Monday, November 02, 2009

Monday Morning Quarterback
I'll say something that I know Bill Lynch and Mark Dantonio want to say (as well as most of the rest of the coaches who have been hosed by absolutely horrible calls, no-calls or reversals this season): it is time for the Big Ten to publicly reprimand the hack jobs its officials are producing this season. Not a writer, broadcaster, coach or non game official has been able to explain how Indiana's TD got reversed, or how one could overturn a catch, football move, two steps and fumble at a critical juncture in the MSU - Minnesota tilt.

Since my team has been burned by it in particular the last two weeks, I say it is more than past time to suspend, fire or hang the culprits that are ruining the game in effigy.

Now that I have that off my chest... we have a clear separation of the top four, middle four and bottom three these days in the Big Ten. That didn't stop one of the bottom feeders from finally getting it done, or another from coming very close - again - to another upset win but in the end, there is a clear delineation in the league right now.

Team of the Week: Illinois. The Fighting Illini finally got up off the mat and put together an impressive win. It all started with a critical four down stand at the one and catapulted the beleaguered Illini to a much-needed victory.

Player of the Week: Adam Weber, Minnesota QB. No Decker? No problem. Adam Weber threaded the needle all night against what had been an air tight MSU pass defense to the tune of 416 yards and 5 TD passes.

Around the Big Ten
This week, I'll focus the team-by-team capsules on bowl possibilities and projections. Note that the picking order is as follows: Rose, Capital One, Outback, Champs, Alamo, Insight, Little Caesar's. There are also a handful of bowls that will be looking to fill slots, so even if the Big Ten doesn't get two in the BCS, there will be room for anyone 6-6 or better.

Illinois - Saturday was sweet for the Illini. A hustle play and subsequent goal line stand turned the tide and gave Illinois its second straight win over the Wolverines. The Illini are 2-6 and while not officially eliminated from bowl eligibility, it will take a minor miracle for that to happen. Illinois may spring up and take another couple of wins, but no bowling for the Zookers this season. At least the Illini play their last game December 5, so it will feel like a bowl game.

Best case is 6-6. Worst case is 2-10. Prediction is 3-9. Next up: at Minnesota

Indiana - Nuts and bolts, nuts and bolts, they got screwed. Indiana was on its way to extending the lead against what felt like a lifeless Iowa team until an inexplicable reversal of a clear touchdown. That gave Iowa life and that was all the Hawkeyes needed. IU is 4-5 (1-4) and needs two more to go bowling. That's a daunting task with Wisconsin, Penn State and Purdue left.

Best case is 7-5. Worst case is 4-8. My prediction? 5-7 (2-6) and no bowl. Next Up: Wisconsin

Iowa - Apparently, Iowa does have major magic. It can throw five picks, get booth reversals that make about as much sense as wiping before you poop and pop you with big plays as quick as lightning strikes. Amazing. Iowa is 4th in the BCS standings and has one more major hurdle to a perfect record. That said, Northwestern and Minnesota could sting the Hawkeyes at home if they don't arrive a little earlier. I can't see the magic carrying this team all the way to 12-0, at least not with the level of mistakes made against IU.

Best case is 12-0. Worst case is 9-3. Prediction is 11-1 (7-1), a share of the title and a Rose Bowl berth. Next up: Northwestern

Michigan - Ouch. The spiral continues. Was it smoke and mirrors in September? Maybe so. The Wolverines turtled up in a major way in Champaign and the rest of the slate isn't exactly loaded with Delaware State's. In fact, this weekend's game is probably the best shot to get something done.

Best case is 8-4. Worst case is 5-7. Prediction is 6-6 (2-6) with the Champs, Alamo, Insight and Little Caesar's Bowls in the mix. That 2-6 record and head-to-head loss to another 6-6 team (MSU) means Michigan slides to the Insight Bowl. Next up: Purdue

Michigan State - Another week, another bad call by the officials (replay in this case) another 8-point or less loss for Dantonio and crew. For those keeping score, that's 12 of 15 losses in Dantonio's tenure by 8 points or less. Spotting a seemingly down and out Gopher squad 14 points before running a play hurt - BAD. The schedule eases up a tad the next few weeks, but there isn't an automatic path to six wins.

