F-U-G-L-Y. Not much more you can say about the weekend that was in the Big Ten. More trouble with 1-AA foes (I still can't say championship sub-division), losses to previously winless teams who had lost to a 1-AA team, a home rotten egg against the team with the longest current losing streak in the Big Ten? So much for the return to glory for the conference. Guess that means the race is wide open though, which will mean a fun couple of months here in Big Ten Country!
In reality, the Big Ten has but one good win to its name in 33 contests to date - Ohio State's solid road win over previously unbeaten Washington over the weekend. That's pretty pathetic if you ask me. For more on a team by team basis of what might have been the worst non-conference week in recent memory, follow along:
- Illinois - the Illini actually looked really good against lowly Syracuse. It was the first win over a 1A foe since the road upset in East Lansing last fall and might be the springboard this team needs to get back to respectability.
- Indiana - well, the Hoosiers didn't stop the Zips like OSU did the week prior, but man does that offense look smooth with Kellen Lewis at the helm. This team will score an upset this season and prove me right with a bowl berth.
- Iowa - oh my. Previously, the Cyclones had lost in ugly ways to 1-AA Northern Iowa and Kent State. Just goes to show you the power of a rivalry. Iowa was caught looking ahead to the Big Ten opener... or their offense is just not nearly the caliber of the defense.
- Michigan - the preseason favorite of many to get to the Rose Bowl finally got a W. Notre Dame might be the worst team in the bowl sub-division but still, it was a good win for the Wolverines who had been reeling.
- Michigan State - put it this way, it was the FIRST win without scoring at least 20 points since 2001 for the Spartans. It was ugly in a lot of ways but beautiful when it comes to the scoreboard. State finally won with its defense, when is the last time that happened?
- Minnesota - ugh. Ouch. So many preseason rags touted this as a bowl team while I picked them last in the Big Ten. But even I didn't expect this loss. Enough said.
- Northwestern - double UGH! A loss to Duke in basketball is okay, in football - at home - unforgivable. The Wildcats almost got the win, with four shots at the end zone late, but took a tough one on the chin when it comes to building to six wins on the season.
- Ohio State - the Buckeyes more or less dominated a good Washington team, on the road. The defense was rock solid again and the offense finally came to life. Might be a Rose Bowl year after all for the reloading scarlet and gray.
- Penn State - this game was 3-3 late in the second quarter. I'll chalk it up to the Nits looking ahead to a date in Ann Arbor because they finally snapped too and stuck it to lowly Buffalo.
- Purdue - cruised early, held on late and lost a tailback in the process. I like this Boilermaker offense - a lot - but the defense is going to cost this team a game or two in conference play.
- Wisconsin - yes the Badgers own the longest win streak in the nation but it hasn't been pretty so far this season. The Citadel matched UW score for score early and then finally succumb to PJ Hill's pounding attack.
Players of the Week:
Offense - PJ Hill, TB - Wisconsin. 5 touchdowns.
Defense - Jonal St. Dic, DE - Michigan State. 5 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumble.
Special Teams - David Gilreath, WR - Wisconsin. 148 total return yards.
Ernie, aka mayo170 was the only player with some decent success, going 9-2 for the week. He was the only one to pick the ISU upset over Iowa and gets to pick on the home page for the week.
This week's schedule:
Illinois at Indiana (Tiebreaker)
Northwestern at Ohio State
Penn State at Michigan
Michigan State at Notre Dame
Iowa at Wisconsin
Purdue at Minnesota