Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday afternoon QB...
Does this feel like the 1970s or what? I was just a kid in the 70s (born in '73) but a peek back in time reminds me that for a decade, two teams ruled the roost in the Big Ten - Ohio State and Michigan. It feels an awful lot like that again this season (last year too). The teams stand alone, unscathed at the top, two games clear of the nearest competition.

The Big Ten is however, getting ZERO national respect this year. Many feel OSU will be the next giant to fall from the top. Michigan did lose to a 1-AA team and got hammered in week two as well, so that doesn't help. Meanwhile, prior to this past Saturday, perennial doormats Illinois and Indiana were still a big part of the conference race. So, while on one hand I can see where the disrespect comes from, I still think it has as much to do with overall infatuation with the SEC, their gorgeous women and thunderously loud night-time crowds.

Let them look past the Big Ten. What they might miss is the best defense I have seen on TV or in person - maybe ever. Yes, Ohio State's defense is that good and yes, I think it is better than the one the national title team fielded back in 2002. They'll also miss a Michigan team that is finding a way to get things done, despite an array of bumps, bruises and in some cases, much more serious injuries. They'll look past the fact that Illinois, Indiana and Michigan State are simply getting better and not that the league is just mediocre. I say, let 'em do it.

The Big Ten will get a chance to prove its worth (and me right) come bowl season. For starters... there are five teams eligible and four one game away. Might the B10 send nine bowling this year? That very well may happen indeed...
  • Illinois - the Illini blew a tremendous chance to prove they are totally back. Self-inflicted destruction kept the orange and blue from a season-making win.
  • Indiana - the Hoosiers have come crashing back to earth the past two weeks. IU was much better against PSU than MSU but fumbled (4 times) away its chance to get a marquee win.
  • Iowa - yikes! The Hawkeyes are bad on offense. Really bad. Iowa may only have one more "sure" win on the slate - a rivalry date with Minnesota.
  • Michigan - just when you thought the Wolverines were dead, the maize and blue extended an impressive streak at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. They haven't lost there since 1983!
  • Michigan State - the Spartans fought hard in Columbus but found out first hand how good the OSU defense is. State is improved, but needs to show it in a key trip to Iowa City this weekend.
  • Minnesota - I don't wanna say I told you so (against NDSU) but, I told you so. This is not a good football team. The defense is as bad as I've seen in years and the offense is still in growth mode. 1-11 is very, VERY realistic.
  • Northwestern - don't look now but the Wildcats have won three in a row. Think they might still be kicking themselves over the loss to Duke as they sit one win away from a bowl?
  • Ohio State - best Buckeyes defense I've seen. The difference between this version and 2002 is that the offense seems to be on more solid footing. Is a repeat trip to the title game possible? You bet. Maybe even likely.
  • Penn State - a nice road win for the Nits at Indiana. The defense rose up and the offense was sound. Good timing to be firing on all cylinders with OSU coming to Beaver Stadium.
  • Purdue - Iowa was just what the doctor ordered for Purdue. Still not convinced that the Boilers are a great team, but they can be very good with a chance to get a few more quality wins down the stretch.
  • Wisconsin - see Purdue. NIU was just what a wounded Wisconsin team needed. Particularly with a brutal two game stretch coming up (OSU and U-M sandwiched between Indiana and Minnesota).

Players of the Week:
Offense: Chris "Beanie" Wells, TB - OSU. Wells nailed the Spartans' coffin shut, picking up three first downs late to salt away a win. Oh yeah, he also racked up 221 yards on the ground.

Offense: James Hardy, WR - IU. 14 catches, 2 scores, 142 yards against PSU.

Defense: Maurice Evans, DE - PSU. The guy was a stats machine. 6 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 PBU and 1 fumble recovery.

Special Teams: Kevin Kelly, PK - PSU. 3-3 on field goals in a 5-point PSU win over IU.

Get Gamm:
Plenty of 6-1 records for the week - 7 to be exact. However, most called for an OSU blowout of MSU. FWIW, I nearly nailed that score and picked the NDSU upset but got burned by two home teams - Illinois and Indiana. The winner in back-to-back fashion was St. Louis Jeff. Jeff picked the Bucknuts by 4 and was closest to the 7-point final margin.

Schedule:
Ball State at Illinois
Purdue at Northwestern
Michigan State at Iowa
Indiana at Wisconsin
Minnesota at Michigan
Ohio State at Penn State (Tiebreaker)

6 comments:

Buckeye Nation said...

Andy,

Your analysis of the Big 10 this season was spot on.
Good job!

BigTenSportsFan said...

Ball State 64 at Illinois 67 (7OT)
Purdue 31 at Northwestern 30
Michigan State 30 at Iowa 31
Indiana 30 at Wisconsin 31
Minnesota 30 at Michigan 31
Ohio State 30 at Penn State 31

BTW Andy, superb defense of the B10 this week in your "Monday Musings." I sang your praises in my blog!

Andy Gamm said...

BruceS says:
Ball State 13 @ Illinois 45 Illini take out frustration from last week's loss

Purdue 35 @ Northwestern 31 A matchup of spread offenses.

Michigan State 27 @ Iowa 24 Spartans get a rare win in Iowa City

Indiana 24 @ Wisconsin 28 Close win for the Badgers

Minnesota 10 @ Michigan 42 Even if Hart doesn't play, Michigan rolls.

Ohio State 31 @ Penn State 13 Buckeyes are on a mission
GO GREEN"

Dan Meyer said...

Apparently, Memorial Magic only applies to Vanderbilt basketball--Illinois and Indiana left chances for statement wins on the table (sigh).

Ball State 17 at ILLINOIS 30--Ball State is better than past years--but so are the Illini. No blow-out, but the Orange and Blue comfortably reach bowl eligibility.

PURDUE 45 at Northwestern 28--Painter and company cool off torrid Wildcats, but not without giving up some points.

Michigan State 24 at IOWA 28--Hawkeyes come through at least once with backs against the wall.

INDIANA 22 at Wisconsin 20--In upset special, Hoosiers become bowl-eligible before Thanksgiving.

Minnesota 17 at MICHIGAN 35--Good chance to get Hart more rest with tougher games ahead.

*OHIO STATE 17 at Penn State 14--Buckeyes BARELY survive Happy Valley in an ESPN Classic-caliber dogfight.

Phatsdawg said...

ILLINOIS 31 ball state 21

PURDUE 42 northwestern 7

MICHIGAN STATE 14 iowa 10

WISCONSIN 55 indiana 21

MICHIGAN 49 minnesota 14

OHIO STATE 24 penn state 10

PUFan said...

Ball State 17, ILLINOIS 30 -- Ball State peaked at Nebraska but maybe that wasn't such a great accomplishment after all? Illini take out some frustration on Cards

Northwestern 24, PURDUE 37 -- by the way Andy and everyone ... this game is AT PURDUE ... Boilers move to 7-2 on the year

Michigan State 19, IOWA 20 -- Spartans settle for two many red zone FGs, Hawks win it in the final minute

Indiana 30, WISCONSIN 27 -- Picking IU goes against everything I believe in (grin), but Badgers wins this year have yet to impress me. Upset Special ...

Minnesota 10, MICHIGAN 24 -- Could be a bit ugly as Wolverines might be found looking ahead to their in-state rivals next weekend

Ohio State 17, PENN STATE 9 -- Old fashioned smash mouth game and Nittany Lions hang with the Bucks until late on national TV