Saturday, November 27, 2010

So, we have a three way tie at the top of the Big Ten heap, with the rest of the pack well back. Each of the three is going to argue its merits as the Rose Bowl rep. And I'll listen intently, but am going to tell you who I think deserves to go. And I'm going to do it based on facts, not my heart...

Michigan State deserves to go. Michigan State is the only team other than Auburn in the soon to be new BCS Top Ten with a schedule rating in the top 33. OSU and Wisconsin? Right around 60.

And beyond that SOS stuff, which is subjective, how about head to head. MSU was 1-0 against the other two. Wisconsin was 1-1. Ohio State was 0-1. Not MSU or OSU's fault they didn't play one another so at the same time, why punish the Spartans? Because the green and white beat UW longer ago? Give me a break.

The BCS was made to get the top two teams together in the title game and does a pretty fair job at it. But the rest of the bowls? JOKE. The real argument is that the Big Ten should be sending three teams to represent in the Big Four bowls. The Big Least and ACC should be left on the sidelines. But that won't happen, so back to now.

Michigan State is going to get screwed here, even though the Spartans deserve the Rose Bowl and at the very least, an at-large BCS berth. Why? Because those who vote and pay no attention will see what Wisconsin did to Indiana and a banged-up Northwestern at the end of the season.

And Badgers out there, spare me the MSU couldn't beat UW how they are playing today. The Spartans beat Wisconsin when Clay was healthy, and stopped his long 100-yard rushing game streak. Oh and State did it after finding out less than 24 hours earlier that Head Coach Mark Dantonio was back in the hospital with a blood clot. If ever a team could have an excuse to fold, that was it.

I know I'm preaching to no one and certainly won't get support from my Buckeye friends, but hey, it is what it is. Michigan State should go to the Rose Bowl, Wisconsin the at-large and tOSU the Capital One. But hey, I'm just a blogger, happy as pigs in you-know-what that my Alma mater finally won the big one and gets to lay claim to a Big Ten title...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Get Gamm - Regular Season Finale
Hope everyone had a peaceful, quiet, relaxing and stuffing Thanksgiving. Sorry for my late post - especially for Twin City Buckeye who was the only unbeaten last week - but work has been a zoo and time has slipped away.

That means no Nebraska pick this week... but maybe I'll toss it in for the Big 12 Title game. May or may not get to the Big Ten / ACC Challenge either. Funny how basketball doesn't grab your attention as quickly when your team is having a great football season.

Michigan at Ohio State - Let's be clear. I am not rooting for Michigan to beat tOSU, even though it helps my Spartans in the big picture. Now, should OSU have an epic stumble, so be it! On that point... no way that happens. Michigan will fight for a half, but no longer. OSU 42 - Michigan 20.

Michigan State at Penn State - History is not on MSU's side in Happy Valley. However, word that JoePa is coming back helps take some of the potential PSU frenzy out of the fray. This is a rare time where the Spartans should win this contest. Make no mistake, it will be a battle and I think it will take another special teams play to get it done. Conroy from 48 as time expires. MSU 30 - PSU 27.

Iowa at Minnesota - Iowa is playing for the Outback rather than the Gator. Might not seem like much but you know this wounded team wants to finish strong. Minnesota got a nice win over Illinois and keeps this tight for a bit, but then the Pig goes back to Iowa. Iowa 31 - Minnesota 20.

Indiana at Purdue - IU is playing to save Coach Lynch. Purdue is playing to end the season strong and is already looking to health and prosperity in 2011 - since neither were there in 2010. Purdue has to be angry about the way last week slipped away and will take it out on an Indiana team that wasn't quite as bad as the record shows. Purdue 27 - Indiana 23

Northwestern at Wisconsin - OSU and MSU wish Dan Persa was healthy and playing. NU often gives UW fits but not this time. Wisconsin rolls and likely gains the Roses... Wisconsin 37 - Northwestern 17

Illinois at Fresno State - The Illini want to go out strong and make it a solid seven on the season. Fresno is always a tough place to play, but I think Illinois is better than its 6-5 record and gets a nice, solid, season ending win. Ill-I-N-I 35 - Fresno 23

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Get Gamm - Week 12
It is hard to believe that we have but two weeks left in the regular season. Heck, hoops started this week and I have hardly even had the time to digest the success of my Spartans on the gridiron! That's a nice change.

