2021-2022 Big Ten West preview
Looking at the Big Ten conference as a whole, it's easy to see that the West division is extremely top-heavy.
With the Wisconsin Badgers and Iowa Hawkeyes controlling the Big Ten West recently, it's been hard for the other teams to mount a challenge. Big Ten fans could make a case for the Wisconsin Badgers, who have maintained their West division since the split. The Badgers have made it to five conference championship games since 2011.
The Big Ten has hosted ten conference championship games, and the Badgers have played in half of those. Other notable West teams that have made appearances in the Big Ten championship game are Iowa and Northwestern. It's been eight long years since a Big Ten West team won the conference.
Seven teams round out the Big Ten West.
Big Ten West
- Illinois Fighting Illini
- Iowa Hawkeyes
- Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Nebraska Cornhuskers
- Northwestern Wildcats
- Purdue Boilermakers
- Wisconsin Badgers
Northwestern put together an incredible 2020 season that led to a Big Ten conference championship appearance. Iowa is the favorite to represent the West in the 2021-2022 Big Ten championship game. The Hawkeyes will have to watch out for the Wisconsin Badgers, though.
Northwestern, meanwhile, has lost a lot of talent and is unlikely to be a threat this year.
Only one team has won the Big Ten championship in the last 10+ years. Wisconsin is the only team that has won the conference championship from the West division in the previous ten years.
The Iowa Hawkeyes won a share of the Big Ten during the 2004 season with the Michigan Wolverines. Illinois won the Big Ten outright during the 2001 season, finishing 7-1 in the conference. The Purdue Boilermakers haven't won the Big Ten since 2000, and they split that championship with Northwestern and Michigan.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers have the longest drought in of all of the Big Ten West. Minnesota hasn't won the Big Ten conference since the 1967 season.
Nebraska is the only team that has not won the conference championship. The Cornhuskers didn't join the Big Ten until the 2011 season, and they haven't had much success since.
The gap in talent between the Big Ten West and East divisions is unspeakable. Wisconsin, Iowa, and Northwestern are the only teams that have served as a threat to the East division.
After taking a look at the team teams that round out the West division, here's a deep dive into all the teams in the division.