Wisconsin losing to Illinois was surprising but it doesn’t change the path that the Iowa football team has to take to win the Big Ten West.
After Wisconsin lost to Illinois on a last-second field goal Saturday, I began seeing quite a few posts from Iowa football fans about how big of a deal this was for the Hawks.
Let me put it bluntly, it really wasn’t.
To win the Big Ten West, the Iowa football team needs to have the least amount of conference losses and if there are any ties, it needs to have won the head-to-head matchup against that tie.
With the loss to Illinois, Wisconsin sits with one loss in the conference. The Iowa football team has two and Minnesota has zero.
As of today, Minnesota is the conference leader, however, we are about to find out just how good this Gophers team is when they get Penn State, Iowa, and Wisconsin in their next five games. This is just my opinion, but I think Minnesota drops all three of those games.
Wisconsin should be favored in every game besides Ohio State, which I see no way they win that.
Meanwhile, the Iowa football team should be favored in every remaining game besides Wisconsin.
Here’s why Wisconsin’s loss to Illinois doesn’t matter much right now.
It’s because the Iowa football team still needs to go to Madison and beat the Badgers. It’s been that way since the start of the season. If they lose that drops Iowa to three losses and Wisconsin would theoretically have just two unless they lose to Nebraska and Purdue later this season (which is unlikely).
The loss to Illinois only helps the Iowa football team if things absolutely implode in the latter half of the season. For now, though, the path is still the same. In fact, if anything, the Wisconsin loss was bad because it makes one of the Iowa football team’s toughest opponents look worse than they are and national perception does matter at the end of the season.