Well the bad fortune for the Big-10 continues this year. The BCS rankings were released on Sunday, and they were the only power conference that didn’t have a single team ranked. The Ohio State Buckeyes, who are 7th in the AP Poll, are ineligible to be ranked by the BCS with their bowl ban, and Michigan, who’s #23 in the AP Poll, didn’t make the cut. Let’s take a look at last week’s games, which didn’t include Nebraska or Penn State, who both had bye weeks.
Iowa is quickly emerging as one of the bigger threats in the conference. The Hawkeyes were an embarrassment three weeks ago, splitting their first four games of the season against Northern Illinois, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, and Central Michgian. But since then, they gave Minnesota their first loss of the season, and followed that up with a double OT victory over Michigan State. The 19-16 loss drops the Spartans to 4-3, and any dreams of a conference championship are all but out the window.
Michigan registered their 2nd straight blowout win with a 45-0 spanking of Illinois. The 4-2 Wolverines have dropped both of their big games so far this year, Alabama and Notre Dame, but they have taken care of business elsewhere. We will get a better gauge of how good this team is next week, when they take on in-state rivals Michigan State.
#7 Ohio State barely hung on in an unexpected shootout with Indiana. The Hoosier offense had put up some solid numbers on the scoreboard, but many thought that they would slow down against the Buckeyes. They didn’t scoring 49 points, but it was not enough, as Ohio State registered 52.
Wrapping games up, Northwestern bounced back from their loss to Penn State the week before with a 21-13 over Minnesota. It was an impressive win, and right now, they are amazingly the front runners for the Rose Bowl. Lastly, Wisconsin throttled Purdue 38-14, upping their record to 5-2 on the campaign.
Now, let’s take a look at what’s on the rocket docket this week. Illinois is the only squad that won’t be in action on Saturday.
Nebraska (4-2) at Northwestern (6-1)- Nebraska is entering the most important part of their schedule, with the top three teams in the Legends division coming up. The first game is against the surprise Northwestern Wildcats. Unfortunately for Wildcat fans, they simply haven’t played anyone so far. Penn State was their only somewhat tough game, and they dropped that one. I like Nebraska to retake the reins in this division, and get ready to shoot to the top.
Nebraska wins 34-24.
Michigan State (4-3) at Michigan (4-2)- Last month, this game was circled on a ton of calenders. Both these teams came into the season ranked with high expectations. However, this game is now serving as a survival game of sorts, as the loser is likely out of the Big-10 race. I like Michigan for a few reasons. The main one is the home field advantage of the big house. Also, the Spartans are coming into this game with a loss, while the Wolverines have registered back-to-back blowouts.
Michigan takes it down 27-20.
In the rest of the action, I like Wisconsin (5-2) to knock off Minnesota (4-2), Ohio State (7-0) to crush Purdue (3-3) at home, Penn State (4-2) to register their fifth win in a row on the season against Iowa (4-2), and Indiana (2-4) to fall to Navy (3-3) in the lone non-conference matchup.
Lastly, we wrap up our week in review with the play of the day, which goes to Denard Robinson. Robinson tore up the Illinois defense, showing us why we had so much expectations coming into this year. Check out him juking out the whole defense on his way to a 49 yard TD run.
What did you think of the Big-10′s play this week? Who do you think will represent the Big-10 in the Rose Bowl? Let us know in the comments!