Best case is 7-5. Worst case is 4-8. Prediction is 6-6 (4-4). Based on the wins over Michigan and Northwestern (fellow 6-6 teams) and MSU being well-traveled, San Antonio and the Alamo Bowl call. Next up: Western Michigan

Minnesota - It seems like teams who lose the big offensive star always step up. Maybe because others get a look. Perhaps it is because the players rally for the downed teammate. In this case, I think it was both. The Golden Gophers came alive in a major way against MSU, and more or less sealed bowl eligibility with a couple of easy home games left.

Best case is 8-4. Worst case is 5-7. Prediction is 7-5 (4-4). The Champs Bowl might think about MSU despite the head-to-head result because MSU has traveled well to Orlando the last two years, but I think newness prevails and Minny invades Disney. Next up: Illinois

Northwestern - The Wildcats hung tight with Penn State for three quarters, but the loss of Kafka put a lid on any upset hopes. Northwestern sits in a precarious position. It still has two road games left, including a rivalry game and closes with Wisconsin at home. One more win is needed, is it there?

Best case is 8-4. Worst case 5-7. Prediction is 6-6 (3-5). Northwestern will get hosed by the Michigan factor a bit, moving down to the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl despite a better conference record than Michigan. No head to head hurts as well as that even easier than Michigan's OOC slate. Next up: at Iowa

Ohio State - Ohio State got it's third shutout of the season and a chance to work more kinks out of the offense. The Buckeyes have a grueling stretch run remaining, but live for these moments. We'll see what Pryor and the offense is made of in the next few weeks.

Best Case is 10-2. Worst case is 7-5. Prediction is 9-3 (6-2) and a trip to the Capital One Bowl. Can you believe it has been since 1996 that the Buckeyes have been in Orlando for New Year's Day? Next Up: at Penn State

Penn State - The Nittany Lions had a battle on their hands for a little more than a half last weekend, but have set themselves up nicely for a run to the finish. Ohio State comes calling, followed by Indiana and then a potential trap in East Lansing. It's simple, win out and the BCS will likely come calling. Slip once or twice and it'll be warm and sunshine for New Year's but not with the payout desired.

Best case is 11-1. Worst case is 8-4. Prediction is 11-1 (7-1), Co-Champs and a likely berth in the Fiesta Bowl. Next up: Ohio State

Purdue - Just when I thought Purdue was over the hump, the Boilers got "Badger-slapped" in Madison. That goose egg performance leaves no margin for error in the quest for bowl eligibility. The next three are winnable games, but the Boilermakers have been way too up and down this year for that to happen.

Best case is 6-6. Worst case is 3-9. Prediction is 3-9. Tough losses at Michigan and to Michigan State followed by a loss of the Old Oaken Bucket to rival IU. Next up: at Michigan

Wisconsin - The Badgers are back. Wisconsin bullied and battered the Boilers on Saturday en route to a 37-0 shutout win. UW has four games left and none of them should create much fear. It all sets up for the Badgers to enjoy some warmth and sun for the holiday's.

Best case is 10-2. Worst case is 6-6. Prediction is 10-2 (6-2). The head to head loss to OSU coupled with the fact that UW travels to Hawaii in December knocks the Badgers back to the Outback Bowl. Next up: at Indiana

Get Gamm Winner:
Seems that going out on the limb for the Illinois-Michigan game paid off. I was the only one to go 5-1 meaning no one "Got Gamm" for the week.

Illinois at Minnesota
Northwestern at Iowa
Purdue at Michigan
Western Michigan at Michigan State
Wisconsin at Indiana
Ohio State at Penn State (Tiebreaker)


Buckeye Nation said...

As long as you're pointing out horrible, game changing calls or non-calls by Big 10 refs, witness this year's USC game, and USC's 1st NON-TD touchdown, or 2 years ago, Juice Williams' "signature win game in 2007" Illinois fumbles into the endzone just after running it for an 80 yard gain following OSU's first TD, OSU recovers in the endzone for a touchback. NO, the ref says Illinois fumbles out of bounds at the 3 yard line, Illinois ball.
In BOTH cases, no replay review, and BOTH were HUGE momentum changers.
If the right call is made, OSU likely wins both games.

