Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Morning Quarterback
It's hard to believe that we are done with the 2009 Big Ten football season. Yes, I know Illinois has two OOC games left and Wisconsin takes its wounded self to Hawaii for a game, but the standings are set and so is, for all intents and purposes, the bowl pecking order.

It was another weekend with some eyebrow raisers, at least one mild upset and some more chest puffing at the top. Ohio State has won six straight over Michigan. Wow. Penn State throttled the Spartans for one quarter on Saturday and that proved to be plenty - which has to make Iowa nervous. Iowa shut out Minnesota for the pig - again. Purdue stomped a rather uninspired Indiana team and Northwestern pulled the upset of the weekend.

It has been a fun season, filled with big plays, shocking upsets, puzzling losses and more. The major awards are to be revealed tonight, the bowl picture settled in about 13 days and who knows, maybe a coach or two will find himself in the unemployment line.

We're not totally done with football here. After today we'll have the last of Get Gamm - Football style and a report card on my preseason picks. Note that the standings are updated through last weekend's games. There are still ten left (including the three you already picked for the last regular season games).

I'll be shifting focus to hoops as we start with the Big Ten - ACC Challenge next week already. I hope to get my preseason picks out ASAP too...

Team of the Week: Northwestern. Congrats to the cats. Northwestern posted a sweet win over Wisconsin and with that, a solid 8-4 (5-3) record. NU better keep hold of Pat Fitzgerald because I think Notre Dame would love to hire a young, up and coming Irish boy to replace Jabba the Coach.

Player of the Week: Call this one a lifetime achievement award... Daryll Clark, Penn State quarterback, has carved up the Spartans for 651 yards and 8 TD passes in the past two seasons. His third quarter explosion gives him the nod over a cast of worthy opponents (Elliott, Kafka, Jones).

Around the Big Ten
The team-by-team capsules include my final bowl (and opponent) projections. Here is where Adam Rittenberg sees the Big Ten falling, as well as the experts at ESPN and CBS.

Illinois - Illinois has two games left and while no bowl game is on tap, the extended season sort of allows for that extra practice, without really getting extra practice. The big question these last two weeks will be "Is Ron Zook's job safe?" I'm not so sure it is. Next up: at Cincinnati (11/27), Fresno State (12/5)

Indiana - Indiana really let me down this past weekend. I thought we'd see more fight out of IU in the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket. Negatory. The Hoosiers got slapped around Memorial Stadium by its rival. I think Bill Lynch is safe, if only because Indiana is young and has the potential to be decent in 2010.
Next Up: Spring Practice

Iowa - It wasn't pretty but Iowa shut out Minnesota again to retain Floyd. Iowa sits at 11 in the latest BCS poll but will have to sweat it out with Penn State to see if an at-large is tossed their way. I think the Big Ten DOES get that second berth, and then it becomes a chess match with the very PSU team Iowa smacked around in State College. I'm a little torn on which way the BCS will lean, but predict that Iowa brings enough cache to squeeze out the Nittany Lions. Next up: versus Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Michigan - Let the speculation build. 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. Sorry to wash, rinse, repeat, but this will be the story line in Ann Arbor now that Michigan is once again home for the holidays.
Next up: Spring Practice

Michigan State - This was not the way MSU wanted to end its season. After a wonderful first half, State snapped and got handled at home by Penn State for the first time. Most MSU-PSU tilts in East Lansing have been MSU blowout wins or instant classics. Not this time. The good news for the Spartans is that despite the hiccup, a bowl game and all that extra practice awaits. That is critical for a team this young. Next up: versus Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl

Minnesota - Yikes. After the impressive win over Michigan State, Minnesota has been a dud. The Gophers are barely bowl eligible and playing some awful football right now - particularly on the offensive side of the ball. By virtue of a predicted two teams in the BCS, Minnesota avoids the Pizza Pizza bowl and returns to Tempe for New Year's Eve.
Next up: versus Texas Tech in the Insight Bowl

Northwestern - Last week I said I was impressed. This week? I'm really impressed. What Pat Fitzgerald has done here is amazing. Northwestern's win firmly planted the Wildcats in warm, sunny Florida for the holidays. Now NU just has to keep the Irish away from its rising star of a coach. Next up: versus North Carolina in the Champs Sports Bowl

Ohio State - Hard to believe fact of the year? Ohio State finishes first, Michigan last in the Big Ten. OSU is off to Pasadena for the first time in over a decade and will bring throngs of scarlet and gray clad fans with them. I like the potential match up out there with the Ducks. In fact, outside of the title game, this looks to be the best on the table. Next Up: versus Oregon in the Rose Bowl

Penn State - The Nittany Lions obliterated Michigan State for 15 minutes on Saturday and that was all that was needed to seal another ten-win season for JoePa. The ageless one has an amazing 21 seasons with ten or more wins. The performance in East Lansing certainly helped the cause for the Nits, who hope to sneak past Iowa and into the BCS mix. I think that loss in State College to the Hawkeyes sends them to Orlando instead. Next up: versus Ole Miss in the Capital One Bowl.

