Battle for the (B1G) West: ESPN's FPI predicts outcome of Northwestern-Purdue
No one needs any more proof that the year 2020 is both upside down and backward, but if one did they might look to Saturday in West Lafayette, Indiana where the winner of the Purdue Boilermakers versus Northwestern Wildcats football game will take command of an inside track to the Big Ten West division championship.
According to ESPN’s proprietary FPI rankings, the Wildcats (3-0) have a 64.2 percent chance of beating the Boilermakers (2-0) beneath the hostile—but empty—grandstands at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Purdue had its game last Saturday against B1G West favorite Wisconsin (1-0) cancelled due to Covid-19 protocols. The Boilermakers had dispatched Iowa and Illinois before being stopped from competing by the virus.
Northwestern is 3-0, with wins over Maryland, Iowa, and Nebraska to start the season. Assuming the Badgers get back to on-field business next week, the FPI numbers currently favor Wisconsin beating the Wildcats at an 80 percent certainty.
Whoever wins Saturday will enjoy the lead in the B1G West, at least for a week.