BigTen Playoff Picture: Season 20, Week 4

Ryan Moreland · June 1, 2024


By: Ryan Moreland (@ryanmoreland)

This series continues with a look at the guantlent they call the BigTen. There are so many talented teams in this conference and already they have taken turns beating each other up. We are in store for another great playoff race in this conference, but before we get there let’s take a look at how you can make the playoffs.

How to Make the Playoffs

The top three teams from each conference will automatically earn a playoff spot. After that, there will be a league-wide vote on who the last four teams should be. If there is a tie within the top three teams, the following tiebreakers will be used (in order) to break the tie.

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

Conference Playoff Picture

Now that we are caught up on how it works, let’s look at the current standings.

RankTeamOverall RecordConference Record
3Penn State3-12-1
6Ohio State1-30-2
7Michigan State0-40-3

Of course, anyone that doesn’t have a conference loss controls their own destiny for the playoffs and the conference title. That means that USC and Michigan are both in a perfect position to be this season’s BigTen Champ, currently. But that isn’t going to last long. They play each other in Week 5. One of the two is going to put themselves above the rest in that game.

Penn State holds the last automatic playoff spot right now. They have conference wins over Illinois and Michigan State with a loss to Michigan. Those head-to-head wins will likely loom large at the end of the season. However, for right now the Nittany Lions are in a good spot. While they do need help to win the conference, all they have to do is keep winning to punch their playoff ticket.

Oregon is in an interesting spot. They one of the two teams in the CFSL that has not played an out-of-conference game to this point. They have losses to Michigan and USC, but beat Ohio State and Michigan State. The still control their own destiny to make the playoffs at this point since they have yet to play Penn State. If they beat Penn State (and win their other conference games) the worst they could finish is third place.

Illinois, who finished last season 8-0, needs some help in their current spot. They have losses to both USC and Penn State, with a win over Ohio State. Those losses are going to hurt if they can manage a tie. However, they have not played Michigan yet, so they still control their destiny right now. If they were to win out they would be a playoff team. However, they have many tough tests ahead.

Ohio State and Michigan State are still looking for their first conference wins of the season. Both would need help from some teams ahead of them to make it back to the top three. With that said, neither team has been mathematically eliminated from an automatic bid yet. There is still time to turn the season around.

Big Games in the BigTen This Week

USC at Michigan

Monday, 6:30 P.M. CST on Twitch

The first game of the week will be the battle for first place in the BigTen. The undefeated Trojans will look to remain undefeated, but Michigan and their daunting defense will have other plans. If USC wins they clinch a playoff spot. It won’t allow Michigan to clinch, but it will put them very close to it. This will be one of the most impactful games for the season so far, so don’t miss it.

Penn State at Ohio State

Monday, 8:30 P.M. CST on Twitch

The second game on Monday will also be within the BigTen Conference. The Nittany Lions can keep pace with the top end of the conference with a win. Meanwhile, a win for Ohio State could change the shape of their season. Can the Buckeyes pull off the upset or will Penn State prove to be too much?

Illinois at Oregon

Wednesday, 8:30 P.M. CST on Twitch

The last BigTen meeting of the week will pit 4th and 5th place against each other. For both teams a win means keeping up with the top 3, while a loss makes reaching an automatic bid more unlikely. Also, keep in mind that this conference put two teams in the playoffs on the vote-in last season. That could happen again, so even if you don’t make the top 3 in the conference, winning this game could be the difference between making the playoffs and missing them. Illinois could leapfrog Oregon in the polls with a win. Can Triipz and his band of underdogs (underducks?) continue to shock the conference?


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