Buckeye Nation said...

Oh, another one in the Purdue game.
OSU strips the ball from the PU RB who is still standing on his own 20yard line, no whistle, OSU ball right?
Ref rules the RB's momentum was already stopped when the ball was stripped, PU maintains possession and drives down the field for a FG.
And then don't get me started on the SEC refs on Florida's last drive in the Arkansas game; no wonder Florida never loses at home.
And the MLB umps?

Phats said...

Big Ten Refs being bad goes back even further, lets not forget our Boilers game at Penn State a couple of years ago where there were about 6 very interesting calls including awarding PSU a 1st down after the ball on TV wasn't anywhere near the yellow line or even measuring. I didn't see the Minnesota/MSU game, but the TD taken away from IU looked to be a bad overrule, still think if IU scored Iowa would have woken up regardless. IU seems to always play Iowa well no matter what the records. As for our prediction I agree that all three are winnable, and all three are losable, I just don't see us losing to IU this year, of course unless we decide to turn it over 10 times! :)

MINNESOTA 31 illinois 17

IOWA 28 northwestern 17

PURDUE 28 michigan 21

MICHIGAN STATE 35 western mi 17

WISCONSIN 41 indiana 10

PENN STATE 28 ohio state 24


Dan Meyer said...

OUCHHH!!! from last week. Wish I had had more guts on the matchup of Wolverlini's favorites. On to Week 10 as I drop through the basement in Get Gamm.

Illinois 14 at MINNESOTA 20--Quality wins by both teams last week with the Gophers' resourcefulness post-Decker being particularly impressive. First of several home field picks this week.

Northwestern 21 at IOWA 28--IA reminds of Jay Barker and Alabama about a dozen years ago; something always goes right late. Wildcats play hard but cannot break the Hawkeye spell.

Purdue 20 at MICHIGAN 27--Both teams will be better this week (by default) and Michigan may need this game to become bowl eligible (two tougher games await). Hope Phats is right rather than me but I don't think that this Boiler team is consistent enough to break the Big House hex.

Western Michigan 10 at MICHIGAN STATE 45--WMU has underachieved and the Spartans take out two weeks of frustration on the Bronchoes.

WISCONSIN 24 at Indiana 17--Potential trap game for Badgers and IU almost always play tough vs. Wisconsin. Clay wins it late with a six yard run.

*Ohio State 14 vs PENN STATE 16--Basically a BCS qualification bowl, though the Badgers might have something to say about this. Yet another (see also PU-MI and IL-MN) home field pick with two good to very good but not great teams.

BruceS said...

Here's to hoping I do better this week.

illinois 24 MINNESOTA 28. Illinois never seems to play well at Minny. Despite a great game last week, I don't see the Illini making it two in a row against a good Gopher team

northwestern 20 IOWA 27 Hawkeyes continue to roll and seem to have the intangibles this season.

PURDUE 24 michigan 17 Boilers will prove to be the better team

westerm michigan 10 MICHIGAN STATE 38 Spartans will take out some frustrations this week, I hope :)

WISCONSIN 30 indiana 17 Badgers too big and strong against the Hoosiers

OHIO STATE 24 penn state 10 I think the Buckeyes are better on both sides of the ball and will shut down the Nittany Lions


Buckeye Nation said...

Illinois 23 at Minnesota 27
Northwestern 28 at Iowa 35
Purdue 27 at Michigan 31
Western Michigan 17 at Michigan State 27
Wisconsin 28 at Indiana 24
Ohio State 24 at Penn State 17(Tiebreaker)

Andy Gamm said...

Illinois @ Minnesota

Indiana vs Wisconsin

Iowa vs Northwestern

Michigan vs Purdue

Michigan State vs Western Michigan

Ohio State @ Penn State
Penn State

mayo170 said...

Illinois 23 at Minnesota 31
Northwestern 24 at Iowa 27
Purdue 38 at Michigan 41
Western Michigan 25 at Michigan State 34
Wisconsin 34 at Indiana 37
Ohio State 22 at Penn State 26 (Tiebreaker)