Yes, Iowa can still win the Big Ten West. Yes, it's a stretch.
Iowa's stunning, 55-24 upset of then-No. 3 Ohio State kept the Hawkeyes' slim hopes alive for a West Division title in the Big Ten Conference.
Before you get too excited, though, it really is a long shot.
At 3-3 in conference play, the Hawkeyes trail division-leading Wisconsin (6-0) by three games with three left to play. And Northwestern (4-2) is also ahead of Iowa and pocketed a head-to-head victory vs. Iowa on Oct. 14.
So, yeah, it's tough. But here are the three things that would need to happen.
1. Iowa wins out
Control what you can control. The Hawkeyes (6-3 overall) travel to 9-0 Wisconsin for Saturday's 2:30 p.m., ABC-televised game. They must beat the third-ranked Badgers, who are listed as a 13-point favorite, then finish with wins vs. Purdue (Nov. 18) and at Nebraska (Nov. 24) to complete their regular season at 9-3 overall, 6-3 in the Big Ten.
2. Wisconsin loses out
This is probably the toughest ask of three. But Iowa can hand Wisconsin its first loss this week. Then the Badgers host No. 22 Michigan. The Wolverines (7-2, 4-2) pack an excellent defense and seem to be gaining traction with a power running game. That's no gimme. Then Wisconsin finishes at Minnesota. The Badgers have owned the Gophers to the tune of a 13-game winning streak. But it's a rivalry game; that'll be P.J. Fleck's Year 1 Super Bowl. If it loses three straight, Wisconsin also ends up 9-3, 6-3.
3. Northwestern loses at least once
Unfortunately, the Wildcats (6-3, 4-2) have a good chance of winning out with two remaining home games (Purdue, Minnesota) and one on the road (Illinois). Those are the West's three worst teams. The best chance for Northwestern to stumble is this week vs. the Boilermakers (4-5, 2-4). Pat Fitzgerald's team is coming off three straight overtime wins — including Saturday at Nebraska — and is due for a letdown, right? Jeff Brohm's Purdue team is playing with some spunk.
If those three scenarios happen, Iowa, Wisconsin and Northwestern finish in a three-way tie at 6-3 atop the West. How to decide the representative for the Dec. 2 Big Ten title game in Indianapolis?
According to the conference's first tiebreaker, "the records of the three tied teams will be compared against each other." Wisconsin beat Northwestern; Northwestern beat Iowa; and, in this scenario, Iowa would've beaten Wisconsin. So, we keep going.
The second tiebreaker is each team's division record. In this scenario, Iowa would have finished 5-1 in the West, with Wisconsin and Northwestern each 4-2.
And that's the very convoluted, unlikely way the Hawkeyes could win the Big Ten West.