Monday Morning QB ...
A wild and wooly Saturday around the Big Ten this past weekend. Ohio State only a touchdown winner at Illinois? Michigan has to have a goal line stand to avoid possible overtime with Ball State? Minnesota flat out crushes Indiana? Northwestern wins on the road – at Iowa no less? Maybe the only normalcy came as Michigan State found yet another way to blow a late lead in a loss to Purdue and Wisconsin dominated on the ground and on defense en route to a solid 13-3 win over Penn State.
Now to the games themselves. Illinois isn’t all that bad. Yep, the Illini are tied for last but they are a team, like Indiana, that can rise up when you least expect it. That’s what nothing to lose mentalities get you. The Ball State – Michigan score was more shocking to me. But when you turtle up and go conservative, that’s what happens – you get more than you bargained for.
Purdue and Michigan State probably played the most entertaining game with a lot of twists and turns, but the Spartans could not win one for John L. Smith and then he was no where to be found after the game when the media came calling. Penn State coach Joe Paterno suffered a broken leg and two damaged ligaments when he was rolled on the sideline. Makes you wonder how that doesn’t happen more often. Unfortunately, that was the only highlight of a pretty well played but boring, old fashioned Big Ten battle.
What the heck happened to the Hoosiers? This is the third game that IU has put in the loss column that on paper, should have been a win. It might’ve been the final nail on the Indiana bowl chances coffin as Michigan comes calling this weekend followed by a game at Purdue. Speaking of what the heck and “H” nicknames, hello, Hawkeyes – where were you on Saturday? My pick to share the Big Ten title was stunned at home and all but assured that they won’t be spending New Years Day in Florida. Alamo Bowl, here we come.
Team of the Week...
Could be Wisconsin, who is quietly a solid 9-1 (6-1) and on a six game win streak. Could be Minnesota who kept slim bowl hopes alive by trashing the Hoosiers. Could even be Illinois for putting up a solid fight against the Buckeyes. But I have to go with Northwestern. In the middle of a stretch that included road games at Michigan and Iowa, followed by a home date with the Buckeyes – all after the devastating loss to Michigan State – it would have been understandable if the team sort of hung it up. No siree. Kudos to Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats for smacking Iowa on the chin and hanging on for a huge victory.
Player of the Week...
Minnesota quarterback Bryan Cupito came out firing and it paid off big time for the Golden Gophers. 22-33, 4 TDs and 378 yards passing. Brilliant.
Get Gamm status...
We have another new winner this week. Three went 5-1 this week with Northwestern and Minnesota throwing most for a loop. PUFan, not eligible for the overall prize, wins the honor this week. Send your picks my way by Thursday PUFan.
T1 - Buckeye Nation: 61-15 (.803), 3 GG Wins
T1 - Dan Meyer: 61-15 (.803), 2 GG Wins
T1 - andrewj1313: 61-15 (.803), 1 GG Win
T1 - flakcat: 61-15 (.803), 1 GG Win
T5 - may0170: 60-16 (.789)
T5 - phatsdawg: 60-16 (.789)
7 - Gamm: 58-18 (.763), 1 GG Win
8 - BigTenSportsFan: 57-19 (.750), 1 GG Win
9 - PUFan: 39-15 (.722), 1 GG Win
This week's slate:
Purdue at Illinois
Temple at Penn State
Minnesota at Michigan State
Michigan at Indiana
Wisconsin at Iowa
Ohio State at Northwestern
Coming soon... my basketball predictions