Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Morning QB ...
It is very clearly a two-horse race to the finish in the Big Ten race. Yes, Wisconsin, Purdue and Illinois are all technically alive, but I'm here to tell you, Ohio State won't lose more than one time the rest of the way. The key is where that loss takes place - if at all - and how Michigan fares as it hits its most brutal stretch of the season (at MSU, at Wisconsin, vs. OSU). Sorry rest of the conference, but like I said last week, this two or three year run is a little throwback to the 1970s - i.e. it's all about the scarlet and gray & maize and blue.

So what about the rest of the conference? Well, only one of the four that were vying to get a sixth win and bowl eligibility did so - Illinois. The other three wait another week and meanwhile, Iowa stayed alive. Can you imagine? The Big Ten could have as many as ten bowl eligible teams. TEN! My prediction is that it will happen. But unless a few bowls are lacking a team due to eligibility issues within their conference ties, two of the ten could be staying home...

Outside of the Big Ten - if you didn't see this ending, it is MUST-SEE!

Time for the weekly team by team, this time with Bowl Predictions:
  • Ohio State - statement win in Happy Valley on Saturday night. That place was a mad house on TV - can't imagine what it was like to be there. The Buckeyes have Wisconsin this weekend, followed by Illinois and Michigan. Suddenly this team looks better to me than last year's. Prediction - 12-0 (8-0), BCS Title Game
  • Michigan - the Big House was deathly silent as Minnesota waltzed to a 10-0 lead, but then the future of Michigan football took over. Mallett, Manningham, Minor and Brown ruled the second half and Michigan cruised to its seventh straight W. It gets immediately and progressively tougher each of the next three weeks. Prediction - 8-4 (6-2), Capital One Bowl.
  • Purdue - the Boilers are mighty tough, as long as Michigan and Ohio State aren't the opponent. What it means is that the gold and black are looking at a decent bowl bid with a nice final record. Penn State is a wounded opponent that could have a hang-over, but from there, the schedule gets a little easier. Prediction - 9-3 (5-3), Outback Bowl
  • Wisconsin - the Badgers have a chance to get right in the BCS berth mix with back-to-back contests against the leaders - Michigan and Ohio State. But, with PJ Hill dinged up, I just don't see it happening. Prediction - 8-4 (4-4), Champs Sports Bowl
  • Illinois - the Illini are in good shape. Two very winnable games remain sandwiched around a chance to send a message to No. 1 OSU. Illinois is young and sometimes fragile, but should get to a nice game this postseason. Prediction - 8-4 (4-4), Insight Bowl
  • Penn State - the Nittany Lions have to get right and quick. Purdue and Michigan State remain (as well as Temple) and there is still a lot to be played for. I see one slip up the rest of the way. Prediction - 8-4 (4-4), Alamo Bowl.
  • Indiana - the Hoosiers have been stuck on five wins for three weeks now. Ball State is the best remaining chance to get over the hump, thought the NU game could be the true bowl elimination game for both teams. Prediction - 6-6 (2-6), No Bowl.
  • Northwestern - The Wildcats have two of the last three at home and probably need to win two to go bowling if for no other reason, because MSU will be more attractive to the Motor City Bowl than either the 'cats or Hoosiers. Prediction - 6-6 (3-5), No Bowl.
  • Iowa - The Hawkeyes got new life with the come back win over the Spartans. Three winnable games remain and it might take all three to make a bowl. Prediction - 7-5 (4-4), Armed Forces Bowl
  • Michigan State - the Spartans were stung by Iowa in the process likely saw any hopes for a bowl berth outside of Michigan fade away. The Motor City Bowl is not what anyone in green and white wants, but hey, beggars can't be choosers. Prediction - 7-5 (3-5), Motor City Bowl.
  • Minnesota - well on its way to 1-11, the Gophers did put up a fight for a half at Michigan. Can be a spoiler with games remaining against Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. Prediction - 1-11 (0-8).

Players of the Week:
Prediction - look for someone that plays for Michigan to get a nod next week as five of MSU's opponents have garnered POTW honors from the Big Ten after playing against the Spartans.

Offense: OSU QB Todd Boeckman. Hard to argue against the pick by this week. Boeckman was in control and sharp all night long in a big win for the Bucks.

Defense: Purdue secondary. Held CJ Bacher, previously white hot, to 209 yards and a 50-percent completion percentage while picking off three passes.

Special Teams: Iowa Punter Ryan Donahue. An 82-yarder. An average of 51.6 yards per punt. Critical in Iowa's comeback as he fueled the field position game.

Get Gamm:
Most everyone nailed five of six for the week, but only BruceS thought OSU would have the easy time they did in Happy Valley. The race for the top is tight, with three regular season weeks to play and bowl season too boot.

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


Anonymous said...

sorry to criticize you, but you forgot the outback bowl

Andy Gamm said...

that I did, thanks. Meant to put Purdue there (note I have two in the Alamo Bowl)

Dan Meyer said...

Iowa 14 at NORTHWESTERN 17--As good a week as any for the Wildcats to reach bowl eligibility.
Either Tressel or Zook probably win COY, but Fitzgerald deserves consideration.

Purdue 17 at PENN STATE 24--As much as I would like for the Boilers to be road warriors this week; their record in big-time games just isn't good recently. Should be marked closer than the trip to the Big House, though.

Ball State 28 at INDIANA 24--No "shocking the world" this week, although the Cardinals may keep it close.

Wisconsin 10 at OHIO STATE 20--Buckeyes can't afford letdown, but survive a recharged Badger bunch.

Michigan 27 at MICHIGAN STATE 28--What is the recipe for lime Kool-Aid again? Spartans are getting into bowl eligibility danger and may catch the Wolverines looking ahead.

ILLINOIS 31 at Minnesota 24--Incredibly enough, an upset by the Gophers would not totally shock me--I think that the Illini may have their minds elsewhere. I predict that a late fourth quarter drive spares some major blushes.

Dan Meyer said...

Correction: Ball State 28 at INDIANA 34

AndrewJ1313 said...

at Northwestern 27, Iowa 17; Northwestern is much better at home and will look to return to form this week against Iowa. I must say, I won’t be surprised if Iowa shuts down Northwestern’s offense and wins.
at Penn State 30, Purdue 16; Penn St. will white out Purdue. Their defense was humiliated at home on the big stage and will look to avenge that this week against a decent Purdue offense. Penn St.’s offense will score against a bad Purdue defense.
at Indiana 27, Ball State 24; This might go either way, but I think Indiana can taste “13” and get it done this week.
Michigan 27, at Michigan State 17; Had MSU beaten Iowa last week, I might pick them in an upset this week, but I have to go with a Michigan squad that is playing much more dominate since their early season hiccup.
Illinois 28, at Minnesota 21; I’d be shocked if Minnesota beat Illinois. Illinois will dominate most of the game and Minnesota will make it a closer game in the fourth.
at Ohio State 27, Wisconsin 10; The win in Happy Valley will fuel the Buckeyes momentum through the remainder of the regular season.

GO BUCKEYES!!!!!!!!!!

Just for kicks;
at Indianapolis 31, New England 28; Will be one of the best NFL games in history.

PUFan said...

Purdue 23, PENN STATE 21
Ball State 24, INDIANA 31
Wisconsin 13, OHIO STATE 26
Michigan 27, MICHIGAN STATE 23
Illinois 31, MINNESOTA 17