The ACC/Big Ten Challenge commences Tuesday night and the Big Ten is a solid favorite to win the event for the fourth consecutive season.
As of today’s ratings here’s the list of chances for each Big Ten team to win, ordered from most favorable to least favorable…
Wisconsin (85%) over Virginia [Wed]
Michigan (83%) over N.C. State [Tue]
Indiana (84%) over North Carolina [Tue]
Penn State (78%) over Boston College
Illinois (77%) over Georgia Tech [Wed]
Northwestern (76%) over Maryland [Tue]
Michigan State (64%) over Miami [Wed]
Minnesota (55%) over Florida State [Tue]
Virginia Tech (55%) over Iowa [Tue]
Duke (64%) over Ohio State [Wed]
Clemson (67%) over Purdue [Wed]
Wake Forest (68%) over Nebraska [Tue]
The Big Ten has eight teams favored and the ACC’s four favorites are not strong favorites by any means. In fact, who had Wake Forest as the ACC’s best chance for a win?
Here’s the graphical breakdown of how many games the Big Ten can expect to win.
Add it up and here’s what you get for outcomes…
Big Ten win: 73.4%
ACC win: 10.2%
Based on these simulations, there’s a 0.15% chance of a Big Ten sweep while just one out of a million simulations resulted in the ACC winning all 12 games.
It should be pointed out that this analysis may overstate the Big Ten’s chances in a few ways. For one, the injury ledger leans against the Big Ten as Penn State’s Tim Frazier and Michigan State’s Gary Harris are out, while the worst absence on the ACC side is North Carolina reserve P.J. Hairston. (Although Penn State performed quite well without Frazier in a win over Bucknell over the weekend.) Indiana and Wisconsin are probably overrated by anywhere from 3-5 points here, and Maryland’s underrated by 2-3 points.
But the possibility of a tie is what makes the Challenge particularly challenging for the ACC. They have to be better than the Big Ten by two games to win outright and that’s a lot less likely than to happen for the ACC than it is for the Big Ten. Remember this is like the Ryder Cup. In the case of a tie, the previous champions retain the trophy. Although a tie would have to be considered a moral victory for the ACC.