B1G West champs: With Minnesota game canceled, Northwestern essentially claims division title
There are two ways to look at the news of Northwestern’s game on Saturday being canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak amongst Minnesota’s team.
The downside would be the Wildcats not getting a chance to get back out on the field. On the bright side, however, the cancelation essentially means Northwestern has clinched a spot in the 2020 Big Ten championship game.
Here’s where things stand at the Big Ten West at this point. The Wildcats sit atop the division with a 5-1 record. Behind them is Iowa at 4-2 and Wisconsin at 2-1. You can count the Badgers out of any division championship talk at this point. Wisconsin has missed three games, making the Badgers ineligible for the Big Ten title game based on current conference rules.
With the Minnesota game being canceled, Northwestern has just one scheduled game left against Illinois. If the Wildcats win that game, the division is done and taken by Northwestern. If the Wildcats lose and Iowa wins its next two games (at Illinois, vs. Wisconsin), Northwestern still wins the division because of the Wildcats’ win against the Hawkeyes earlier this season.
The only wild way Iowa could somehow pull out a division title is if Northwestern adds an opponent for Saturday. Then, the Wildcats would have to lose both this week and next week. Seems pretty darn unlikely. Pat Fitzgerald and his crew can spend this week off preparing for a trip to Indianapolis.