Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday afternoon QB...
Okay, first off, I do try hard to be fair and unbiased here, but putting on my Spartans fan hat - man that victory felt good! Yes, it came when State should have won and they way they did. But still, green and whiters all over the world know, it is still a win over our rival. Now that I got it out of my system (at least for the blog!) let's look around the league from top to bottom...

Penn State - huge win in Columbus. Much like Michigan State, the Nittany Lions won somewhere they hadn't in years. Only it had been since 1978 since JoePa had the Buckeyes' number in the 'shoe. Everyone is quick to assume this team will run the table, but I promise you Iowa will be no gimme, nor will Michigan State at the end. Should PSU win out? You bet. Will they? Stay tuned. It would be great for the Big Ten to get the Nittany Lions into the BCS Title game but there is a lot of football to be played. The bye week comes at an opportune time. Time to rest, refocus and reload with eyes on the prize.

Ohio State - Terrelle Pryor's freshman tendencies finally bit the Buckeyes in the butt. The OSU offense was stagnant against a great Penn State defense and that put the onus squarely on the super-frosh's shoulders. He'll learn from this and the Buckeyes will be that much better for it down the road, but any last gasp hopes for a third straight trip to the BCS promised land have ended. The Buckeyes can still run the table, go 10-2 and make a BCS game, but there has to be some level of disappointment in a college town used to playing for all the marbles. OSU gets a week to get it back together before two trips to the state of Illinois and the season ender with Michigan. I can't wait to see how Pryor responds...

Michigan State - that long carried monkey off its back, Michigan State must next show it can rebound from success like it can rebound from failure. The Spartans will be favored in the next two games and if the green and white stay focused on the tasks at hand, can go into the final week with a Big Ten title on the line. When was the last time State was in the race this deep in the season? In reality, 1990. 1999 saw two straight losses that ended title hopes and 2003 saw a big drop off after the Michigan loss. A win against Wisconsin will not be easy, not in the least, but it will be interesting to see how the Spartans get up for this game.

Minnesota - the Golden Gophers are just quietly staying right at the top of the Big Ten race. Northwestern, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa remain on the schedule, three of those games at home. I know I keep wondering when Goldy will crash back to earth, but the deeper they go, the more I wonder if that will actually happen. No matter how the next four weeks go, this is the best comeback story in recent memory. If Minnesota keeps believing and finding a way, it could produce the biggest single season turnaround in NCAA history...

Northwestern - The Wildcats took a step back in the loss at Indiana and life doesn't get any easier, with Tyrell Sutton out for the regular season and C.J. Bacher questionable for Saturday. Minnesota, Ohio State, Michigan and Illinois remain for a team desperate to get to at least seven wins, if not more. None will be easy. You could say the Wildcats will be favored in one (Michigan), perhaps in a second (Illinois) but facing tough tasks against OSU and Minnesota. The next few weeks will tell you if NU goes to Detroit or somewhere warm for the holidays.

Iowa - The Hawkeyes got to sit back, rest and watch the other ten teams in the conference beat up on each other last week. Iowa sits one game from bowl eligibility with four games left. The Hawkeyes travel to Illinois this weekend, play Penn State and Purdue at home and end on the road in Minnesota. Three wins seem well within reach and I will predict right now, Iowa will give Penn State all it can handle. First thing's first - travel to Illinois to face a wounded and dangerous Illini squad.

Illinois - This team has been as wild as a ride on Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point all season. Way up, way down. The Illini have beaten no one of consequence and still need at least a split in the last four to be considered for a bowl. That won't be easy with home games against Iowa and Ohio State, a trip to a neutral site to play a good MAC team (Western) and a road, rivalry tilt with Northwestern. Right now, I'm not so certain the men in orange will get two more wins and even then, I think it might take three to lock a bowl bid up. We'll see what Juice and Co. have in them when border rival Iowa comes calling.

Michigan - There are some mighty long streaks that are about to end in Ann Arbor. This sort of losing and frustration has not been a part of Michigan football in my lifetime, which begs the question - how patient are the M fans? Is this acceptable for one season and one season only? What about next year, when a freshman or redshirt freshman QB is calling the signals and the defense loses some top performers? Shorter term, the Wolverines just need a win. Purdue is the worst team in the Big Ten this year and Saturday is an official bowl elimination game in West Lafayette. That just might make it the game of the week...

Wisconsin - The Badgers seem to have found some rhythm with Dustin Sherer at the helm, but now that Travis Beckum is shelved for the season, who will he target when the pressure is turned up? Wisconsin is a dangerous team that is too proud not to get to six wins, but still has to travel to MSU and Indiana before a home date for Paul Bunyan's Axe. Cal Poly is a gimme in the finale, but the rest are dangerous. The Badgers might get a State team still giddy from last week but they certainly earned attention for their win over Illinois. Another good game coming up this week.

Indiana - IU got a surprising and much-needed home win over Northwestern last week and finally has a little momentum on its side. Central Michigan comes calling this week and the Hoosiers are fully aware of what a MAC team is capable of doing. The Hoosiers need at least three more wins and with a trip to Penn State still looming, that means taking care of business this week, against Wisconsin and then protecting the Old Oaken Bucket.

Purdue - Imagine what winning against Oregon would have done for this team. We might not be looking at the complete opposite (6-2 instead of 2-6) but we'd likely be seeing another Tiller team in a bowl game. That is about as likely to happen as seeing Michigan run the table. Time for Tiller to let Danny Hope play more of a role and start playing the young kids. Purdue will get another win somewhere, the question is, when, where and against whom?

