Monday, November 05, 2007

Monday afternoon QB ...
It is officially a two horse race to the finish for the Big Ten title. Illinois is the only team still within two games of the top, but cannot do better than a tie for second place. Several teams remain in the chase for bowl eligibility with seven already qualified and three on the brink. It was a weekend with some good football and epic plays but in the end, it still looks like this: Big Two, Little Nine.

Michigan held its spell on the Spartans by staging the third late game comeback win in the past four seasons. The common denominator in all three? Chad Henne. He was brilliant down the stretch with two pinpoint TD tosses to steal away a win from the desperate Spartans in the waning moments of the game. Meanwhile, Wisconsin stayed with Ohio State for three quarters before a late onslaught pushed the scarlet and gray to another impressive win. Those same Badgers and the aforementioned Illini are all that stand between the two meeting at 7-0 on November 17.

As for the rest, well ... Indiana finally got to the six-win mark and can breathe a little easier. Iowa got back to .500 with a late comeback and suddenly looks to be a seven win team. Penn State held off the potent Purdue offense long enough to get back to winning ways. Illinois hammered Minnesota - the one team the Spartans don't get that they so wish they did! NU, MSU and Iowa are perched at five wins, in a season where six might not be enough anyway. It all makes for an interesting last couple of weeks of the season...

  • Illinois - the Illini ran their record to seven wins and have a huge game at Ohio State this coming weekend. While out of the title hunt, a win would be enormous in terms of a final destination for bowl season.
  • Indiana - after several weeks of coming up short, the Hoosiers finally got to the six-win mark. The cream and crimson might need a seventh win, however, to actually garner an invitation. Northwestern and Purdue remain, both winnable, but equally as lose-able.
  • Iowa - the win over MSU sparked something in the Hawkeyes. Beaten and battered, the Hawkeyes have an easy road to two more wins and a bowl game. If any team deserves it, it might be Iowa.
  • Michigan - the Wolverines found a way against the Spartans - again - and won their sixth straight in the rivalry. Chad Henne has a magic when it comes to playing MSU. Wolverines fans hope that magic somehow appears against OSU for a change.
  • Michigan State - that's five losses this season, each by less than a TD. At the half, the Spartans looked left for dead but dominated the first 23 minutes of the second half. Unfortunately, the green and white haven't learned how to seal the deal and now are in a corner when it comes to bowl eligibility.
  • Minnesota - the Golden Gophers are just playing out the string. Two rivalry games remain but it seems like the maroon and gold has packed it in. Illinois ran roughshod on the Gophers at home. Tough first year for Coach Brewster.
  • Northwestern - with three i's to try and "dot" over the last three weeks of the season (Iowa, Indiana, Illinois), the Wildcats are down to two more chances to get to six wins. With only seven bowls (maybe eight) to go around, six wins might not be enough.
  • Ohio State - the Buckeyes continue to answer and need to do so for two more games to get back into the title game. Illinois will be no picnic but I'm telling you, I like this team more than I liked last year's - even with as loaded as that team was...
  • Penn State - the Nittany Lions are playing for destination now. Win two more to get to nine and Florida will come calling. Lose to lowly Temple and embattled Michigan State, and it might be Arizona at best. My guess is they will split the difference...
  • Purdue - the Boilers have yet to beat anyone this season. There is a bowl in the gold and black's future, but the next two - not unlike PSU - will go a long way in determining the final destination.
  • Wisconsin - see Purdue and Penn State. Wisconsin has a grand opportunity this weekend with Michigan coming to town. Win that and the Capital One Bowl is all but a certainty.

Players of the Week:
Offense - Kellen Lewis, QB - Indiana. 406 total yards. 354 passing with 4 TDs. He led IU to its sixth win - a first for the program since 1994.

Defense - James Laurinaitis, LB - Ohio State. 19 tackles, 2 for a loss. 1 sack. A fumble recovery. This guy is an animal.

Special Teams - Aaron Bates, P - Michigan State. He was the unsung hero of the first half against Michigan. Three punts downed inside the 10 - one on the one. A long of 67 yards.

Get Gamm...
St. Louis Jeff hit the jackpot with a perfect week and stands alone at the top. His three wins is tied with Bruce S with three picking weeks remaining.

