On Thursdays on The Big Ten Blog, we will feature questions from the B/R inbox, Twitter and email. Do you have questions for next week's Q&A? Send them to Big Ten lead blogger Adam Jacobi via the B/R inbox, on Twitter @Adam_Jacobi or at email@example.com.
Lots of people wanting to talk Week 1 football this week—not many of them of the Michigan persuasion, however. That seems more than a little understandable.
@adam_jacobi After going 10-2 last week, but having 4 wins by less than 1 score, would you say the B1G's week was positive or worrisome?— Crewser (@buddylight) September 6, 2012
An actual football question? Well, I'm mighty glad you asked.
It's ever so slightly misleading to just call Michigan State's win over Boise State a one-possession win, because the Spartans were on the doorstep to score again but took the opportunity to run out the clock instead. Now granted, Sparty did the right thing, but still, that was one of the best four-point whippings we've ever seen.
That said, it's entirely worrisome to see how the Big Ten performed in Week 1. Looking at the high-profile teams—Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, Penn State, Michigan State and Wisconsin—only three of those teams (OSU, UNL, MSU) were even remotely impressive. Plus, if there's a seventh team on that list, it's probably Iowa—and the Hawkeyes beat Northern Illinois by one point.
This week offers many more opportunities to impress, though. Wisconsin, Nebraska and Illinois all head west, and the odds are very good that the Big Ten takes two of three. Purdue should hang close to Notre Dame and Iowa should beat Iowa State, which is an honest-to-god BCS conference member in good standing.
None of that comes close to erasing Alabama clowning Michigan, but it's a start.
Did...did you say "surprise"?
Obviously, I'm glad you asked. But rather than picking one surprise per conference, let's run down the whole list so everyone can feel included.
Illinois: The rush defense was absolutely dominant. Western Michigan throws first and foremost, but Illinois held it to two rushing first downs and minus-six yards on the ground for the entire day.
Indiana: It's still in the Big Ten.
Iowa: Damon Bullock—who looked like the weak link in the offense on paper coming into the year—was actually the only part of the Hawkeye attack that worked on Saturday, with 150 yards and the game-winning touchdown on 3rd-and-8 from the 22.
Michigan: How ill-prepared physically Michigan was up front. Even Taylor Lewan looked lost.
Michigan State: Le'Veon Bell's ridiculous hops.
Minnesota: It was just UNLV, sure, but the Gopher secondary looked stout. Minnesota's pass efficiency defense ranked third-best in the nation among teams facing FBS competition.
Nebraska: Taylor Martinez threw for 354 yards and five touchdowns on 26-of-34 passing. It's like...what world are we in?
Ohio State: Devin Smith, y'all.
Penn State: Ohio could do what it wanted on offense in the second half, and Penn State's front seven couldn't do anything about it.
Purdue: Caleb TerBush, a senior captain at QB, was suspended for a game for a violation of team rules. He's back and out of trouble, but still—what's up with that, guy?
Wisconsin: Three straight touchdown drives given up in the second half against Northern Iowa and a five-point win? Not good.
Nobody even knows!
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