Big Ten Analysis: First Thoughts and Quick Hits from Week 10
1. Iowa finally got bitten
I remember the 2002 national title year. While most Buckeye fans remember that as a time of the start of the golden age of Buckeye sports, I remember it as a heart attack every weekend.
I remember we almost lost to Cincinnati and Illinois, and even Michigan was one good pass from beating us at the end of the game—and let's not talk about how close that national championship game was.
It just goes to show you it's hard to walk that tightrope every week. Ask Michigan or Notre Dame this year. It takes an extraordinary effort every week.
Great game and a great season by Iowa. I hope they don't let this season free-fall. They could very easily go from national title contenders to the Cap One Bowl.
2. Illinois gets another win
While not a signature win, it sure is good to see this team not quit on Ron Zook. I think they have something there, but they are running into situations where they haven't made that jump from middle of the road team to conference power team.
While I didn't see the game I hoped, the team continues to progress and make strides for turning this team into something that is a notch in the Big 11's cap.
3. Purdue...what could have been
I have watched every team in the Big 11, and I think that Joey Elliott throws the best balls in the conference. Noon was a great time to watch Big 11 football. I dare say this was one of those banner weekends of college football for the Big 11. Joey was poised, and when the team needed him to strike quickly, he did.
While the win is great, it has to be a year of what-ifs for the program. In a year with offenses stagnant, Purdue should have contended for a Big 11 title.
4. Michigan—the hits just don't stop
If I were Rich Rodriguez, I would rent and not buy a house in Ann Arbor. Michigan will have patience if you lose to Iowa or Penn State, but losing to the teams they have lost to makes for one hot seat.
I hope that they can get this together because if Rich Rod doesn't get a win for the rest of the season, then his hiring will have set the Michigan program back five years. The next coach is going to have to get another two to three recruiting classes to get "his guys" in.
I feel for the Michigan faithful because you are a proud program and you don't deserve this.
6. Penn State...cupcakes are fattening
I said in my preview of the season I did not believe in Penn State, and I was right. When pressed, Penn State is an average team. Not that there is anything wrong with being average.
It just seemed silly to argue with a Penn State fan when they would bring up the fact that they were the top-ranked defense. Well, every team would be the top-ranked defense with the schedule that Penn State had.
It sucks because they were never really pressed outside of the Iowa game, and when they were pressed against the Bucks, they crumbled just like they did against Iowa.
I don't know how to judge Penn State this year...they beat the teams they should and lost to the teams they should. I'll take it, I guess. Cap One Bowl, here you come.
7. Michigan State—umm, okay, good win
8. Wisconsin—see Penn State
I liked watching Indiana this year. They play hard for Bill Lynch, and if he ever gets some more talent, watch out. They are a sleeper team, and I think they might be a problem for teams in the future—just not this year.
This is the perfect weekend for Ohio State. After Saturday the Buckeyes are in a familiar position to reign over the conference. This is the team that Buckeyes wanted to see all year: good running, a couple timely passes, and a lights out defense.
I, for one, am happy with the progress this team has made. The future looks bright for Terrelle Pryor and the Buckeyes.
You have to remember, with all the talk of Notre Dame and Michigan playing a lot of young talent...look at the Bucks. Pryor, Dan Herron, and DeVier Posey are all sophomores. Most of the D-line and the linebacking corps are coming back next year. With a good close and a good Buckeye win, 2010 looks like another championship run.
Bonus...Notre Dame: How the mighty have fallen
Two losses to service academies. All that good will that Charlie Weis built up in close games against USC and the tight wins against Washington (fresh off SC win) and all the Heisman hype about Jimmy Clausen and rumblings about a BCS game are gone. It looks like this is going to be Charlie's Waterloo.
Losing the game to the service academy isn't as bad a loss as people would make it out to be. They have a good record and have only lost to the 15th and 16th-ranked teams this year. For my money they are just as good as a lot of college football teams and would give any team (even an SEC team) fits.
With that said, with all the recruiting rankings, Notre Dame should have won this game. Two turnovers inside the five-yard line spelled doom for the Heisman, the BCS, and Charlie's tenure. "Decided schematic advantage" is the new "Fundamentals of the economy are strong."
Charlie had every chance to keep his job this year, and it doesn't look like it was meant to be. Great win for Navy, but this is most definitely going to result in changes for the program.
That's all for the week...can't wait 'til next week. Going to the game at the Shoe. Have fun and go Bucks!
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