Let’s call it like it is.

It was bad. Real bad.

The stat that you inevitably saw by night’s end on Saturday was that the B1G lost 7 non-conference games on the same day for the first time since the Associated Press poll began in 1936. The fact that it was only 2 Power 5 teams (that’s INCLUDING Kansas) doing the damage didn’t help.

Here were the list of non-conference teams who knocked off a B1G squad on Saturday:

  • Missouri
  • Akron
  • Troy
  • Temple
  • Kansas
  • South Florida
  • BYU

Woof. That’s not exactly murderer’s row.

As is often the case after a lackluster showing from a Power 5 conference, the B1G got blasted on social media. The B1G take quake was in full effect.

But now that we’ve had a couple days to process the impact that Saturday had on the conference, here’s something to consider. What were the truths and myths about the B1G’s Playoff outlook following disaster that was?

Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The B1G’s Playoff hopes are DEAD — Myth

Goodness. That was an awful take to have late on Saturday night.

Didn’t 2014 Ohio State teach us all to never officially declare a conference’s Playoff hopes dead in September?

As bad of a weekend as it was, the B1G still has two teams in the top 10 and five teams in the top 25. To assume that their results moving forward are meaningless would be the overreactions of all overreactions, especially on a night when one B1G squad stayed undefeated and looked every bit like a Playoff team against a top-15 foe at a “neutral” site.

By the way, TCU was the only Week 3 B1G opponent who entered Saturday as a ranked team.

Anyone who assumed that a bad day for the conference meant postseason death either ignored the Ohio State game or forgot about the fact that three other Power 5 conferences (ACC, Big 12, Pac-12) have just one team apiece in the AP top 10.

Sports Betting in Big Ten Country

There is big news coming to the upcoming 2022-23 Big Ten football season (and NFL season). Ohio online sports betting and Maryland sports betting are on the way.

21+ and present in OH. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

Nationwide perspective is an important thing to remember with sweeping generalizations like that.

The B1G’s Playoff hopes took a hit — Truth

Obviously. Ignoring that would be foolish. Days like Saturday will be remembered when the selection committee puts the entire résumé together for every B1G contender. Any time a B1G contender beats one of those aforementioned teams who lost to a Group of 5 school, it’ll be “yeah, well Troy also beat Nebraska in Lincoln.”

That stuff matters because they aren’t considered résumé-boosting wins. There’s obviously more to lose than to gain by losing to a team with an ugly blemish to begin with.

And then there’s Wisconsin. Seeing the team some (myself) believed would win the B1G and reach the Playoff lose at home to BYU certainly didn’t help matters. I’ll look closer at Wisconsin later.

But here’s something to think about. As tough as it is to look at the list of teams who beat B1G opponents on Saturday, look at the B1G teams who lost:

  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Nebraska
  • Northwestern
  • Purdue
  • Rutgers
  • Wisconsin

Let’s be honest. Wisconsin was the only real contender on that list. The rest of those teams weren’t preseason favorites to even compete for a division title.

Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the Ohio State-Penn State winner or bust — Myth

Yes, Ohio State and Penn State are the last remaining preseason contenders who both won their marquee non-conference games and are currently undefeated. They are the betting favorites to be the B1G’s best chance to make the Playoff.

But there’s a stat that people keep forgetting when it comes to the Playoff. We have yet to see a team go undefeated in a 9-game conference schedule, win the conference championship and make the Playoff. The B1G’s top-25 teams with a loss like Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin can all still do that. Shoot, Iowa is undefeated and can still do that. We’ll talk about Wisconsin’s different situation later, but I have to think the selection committee would reward that unprecedented accomplishment.

Don’t forget an important note before that Ohio State-Penn State game next week.

It’s going to be billed as a “Playoff or bust” game. It’s true that the winner will have the better path to the division title and ultimately a Playoff berth. But how quickly we forget about how the winner of that game (Penn State) went on to win the B1G and was still left out of the Playoff in favor of the loser of that game (Ohio State).

It’s a cool storyline and it adds to the implications of the game. Just don’t convince yourself that when Ohio State and Penn State square off at the end of the month that it’s a de facto Playoff elimination game.

Wisconsin is no longer in control of its own destiny — Truth

As I said before, we have yet to see a team run the table in a 9-game conference schedule, win the conference title and make the Playoff. Wisconsin was a late score away against Ohio State from pulling off that feat last year.

But this year, even if the Badgers pulled that off, I think they’d need some help.

Why? No team has ever made the field with a loss to a Group of 5 team on its résumé. I know. BYU isn’t technically a Group of 5 team. But it’s a non-Power 5 team that isn’t Notre Dame, which in the eyes of many, is essentially the same thing. Time will tell if that proves to be the case.

Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Time will also tell if BYU helps out Wisconsin. You know, by winning. The Cougars vaulted into the top 25 following their stunning win at Camp Randall on Saturday, as they should’ve. If they can rattle off a 10-win season, it would certainly make an embarrassing loss look much more respectable.

But the tough part with Wisconsin is that the selection committee values quality of wins. Wisconsin is a 1-loss team that isn’t exactly loaded with opportunities to rack up quality wins playing in the West. Fortunately for the Badgers, they do have crossover tilts at Michigan and at Penn State. Add in the possibility of facing the East winner at a neutral site in the B1G Championship and that’s possibly 3 more top-25 opponents.

The problem is that if there’s a second team from the SEC, that could be more attractive for the selection committee. LSU and Auburn both have daunting schedules that would be better bets even as 1-loss teams who miss the conference title game.

If I’m a Wisconsin fan, I’m rooting for craziness and for someone else from the B1G West to at least looke like it’s capable of holding down a top-25 spot.

Ohio State or Penn State must win out to make the Playoff — Myth

I sort of hit on this earlier because of the matchup we’ll have at the end of the month, but I wanted to dig a little deeper into this myth that because of the conference weakness following the weekend, only an undefeated Ohio State or Penn State would be Playoff-worthy.

That’s simply not true.

You mean to tell me that if Penn State goes to Michigan in early November and loses that its Playoff hopes are over? That’s not the case. Even if things stayed exactly how they are right now in the rankings, a 1-loss Penn State team in that scenario would still have four wins vs. top-25 teams, including a conference title. We’ve seen far-worse résumés make the field with one loss (2017 Alabama, 2014 Ohio State).

Now is the path to a B1G Championship suddenly a lot more daunting for Penn State if it can’t beat Ohio State? Absolutely. But Urban Meyer has still yet to run the table in the 9-game conference schedule. And on the flip side, neither has James Franklin or anyone in the B1G East. In other words, don’t declare this race over in September.

In Year 5 of the Playoff, we should know by now that’s a foolish thing to do.