Buckeye Nation is picking with me this week, his first win of the season. Only a few more chances to get to that top spot...

Penn State vs. Indiana (Landover, MD)
Gamm says... Both of these teams were shellacked last weekend. Penn State hung for a half before the bottom dropped out. IU held on for a little more than a quarter before becoming talk show fodder. Really? You can't stop the opponent on ONE possession in a game? The Hoosiers sold out to earn some cash in lieu of a home game. Penn State gets healthy and secures win number seven at FedEx Field. Penn State 34 - Indiana 17

Buckeye Nation says... How pathetic is it for Indiana football? On the heels of giving up over 80 points, you now play a "home" game 500 miles away. Penn State had the range of emotions last Saturday, exhilaration then humiliation, all in the span of 3 hours. Indiana felt only the humiliation part. What's worse, the Hoops team is still at least a year or two away from being legitimate again.The nightmare for Indiana continues as PSU CEO JoePa secures win 401. Penn State 37 - Indiana 17

Purdue at Michigan State
Gamm says... Two teams with a prize in mind. Purdue needs two wins to go bowling. Michigan State needs two wins to clinch at least a share of its first Big Ten title since 1990. Purdue's defense is looking really good and Ryan Kerrigan is a flat out stud. But the offense is shaky at best, as evidenced by the paltry output against the world's worst defense - Michigan. State takes a half to shake the BYE week rust, but rolls in the end. MSU 33 - Purdue 14.

Buckeye Nation says... The Boilers are in the throes of a 4-games losing streak, but have shown flashes of promise in their last two losses to Wisconsin and Michigan. The Boilers can become bowl eligible with a win at MSU and a likely win against Indiana for the Old Oaken Bucket. However, this will be Senior Day in East Lansing with the best senior class in the Dantonio era, and they will not deny the Spartan faithful a home win. Look for Kirk Cousins to have his way on Saturday. Michigan State 31 - Purdue 13

Wisconsin at Michigan
Gamm says... It is hard for me to believe that with the success this UW program has had in the past 20 years, it has only won twice in Ann Arbor in the past 50 years. Michigan is securely in a bowl with seven wins but wants to become prominent again. UW is playing very well right now and has Pasadena in sight. Michigan will keep this a game, but in the end, Wisconsin has too much ball control and run game for the Wolverines to overcome. UW 38 - Michigan 27

Buckeye Nation says... As much as I hate to say it, the Badgers have been on a roll. Except for one afternoon in East Lansing, they find a way to win in the tough games, and blow away the bottom-feeders. Even with RB Clay out, the Badgers hung 83 points on Indiana. The Wolverines are bowl eligible for the first time in the RichRod era, and will close out the home schedule with Wisconsin. UW has won only twice in the past 50 years in Ann Arbor. While I won't be rooting for a Michigan win this weekend, I will be rooting for a Wisconsin loss. Gotta go with the heart. Michigan 42 - Wisconsin 41

Illinois at Northwestern (Wrigley Field)
Gamm says... Just when Zook thought his hide was safe. An epic loss to Michigan and then allowance of a game winning drive, at home, to the very worst team in the Big Ten? Suddenly, Illinois has to win one of the last two to get to a bowl and neither is a given. Northwestern has to replace Dan Persa but you know what, every time NU has had to replace a signal caller in the past, the understudy steps in and steps up big. This will be cool, with Game Day in tow. Illinois finds a way to get it done, but barely. Illinois 27 - Northwestern 24

Buckeye Nation says... Two teams at a crossroads this season. The Wildcats, coming off another HUGE win against Iowa, have lost their QB leader Dan Persa for the season. The Illini, not yet bowl eligible, looked to be the surprise team in the conference until they lost the scoring battle in Ann Arbor, and followed it up with a disheartening loss to the hapless, coach-less Gophers. In case you hadn't heard, the Lincoln Trophy game will be at Wrigley Field this year instead of Evanston. But Chicago is an Illini town as much if not more so than it is a Wildcat town. Without Persa, the Cats just aren't the same team. Illinois 27 - Northwestern 17

