CFB: Breaking Down the Race for the Big 10 Football Division Titles

darren cooper
By:
Darren Cooper
18/09/2023/
NCAAF

Highlights

  • Michigan is defending Big 10 champs after defeating Purdue in Big 10 title game in 2022.
  • What are the games that will determine the race in the Big 10 East and Big 10 West?
  • The Big 10 East has the powerhouses with Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State, but who are the challengers in the West?

Michigan is pretty much done beating up on the UNLV’s of the world, and Iowa won’t see Utah State again any time soon.

Call it whatever you want, the Big 10 preseason, cupcake games, they’re over. The Big 10 conference schedule starts up in earnest this week with multiple Big 10 games and Michigan online sportsbooks have the odds on who’s going to finish with the title.

The Big 10 has two divisions for football, the Big 10 East and Big 10 West, and once again all the power is in the East. The top three teams at Caesars Sportsbook to win the conference overall all come from the East: Michigan +150, Ohio State +250 and Penn State +400.

But someone has to represent the West Dec. 2nd in the conference title game in Indianapolis. Who will it be?

The Best In the West

Heading into Week 4 of the college football season, Minnesota is the only team with a win in Big 10 conference play. Freshman running back Darius Taylor has been great, but the defense not so much. Minnesota just gave up 414 yards passing to North Carolina. They’re +1600 at Caesars to win the conference.

The team with the best odds to win is Iowa at +650. The Hawkeyes program has been dealing with a sports betting investigation involving some players, and their offense is never going to be great, but the defense is good. The Hawkeyes also get the nod because they only have one ranked team left on their schedule: Penn State.

And that leads us to…

The Beasts in the East

Michigan is 3-0 after beating up on three non-conference foes by a combined 110-15. They open conference play this week against undefeated Rutgers, but are 31-point favorites.

You can’t mention Michigan without talking about Ohio State. The Buckeyes play Notre Dame this week in a Top 10 showdown. There’s no Heisman buzz yet for Buckeyes star wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. but its coming. He has 14 catches for 304 yards so far.

Lurking is Penn State with new quarterback Drew Allar. The Nittany Lions have scored 30 or more points in 10 straight games.

The Big Games for the Big Ten

Iowa at Wisconsin, Oct. 14: Probably the best two teams in the West. Don’t expect a lot of offense. First team to 14 points may win.

Penn State at Ohio State, Oct 21: This is the first battle between the two Big Three teams in the Big 10 East.

Michigan at Penn State, Nov. 11: By this point we will know if Penn State is a serious contender.

Ohio State at Michigan, Nov. 25: It may be No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the country. Last year Michigan surged in the second half to win 45-23.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.