Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Afternoon Quarterback
Ladies and gentlemen, we have our winner. We also have a pretty clear delineation of the tiers in this conference. There is one more full week to be played, followed by a smattering of other games on the slate. Eight teams are still alive in the bowl hunt, seven are eligible.

The weekend was full of (mostly) close games and unfortunately, due to a business trip to southern California (they are NOT pleased with the Trojans out there) all I saw was overtime of the OSU - Iowa tilt. That's right, I haven't even seen the MSU game yet, though thanks to my DVR, I plan to as soon as the kids are in bed tonight...

With the champion crowned, it might seem like we're set up for an anti-climactic finish, but I'd argue otherwise. The jockeying for bowl position is still going to be very, very interesting. With the PAC 10 and Big 12 floundering at the top, the Big Ten is still very alive in the hunt for an at-large berth. It all makes for an interesting final weekend of Big Ten play...

Team of the Week: Iowa. Yes, I am aware that the Hawkeyes lost but no one outside of Iowa City gave the black and gold a prayer going into the game at the 'shoe last weekend. Down 24-10 in the fourth, it looked to be signed, sealed and delivered. But true to form, Iowa clawed back and took the Buckeyes to overtime. Hat's off to the never say die Iowa Hawkeyes.

Player of the Week: A lot of guys had great games over the weekend. Joey Elliott from Purdue. Keith Smith from Purdue. Scott Tolzein of Wisconsin. But I would argue that one player had the biggest impact on his team's victory Saturday. Michigan State's Keshawn Martin had 236 all-purpose yards and an 85-yard kickoff return in the waning moments of a barn burner in West Lafayette to set up the game winner.

Around the Big Ten
The team-by-team capsules will continue to focus on the adjusted bowl possibilities and projections. For those out of the mix, I'll think of something else! Here are's, College Football News', and CBS Sportsline's.

Illinois - The Illini are cooked. They made a valiant effort but the 1-5 hole the Illini dug for itself was hard to overcome. Perhaps a better start this past weekend would have kept it alive. Where do they go from here? The focus has to be on finishing strong and building for next year. The nice thing for Illinois is that there are two games left, which means time to practice longer than most other non-bowl teams in the land. Next up: at Cincinnati (11/27), Fresno State (12/5)

Indiana - I really feel for Indiana. The Hoosiers might be one of the best four win teams in the nation. They battled again on the road but came up short. This team lacks the depth of weapons that everyone else has and therefore needs to pounce when there are opportunities. The Hoosiers didn't get enough out of four first half turnovers by the Nittany Lions on Saturday and after next week get to look back and wonder, what if...
Next Up: Purdue

Iowa - I love the gutsy effort put forth by the under-manned Hawkeyes last weekend. In fact, that performance, if followed up by a win this coming weekend, may bring about the reward of a BCS berth for Iowa. What you see is what you get with this team and folks, they know how to put themselves in position to win.

Best case is 10-2. Worst case is 9-3. Prediction is 10-2 and given what's happened in other conferences, I like Iowa to head to the Fiesta Bowl. Next up: Minnesota

Michigan - Let the speculation begin. Will Rich Rod be back for a third season? Can Michigan fans, alums, faculty, etc. tolerate more growing pains? I think Rodriguez will be back UNLESS the NCAA upturns something nasty, in which case he'll be run out on a rail. Short term, the Wolverines still have a shot at bowl eligibility. And wouldn't it be sweet victory for this program to rise up and beat the hated Buckeyes to get there?

Best case is 6-6. Worst case is 5-7. Prediction is 5-7 and no bowl. Next up: Ohio State

Michigan State - After the big win in West Lafayette - despite a statistical beat down - MSU is 2-0 in November and in search of its first 3-0 final month since 1999. The Spartans finally found a way to win the sort of game that has bit them in the butt all season long and in the process, became bowl eligible for the third straight season. That's the first time since 1995-1997 and only the third such streak in school history.

