Big 10 Playoff Scenarios: Season 19, Week 6

Ryan Moreland · February 16, 2024


By: Ryan Moreland (@ryanmoreland)

We head now to what has been perhaps the best conference in the CFSL this season. Some might think that the top three are set in stone in the Big 10, but that isn’t correct. A shocking dark horse still has a glimmer of hope. Before we get into that, let’s take a quick look at who gets in the playoffs is decided.

The top three teams from each conference will receive an automatic bid for the playoffs. That will make up the top 12 seeds in the playoffs. The final four teams to get in will be decided by a league-wide vote at the season’s end. Ties will be decided the same way as last season and here is how that looks:

1Conference Record
3Record vs common conference opponents
4Point differential vs common conference opponents
5Record vs common overall opponents
6Point differential vs common overall opponents
7Overall record
8Overall point differential

Since every team will play all the members of their conference, this should never get passed Head-to-Head. But I will be using these tiebreakers to rank the teams as they stand today. Now that we are caught up, let’s look at the Big 10.

Big 10 Standings

TeamOverall RecordConference RecordTiebreaker (if applicable)
Penn State5-14-1
Ohio State3-31-3Head-to-head

Illinois has already clinched the conference championship and will be the top team from the Big 10. While it is possible for Penn State or Michigan to tie their conference record, Illinois holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over both teams. Congrats to the Illini.

Unlike the top spot, second place is still up for grabs. The only teams with a chance to finish in second are Penn State and Michigan. These two teams will meet on Monday night to open Week Seven. The winner of that game will finish second in the Big 10.

Penn State’s worst possible finish is third place. Michigan, however, could fall out of the top three. If Michigan were to lose to both Penn State and Ohio State in the last two games AND Ohio State beats Illinois this week, then Ohio State would beat Michigan in the final standings. This would mean that Ohio State would get the last automatic bid spot and Michigan would need to rely on the vote-in. If Michigan wins or Ohio State loses in the next two weeks, then the Buckeyes’ chances of getting into the top three are dead.

USC, Oregon, and Washington have all been mathematically eliminated from the automatic bid. All three could still have a chance at making it in via the vote-in. As good as this conference has been, there is a chance that more than one Big 10 school gets voted into the playoffs. Simply put, the season isn’t over. Keep playing your best football.


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