Daily Blog •July 20, 2011

One of the more popular sections of the regional magazines was the Best Case/Worst Case Scenarios where I take a look at the 2010 season and what teams records could have been in the Best Case and the Worst Case scenarios. Sometimes teams with solid winning records caught some breaks and were actually just a few plays away from a losing record. Some teams with losing records may have been just a handful of plays away from a winning record. Listed below are the Big 10 teams. The Best Case scenario record shows them winning all the games they lost by a TD or less. The Worst Case scenario shows what their record would have been if they had lost all the games they won by a TD or less.

Best Case/Worst Case Scenarios: Big 10 (excluding Nebraska):

Illinois 2010 Best Case 10-3 Close Losses (3)

MICHIGAN - See Michigan

MINNESOTA - Minny did lead 24-20 at the end of 3Q's. Illinois took the lead 34-24 with 8:14 left. UM ret'd the KO 90 yards to the 4 and got a TD 2 plays later. UM took over at their 20 with 2:44 left and on 3&G a 2 yd TD run gave them the lead. Illinois was int'd at the UM40 and ret'd 24 yards.

FRESNO ST - Illinois got a TD but missed the 2 pt conv and trailed 25-23 in the 4Q. Ill got 3 FD's to the FS 37 but on 4&16 punted 33 yards to the 10 with 9:31 left. FS went on a 9:13 drive incl a gutsy 4&1 conversion in their own terr and didn't punt until :18 were left in the game.

Illinois 2010 Worst Case 6-7 Close Wins (1)

NORTHERN ILLINOIS - I was close to not counting this as Illinois did lead by 9 and NI got a 48 yd FG with :19 left and Illinois rec'd the onside kick but Ill lead just 21-19 with 6:00 left and the yards were almost identical at 390-389. Illinois' biggest lead until the 4Q was just 7 points.

Indiana 2010 Best Case 8-4 Close Losses (3)

- See Michigan

NORTHWESTERN - See Northwestern

IOWA - See Iowa

Indiana 2010 Worst Case 3-9 Close Wins (2)

ARKANSAS ST - ASU missed a 41 yd FG with 1:58 left. They got a TD with :47 left to pull within 36-34 but IU rec'd the onside kick and took a knee. ASU took their opening drive for a TD and did not trail the 1H and led 14-12 at the break. IU took their first lead of the game with 4:08 left in the 3Q.

PURDUE - In what would be IU HC Lynch's final game IU scored at TD with 13:05 left to tie it at 28. After a 24 yd PR PU took over at the IU20 with 8:17 left and got a 36-yd FG to make it 31-28. IU would then go 71/14pl and got a 26-yd FG with :09 left to force OT. In OT PU's pass was int'd at the IU7 and IU nailed a 31-yd Fg for the 34-31 win.

Iowa 2010 Best Case 13-0 Close Losses (5)

Yes, all 5 of Iowa's losses were by 7 or less so they could have been undefeated.

ARIZONA - At the half Iowa had a 182-72 yd edge and 9-2 FD edge but somehow trailed 21-7 thanks to a 100 yd KR TD, 85 yd IR TD and a blocked punt. Thanks to a couple of TO's, Iowa got a pair of TD's to tie it at 27 but their xp was blk'd. AU went 72/9pl getting a TD with 3:57 left to retake the lead and Iowa did not cross midfield.

WISCONSIN - Iowa led 30-24 with 8:35 left. UW20 on 4&4 ran a fake punt and got it. Later they converted on 4&4 and got a TD with 1:06 left to take the lead. Iowa got down to the UW39 but misused a time-out and ran out of time.

NORTHWESTERN - Iowa appeared in control when they got an int at their own 38, up 17-7. They drove but were int'd at the NU5 with 10:56 left. NU went 85/13pl for a TD with 6:21 left then after an IU punt with 4:08 left, NU went 91/11pl and got a 20 yd TD pass with 1:22 left. QB Persa tore his Achilles celebrating the play. Iowa got 3 FD's to the NU39 but on 4&16 fired incomplete with :06 left.