Best case is 7-5. Worst case is 6-6. Prediction is 7-5 and an Alamo Bowl Berth. Next up: Penn State

Minnesota - Oh my. The Golden Gophers were this close to staring home for the holiday's square in the face. A home win by a field goal over an FCS foe? Ouch. Minnesota's flash fire rise to relevance against the Spartans has been followed by a bunch of smoke spitting and sputtering the past two weeks. Nonetheless, Minnesota gained that extra practice time so coveted by a young team and now is playing for position.

Best case is 7-5. Worst case is 6-6. Prediction is 6-6. Minnesota only avoids snowy, gray Detroit by virtue of losing to Iowa and sending the Hawkeyes to the Fiesta. Off to the Insight - again - for the Gophers. Next up: at Iowa

Northwestern - I'm impressed. Northwestern has really come together under the leadership of Pat Fitzgerald and will go bowling in back to back seasons for just the second time in school history. Now it's a matter of where. The 'cats are rooting for Iowa or Penn State as a second BCS berth upgrades the destination quite a bit.

Best case is 8-4. Worst case 7-5. Prediction is 7-5. The Wildcats benefit from a second BCS berth for the conference and head to Orlando for the Champs Bowl. Next up: Wisconsin

Ohio State - Congrats to the five-time champ Ohio State Buckeyes. Saturday was more of a battle than expected but that win means the first trip to Pasadena for the Bucknuts, since, can you believe it - after the 1996 season! The last time Ohio State went to the Rose Bowl, they beat Jake Plummer and the Arizona State Sun Devils. The clinched BCS berth is OSU's record 8th since the series began.

Best Case is 10-2. Worst case is 9-3. Prediction is 10-2 and a trip to the Rose Bowl. Next Up: at Michigan

Penn State - The Nittany Lions came out flatter than a slashed tired against Indiana last weekend but still has its sights set on a big bowl payout. This season has been more of a struggle than expected but the Nits might well benefit from the down year being had by the Big 12 and PAC 10. This weekend is all about position. Win and move up the pecking order. Lose and settle in for New Year's in Florida.

Best case is 10-2. Worst case is 9-3. Prediction is 9-3 and a berth in the Outback Bowl. Next up: at Michigan State

Purdue - Saturday's result was a microcosm of the Boilermakers' season. Another close but no cigar finish. Another great game on paper with the wrong results to show for it. That leaves a young team home for the holiday's and missing out on critical extra practice time. The bowl game becomes the Old Oaken Bucket Bowl in Bloomington.

Wisconsin - The Badgers laid the hammer to Michigan and exacted a measure of revenge for last season. It also left UW still in the mix for a BCS berth, though it will be tough for the Badgers to pass up two teams it lost to head to head (OSU and Iowa). Now it comes down to Orlando or Tampa?

Best case is 10-2. Worst case is 8-4. Prediction is 10-2 and a trip back to Orlando, this time for the Capital One Bowl. Next up: at Northwestern, at Hawaii (12/5)

Get Gamm Winner:
Andrew maintained his lead but gave a game back to our only perfect picker on the week - St. Louis Spartan. With three "strays" on tap after this weekend, we'll pick the rest all at once. That means two more chances to Get Gamm - this one and bowl style...

Minnesota at Iowa
Ohio State at Michigan
Wisconsin at Northwestern
Penn State at Michigan State
Purdue at Indiana (Tiebreaker)
Illinois at Cincinnati (11/27)
Fresno State at Illinois (12/5)
Wisconsin at Hawaii (12/5)


Phats said...

You aren't kidding about our Boilers that game was pretty much our entire season in one game. Time to keep the bucket though!

IOWA 24 minnesota 14

OHIO STATE 31 michigan 17

WISCONSIN 28 northwestern 17

PENN STATE 28 michigan state 21

PURDUE 92 indiana 0(I don't care if it is the tiebreaker, I HATE HATE HATE IU and even though this won't happen I can wish can't I? Only time I ever want to see a score run up on someone :)

CINCINNATI 41 illinois 31

ILLINOIS 31 fresno state 28

WISCONSIN 42 hawaii 7


BruceS said...

