Another week, another set of unforgettable outcomes. It wasn't so much that all the games were instant classics - though Michigan State vs. Wisconsin certainly didn't disappoint - but there were upsets, eye-openers and more not only around the Big Ten, but all over college football.
Has there ever been a weekend that saw 3, 4, 5, 7, 10 and 11 in the rankings go down? No. 1 almost did, No. 6 almost swapped with 11 (Cal/Oregon to have a heavy run of national title contenders mowed down. Ah that's why you gotta love college football. You just never know what you're going to get from week to week.
- Illinois - What a fine weekend for the Illini. A win over ranked Penn State was a huge step towards cred for this program that is trying to rise from the ashes. Saturday's win gives Illinois as many this year as the last two campaigns combined. The Illini aren't a contender yet in my book, but they are a spoiler for sure and almost a lock to go bowling.
- Indiana - Ditto the sentiments above. The loss to Illinois a week ago really dented the Hoosiers... until they slapped around Iowa, in Iowa City no less. Kellen Lewis is a thrill to watch at QB and as that team builds confidence, it too will be a thorn in the contenders' sides this fall/
- Iowa - try this on for size: Iowa is 4-10 since starting last season 4-0. Ouch. And what the heck happened to the defense that surrendered just two TDs in the first four games?
- Michigan - Just when you think Michigan is all the way back, they struggle to escape at Northwestern. This is the same Northwestern team that lost to Duke ... Duke of the 22-straight losses fame. Michigan is in big trouble if Henne and Hart aren't on this team. Lucky for the maize and blue, they are still in one-piece.
- Michigan State - heartbreak city for the Spartans. A couple of plays here or there and this team is probably top 15, top 20 for sure (thanks in part to all of the upsets). Now we'll see what State is made of, with two tough, but winnable home games before a brutal stretch to close the season.
- Minnesota - um, yeah, what do you say about Minny? The coaching staff is installing a new offense and not without growing pains. The defense is sieve-like - at best. Is there another win to be had for the maroon and gold?
- Northwestern - The Wildcats bounced back nicely from the shellacking in Columbus. Untimely turnovers killed an upset bid and now the 'cats are focused on pay back for the blown 38-3 lead at the hands of MSU last fall.
- Ohio State - the Buckeyes appear to have replaced all of the lost skill players and are fielding what looks to be an even better defense than last year. This is the team to beat in the Big Ten.
- Penn State - what a disappointment. Granted, the Nits went on the road for two straight to open league play, but 0-2? The offense is in a funk and the defense is overloaded. Can they right the ship?
- Purdue - The Boilermakers still haven't really played anyone but got to join the dog pile with a win over rival Notre Dame. The first real test comes this weekend when OSU comes to town.
- Wisconsin - Someone, this team just finds a way. Saturday's win made it 14 in a row, and 22 of 23 at home. Wow. It wasn't always pretty and there are gaps with this team, but you have to consider the Badgers to be Ohio State's best competition for the crown.
Players of the Week:
So many stars to choose from this week.
Offense - Kellen Lewis, QB - IU
Defense - James Laurinaitis, LB - OSU
Special Teams - Taylor Melhaff. K - WIS
A bevy of 4-2 records this week, but one stood above the rest with the foresight to pick Illinois AND Indiana. BruceS gets win number two and a chance for home page redemption! Bruce, I am out on Thursday and Friday this week, so I need your picks Wed.
Minnesota at Indiana
Wisconsin at Illinois
Eastern Michigan at Michigan
Northwestern at Michigan State
Iowa at Penn State
Ohio State at Purdue (Tiebreaker)