Ohio State at Iowa (Tiebreaker)
Gamm says... A few weeks ago, I had this pegged as the help MSU needed. I've been back and forth a million times on this one. OSU has a mega conference title streak to uphold. Iowa has played pissed off football and done major damage coming off of losses. Senior Day at Kinnick. A chance to spoil a season for someone, much in the way the Wildcats have done to the Hawks the past two years. Iowa still has an outside hope for a four way tie at 6-2 and puts MSU in the diver's seat, mere weeks after slapping Sparty around in Iowa City. Iowa 24 - OSU 23

Buckeye Nation says... Given the recent losses by Iowa, this game has lost a little bit of its luster, but not from the viewpoint of its participants, or the conference standings. Ricky Stanzi gets to face the team that didn't want the native Ohioan. The Buckeyes, after one of their worst halves of the season against Penn State, then put together one of their best halves in burying the Lions in the Horseshoe. This will be a hard-hitting game, but the Buckeyes remain focused after seeing what lethargy will do them with the memory of halftime from last Saturday. Terrelle Pryor and Boom Herron keep it running on all cylinders for OSU. Ohio State 34 - Iowa 17

Nebraska at Texas A&M
Gamm says... I like this game. A&M is playing very well right now. Nebraska is too, however, and wants to leave the Big 12 with a bang. A win here clinches the North. A&M is a bit of a long shot to win the South but wants to keep momentum high. The home field advantage at Kyle Field is nice and I think it is enough to get the Aggies a W. A&M 30 - Nebraska 28

Buckeye Nation says... Bo Pelini called out the Husker fans for their blase attitude last Saturday. This time, he will have to call out his troops for a tough game at College Station. On their way out of the Big 12, Nebraska makes the Aggie fans bid them good riddance. Nebraska 24 - Texas A&M 21

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Weekend recap...
Just when you thought last weekend was going to be sort of boring, BAM! We had an upset, major points being scored, a second half outburst and more. And after it all... there are now three teams with an eye on the prize (Pasadena).

First of all, props to my Team of the Week Northwestern. Down 17-7, the Wildcats picked off a pass as they faced a coffin nailing 24-7 deficit and turned in a frenetic finish and a 21-17 upset win. Sure, Player of the Week Dan Persa is lost for the season after a strange Achilles tendon blowout, but that didn't stop ESPN Game Day from saddling up to watch the battle for Sweet Sioux (I know, now it is actually Lincoln's head or something) at Wrigley Field.

The second eye popper was UW scoring on every possession and making the Hoosiers appear as though they were a late entry to the Halloween party, masquerading as a D3 squad. Ouch. 83 freaking points? By a run first team like the Badgers? And without John Clay? Maybe Indiana and Minnesota can share interviews as both will assuredly be seeking a new coach.

Ohio State was sloppy and sleepy early, but burst the legend of Matt McGloin with a huge second half. The Bucks are playing well right now with two tests left...

Props to Minnesota for finding a way to beat Illinois. Two thumbs down to the Illini for blowing a great chance to secure a New Year's Day bowl berth.

The ho-hum, boring game of the week was in West Lafayette. More slop than a pig barn at feeding time. Enough said.

Get Gamm...
Congrats to past champ Buckeye Nation, who was closest in a log jam to the tiebreaker and gets his first W of the season. BN - you know the drill.

Penn State vs. Indiana (Landover, MD)
Purdue at Michigan State
Wisconsin at Michigan
Illinois at Northwestern
Ohio State at Iowa (Tiebreaker)
Nebraska at Texas A&M

Bowl Outlook...
It is a three team race for Pasadena. Wisconsin hasn't won in Ann Arbor since I was in college. Ohio State gets to face an angry Iowa team at Kinnick. Michigan State has Purdue at home. Here is how I see it playing out...

