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Note: This article was published Nov. 7. Minnesota's win over Penn State officially eliminated any mathematical chance that Nebraska wins the Big Ten West in 2019.

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"So you're telling me there's a chance!" — Lloyd Christmas, "Dumb and Dumber"

Have more optimistic words ever been spoken? 

The media in July picked Nebraska as the favorite to win the Big Ten West. The Huskers, however, have fallen short of expectations.

Incredibly, Nebraska's hopes of a Big Ten West crown aren't actually dead, even at a dismal 2-4. Here are six scenarios where Nebraska can reach the conference title game.

This headline says "technically" because all of these scenarios are unlikely, involving plenty of upsets. Every scenario involves Nebraska running the table (Wisconsin, Maryland, Iowa) and Minnesota losing out (Penn State, Iowa, Northwestern, Wisconsin) to both finish 5-4 in the conference.

Scenario 1

» Illinois: Defeats Iowa and goes 1-1 against Northwestern and Michigan State to finish 5-4 in the conference.

» Iowa: Defeats Wisconsin and Minnesota, loses to Nebraska and Illinois to finish 5-4.

» Minnesota: Loses all of its remaining games (Penn State, Iowa, Northwestern, Wisconsin) to finish 5-4.

» Nebraska: Wins all of its remaining games (Wisconsin, Maryland, Iowa) to finish 5-4.

» Wisconsin: Defeats Minnesota and Purdue, loses to Iowa and Nebraska to finish 5-4.

Those results would force a five-way tie atop the Big Ten West. According to the Big Ten, the first tiebreaker would be comparing the winning percentage of the tied teams against each other. In this case, Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa would be 2-2, while Wisconsin would be 1-3. Nebraska would be 3-1, thus earning the trip to Indianapolis.

Scenario 2

» Illinois: Defeats Michigan State and Northwestern, loses to Iowa to finish 5-4. 

» Iowa: Defeats Minnesota and Illinois, loses to Nebraska and Wisconsin to finish 5-4.

» Minnesota: Loses all of its remaining games to finish 5-4.

» Nebraska: Wins all of its remaining games to finish 5-4. 

» Wisconsin: Defeats Iowa and Minnesota and loses to Nebraska and Purdue to finish 5-4.

In this case, we have another five-way tie atop the Big Ten West. Against fellow tied teams, Illinois is 1-3, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin are 2-2 and Nebraska, again, is 3-1. Off to Indianapolis goes Nebraska.

Scenario 3

This one is a little different, and it involves forcing just a four-way tie (sorry, Illinois).

» Illinois: Defeats Iowa, loses to Northwestern and Michigan State to finish 4-5. 

» Iowa: Defeats Minnesota and Wisconsin, loses to Illinois and Nebraska to finish 5-4.

» Minnesota: Loses all of its remaining games to finish 5-4.

» Nebraska: Wins all of its remaining games to finish 5-4. 

» Wisconsin: Defeats Minnesota and Purdue, loses to Iowa and Nebraska to finish 5-4.

Minnesota and Wisconsin would be 1-2 against tied teams, while Iowa and Nebraska would be 2-1. Then, the Huskers would have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Hawkeyes.

Scenario 4

If there's anything to take away from this, it's that the result of Iowa and Wisconsin sets forth the domino effect and Minnesota can ruin it at any time. 

» Illinois: Loses to Iowa, goes 1-1 against Michigan State and Northwestern to finish 4-5. 

» Iowa: Defeats Minnesota and Illinois, loses to Nebraska and Wisconsin to finish 5-4.

» Minnesota: Loses all of its remaining games to finish 5-4.

» Nebraska: Wins all of its remaining games to finish 5-4. 

» Wisconsin: Defeats Iowa and Minnesota, loses to Nebraska and Purdue to finish 5-4.

Again, four-way tie. Iowa and Minnesota are 1-2, and Nebraska and Wisconsin are 2-1. The Huskers top the Badgers in the head-to-head battle.

Scenario 5

Now we're down to the three-way ties. 

» Illinois: Defeats Iowa, loses to Michigan State and Northwestern to finish 4-5. 

» Iowa: Defeats Minnesota and Wisconsin, loses to Illinois and Nebraska to finish 5-4.

» Minnesota: Loses all of its remaining games to finish 5-4.

» Nebraska: Wins all of its remaining games to finish 5-4. 

» Wisconsin: Defeats Minnesota, loses to Iowa, Nebraska and Purdue to finish 4-5.

Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska would all be 5-4 in the Big Ten and 1-1 vs. other tied teams, meaning it goes to the next tiebreaker: record within the division. The Gophers would be 3-3, while the Hawkeyes and Huskers would be 4-2. Lo and behold, the Huskers have the tiebreaker. 

Scenario 6

» Illinois: Defeats Iowa, loses to Michigan State and Northwestern to finish 4-5. 

» Iowa: Defeats Minnesota, loses to Illinois, Wisconsin and Nebraska to finish 4-5.

» Minnesota: Loses all of its remaining games to finish 5-4.

» Nebraska: Wins all of its remaining games to finish 5-4. 

» Wisconsin: Defeats Iowa and Minnesota, loses to Nebraska and Purdue to finish 5-4.

This is the same as Scenario No. 5, but replace Iowa with Wisconsin.

So what are the odds of any of these scenarios actually falling Nebraska's way? Sorry, our calculator doesn't go that high.


27 times Nebraska football won — or lost — on a last-minute score since 2000