Purdue - Saturday's resounding win in Bloomington should be a good building block for 2010. Purdue put up some fantastic numbers this season but was a few bounces from a much better record. Look for the Boilers to build on the second half success and go bowling in 2010. Next up: Spring Practice

Wisconsin - The Badgers laid an egg in Evanston and cost themselves a shot at a BCS berth and perhaps moved all the way below the Wildcats in the bowl pecking order. The safer bet is that the well-traveled Badgers get win nine in Hawaii and then roll down to Tampa for New Year's Day. Next up: at Hawaii (12/5), versus LSU in the Outback Bowl.

Get Gamm Football:
With three games left from the regular season and the bowl games to go, Andrew and St. Louis Spartan are deadlocked at the top. Look for the bowl version of Get Gamm to come out the week of December 7.

Meantime, let's Get Gamm - hoops style! We'll pick the Big Ten - ACC Challenge and then get after it in full once conference play tips off...

Penn State at Virginia (11/30)
Northwestern at NC State (12/1)
Wake Forest at Purdue (12/1)
Maryland at Indiana (12/1)
Michigan State at North Carolina (12/1)
Virginia Tech at Iowa (12/1)
Illinois at Clemson (12/2)
Minnesota at Miami-FLA (12/2)
Boston College at Michigan (12/2)
Duke at Wisconsin (12/2)
Florida State at Ohio State (12/2)


PUFan said...

Howdy all -- hope i'm wrong, but looks like another ACC win over the Big Ten. UGH!

Mon, Nov. 30th
Penn State 64, at Virginia 75 - Penn St. has been the most disappointing Big 10 team in '09

Tues, Dec. 1st:
Northwestern 55, at NC State 62
Wake Forest 70, at Purdue 82
Maryland 66, at Indiana 63
Michigan State 83, at North Carolina 88
Virginia Tech 89, at Iowa 77

Wed, Dec 2nd:
Illinois 81, at Clemson 70
Minnesota 76, at Miami-FLA 67
Boston College 59, at Michigan 78
Duke 69, at Wisconsin 62
Florida State 63, at Ohio State 77

Phats said...

Congrats to OSU for winning the big ten. I knew my Boilers wouldn't lose to IU!! :) Love having that bucket. I sending my basketball picks now so I don't forget like I did the start of football season.

VIRGINIA 75 penn state 68

NC STATE 64 northwestern 62
PURDUE 80 wake forest 67
MARYLAND 77 indiana 56
MICHIGAN STATE 68 north carolina 67
VIRGINIA TECH 59 iowa 53

ILLINOIS 79 clemson 75
MINNESOTA 68 miami 65
MICHIGAN 80 boston college 69
DUKE 76 wisconsin 67
OHIO STATE 81 florida state 65

BIG TEN 6 acc 5. Hoping my pick of MSU is the clincher!

Dan Meyer said...

Tremendous Purdue win over Rocky Top tonight in a top 10 battle! For the ACC--Big 10 challenge (as per custom; first round of picks get limited commentary)

Penn State 66 at VIRGINIA 73

NORTHWESTERN 62 at North Car St. 58
Wake Forest 63 at PURDUE 72
Maryland 65 at INDIANA 70--Crean's first signature win at Bloomington
Michigan State 84 at NORTH CAROLINA 86 (OT)--Blame it on the Dean Dome
VIRGINIA TECH 70 at Iowa 63--though the first half vs. Texas tonight says that the Hawks aren't totally hopeless.

Illinois 72 at CLEMSON 77--Is this the fifth straight year these two have met?
MINNESOTA 75 at Miami (FL) 68
Boston College 64 at MICHIGAN 75
DUKE 74 at Wisconsin 63--Dookies never lose before Winter Solstice
Florida State 65 at OHIO STATE 72--Andrew and BN celebrate as the Buckeyes clinch a first ever Big Ten trimuph in the challenge.

mayo170 said...

Penn State 63 at Virginia 68(11/30)
Northwestern 59 at NC State 52(12/1)
Wake Forest 51 at Purdue 71(12/1)
Maryland 69 at Indiana 73(12/1)
Michigan State 78 at North Carolina 76(12/1)
Virginia Tech 59 at Iowa 52(12/1)
Illinois 78 at Clemson 83(12/2)
Minnesota 78 at Miami-FLA 75 (12/2)
Boston College 53 at Michigan 50(12/2)
Duke 68 at Wisconsin 59(12/2)
Florida State 59 at Ohio State 71(12/2)