Monday Afternoon Quarterback
Big Ten play got underway last weekend for everyone but Purdue. There were some eye openers, including a couple of big road wins for Iowa and Minnesota, a near (and very rare) win in Ann Arbor by Indiana and two dominating performances in C-bus and Madtown. All in all, it was a good start to what looks to be a wide open race for Pasadena...
Team of the Week: Iowa. The Hawkeyes burned Penn State again, this time, at night, in Happy Valley, against a sea of white, in the rain. Impressive. VERY impressive.
Player of the Week: UW quarterback Scott Tolzien became the third signal caller in a row to torch the MSU secondary. UW proved me wrong and might be the sleeper pick in the conference race.
Around the Big Ten
Illinois - Is Ron Zook on the hot seat? Illinois got flat out schooled in Columbus and now is 0-fer in two big, statement making games. With a stung and angry Penn State and wounded Michigan State team up the next two weeks, 1-4 might be right around the corner. Next Up: Penn State
Indiana - Okay, so Indiana is better than I thought. The Hoosiers nearly scored the first program win in Ann Arbor since 1967 on Saturday. I still wonder how the ref could blow the simultaneous possession call. So does Bill Lynch. It gets tougher this week with a red hot OSU squad coming to Bloomington. Next Up: Ohio State
Iowa - So much for that almost loss to Northern Iowa. Iowa has improved every single week and has to be considered a serious title contender. It gets easy this week, so we'll see if the Hawkeyes can keep it up before getting back to the Big Ten grind on the 10th. Next up: Arkansas State
Michigan - Is Michigan getting it done with smoke and mirrors? Maybe, but maybe not. Tate Forcier is the real deal, having led the Wolverines from behind twice in three weeks. He got pretty dinged up in the IU win, can he hold up with an angry, hungry MSU team on the slate? Can the defense slow down anyone the rest of the way? We'll get all of those answers immediately. Next up: at Michigan State
Michigan State - Panic is starting to set in among the so-called MSU faithful. The defense must get off the field on third down, play the pass better and hit the quarterback. The offense is fine but if it turns the ball over, is going to be hard pressed to help lead the team to wins. The biggest game of the season awaits and the timing might be perfect. Next up: Michigan
Minnesota - The Golden Gophers bounced back nicely from the loss to Cal with a good win at Northwestern. The maroon and gold get to go the rivalry route this week as well, with Wisconsin coming to town. The winner of this game has an inside track to a top four finish. Next up: Wisconsin
Northwestern - The Wildcats are reeling a bit now and have to hit the road to play a Purdue team that is much the same boat as the Spartans (two close loses and a defeat at the hands of a MAC foe). This is an important game for Pat Fitzgerald and Co. Next up: at Purdue
Ohio State - The Buckeyes have now posted two straight shutouts for the first time since 1996. Indiana could be victim number three. The offense is still conservative, but the way the defense is playing, so what? Next Up: at Indiana
Penn State - Feel sorry for Illinois. Penn State got pushed around at home and is looking to take it out on someone. Saturday night was the worst game in the Daryl Clark era. Next up: at Illinois
Purdue - The Boilermakers are battling Michigan State for "most snake bitten team" at this point. Three loses by 12 points, including a heart breaker on fourth down to rival Notre Dame. Sometimes the best escape is getting into conference play... Next up: Northwestern
Wisconsin - The win over Michigan State was impressive. Wisconsin's defense is taking the ball away at a tremendous pace and as long as they aren't giving it back, watch out. Next up: at Minnesota
Get Gamm Winner:
Buckeye Nation and St. Louis Sparty both went 5-1, but BN picked the Iowa upset and gets the honors this week. Two rivalry games on the slate, should be a good weekend...
Arkansas State at Iowa
Northwestern at Purdue
Wisconsin at Minnesota (Tiebreaker)
Michigan at Michigan State
Penn State at Illinois
Ohio State at Indiana