Rose Bowl - Wisconsin (wins out, best ranked BCS team)
Fiesta Bowl - Ohio State (wins out, gets nod over MSU)
Capital One Bowl - Michigan State (wins out, gets passed over by BCS for the second time - 1999 was the other)
Outback Bowl - Iowa
Gator Bowl - Penn State
Insight Bowl - Michigan
Texas Bowl - Northwestern
TicketCity Bowl - Illinois

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Get Gamm - Week Eleven
Sorry guys... been on the road for work and am getting this in just under the wire!

Twin City is picking with me this week and since I have no time, he's the main commentator.

Indiana at Wisconsin
Gamm says... IU won't play UW as close as they did Iowa. Wisconsin 34 - Indiana 10

TwinCityBuckeye says... IU is winless in Big 10 but gave Iowa a scare last week. Can they do the same to Wiscy? Uh, no. Wisconsin-33 Indiana-17

Iowa at Northwestern
Gamm says... NU has a way of biting the Hawkeyes. But Iowa's attention was received last week in Bloomington. Iowa 27 - NU 23

TCB says... Hawkeyes have a big one looming next week in Iowa City and must guard against looking ahead. Plus, Wildcats always seem to play them tough. This will be another nail-biter for Hawkeye fans. Iowa-27 Northwestern-21

Michigan at Purdue
Gamm says... If Purdue had a full compliment, I'd go with old black and gold. But that's not the case. M gets its last win of the season. Michigan 41 - Purdue 27

TCB says... Wolverines are bowl-eligible! They will be feeling good about themselves while PU suffers through an injury-riddled season. This should be yet another high-scoring game. Michigan-41 Purdue-28

Illinois at Minnesota
Gamm says... Illinois bounces back BIG. ILL-I-N-I 40 - Minny ha ha 10

TCB says... Can't think of a more boring game. Illini will wash out the bitterness of last weeks shootout with a "gind-it-out" win over the hapless Goofers. Illinois-24 Minnesota-13

Penn State at Ohio State
Gamm says... Game of the week in a light week. PSU is playing well, but OSU better. OSU 34 - Penn State 21

TCB says... Nittany Lions are "insulted" by the 17 point spread and will use that as motivation. One problem, they have nowhere near the talent of OSU. Ohio State-31 Penn State-14

Kansas at Nebraska
Gamm says... Corn rolls 41 - 14

TCB says... Huskers will be unkind to Nebraska alum Turner Gill. This will be ugly. Nebraska-45 Kansas-13

Monday, November 08, 2010

Week Ten Recap
It was a truly wild and crazy weekend in the Big Ten, including for a future com padre. In the end, not much changed but it was a great ride getting there.

Illinois and Michigan played an overtime battle for the ages and not one that any defensive coordinator would ever like. 67-65. Almost a mile of total offense. And in the end, Michigan gets to go bowling once more.

Michigan State rolled as expected. Wisconsin rolled but after a half of wake up time. Northwestern jumped out big early but ended up watching Penn State celebrate Joe Pa's 400th win.

Iowa got lucky. Indiana dropped what appeared to be the game-winning touchdown with :18 remaining. And Nebraska dodged a bullet, squandering a two-score lead and batting away Iowa State's attempt to win on a fake PAT in overtime.

Team of the Week... I'll give it to Penn State. Great comeback and a very nice celebration of the winningest D1 coach in history.

Player of the Week... So many options. Mikel Leshoure. Ray Roundtree. Edwin Baker. Nathan Scheelhaase. We'll let them all share it!

Get Gamm... Everyone but TwinCityBuckeye went 5-1. TCB was perfect and gets to pick this week.

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

Friday, November 05, 2010

Get Gamm - Week Ten
November is here. The skies have immediately gone gray and will probably stay that way. The air is crisp. The trees are barren. But while the air cools and the daylight strays, the league is heating up and the spotlight is shining bright.

We have a four team race for the title. We have ten teams that still have bowl hopes. Hang on tight. This is going to be a fun ride to the finish...

Iowa at Indiana
Gamm says... Trap game for Iowa? The Hawkeyes have had to get sky high for two straight and hit the road for the first time in a while. Indiana is hanging on for its ever-loving bowl life, needing two to qualify and probably three to be totally safe. I see the Hoosiers hanging early with a hung over Iowa squad, but in the end, Stanzi and the Hawks are too much to contain. Iowa 31 - Indiana 20.