OHIO ST - Iowa led this 17-10 with 11:53 left. OSU got a 48 yd FG with 7:38 left. After an Iowa punt OSU on 3&10 dropped a sure TD pass but on the following play converted on a 14-yd run by Pryor then got a TD with 1:47 left to take the lead.

MINNESOTA - Minnesota did take their opening drive for a FG and led most of the game. Iowa took their first lead with 11:35 left on a TD. UM punted with 9:07 left but Iowa punted back with 7:36 left. UM went 77/6pl and got a TD with 4:31 left for the lead. Iowa RB Coker fumbled with 4:14 left. UM got 2 FD's and took a knee with the fans coming on to the field.

Iowa 2010 Worst Case 6-7 Close Wins (2)

INDIANA - Indiana got a TD at the end of the 3Q to lead 13-9. Iowa punted with 14:36 left and settled for a 42 yd FG with 8:33 left to pull within 1. Iowa got a 52 yd TD pass with 2:50 left to get back in the lead. Indy went 41/11pl. On 4&10 Belcher dropped a TD pass. It looked like a catch originally but was dropped with :28 left and Iowa took a knee.

MISSOURI - While IU did lead 17-3 in the 2Q, MO had the lead and the ball. They were at the IU29 up 24-20 when IU got a 72 yd IR TD with 5:32 left. MO's last drive was SOD.

Michigan 2010 Best Case 7-6 Close Losses (0)

Michigan's losses were by 17, 10, 10, 20, 30 and 38 points so believe it or not, at 7-6 they did indeed achieve a best case scenario.

Michigan 2010 Worst Case 3-10 Close Wins (4)

NOTRE DAME - There were a couple of key factors in this game. ND starting QB Crist missed 8 series in the 1H and ND did not score a single point on those. ND led 24-21 with 3:41 left. UM got a TD with :27 left for the lead. Just before the half, ND opted to go for it from the UM3 with :03 left passing up a FG and threw incomplete. At the end of the game, ND got down to the UM27 but their pass into the EZ was incomplete again.

MASSACHUSETTS - UM was off their upset win over ND. UMass actually led 17-7 after a TD with 1:17 left in the half and UM got a 66 yd TD pass, rec'd a fmbl and got a TD with :16 left in the half to lead 21-17. UM took a 42-24 lead and appeared to have the game well in hand but UMass got a TD and missed at the 2 pt conv with 5:15 left. They then blk'd a punt and drove 25 yards for a TD with 2:05 left and UM had to be thinking about the App St upset again. Leading by 5, they rec'd the onside kick at the UMass35, got 1 FD and took a knee.

INDIANA - Indiana trailed 35-28 in the 3Q but on 4&11 fired incomplete from the UM28. They were SOD at the UM30 with 12:26 left. Indy got a TD with 1:15 left to tie it. Robinson hit Hemmingway with a huge pass down to the 4 and Robinson's 4 yd TD run with :17 left gave UM the win.

ILLINOIS - Highest scoring game in B10 history as the teams practically traded score for score and the largest lead throughout the entire game was just 7 points. At the end of regulation UM got a TD with 1:47 left to tie it at 45. UM had a 3&8 on a pass that was almost int'd in the 2OT but in the 3OT UM got a 2 pt conv and UI was SOD on their try.

Michigan St 2010 Best Case 11-2 Close Losses (0)

Michigan St's losses were by 31 anf 42 points so they did indeed achieve a best case scenario.

Michigan St 2010 Worst Case 7-6 Close Wins (4)

NOTRE DAME - Tough loss for ND. With 7:43 left in the game, MSU tied it on a 24 yd TD pass but replays showed that WR Cunningham stepped OOB prior to making the catch so it should not have counted. In OT on 3&3 TE Ruldoph only ran a 2 yd route and ND settled for a 33 yd FG. MSU on 3&5 was sk'd for a 9 yd loss which set up a long 46 yd FG. The play clock clicked down to :00 prior to the play and should have been flagged for a delay. MSU ran a fake FG and the ND defender was knocked down and holder Bates hit a wide open Gant for a 29 yd TD pass and the win.

