For the second straight week, there wasn’t a ton to like in the Big 10. There are still a couple teams who are towards the top of the rankings, but it won’t be for a few more weeks until we see if anyone in this conference is a legit threat to go undefeated.
The whole conference was filled with two types of games: blowouts against sub par opponents, and losses in big non conference games. There were a couple teams that bucked this trend, but not even in the good way. Michigan, who had a disappointing open to the season vs. Alabama, barely squeaked out a 31-25 over Air Force. The way they are playing, I think Michigan will lose at least 2-3 more games this year. They just don’t look as good as people thought they did. Ohio State also had a relatively pedestrian 31-16 win over UCF, and Northwestern went to 2-0 after beating Vanderbuilt 23-13.
Now let’s run through the blow out wins. #10 Michigan State continued rolling, beating Central Michigan 41-7. Minnesota knocked off New Hampshire 44-7, while Indiana handled U Mass 45-6. Unfortunately, that’s the extent of the good news for the Big-10. Now, let’s look at the bad.
The Big-1o continued to struggle mightily against the Pac-10, as Illinois was trounced 45-14 by Arizona State, while Nebraska was upset 36-30 by UCLA. Nebraska was next in line after Michigan State on the power rankings, but they will fall out of that conversation after this result. Lastly, Wisconsin was also upset by Oregon State, losing 10-7, with their only points coming late in the 4th quarter. They certainly didn’t look like a top 15 team against an Oregon State squad that was playing it’s first game of the season.
The list of losses continued for the Big-10 from last week. Penn State fell to 0-2, losing to Virginia 17-16, thanks to a 1-5 performance from their kicker. Purdue almost pull off an upset over #22 Notre Dame, but couldn’t finish it off, falling 20-17. Lastly, Iowa put up a terrible offensive effort against in state rival Iowa State, falling 9-6.
The biggest matchup of the weekend involves #20 Notre Dame travelling to #10 Michigan State. The Spartans will be looking to avenge a 31-13 defeat they suffered in Notre Dame last year. I think the Irish are once again lucky to be ranked, and I think Michigan State is the real deal .They should handle the Golden Domes this weekend.
There are only two other matchups that sort of jump off the page for us. Northwestern will host ACC team Boston College, and based on what I’ve seen so far, I’ll give the edge to the Wildcats and their solid offense. To wrap it up, #12 Ohio State will welcome Cal to the Horseshoe. I don’t see the Pac-12′s dominance continuing here. Cal is down this year, and OSU is playing for the #1 spot in the AP poll, as that’s the only way they will be seeing hardware this year.
That wraps up the Big 10 recap for us. Do you think Michigan State or Ohio State are contenders? Or will they just be the Pac-12′s whipping boy in the Rose Bowl…again? Let us know in the comments!