This college football season continues to get weirder and weirder, but consider this: If Michigan can escape from Camp Randall with a win over Wisconsin Saturday, they have a chance to send the Big Ten East into a four way tie.

So what's the tie breaker? Well, it's complicated.

If Michigan wins their final two games over Wisconsin and Ohio State, and Penn State and Michigan State win out like they should, there would be a four way log jam for the Big Ten East title.

If that event were to occur, what team would move on to the Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin, who has already clinched the West title?

Good question without an easy answer.

According to the Big Ten web site, multiple teams tying for the division title would kick in an eight point tie breaker system which can swing many ways at this point.

See if you can figure out who the champ will be using their formula below. At any rate, it's comforting to know that the last possible tie breaker is putting the names in a hat and drawing a winner.

The following procedure will determine the representative from each division in the event of a tie:

(a)    If two teams are tied, the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the representative.

(b)    If three or more teams are tied, steps 1 through 8 will be followed until a determination is made.  If only two teams remain tied after any step (or sub-step), the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the representative. If three or more teams remain tied after any step, move to next step in tiebreaker with remaining tied teams.

1.    The records of the three tied teams will be compared against each other.
2.    The records of the three tied teams will be compared within their division.
3.    The records of the three teams will be compared against the next highest placed teams in their division in order of finish (4, 5, 6, and 7).

(a) When arriving at a group of tied teams while comparing records, use each team’s record against the collective tied teams as a group, rather than record against the individual teams.

4.    The records of the three teams will be compared against all common conference opponents.
5.    The best cumulative conference winning percentage of non-divisional opponents.

(a) Example: East 1 non-divisional opponents are 20-7, East 2 non-divisional opponents are 19-8, East 3 non-divisional opponents are 14-13 – East 1 would be the representative.

6.    The records of the three teams will be compared against the highest placed non-divisional teams in their division order of finish (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7).

(a) When arriving at a group of tied teams while comparing records, use each team’s record against the collective tied teams as a group, rather than record against the individual teams.
(b) When comparing records against a single team or a group of teams, the record will prevail, even if the number of games played against the team or group are unequal (i.e. 1-0 is better than 0-0, 2-0 is better than 1-0, etc.)
7.    The team with the best overall winning percentage [excluding exempted games] shall be the representative.
8.    The representative will be chosen by random draw.

If one or both of the Big Ten division champions is ineligible to play in the Big Ten Championship Game, then the participant(s) in the Big Ten Championship Game shall be determined by the following procedure:

a)    If the ineligible team is tied for the division championship, then the team it tied with shall be the Big Ten Championship Game representative.
b)    If two or more teams are tied with an ineligible team for the division championship, then the ineligible team is removed and the remaining teams revert to the tie-break procedure.
c)    The division runner-up shall be the Big Ten Championship Game representative.
d)    If there is a division runner-up tie, then the tied teams shall revert to the tie-break procedure.

If the championship game cannot be played (due to any reason beyond the control of the Big Ten Conference), the two division champions (using divisional tie-breakers as set forth above) shall be declared co-champions and the following procedure will be used to determine the Big Ten Conference representative to the College Football Playoff:

a)    Teams ranked No. 1, 2, 3 or 4 in the final College Football Playoff poll will automatically be placed in the College Football Playoff.
b)    If the two divisional representatives met previously in the season and neither is ranked No. 1, 2, 3 or 4 in the final College Football Playoff poll, the team ranked highest in the final poll shall be the representative to the College Football Playoff, unless the other team is ranked within five or fewer places of the higher ranked team.  In this case, the head-to-head results of the two teams shall determine the conference's representative.
c)    If the two divisional representatives did not meet previously during the season, the team ranked highest in the College Football Playoff poll shall be the representative.
d)    If the two teams are tied in the College Football Playoff poll, the team with the best overall Big Ten record shall be the representative.
e)    If the two teams remain tied after d), the team with the best combined record of the tied teams against all common Big Ten opponents each team played that season shall be the representative.
f)    If the two teams remain tied after e), the representative will be the team with the best overall winning percentage.
g)    If the two teams remain tied after f), the representative will be the team furthest removed from College Football Playoff, Bowl Championships Series or Rose Bowl Game participation (as appropriate).
h)    If the two teams remain tied after g), the representative shall be determined by a random draw.

Here's what all that means.

In a four way tie between MSU, OSU, PSU and Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State would be tied after the records in games between the schools (2-1) are considered. And since Ohio State just clocked the Spartans, the Buckeyes would move on.
Also --

  • Michigan State would win a three way tie with Penn State and Michigan.
  • Ohio State would win a three way tie with Michigan and Penn State.
  • Ohio State would win a three way tie with Michigan and Michigan State.
  • The only way Michigan could win is in a two way tie with them and Ohio State, if they beat OSU. That would mean MSU would have to lose to either Rutgers or Maryland (not gonna happen) and Penn State would have to lose to Rutgers, Nebraska or Maryland (not likely either).

Now my head is spinning, so I have to go lie down.