NORTHWESTERN - While MSU won this one by 8, it clearly counts as a close game. NU dominated. Early in the 1Q they fumbled at 1&gl at the 1 yd line costing them a TD and a chance to have an even bigger lead. NU led 24-14 and MSU faced a 4&11 when amazingly they ran a fake punt and NU's DB ran OOB and MSU got a FD at the 15 and got a TD with 3:12 left to pull within 24-21. NU settled for a 41 yd FG with 9:47 left to lead 27-21. NU forced a 3&out and took over at the 38 with 8:31 left but punted with 7:18 left. MSU got 5 FD's incl a 4&1 play and Cousins' pass into the EZ was broken up and deflected but Cunningham hauled in the tipped pass for a TD with 2:00 left. NU's offense committed a pers fouls and NU faced a 1st & 25 at its own 15 and on 4&12 overthrew the receiver with the wind at their back. MSU on 3&4 got a 25 yd TD run. Had he been tackled, MSU would have taken a knee. NU was tackling the ball allowing him to score with 1:07 left still leaving them down one score in the game but NU was int'd at their own 45.

PURDUE - This game was a lot different in the 1H than the score would indicate and at one point MSU had a 7-1 FD edge but trailed 14-7 and had their starting QB in the locker room with injury. PU got an 80 yd TD run in the 1Q and then a 35 yd IR TD to lead 14-7. A pers foul kept alive a PU drive and they got a 8 yd TD with :09 left in the half to lead 21-13 despite MSU having a 13-7 FD edge. PU led 28-13 when a wounded duck was int'd and MSU went 20 yds for a TD with 10:55 left. PU made a 52 yd FG with 8:42 left to go up 31-20. MSU got a TD and 2 pt conversion with 6:54 left to pull within 3 then blk'd a punt and rec'd at the 3 and got a TD with 4:32 left. PU got down to the MSU22 but on 4&78was int'd at the 17 with :44 left.

PENN ST - See Penn St

Minnesota 2010 Best Case 5-7 Close Losses (2)

SOUTH DAKOTA - Minn actually trailed this one 28-10 in the 3Q before cutting it to 28-24 with 4:52 left. (3Q). SD would extend it back to 10 on their next drive. Minn after an int went 27/3pl to get a TD with 10:16 left to cut it to 34-31 but SD came right back with a 36-yd td run with 7:30 left. Minn fumbled at the SD26 but got the ball back with 4:57 left and drove 58/7pl to cut it to 41-38 with 3:21 left. SD was able to get a FD on 3&4 and ran out the clock.

NORTHWESTERN - See Northwestern

Minnesota 2010 Worst Case 0-12 Close Wins (3)

MIDDLE TENNESSEE - MT led 17-14 late 3Q but UM went on a 97/13pl and tied it with a 20 yd FG w/14:11 left. After a punt UM went 77/16pl incl converting a 3&12 and got a 1 yd TD run w/3:09 left. MT fumbled the ensuing KO and UM got 2 FD's and ran out the clock.

ILLINOIS - See Illinois

IOWA - See Iowa

Northwestern 2010 Best Case 10-3 Close Losses (3)

PURDUE - See Purdue

MICHIGAN ST - See Michigan St

TEXAS TECH - TT actually controlled this game throughout with 34-23 FD and 552-375 yd edges. They led 38-17 late 3Q before the Wildcats mounted a comeback. After the NW cut it to 38-31 with 10:33 left, TT went 69/10 pl to extend it back to 14. NW got a TD with 5:37 left but didnt get it back until :25 left and were int'd on the final play.

Northwestern 2010 Worst Case 2-11 Close Wins (5)

VANDERBILT - NU led 10-0 late 2Q before VU got a TD (missed xp) and then a FG on the final play of the half with 10-9 left. The teams traded TD's in the 3Q as NU led 17-15 and NU made it 23-15 with 4:39 left. Vandy drove 69/6pl to cut it to 23-21 with 2:25 left but NU was able to get a FD and run out the clock.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN - NU led this one 30-13 in the 4Q. The game was tied 13-13 at the half. NU fumbled and CM went 64/8pl for a TD with 7:36 left. CM went 86/11pl for a TD with 1:11 left. The drive included a 4th & 15 conversion. NU rec'd the onside kick and took a knee.