Illinois at Michigan
Gamm says...
Are you kidding? Michigan is favored in this game? Sorry Wolverines, but if I'm Vegas and I already bit it hard by making you the five point fave against rival Sparty, I'm not sticking my neck out on this one. Illinois might be playing the best football in the conference right now. Ron Zook has saved his job and now the Illini have sights set on a New Year's Day bowl berth. Michigan's defense is a complete and utter disaster. Somehow worse than the previous two years. And the Illini are TOUGH in that front seven. Illinois 34 - Michigan 27

Minnesota at Michigan State
Gamm says...
Perfect timing for this one for MSU. And if you're thinking MSU will look past the Gophers, I'll give you a Lee Corso "not so fast my friend." If you recall, Michigan State lost to Minny last season, thanks in part to some controversial calls or reversals. The Spartans were stung in Iowa but still have a title to play for. The bowl picture may not be simple but one thing is, win out, win at least a piece of the championship. There is a lot to play for. A bye is in sight and I expect MSU to leave it all out there, rush for over 300 yards and dominate. Michigan State 45 - Minnesota 17

Wisconsin at Purdue
Gamm says...
After the surprising win in Evanston, Purdue has come crashing back to earth. Hard. Tough to win in this deep conference with so many key players lost for the season. Wisconsin may start sluggish after the bye, but should dominate this game. UW 30 - Purdue 10

Northwestern at Penn State (tiebreaker)
Gamm says...
On a week with a really light slate, this is the best game on tap. Northwestern is looking to go New Year's bowling again. Penn State needs one more for bowl eligibility and No. 400 for Joe Pa. Play this at Ryan Field and NU gets the upper hand. But somehow, someway, the Nits will get it done, even if not truly the better team on the field. Penn State 24 - Northwestern 23.

Nebraska at Iowa State
Gamm says...
I'm willing to be the Cornhuskers don't look past an ISU squad that tore apart the one team that gave Big Red its lone loss on the season. It will be a good game, as the Cyclones are improving and T-Magic may not be at full strength. Still, Nebraska makes a big play late and sneaks out of Ames with another W. Nebraska 27 - Iowa State 20.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Week Nine Recap + Season in Review...
The Big Ten race became as clear as mud this weekend as Iowa thumped the Spartans. There are four teams in the race, with a max of three that can win this thing (via tie) in the end). No offense to the two loss teams, a one loss team - or three - will win this race.

Ohio State rolled. Penn State smacked Michigan in the face and has the Fire RichRod heat back on high. Northwestern bored us to a win over Indiana and Illinois continues to impress. Oh and future Big Ten foe Nebraska smacked rival Mizzou around in Lincoln.

This Monday, it is a typical recap and then an in-depth look at where things stand with regard to my preseason predictions, and where I expect it to go from here with four weeks remaining. Get Gamm is posted at the bottom. This week's winner? Phats beat TwinCityBuckeye and AndrewJ1313 in the tiebreaker, with all three going a perfect 6-0.

Team of the Week... Iowa. Has to be. Iowa played its most complete game of the season and put the Spartans on their heels from the get go. Iowa needs to win out and get some help from folks playing the Spartans and Badgers to get to the Rose Bowl, but can still grab a piece of the title.

Player of the Week... Ricky Stanzi. Now with 19 TDs to 2 INTs, Stanzi didn't put up gaudy numbers (except the three scores) but just has a knack for leading his team to victory.

What was predicted, where we are, where we're going...
So, of course those who follow this blog know that I predict the season each summer, including specific wins and losses. Once we get to Get Gamm, I adjust based on what is going on. There have been some mild surprises (Illinois and Michigan State) but generally, things are pretty close to what I projected. Following is a team by team look at what I predicted for the season, where that means teams should be right now, where teams actually sit and what I project the rest of the way.

Based on preseason order from worst to first...

Minnesota: I had them going 4-8 (1-7) and finishing in a tie for tenth. Based on that, they should be 4-5 (1-4) right now. They are actually 1-8 (0-5) and on their way to a very ugly 1-11 (0-8) finish. The Gophers have Michigan State, Illinois and Iowa left. Ouch.