Indiana at Northwestern
Minnesota at Iowa
Michigan at Wisconsin (tiebreaker)
Michigan State at Purdue
Penn State vs. Temple (Philly)
Illinois at Ohio State

A reminder that my Big Ten preview for basketball is live. A link can be found in the right nav at all times during the season.


Dan Meyer said...

My picks are tracking the Spartans: strong early, faltering lately.

INDIANA 24 at Northwestern 23--Last good chance for Wildcat bowl eligibility, this MIGHT be a bowl elimination game--assuming that Purdue wins next week's Old Oaken Bucket game. Northwestern has been maddeningly inconsistent recently.

Minnesota 14 at IOWA 24--Resurgent Hawks look to be on their way to a bowl--perhaps Insight or Motor City.

*Michigan 24 at WISCONSIN 28--Will I ever learn not to pick home games in games like this? Apparently not. Badgers may have something to "Jump" about.

Michigan State 28 at PURDUE 35--More frustration for Andy at a recent Spartan nemesis.

PENN STATE 27 at Temple 14--Owls are not nearly as bad as two or three years ago, but still not good enough for Nittany Lions.

Illinois 13 at OHIO STATE 28--Illini are good, but Buckeyes are EXTREMELY good.

phatsdawg said...

Did Chris Summers get any looks at special teams player of the week, or is it because we lost?

NORTHWESTERN 35 indiana 31

IOWA 21 minnesota 10

MICHIGAN 28 wisconsin 25

PURDUE 41 michigan state 28

PENN STATE 33 temple 10

OHIO STATE 35 illinois 17

Andy Gamm said...

He got a look. I leaned to what I saw in person and that was Bates keeping State in the game with field position in the first half as the offense struggled.

Phatsdawg said...

That makes sense, good luck to your Spartans this week as they invade Ross Ade, hope it's a good exciting game

Andy Gamm said...

BruceS says:
It's time for me to start my kick as we head down the home stretch of the season. I need to move up in the standings.

Indiana 27 Northwestern 31 The most difficult game for me to pick this week. I'm giving the home team the nod in this one.

Minnesota 9 Iowa 35 Iowa is getting better each week. Minnesota is not.

Michigan 24 Wisconsin 28 Again, I give the nod to the home team. Plus, I want to see Michigan get beat.

Michigan State 27 Purdue 31 The Spartans will come up just short again at Purdue, where they have had more than their share of heartaches in past years.

Penn State 38 Temple 10 This should be no contest.

Illinois 13 Ohio State 38 Too much inexperience on the Illini team while too much experience and playmakers on tOSU team.


mayo170 said...

Indiana 26 at Northwestern 31
Minnesota 3 at Iowa 21
Michigan 24 at Wisconsin 19 (tiebreaker)
Michigan State 27 at Purdue 23
Penn State 44 vs. Temple 6(Philly)
Illinois 14 at Ohio State 27

PUFan said...

Indiana 26, NORTHWESTERN 31
Minnesota 13, IOWA 27
Michigan 24, WISCONSIN 16
Michigan State 23, PURDUE 28
Penn State 20, TEMPLE 9
Illinois 13, OHIO STATE 28

Buckeye Nation said...

Indiana 24 at Northwestern 28
Minnesota 17 at Iowa 37
Michigan 28 at Wisconsin 26 (tiebreaker)
Michigan State 23 at Purdue 31
Penn State 32 vs. Temple 17 (Philly)
Illinois 13 at Ohio State 34

AndrewJ1313 said...

at Northwestern 34, Indiana 28; This game depends on which Northwestern shows up. If NU sputters, Indiana will win.

at Iowa 26, Minnesota 21; Iowa will probably lay an egg again this year as that has been their MO, win the ones they should lose, lose the ones they should win.

Michigan 27, at Wisconsin 24; I hate picking Michigan in this one, but I feel more comfortable giving them the W then Wisconsin. If PJ Hill doesn’t play, I feel more comfortable about this pick.

at Purdue 31, Michigan State 27; Michigan St. played well last week, they just didn’t play 60 minutes of football. They could surprise everyone and pull out a win, but I think they are a little too beaten up.

Penn State 38, Temple 13; Easiest pick of the week and shame on PSU if it turns out otherwise.

at Ohio State 33, Illinois 13; OSU is on a mission and I don’t think Illinois will be able to play a full 60 minutes with the Buckeyes. Juice will keep it interesting early, but just like Jake Locker and Donovan last week, OSU will pound him and wear him down.

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