MINNESOTA - Minnesota led 28-20 in the 4Q. NU got a TD with 8:17 left but missed the 2 pt conversion. NU went 54/10pl for a 27 yd FG with 2:07 left. UM got to the NU39 but was int'd with :17 left.

INDIANA - NU did lead 20-10 and on 4&4 gained 1 yd to the IU33 with 1:21 left. IU got a 39 yd TD pass with :44 left but the onside kick didn't go 10 yards and NU took a knee.
IOWA - See Iowa

Ohio St 2010 Best Case 12-1 Close Losses (0)

The Buckeyes only loss LY was by 13 points to they did indeed a best case scenario at 12-1

Ohio St 2010 Worst Case 10-3 Close Wins (2)

IOWA - See Iowa

ARKANSAS - OSU led this 28-10 at the half with a 338-234 yd edge. There was a controversial play in the 4Q when RB Herron got out of the EZ and appeared to have his progress stopped. It was pushed back into the EZ and ruled a safety. Arkansas also got a FG after the free kick to pull within 5. Herron dove over the pile on a gutsy call by Tressel going for it on 4&1 at his own 38 and got the FD but unfortunately Herron forgot the ball and AU recovered but AU lost 7 yds and punted with 4:33 left. OSU got a pair of FD's and punted with 1:09 left. AU blk'd the punt and recovered at the OSU18. They could have scooped the ball up and scored but fell on it after bobbling it. On 2&10 DE Soloman dropped back in coverage and got an int at the 18.

Penn St 2010 Best Case 8-5 Close Losses (1)

MICHIGAN ST - MSU was in control throughout and actually led 21-3 entering the 4Q. After a PSU td made it 21-10 with 13:58 left, MSU extended the lead back to 18 with a 3-yd td pass with 8:31 left. PSU would go 72/10pl and got a td with 5:51 left and after a MSU fumble got the ball back with 2:02 left. MSU got an int in the EZ only to fumble it on the return and PSU would cut it to 28-22 with :56 left but MSU recovered the onside kick and was able to run out the clock.

Penn St 2010 Worst Case 7-6 Close Wins (0)

PSU's closest win LY was by 9 points so at 7-6 they did indeed achieve a worst case scenario.

Purdue 2010 Best Case 6-6 Close Losses (2)

MICHIGAN ST - See Michigan St

INDIANA - See Indiana

Purdue 2010 Worst Case 3-9 Close Wins (1)

NORTHWESTERN - NU led 17-13 late and had a 41 yd FG blk'd. They also missed a 45 yd FG with 1:01 left which would have tied it. PU had a 3&14 with :53 left but a pers foul gave them a FD and they took a knee. NU had 23-13 FD and 389-279 yd edges despite the loss.

Wisconsin 2010 Best Case 12-1 Close Losses (1)

TCU - It was 14-10 TCU after the 1Q and looked like it was going to be a high scoring affair. UW did get a 37-yd FG on the final play of the 1H to make it 14-13. TCU took the opening 2H KO and drove 71/6pl to take a 21-13 lead and then the two defenses dominated. After 6 punts, UW got the ball with 7:32 left and drove 77/10pl and got a TD with 2:00 left but their 2pt conv was broken up by Tank Carder. TCU recovered the onside kick was able to get a FD and run out the clock to cap their perfect season.

Wisconsin 2010 Worst Case 9-4 Close Wins (2)

ARIZONA ST - This was a game of near misses for Arizona St. Just before the half they ret'd the KO 95 yards but were tackled at the 1 and did not score. ASU appeared to tie the game withe 4:09 left but missed the xp so they were still down 1, 20-19. UW got 2 FD's and ran off the rest of the clock escaping home with a win.

IOWA - See Iowa

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