Indiana: I had them going 5-7 (1-7) and finishing in a tie for tenth. Based on that, they should be 5-3 (1-3) right now. They are actually 4-4 (0-4) and on their way to a disappointing 4-8 (0-8) finish. The Hoosiers have Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State and Purdue left.

Illinois: I had them going 4-8 (2-6) and finishing tied for eighth. That means they should be 3-5 (1-4) right now, but the Illini are a pleasant surprise at 5-3 (3-2). I see them at 8-4 (5-3) when all is said and done, and a well deserved trip to Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl on the horizon. The Illini have Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern and Fresno State left.

Michigan: I had the Wolverines going 5-7 (2-6) and finishing in a tie for eighth. Should be 3-5 (0-4) right now based on that prediction, but are actually 5-3 (1-3). I do see a bowl in Rich Rod's future, but only a 6-6 (2-6) finish, landing the Wolverines in the newly created Dallas Football Classic. Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin and Ohio State remain.

Purdue: Of course my record for Purdue was based on not losing the first and second string QBs, top producing WR and the starting RB. But stuff happens. I had Purdue going 7-5 (3-5) and finishing seventh. That would have the Boilers 6-2 (2-2) right now. While actually 2-2 in the Big Ten, those OOC losses are going to burn the 4-4 Boilers. I see a 5-7 (3-5) finish and no bowl game. Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State and Indiana remain.

Northwestern: The Wildcats are right on track with what I projected. I had them going 8-4 (4-4) with a solo sixth place finish. That means they should be 7-1 (3-1) right now, but are actually 6-2 (2-2). The schedule gets tough, so I see a 7-5 (3-5) finish, good for a berth in the Texas Bowl. Penn State, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin loom.

Penn State: Penn State is a team that I had nailed to date. Not sure what the national pundits were thinking but I knew this was an inexperienced crew. I had the Nittany Lions going 8-4 (5-3) and finishing tied for fourth. That predicted means that PSU should be 5-3 (2-2) right now and they are exactly that. I see a 7-5 (4-4) finish and a trip to the Insight Bowl in JoePa's future. Northwestern, Ohio State, Indiana and Michigan State remain.

Michigan State: My exact words in the preseason were "Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa stand between MSU and a phenomenal season." Well, as of now, only Iowa stood in the way. I had State going 9-3 (5-3) and tying with Penn State for fourth. That had them 6-3 (2-3) at this time, but reality is much better... 8-1 (4-1) and tied for first. I see MSU winning out and grabbing a piece of the title, and getting to Pasadena on the three team tiebreaker. 11-1 (7-1) and a date with future Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and the Stanford Cardinal. Minnesota, Purdue and Penn State are left to play.

Wisconsin: The Badgers are as good as I expected. I had them going 10-2 (6-2) and finishing third. That means they should sit at 6-2 (2-2) right now. Reality is they are 7-1 (3-1) and sitting pretty to finish 11-1 (7-1) and get an at large BCS berth. Purdue, Indiana, Michigan and Northwestern remain.

Iowa: The Hawkeyes are just about what I expected as well. I picked a narrow loss to Arizona... it is the loss to Wisconsin that has me tripped up this far. Based on the 10-2 (7-1), second place finish I predicted, Iowa should be 7-1 (4-0) to date. The black and gold are actually 6-2 (3-1) and heading to 11-1 (7-1). Indiana, Northwestern, Ohio State and Minnesota are all that's left before the Hawks hit Orlando for the Capital One Bowl.

Ohio State: tOSU is one loss from what I predicted. I had them 12-0 (8-0) and in the national title game. The poisonous nuts should be 9-0 (5-0) given that projection but are actually 8-1 (4-1). The trip to Kinnick will knock OSU to the Outback Bowl and a 10-2 (6-2) finish. Penn State, Iowa and Michigan remain.

Get Gamm:
Iowa at Indiana
Illinois at Michigan
Minnesota at Michigan State
Wisconsin at Purdue
Northwestern at Penn State (tiebreaker)
Nebraska at Iowa State