After the long slog through non-conference play, Big Ten conference games finally arrived last weekend to end September on a good note. Northwestern and Ohio State survived and stayed undefeated, while Minnesota found the road a lot tougher in Iowa City than many expected. Penn State won a statement game against new rival Illinois in dominant fashion.
But the highlight of the night was the nationally televised battle between Wisconsin and Nebraska. The Badgers had not put together a good 60 minutes of effort, but Wisconsin came out of the gates of Memorial Stadium with fire and fury. Nebraska fell behind early and the deficit grew to 17 points in the third quarter. But Nebraska clawed back quickly and won the game in the fourth quarter.
What this tough win for Nebraska and the upset of Minnesota prove is that nothing can be taken for granted in conference play. These are the teams that know exactly what you want to do and how you plan to go about it. Even with coaching changes and realignment shifts, the possibility for a loss increases in conference play due to this familiarity.
The second weekend of conference play brings five more games, and at least three of these are highly compelling games. At this point, all five games have serious Big Ten championship implications. Will the teams at the top of this power ranking stay there? This week will likely provide some much-needed separation of these teams at the top.
Although Axl Rose may bring a whole different set of band mates with him these days, let's go back to the good old days of Slash and Rose as G-N-R brings us some theme songs for the B1G this week.