Monday Morning QB ... on Tuesday ...
Not too much excitement around the Big Ten last weekend - unless you are Indiana. The Hoosiers are now one win away from becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 1993. To put that in perspective, many of the current IU players were between the ages of five and eight in 1993!
The rest of the weekend went pretty much as expected, although Penn State shutting out Purdue in West Lafayette was a bit of an eye opener. Then again, the Boilermakers struggled to only three points the weekend before - on the same field mind you - against the Badgers. Oh yeah and Illinois just about pulled off another road upset, squandering a late lead against a sleepy looking Badger team. Otherwise, Michigan did nothing fancy and just gritted out a two TD win. Ohio State rolled the Golden Gophers. Iowa handled Northern Illinois a little easier than I expected with Drew Tate on the sideline.
It doesn't get too much more exciting this weekend with Michigan going out of conference to host Ball State and Ohio State traveling to Illinois for another November 18 tune-up game. There is a battle for third place and upper hand in the quest to make the Capital One Bowl when Penn State travels to Madison but the rest of the match-ups are a little yawn-inducing. Yes, Indiana gets its best remaining shot at getting the sixth win it needs to go bowling (at Minnesota) and Purdue and Michigan State fight for their bowl lives in East Lansing, but Iowa and Northwestern might be as exciting to watch as auto racing (I'd rather watch the tide roll in than watch auto racing)...
Team of the Week...
I've got to go with Indiana as my team of the week. The Hooisers were facing a must win to give themselves a legitimate shot at a bowl berth and were going up against the Spartans and all the momentum of their monumental comeback win over Northwestern. Well, the cream and crimson withstood the initial Michigan State drive and responded by putting 46 straight points on the board. Just think, if IU had won the two games it should have back in September, the Hoosiers would be - GASP - 7-2 right now!
Player of the Week...
I'm going with the pitch and catch duo of Kellen Lewis and James Hardy from Indiana. Lewis had six total touchdowns (five passing, one rushing) - four of those to Hardy. The pair tore the MSU defense to shreds in a romp.
The hot seat is ablaze!
A few weeks back, I wrote a take that while I was on the fence with John L. Smith as the coach at Michigan State, the Spartans needed consistency and time to get better. Well, after blowing a golden opportunity at Indiana a week after a miracle, injuries aside, it is time for a change in E.L. unless JLS can win out. Seeing how that is as likely to happen as Minnesota winning the Big Ten this fall, here are some names I'd like to throw out, in no particular order. Michigan defensive coordinator Ron English. Rutgers boss Greg Schiano. Former Miami-FLA and Cleveland Browns coach Butch Davis. Save me the Mooch for coach speeches. We need someone with fire, someone who can motivate and someone who can recruit against other top programs in the area.
Get Gamm status...
We have a new winner this week. Five went 5-1 but andrewj1313 was the closest on the margin of the Penn State - Purdue contest and gets his shot at picking for the first time this season.
T1 - may0170: 57-13 (.814)
T1 - Buckeye Nation: 57-13 (.814), 3 GG Wins
T1 - Dan Meyer: 57-13 (.814), 2 GG Wins
T1 - andrewj1313: 57-13 (.814), 1 GG Win
5 - flakcat: 56-14 (.800), 1 GG Win
6 - phatsdawg: 55-15 (.786)
7 - Gamm: 54-16 (.771), 1 GG Win
8 - BigTenSportsFan: 53-17 (.757), 1 GG Win
9 - PUFan: 34-14 (.708)
This week's slate:
Indiana at Minnesota
Northwestern at Iowa
Ohio State at Illinois
Ball State at Michigan
Purdue at Michigan State
Penn State at Wisconsin (TIEBREAKER)
Coming soon... my basketball predictions