Tuesday Morning QB
Three weeks are already in the books and the Big Ten has had its share of ups and downs. There has been good, bad and ugly all around. Dan Meyer won the tiebreaker this week so he's picking the games up front with yours truly. Dan, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday.
To see what BigTen.org has to say about the week that was, click here...
My team by team thoughts and weekly awards follow:
Player of the Week - Javon Ringer, Michigan State. Ringer set a career record in carries and yards and added to his nation's best touchdown tally. The senior bullied for 282 yards on 43 carries and tallied two scores (9 on the season) in Michigan State's wet and wild win over FAU.
Around the Big Ten - there were good things - and bad - in the conference last week. Three teams (Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin) get a week off before conference play ensues, and that's a good thing for at least one of them (Michigan).
Illinois - As I watched the end of this one, I had visions of Michigan State - Louisiana Tech dancing through my head. The Illini should have dominated but almost got caught sleep walking. A win is a win, but a lot has to improve between now and the date with Penn State on 9/27.
Indiana - The Hoosiers got a week off to prepare for a good Ball State team. This game is bigger than one might think, mostly because IU can use every win it can get in order to make back-to-back bowl games.
Iowa - The Hawkeyes finally took back the CyHawk Trophy although it was an ugly process. Just when Coach Ferentz thought he had a QB, there was regression and now it is off to Pittsburgh to play a Panthers team that is hungry for a nice win.
Michigan - Yep, the Wolverines out-gained Notre Dame. Yep, there were flashes of what might be in store. But the bottom line? Michigan turned the ball over 6 times. 6 times! There is a week to circle the wagons before two tough Big Ten games in a row - Wisconsin and Illinois.
Michigan State - Saturday's win happened in what I have to say are among the worst, sloppiest conditions I've ever seen. Still, somehow the Spartans pitched their first shutout in 9 seasons and are nice and confident heading into a key battle with rival Notre Dame.
Minnesota - Montana State put up more of a fight than they should have but when push comes to shove, the Gophers have three wins and are building some confidence and momentum. Watch out for FAU this week though. The Owls will look a lot different in temperate, dry conditions than they did in East Lansing.
Northwestern - Hey, hey another team I picked low in the league is 3-0. NU has yet to be tested and this week isn't much different (Ohio). But hey, 4-0 to start means a sub-par conference season still leads to a bowl...
Ohio State - Ouch. Ugly. Let the critics unleash. OSU faced another big game in the face and flushed a chance to change the tide down the toilet. This is still the class of the Big Ten, but that scares me given the way USC manhandled this team. My take? Go with Pryor at QB and take your chances.
Penn State - Okay, so Syracuse, well, SUCKS. So does every team the Nits have faced thus far but man to this point, the offense is reminiscent of the 1993 juggernaut. One more glorified scrimmage to go until we really start to see how good PSU is.
Purdue - This one really hurts. Purdue had this game - and national respectability - in its grasp and it went wide left - twice. This could have been the spring board that the Boilers were seeking to catapult them into the Big Ten title conversation but nope. Let's see how they rebound with a tricky Central Michigan squad coming to town.
Wisconsin - A very nice, solid win that no one outside of Wisconsin probably witnessed this past weekend. Now there is a week to recoup and get ready for a mega stretch of conference games, starting with a trip to Michigan.