Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday afternoon QB ...
Another week is in the books and while there are two very familiar faces atop the league standings, everything still appears to be wide open. Iowa and Michigan State snapped lengthy in-conference losing spells, Illinois came back to earth, Northwestern's got the overtime thing down pat, Wisconsin got slapped around by a Penn State team in turmoil off the field and Michigan put together its best game of the season - although it may have suffered a huge loss at the same time (more on that later).

Around the rest of college football, another pair of unbeatens fell (LSU and Cal) leaving Ohio State to slide to the top slot in college football. Yes, the same Ohio State that lost a Heisman trophy QB, eight players to the NFL draft, etc. This may well be the wildest college football season I can remember. We're talking every single preseason Top 10 team with at least one loss so far and South Florida - a program not even in existence a few years ago - sitting in the top 3!

Hang on, there is much jockeying to take place both in the Big Ten and on the national scene. And oh by the way - ENJOY IT! This is like an entire football season that looks like the three weeks of heaven we get each March on the hardwood.

Time for my weekly team-by-team synopsis. This week we work in order of standing:
  • Ohio State - wow. On top of college football again. Proof that they don't rebuild, they reload in Columbus. OSU was the beneficiary of two losses ahead of them but are definitely a worthy number one at this point. The defense is eerily similar to the 2002 national title team but the offense is better than that one. Things get tough going forward though with MSU, Penn State, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan remaining.
  • Michigan - the good news? Michigan is coming off its best game of the season. The bad news? Mike Hart got hurt. How seriously? U-M isn't talking. If he's out for any length of time, Michigan could be in for a bumpy ride with trips to Illinois, MSU and Wisconsin still staring the Wolverines in the face, let alone that season ending battle with OSU.
  • Illinois - the loss at Iowa hurt but it doesn't ruin the season. The Illini are still young and were due for a stumble after rising up to beat ranked teams two weeks in a row. Michigan comes to town this weekend in a game that might go a long way to deciding the fate of the title...
  • Indiana - another team off to a hot start got pulled back to earth, but with a more resounding thud than the Illini. Indiana was out-everythinged at Michigan State but gets a shot at redemption with Penn State coming into Bloomington this weekend. Get that win and there is a legitimate shot at eight wins this season.
  • Penn State - the Nittany Lions wish they could play every game in Beaver Stadium. The myriad off-the-field issues may have been motivating in an annihilation of Wisconsin. Now we need to see if the Nits can get it done on the road. Indiana is an upstart, much like Illinois and is still looking to prove it can beat a big boy.
  • Wisconsin - the fall from the 14-game win streak has been hard and fast. The Badgers look suddenly average and have to right the ship to stay in the title mix. There are still ample opportunities available and maybe a week away from conference play will help get things moving back in the right direction.
  • Northwestern - call them the cardiac cats. Saturday marked yet another come from behind victory for the Wildcats and was another red letter day for the offense, particularly CJ Bacher. The Wildcats should get a win over Eastern Michigan this weekend, meaning a bowl berth is at their finger tips. If only the defense could stop someone, maybe the 'cats could breathe easy during a game this season!
  • Michigan State - the Spartans are playing with a chip on their shoulders right now and at the right time. The schedule gets markedly tougher, starting with a trip to face No. 1 OSU this weekend. State has the players to get it done on both sides of the ball and now that there is some confidence back after the resounding win over Indiana, perhaps we won't see the same 'ol Spartans for a change.
  • Purdue - I was flabbergasted when I saw the Purdue score at Michigan this weekend. Purdue won't win a big game in the Big Ten unless the Boilermakers step up and stop someone. The offense is suddenly Sunday church service silent and that doesn't bode well with some decent match-ups still on the slate.
  • Iowa - can you believe that the win over Illinois ended an eight game in conference losing streak for the Hawkeyes? The defense rose up after a few less than typical weeks and the team has a renewed vigor for what looks to be a tough stretch run.
  • Minnesota - memo to coaches all across the land (yeah, you too Dave Wannstedt) - don't frigging go for two in OT until you have to! I know extra points aren't a total gimme, but 99.9-percent of 'em are good, so why put that pressure on your team? Minnesota has lost some heart-breakers this year, but not because the offense is bad. With time, it'll be even better. But Coach Brewster, go sign 20 defensive players in February because you won't win in this league by simply trying to outscore people - just ask John L. Smith.

Players of the Week:
Offense - Javon Ringer, RB - Michigan State. Ringer ripped off his 4th straight 100-yard plus effort, going for 203 yards and two scores against the Hoosiers.

Defense - Mike Humpal, LB - Iowa. Hard to argue against 18 tackles, 2.5 TFL and a fumble recovery in an upset victory over Illinois.

Special Teams - Austin Starr, K - Indiana. Not much to go with around the Big Ten this week, but Starr kept his streak alive with two more field goals in as many attempts versus MSU.