Getting down to the wire of another season of "get Gamm". Time to put up or shut up.

minnesota 20 IOWA 24 it won't be pretty but again, just enough to win.

tOHIO STATE 38 michigan 10 The Buckeyes too much for the undermanned maize & blue

WISCONSIN 31 northwestern 20 Badgers overpower the Cats

penn state 28 MICHIGAN STATE 34 Picking with my heart again, which worked last week

PURDUE 35 indiana 24 Too much offense for the Boilers

illinois 17 CINCINNATI 35 Bearcats can score points

FRESNO STATE 27 illinois 17 Illini have thrown in the towel

WISCONSIN 35 hawaii 14 Badgers travel far to get the win


Phats said...

Hey BruceS
Did you go to the Purdue/MSU game? We met some really nice State fans while tailgating, MSU has always been my second favorite team in the Big Ten behind Purdue

BruceS said...

No, I was not at the game. I live in southwest Missouri and am too far from any B10 school. :( Having lived in central Illinois for many years prior to moving to MO, I have been to Purdue, IU, UI several times each. It's probably been 15 years since I've been back to MSU for a game. I spend my Saturdays traveling between the SEC, via Arkansas and the B12, via Mizzou where I have daughters attending each. GO GREEN

Dan Meyer said...

Hoping to finish at 70% or better (Phats may catch me by the end of bowl season).

Minnesota 17 at IOWA 24--Floyd stays home with the Hawkeyes.

OHIO STATE 27 at Michigan 23--This is trickier than it looks, the Wolverines are playing to make a bowl and the series has had more than a few upsets. After a goodly scare; however, the sweater vest reigns supreme.

Wisconsin 24 at NORTHWESTERN 27--Probably picking (yet again) the wrong upset, but the Wildcats have pulled some real surprises this year.

Penn State 24 at MICHIGAN STATE 27--Having nothing to lose, let's go for two upsets. Spartans ride momentum from Ross-Ade win to victory (P.S. Swenson [4/4 FG, 2 50+ yards and 3 or 4 touchbacks] was the real Big 10/11 Special Teams Player of the Week)

PURDUE 41 at Indiana 35--Defense, what's defense? Chappell and Elliott run amok, but two Wiggs FGs make the difference.

Illinois 14 at CINCINNATI 28--with a BCS bowl on the line, UC certainly won't let a non-bowl eligible team get in their way.

Fresno State 10 at ILLINOIS 17--A little salve for Zook's season.

WISCONSIN 27 at Hawaii 24--I fear that the Badgers will be jobbed by Hawaiian refs in the same way that the Spartans, Wildcats and Boilers were earlier this decade. I think that Wisconsin's might is sufficient to overcome some brutal calls and get Bret B. to 10 wins.

Buckeye Nation said...

Minnesota 13 at Iowa 28 Hawks keep the pig.
Ohio State 31 at Michigan 13 Tressel gets # 6 in-a-row and # 8 out-of-nine!
Wisconsin 24 at Northwestern 27 Cats continue to surprise everyone.
Penn State 23 at Michigan State 24 Spartans win the Land Grant Trophy in a thriller.
Purdue 35 at Indiana 38 (Tiebreaker) Hoosiers win the Bucket and win a close one for the first time this season.
Illinois 27 at Cincinnati 31(11/27) Hope I'm wrong.
Fresno State 23 at Illinois 27(12/5) Juice wins his swan song.
Wisconsin 27 at Hawaii 24(12/5)Badgers get sunburned but ultimately prevail.

mayo170 said...

Minnesota 13 at Iowa 22
Ohio State 44 at Michigan 17
Wisconsin 34 at Northwestern 29
Penn State 26 at Michigan State 27
Purdue 24 at Indiana 28 (Tiebreaker)

Illinois 21 at Cincinnati 38 (11/27)
Fresno State 31 at Illinois 27(12/5)
Wisconsin 38 at Hawaii 28 (12/5)

Clear this football slate, I need Get Gamm Hoops Style.

AndrewJ1313 said...

Minnesota 13 at Iowa 21
Wisconsin 24 at Northwestern 23
Penn State 24 at Michigan State 27
Purdue 28 at Indiana 24 (Tiebreaker)
Ohio State 34 at Michigan 16

Illinois 17 at Cincinnati 34 (11/27)
Fresno State 21 at Illinois 24 OT (12/5)
Wisconsin 28 at Hawaii 17 (12/5)