COVID-modified B1G schedule

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2020 COVID-modified B1G schedule
« on: October 20, 2020, 05:57:36 PM »
This is based on the soon-to-be-released B1G Power Rankings:

My first thought is, how much does HFA matter if you are playing in mostly empty stadiums anyway?  I think it still matters and it might matter a LOT because travelling under COVID is probably worse/more stressful than normal but who knows.  

Things that jump out at me:

  • It is hard to see the tOSU/PSU winner missing the B1GCG.  It would pretty much require tOSU losing at home to IU or PSU losing at home to Iowa along with a whole bunch of other unlikely things and I just don't see it.  This is partially because:
  • Holy Cow!  Michigan's schedule is ROUGH!  Of the top-5 teams in our rankings only Michigan has to play the other four.  The rest each play two (one home, one away).  The Wolverines play all four (two home, two away).  
  • Nebraska got thumped by the schedule gods pretty hard as well.  They play five of the top-6 but at least three of those are at home (not sure that it matters against PSU and UW).  
  • Rutgers' schedule is a disaster for them.  They get three of their best four opponents at home and that is great if you are competing for a league crown.  It sucks if you are just trying to get off the mat because it means that they get three of their four easiest opponents on the road.  Maybe HFA will not matter much in COVID-empty stadiums but it looks to me like 1-7 would actually be a pretty good result for the Scarlet Knights.  


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Re: 2020 COVID-modified B1G schedule
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2020, 06:03:54 PM »
I don't think HFA maters nearly as much

the offense and defense don't get the extra energy that a full house obviously delivers

and the opposing offense doesn't have the noise pre-snap

also, the officiating crew doesn't have the pressure of the home crowd to make a call
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Re: 2020 COVID-modified B1G schedule
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2020, 11:49:33 AM »
B1G-E race:
If these rankings are correct (or even close) then it is between #1 tOSU and #2 PSU.  The next best B1G-E team (per our rankings) is #4 Michigan but in addition to not being ranked as highly as the other two, the Wolverines also have, by far, the toughest schedule.  

Thus, the absolute key game is tOSU @ PSU on 10/31.  Assuming that tOSU (vUNL) and PSU (@IU) win this week, the winner of the tOSU/PSU game on 10/31 will have a one game lead and the tiebreaker on the loser.  

If Ohio State beats Penn State:
The only way for PSU to get into the B1GCG would be either:

  • Ohio State loses at least twice, or
  • Ohio State loses to a B1G-E team that PSU beats, all three (tOSU, PSU, and the team that lost to PSU and beat tOSU) finish 7-1, and PSU wins that tiebreaker.  

Neither seems very likely:
  • Ohio State's next three toughest opponents are all home games (v #4 M on 12/12, v #7 IU on 11/21, and v #9 UNL on 10/24).  PSU would likely need tOSU to lose two of those three and that seems highly unlikely if tOSU is good enough to beat PSU on the road.  
  • There are multiple reasons that this is also highly unlikely.  First, the most likely team to beat tOSU and lose to PSU would be Michigan but Michigan hosts PSU and travels to tOSU.  For one thing, PSU would have to win in Ann Arbor where they are just 3-8 all-time and haven't won since 2009.  Additionally, Michigan would have to win in Columbus where they haven't won since 2001.  Finally, even if all of that happened, a three-way tie between tOSU, PSU, and M all at 7-1 in the B1G-E would ultimately be broken based on the record of their non-divisional opponents.  In this case, Michigan would likely win that as their B1G-W opponents are #3 UW and #5 MN while PSU's are #6 Iowa and #9 UNL and tOSU's are #9 UNL and #12 IL.  

If Penn State beats Ohio State:
The only way for tOSU to get into the B1GCG would be either:
  • Penn State loses at least twice, or
  • Penn State loses to a B1G-E team that tOSU beats, all three (PSU, tOSU, and the team that lost to tOSU and beat PSU) finish 7-1, and tOSU wins that tiebreaker.  

IMHO, tOSU's chances with a loss in the tOSU/PSU game are slightly better than PSU's but the Buckeyes would still find themselves needing to hope for multiple unlikely outcomes.  The three-way tie (tOSU/PSU/M) is more likely if PSU beats tOSU (because it simply requires the home team to win each game) but Ohio State's chances of ultimately winning that tie are even worse than PSU's (because tOSU's B1G-W opponents are #9 UNL and #11 IL).  However, the chances of PSU beating tOSU and losing two other games are better than the reverse.  Penn State has to visit Ann Arbor, hosts Iowa, and visits both Bloomington and Lincoln.  It isn't unfathomable that the Nittany Lions could beat the Buckeyes in Happy Valley but also lose in Ann Arbor and either at home to the Hawkeyes or in Bloomington or Lincoln.  Still, it seems doubtful. 


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Re: 2020 COVID-modified B1G schedule
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2020, 12:03:23 PM »
B1G-W race:
If these rankings are correct then there are three key games in the B1G-W:

  • #5 MN vs #6 Iowa in Minneapolis on November 13,
  • #3 UW vs #5 MN in Madison on November 28, 
  • #3 UW vs #6 Iowa in Iowa City on December 12.   

It is reasonable to assume that if any one of UW, MN, or IA beats the other two, that team is probably going to the B1GCG.  However if they all split (say for example that the home teams win so UW>MN>IA>UW) then it will probably come down to either record against B1G-E opponents or record of B1G-E opponents.  

B1G-E opponents for the top-3 B1G-W teams:
  • #3 UW's are @#4 M and v#7 IU
  • #5 MN's are v#4 M and @#13 UMD
  • #6 Iowa's are @#2 PSU and v#10 MSU

Minnesota seems most likely to sweep their B1G-E opponents and also least likely to get swept by their B1G-E opponents while UW seems most likely to win if it comes down to record of B1G-E opponents.  


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Re: 2020 COVID-modified B1G schedule
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2020, 12:09:31 PM »
A COVID note on tiebreakers and other oddities:
I remember years ago I saw that the SEC had tiebreakers for the event of a two-way tie between divisional opponents that did NOT play.  I asked on here why they would even have that since divisional opponents play every year.  In the COVID era that seems like a stupid question but at the time it seemed perfectly logical to me.  

Note that the B1G DOES NOT have a tiebreaker in place to break a two-team tie between divisional opponents that DID NOT play.  The B1G's football tiebreaker simply states:
"If two teams are tied, the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the representative."  

Ok, what if:
  • Ohio State loses to PSU in Happy Valley and wins all the rest of their games through 12/5 to get to 6-1.
  • Michigan loses to UW at home and wins all the rest of their games through 12/5 to get to 6-1.
  • PSU also loses at least one other game (most likely either vs IA, @IU, or @UNL) and finishes no better than 6-2.
  • The tOSU/M game gets cancelled due to COVID.

At the end of the regular season tOSU and M would be tied atop the B1G-E standings at 6-1 but the existing tiebreaker is inoperable due to the fact that they didn't play.  The B1G's typical next tiebreakekrs are:
  • After H2H (or H2H...2H) the next tiebreaker for a three-team tie is divisional record.  This would favor the Wolverines who would be 5-0 in the division.  
  • After that, the next tiebreaker for a three-team tie is record against the next beat team in the division, then the next, etc.  That would favor the Wolverines because no matter where PSU landed, M would be 1-0 against them and tOSU would be 0-1.  

I assume that if something like this happens the B1G will simply apply the three-team procedures to the existing two-team tie but the rules don't actually say that so they wouldn't technically have to and they could do something else entirely (like an AD vote).  Don't get Michigan fans started on the ADs voting to break a tie, you'll never hear the end of it.  


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