Get Gamm...
Lord help us all, B10SportsFan went a perfect 6-0 for the week. Aren't you all excited to be regaled with his commentary? As a back-up, St. Louis Jeff was among those at 5-1 that was closest on the tiebreaker, so Jeff, send me your picks and commentary too. Picks are due by Friday this week since there is a Friday night contest...

Schedule:
Northwestern vs. Eastern Michigan (at Ford Field, Friday)
Michigan at Illinois
Penn State at Indiana
Iowa at Purdue
Michigan State at Ohio State (Tiebreaker)
North Dakota State at Minnesota
Northern Illinois at Wisconsin

Basketball time!
Midnight Madness kicked off the college basketball season on Friday. That means previews for the 2007-08 season are coming soon. Stay tuned!

11 comments:

AndrewJ1313 said...

"Not much to go with around the Big Ten this week.."

Hartline sets a school record at OSU for a punt return (90 yards) and that's not much?! I hope he does more to impress you this week against MSU :)

Good call on the Iowa upset this week, Andy. I myself almost had to kick me for not picking Minnesota, but thankfully Brewster screwed his team.

Andy Gamm said...

You got me on that one Andrew! It was impressive, I just usually like to see more than one big play. If he had done that and racked up 200 return yards that might be another story!

It'll be a good battle this weekend. I'm thinking like it's 1998!

BigTenSportsFan said...

Andy, thanks for handing things off to Jeff this week! I'm swamped with my new blog http://fittingthevision.blogspot.com/ which is getting overwhelmed with hits.

Northwestern 65 vs. Eastern Michigan 2
Michigan 28 at Illinois 27
Penn State 28 at Indiana 27
Iowa 27 at Purdue 28
Michigan State 27 at Ohio State 28
North Dakota State 2 at Minnesota 65
Northern Illinois 2 at Wisconsin 65

Buckeye Nation said...

Andrew:

Took the words right out of my mouth!

Andy,
Enjoy 1998.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Andy Gamm said...

Not exactly, there was this little upset in 1974 too you recall!

Dan Meyer said...

NORTHWESTERN 35 vs. Eastern Michigan 10--The midseason run continues for the Wildcats.

Michigan 21 at ILLINOIS 24--Four straight misses on the Illini? It's possible.

Penn State 24 at INDIANA 28--Sure, the Lions are terrors at Happy Valley, but can they beat a good team elsewhere? Hoosiers bowl eligible by Halloween? Spooky, but could well be true.

Iowa 21 at PURDUE 27--Manhood Saturday for the Boilers with a roadie to PSU next week. Last year's 47-17 will be remembered, but a "role player" may get the Boilers to bowl eligibility.

Michigan State 10 at OHIO STATE 28--Nice win by Sparty last week, but Ohio State at the Shoe is a different kettle of fish.

North Dakota State 7 at MINNESOTA 31--All is right in Gopherland for one week.

Northern Illinois 10 at WISCONSIN 34--Huskies melt at Camp Randall.

Phatsdawg said...

NORTHWESTERN 33 eastern michigan 22

MICHIGAN 28 illinois 17

PENN STATE 42 indiana 10

PURDUE 31 iowa 17

OHIO STATE 28 michigan state 7

MINNESOTA 35 north dakota state 28

WISCONSIN 31 northern illinois 14

mayo170 said...

Northwestern 34 vs. Eastern Michigan 16
Michigan 27 at Illinois 23
Penn State 31 at Indiana 28
Iowa 13 at Purdue 27
Michigan State 24 at Ohio State 22(Tiebreaker)
North Dakota State 31 at Minnesota 27
Northern Illinois 6 at Wisconsin 41

BruceS said...

Must get these picks in as I leave tomorrow night for 3 days of golf in Mesquite, NV & St. George, UT. Will miss all the games on TV Sat. but someone has to play golf.

Northwestern 45 EMU 13 No contest

Michigan 27 Illinois 31 The Illini finally get the win over Michigan

Penn St. 24 Indiana 21 Somehow, PSU gets a rare road win.

Iowa 20 Purdue 38 Purdue overpowers Iowa for the win at home.

Michigan State 20 Ohio State 35 I bet against my Spartans last week and they won. Will it happen again this week. I don't think so, but always hopeful.

ND State 20 Minnesota 34 The Gophers beat someone. (But I said about the same thing before they played Florida Atlantic)

NIU 10 Wisconsin 42. A good chance for Wisc to get back on the winning track.
GO GREEN

Buckeye Nation said...

Northwestern 27 vs. Eastern Michigan 21
Michigan 28 at Illinois 24
Penn State 23 at Indiana 21
Iowa 17 at Purdue 36
Michigan State 13 at Ohio State 31 (Tiebreaker)
North Dakota State 24 at Minnesota 28
Northern Illinois 17 at Wisconsin 38

PUFan said...

Northwestern 41, Eastern Michigan 20
Michigan 24, ILLINOIS 16
Penn State 30, INDIANA 20
Iowa 13, PURDUE 24
Michigan State 12, OHIO STATE 27
North Dakota State 19, MINNESOTA 30
Northern Illinois 13, WISCONSIN 28