Breaking Down the Big Ten's Embarrassing Day of Struggles

T.J. Mcaloon@@tjmcaloonContributorSeptember 23, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 22:  Quarterback Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines fumbles the ball in the third quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 22, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Aside from Penn State, Northwestern, Minnesota and Nebraska, the Big Ten as a conference was pitiful this week. 

Now, I understand that every team in a conference cannot win every week. Teams sometimes fall to an inferior one. That stuff happens in football. 

However, the way the Big Ten conference played Saturday was embarrassing. 

So let’s break down some of the reactions and key plays from the Big Ten’s losses. 

Iowa losing to Central Michigan

Coming into Saturday's game against Central Michigan, Iowa barley got past Northern Illinois, 18-17, lost to Iowa State, 9-6, and defeated Northern Iowa, 27-16. It’s not like they were favored to win the Big Ten this year. 

However, Central Michigan was fresh off of getting crushed, 41-7, by Michigan State. 

Iowa had an eight-point lead with two minutes and 18 seconds left, until Titus Davis caught a pass from Ryan Radcliff to cut Iowa’s lead to 31-29 with 45 seconds left.

Then this happened:

And then Twitter erupted.

Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett cover the Big Ten for and couldn’t believe that Iowa would lose to Central Michigan.

Dari Nowkhah of ESPN brought up a good point about the state of Hawkeyes football after Saturday’s loss. 

Wisconsin struggles against UTEP

The old saying is that it doesn’t matter if you win by one or 100, you still won the game. But in this instance, Wisconsin’s 37-26 win against a team that was 1-2 on the season did nothing to help build the fractured confidence of Badgers Nation.

The worst part of Saturday’s victory was seeing last season’s Heisman Trophy finalist, Montee Ball, leave the game with a head injury. 

Plus, as ESPN Stats & Info tweeted out, Ball had his first fumble in 655 career carries Saturday. 

Ohio State’s defense is still suspect

Before we get into the bad—aka the Buckeye defense—let’s spend a little attention to the good, Braxton Miller.

Miller didn’t have the best passing stats Saturday (12-of-20, 143 yards), but neither did another great quarterback who flourished under the wing of head coach Urban Meyer

You know who I’m talking about. None other than Coach Meyer’s favorite player who helped make him the superstar coach he is today when he was with Florida, Tim Tebow. 

While Miller couldn’t pass Saturday at all, he did carry the Buckeye offense with an impressive rushing stat line of 11 carries for 64 yards and two touchdowns. 

But the defense had another week where they allowed an opponent to gain over 400 yards on offense at home. Last week it was the Cal Bears and 512 yards, while Saturday it was UAB and 403 combined yards. 

However, not all of Buckeye Nation is panicking. 

The Morning Star Journal has an article up after Saturday’s game that the Buckeyes are not panicking about their defense, yet.

While Brandon Castel caught a quote from Meyer’s postgame press conference.

Michigan State survives scare

The Spartans dominated in every facet of Saturday’s game against Eastern Michigan. They outgained Eastern Michigan, 428 to 183. Had a better time of possession, 34:32 to 25:28. And owned Eastern Michigan in the running game,  269 to 46. 

However, they kept on letting their in-state opponent hang around; the score at halftime was Eastern Michigan 7, Michigan State 3. 

From Johnny Detroit:

That would have been one bad bet had Eastern Michigan held on.

But instead, Le’Veon Bell pounded the ball 36 times for 253 yards with a late fourth-quarter touchdown to ice the Spartans' 23-7 victory. 

Denard Robinson says goodbye to his Heisman hopes

The Michigan-Notre Dame game may be over, but Robinson just turned the ball over again. 

Just like Stephen A. Smith said:

Coming into this game, Robinson had played very well against Notre Dame. However, Saturday’s lackluster performance killed any chance he had of getting back into this year’s Heisman Trophy contention. 

But even with the four interceptions and one fumble, he is still getting compared to NFL talent. 

T.J. Lang would know, since he had a great seat to Cutler’s meltdown. 

And finally, from Delvon Roe, who looks to be reporting on what's taking place inside Michigan’s locker room.

Illinois suffers a blowout loss to Louisiana Tech

Finally, the Fighting Illini could only end the Big Ten’s embarrassing night in one way: a blowout loss at home to a team from the Western Athletic Conference, Louisiana Tech, 52-24.

Maybe Illinois fans should have seen this coming, as L.A. Tech has averaged 56 points in its two victories. 

However, one look at Twitter, and the continued burying of the Big Ten continues. 

Sebastian Onate may be on to something here: 

Brandon Pope sums up the Big Ten in one word, and he is dead on with it.

And Andrew Jones of Fox Sports has a fitting hashtag for how bad the Big Ten was this week.

Finally, from Awful Announcing, they have the best idea of the night of what to do with the spots for the Big Ten’s bowl games.


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