Big Ten PotW: Call it homerism if you want, but I am going with Brian Hoyer and Javon Ringer from MSU at the co-Players of the Week. The tandem out-gained Michigan by themselves and accounted for all five scores in a big, rivalry win.

Get Gamm - BruceS was the only one aside from me to go 4-1, so Bruce, you get to pick with me this week...

Coming soon... pre-season basketball thoughts!


AndrewJ1313 said...

As a Buckeye fan, I'm not that disappointed with the loss. I'm not that disappointed with Pryor either, the kid has only been playing in a college system since mid August and is 4-1 as a starter including two impressive wins on the road. The fumble in the 4th quarter is what won the game for PSU and lost the game for OSU. OSU had all the momentum and was driving; Pryor just tried to do too much all at once. In hind sight, I can't blame him for running it to the outside, it was a good read, PSU piled everyone on the line and the player who forced the fumble was slipping off of Pryor, had he not forced the fumble, there was no one between Pryor (who runs a 4.4) and the end zone. Congrats to the Lions and best of luck getting to the BCS championship game.

BruceS said...

It's been a while between opportunities to participate with Andy in making this week's predictions. So here goes.

Central Michigan at Indiana. CMU has the QB to cause problems most teams. However, IU's big win last weekend will give them enough momentum to carry them through to another "W" this week against a good MAC team. IU 31 CMU 27

Purdue 31 Michigan 24. A game pitting two teams under performing according to everyone's preseason predictions. Purdue, at home, will be able to throw on a week UM defense enough to get the win. Michigan is just not very good this year and it is payback time for a lot of teams.

Minnesota 34 Northwestern 20 Minny playing very well and should prevail against a banged up NW team. NW just won't be able to outscore the Gophers with Sutton out and Bacher hurt.

Iowa 24 Illinois 21 These two teams are like two elevators traveling in opposite directions; one going up while the other is going down. Iowa is playing like many predicted at the beginning of the season while Illinois has been a disappoitment to many. Iowa continues their winning ways with a good road win in Champaign.

Michigan State 35 Wisconsin 24 The Spartans are on a mission and seem to be focused each and every week. Wisconsin has been up and down, but coming off a good win to help their confidence. I give the edge to the home team with more to fight for. Another win for the good guys. GO GREEN

Buckeye Nation said...

Wisconsin 21 @ Michigan State 32
Michigan 17 @ Purdue 14
Northwestern 17 @ Minnesota 32
Iowa 23 @ Illinois 21
Central Michigan 32 @ Indiana 28

Dan Meyer said...

Leaving two separate comments: this one is gridiron predictions; the next one will be hoops preseason predictions.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN 31 at Indiana 27--Congrats to the Hoosiers on offically avoiding a season with double-digits losses based on your NU win last week. Hoosiers COULD go for two in a row, but I think LeFeveor will be too much.

Michigan 13 at PURDUE 17 (probably a biased pick)--Who would have thought even a year ago, much less the start of this decade, that this arguably IS the battle for the Big Ten basement. As pitiful as the Boilers have been, maybe a chance to give Tiller his second career win over the Wolverines will inspire something Boiler fans haven't seen in over a month, a "W".

Northwestern 21 at MINNESOTA 28--The new bourgeois of the Big Ten battle in the land of >10K lakes, and Brewster keeps the comeback saga going.

Iowa 21 at ILLINOIS 24--Anyone who bets as much as a dollar on either of these two teams is throwing money around recklessly. Home field advantage is as good a basis for a pure guess as any.

Wisconsin 20 at MICHIGAN STATE 31 (Warning to Spartan fans: my Big Ten picks record on Bucky Badger is 0-5). Green and White probably are the third best team in the Big Ten and have shown admirable consistency except for the OSU game.

Dan Meyer said...

Round two; this time the topic is men's basketball. Short form of picks:

Final Four is conceivable though not likely: Michigan State and Purdue

Should be signing up at Arthur Miller: Ohio State and Wisconsin

Going somewhere after the Big Ten Tourney, but where?: Illinois and Minnesota

COULD get to the NIT: Michigan and Penn State

COULD end up with an overall winning record, but not a significant factor in the overall Big Ten race: Iowa and Northwestern

Reaching double digits in total wins would be an accomplishment: Indiana

Preseason projected Big Ten record:
Michigan State: 15-3
Purdue: 13-5
Wisconsin: 12-6
Ohio State: 11-7
Minnesota: 10-8
Illinois: 9-9
Michigan: 8-10
Penn State: 7-11
Northwestern: 6-12
Iowa: 5-13
Indiana: 3-15

mayo170 said...

Wisconsin 13 @ Michigan State 27
Michigan 22 @ Purdue 21
Northwestern 10 @ Minnesota 19
Iowa 24 @ Illinois 16
Central Michigan 27 @ Indiana 24

AndrewJ1313 said...

Every team this week is pretty evenly matched and I think any of these matchups could go either way. No one wins by more then a TD (Illinois does have the potential to explode).

@ MSU 24, Wisconsin 17;
@ Purdue 17, Michigan 14 - Picking the home team that's all;
@ Minnesota 27, Northwestern 20;
Iowa 20, Illinois 17;
C. Michigan 28 @ Indiana 24;

And finally...
Ohio State's offense will have trouble moving the ball this weekend, but they won't suffer a loss.

Phats said...

CENTRAL MICHIGAN 31 indiana 28

PURDUE 17 michigan 10

MINNESOTA 41 northwestern 21

ILLINOIS 28 iowa 17

MICHIGAN STATE 35 wisconsin 17

AndrewJ1313 said...

Do I at least get a point for predicting that no one would win by more then a TD?