Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday afternoon QB
It was a weekend dominated by road teams in the Big Ten this past weekend. Michigan State snapped Northwestern's unbeaten streak in Evanston. Iowa pounded Indiana in Bloomington. Minnesota stunned the Illini on homecoming in Champaign. Penn State anihilated Wisconsin in the once nearly impossible to win in Camp Randall Stadium. Oh yeah and lowly Toledo strode 45 miles north to the Big House and slapped another jaw-dropping "L" on the Wolverines. Only Ohio State held serve at home. Crazy!

Congrats to St. Louis Spartan and AndrewJ1313 for tying me at 4-2 for the weekend. By virtue of being closer to the blowout margin in Madison, SLS gets to pick with me this week. The standings are shaking up in Get Gamm ... should be an interesting fight to the finish.

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 - I know Illinois lost at home to Minnesota, but Juice Williams accounted for over 500 yards of total offense. Hard to pass up on that as best performance of the week - win, lose or draw. See who BigTen.org picked.

Around the Big Ten - it was not business as usual around the league last week and that might well extend into these next few weeks. It starts getting interesting with big match-ups galore...

Illinois - Welcome to Cedar Point, er Champaign, America's Roller Coast... What is the deal with this team? One week it looks like world beaters, the next it gets taken out, at home, by Minnesota? Either Illinois isn't as good as we thought or Minnesota is better - or both. My vote is on both. The Illini get Indiana this weekend and a chance to get back on track. But can the orange and blue sustain any success this season?

Indiana - The Hoosiers are officially down for the count. Four losses in a row, each one getting uglier along the way. The offense is stalled out, the defense really misses that depleted secondary ... I'm not sure there is another win on the horizon for this team right now. That's a sad state after last year's feel good story. We'll see if the Hoosiers have packed it in or not with a big chance at redemption this weekend in Champaign.

Iowa - Good for the Hawkeyes. The offense shone brightly at Indiana. The defense continued to stifle. Special teams play was there too. Folks, this is a good team that has been on the tough end of three games that could have gone either way. Look for the Hawkeyes to continue to make strides. The tough thing is a wounded rival comes to town this weekend (Wisconsin). Can Iowa ride the momentum of the IU win and completely destroy the Badgers' season? Stay tuned.

Michigan - This is the worst Michigan team I have seen in my lifetime and it doesn't get any easier. 3-9 is looking very realistic at this point. Penn State takes out 9 years of frustration and kills Michigan this weekend.

Michigan State - The Spartans continue to do all of the little things that add up to important wins. State bends on defense but hasn't been breaking and the offense is cruising right now. The special teams play is the real eye popper though - pinning teams deep, making field goals seem automatic and getting big time returns. The schedule gets immediately tougher this weekend when the Buckeyes come calling but State has to be considered a contender at this point.

Minnesota - I haven't given the Golden Gophers an ounce of credit so far. Shame on me. This team has come light years from a season ago and gets a weekend off to rest up for the stretch run. Hats off to Brewster and Co. Minnesota will be a factor in the race, even if the Gophers aren't truly a contender - yet...

Northwestern - The Wildcats took one on the chin at home last weekend but are still a good football team. Purdue comes calling this weekend and is ripe for the picking, coming off of three straight losses. Like Minnesota, I don't expect NU to contend, but I do expect them to factor heavily into the rest of the race...

Ohio State - Ohio State is playing championship defense right now. The offense is still trying to find its identity with Pryor at the helm but is always a threat. Back to back games at Michigan State and at home against Penn State will tell us if the Bucks are for real or not the rest of the way.

Penn State - The Nittany Lions are still not getting much national love - at least from the pundits. I like this team to make a run at the National Title game. The offense is full of weapons, the defense getting better and better and the special teams rock solid. Maybe JoePa should stay in the press box the rest of the year! This week is all about paying Michigan back for years of anguish...

Purdue - Make it stop. Please, I beg of you. What could have been a good season in West Lafayette is turning into a disaster. Purdue can't move the ball, is spotty on special teams and is having to rely solely on its defense to get by. Northwestern looms, so it might be five losses in six games in a snap.

Wisconsin - Was this team that overrated coming into the season? I'm not sold on that. What I am sold on is that Evridge is in over his head. Wisconsin never wins with flash at QB - it wins with heady play and limited mistakes. Can the Badgers salvage the season? A win over Iowa would start to make amends but I'm not so sure...


mayo170 said...

My dad came to the US in 1958, attended Michigan, and hasn't missed more than a handful of games at Michigan Stadium in 50 years.

I was talking to him the other night when he dropped this gem on me: "Son, this is the worst team I've ever seen play in that stadium...home team or visitor."

AndrewJ1313 said...

I know coaches like to install their systems and their style when they come to a new school, but RichRod should have worked with what he had this year and designed this years play book around the talent he had. In a year or two when he has the guys he needs to run his system, then he should implement it but this was a mistake. I seriously doubt that Carr left the cupboard this bare, that all Michigan can manage will be 3-5 wins. I wasn't convinced RichRod would be good for Michigan when he was hired and so far he's not proving me wrong. I still think in three years tops, he will be fired and either Les Miles will come back home or Michigan will again be looking for the "next best thing."

Dan Meyer said...

An 8-9 record the last three weeks makes me thankful that hoops season is around the corner. Having said that, I think Purdue bottomed out against ND; although the Boiler offensive shortcomings have hidden improvements in defense and special teams.

Week 8 picks while Gopher fans celebrate bowl eligbility.

Purdue 17 at NORTHWESTERN 21--Key here is Curtis Painter whose funk threatens Joe Tiller's final season. Boilers have a chance to win if Painter refinds his Motown Bowl mojo; elsewise, we may see Joey Elliott at QB next week.

WISCONSIN 21 at Iowa 14--Badgers have burned me badly the last three weeks, but I think that they get it right at Kinnock.

OHIO STATE 20 at Michigan State 17--Surely the Big 10/11 Game of the Week, the winner has legitimate BCS bowl possibilities. I know Ringer will play well, but he has yet to face a "D" like the Buckeyes. That "D", with some help from decent special teams, will carry the OSU "O" and Tressel to another big conference win.

Michigan 10 at PENN STATE 31--The mighty have fallen and the rampaging Lions will show no mercy.

Indiana 14 at ILLINOIS 28--Off and on Illini hit on all cylinders against apparently hapless Hoosiers.

Anonymous said...

Ohio State 23 @ Michigan State 20
(I will be at the game.)
Michigan 13 @ Penn State 37
Wisconsin 24 @ Iowa 28
Purdue 21 @ Northwestern 24
Indiana 17 @ Illinois 32

Buckeye Nation said...

Ohio State 23 @ Michigan State 20
(I will be at the game.)
Michigan 13 @ Penn State 37
Wisconsin 24 @ Iowa 28
Purdue 21 @ Northwestern 24
Indiana 17 @ Illinois 32