Michigan State had a Spartan effort against Wisconsin
Finally, the Big Ten brethren had an opportunity to beat up on each other. The first week of conference play had no shortage of its own plots and twists.
Here is a look at the first week in conference play, with some awards, reflections, and observations:
Team of the Week: Michigan State
Who says that Sparty can only play basketball? Michigan State lived most of its shelf life next to the toilet paper and paper plates before being found on the national scene against Notre Dame.
Still, nobody at this point believes that Notre Dame has found renewed glory, so that too was taken with a grain of salt.
Fast forward to last week, and Michigan State has made another statement. They soundly handed it to Wisconsin, whom many had picked to play spoiler this year in the Big Ten, and even have a shot at a BCS game.
Wisconsin has not looked great this year, but it is a bit of the litmus test that everyone was waiting for from the Michigan State program. Now, can they survive that strange anomaly game that seems to haunt them every year?
Player of the Week: Ben Chappell
Yes, Denard Robinson had another "can he do it again?" week, but any time a player at Indiana puts up the kind of numbers that Ben Chappell did, they should be recognized.
The stat line for Mr. Chappell continues to be eye-popping each week.
To keep with this trend, the quarterback in creme and crimson completed 45/64 passes for an astronomical 480 yards (Indiana spits in the face of running).
Chappell continues to impress and it would be hard to believe that this team is anywhere near competitive without him.
What remains to be seen with Chappell is if he can do it against a great defense. He'll get that chance next week as the Hoosiers go to Columbus to take on Ohio State and their always-tough defense.
It'll be the Hoosier assassin against a depleted secondary for Ohio State, so it should be interesting.
It seems like every week, a talented Big Ten quarterback is taking his turn and scaring the fan base of good ol' State U. This week's rotation goes to Terrelle Pryor. Ohio State was in dogfight when Pryor riled his way free for a first down run yet again.
This time, the quarterback that means so much to the national title aspirations of Ohio State went down like he got sniped from above. After being looked at by the trainers, he was ushered into the locker room and returned shortly thereafter.
It was obvious throughout the remainder of the game that Pryor could do little more than hand the ball off and drop back to unleash a few passes with his hurting quad.
All Ohio State fans are hoping that a recovery comes quickly, and if not in time for Indiana, then certainly for the Wisconsin trip the week after.
Hang With 'Em Moment
We may never know just how good Tyler Moeller could have been for Ohio State. The guy has had injuries early in his career, and just got through brain surgery because of a cowardly cheap shot taken at him on vacation over a year ago.
Just as he was beginning to make his mark on the Ohio State defense, Moeller was seen running off of the field holding his side during the first quarter against Illinois. The diagnosis is now confirmed as a season-ending muscle tear that will require surgery.
You have to feel for the kid, and here's to hoping that the NCAA gets it right and allows him to regain a year of eligibility since he is a fifth-year senior. Hang your head high, Tyler.
Hang With 'Em Moment Part Two
As if a heart attack is not enough, the head coach of the Spartans is now dealing with blood clots in his legs just as he's getting back on his feet.
The coach who has meant so much to the revitalization of the program had to watch from the hospital bed as Michigan State pulled off the upset of Wisconsin.
Physical pain and debilitation is enough, but the agony of not being on the sideline for two key wins has got to be eating the coach up.
Word is that Dantonio hopes to attend the game on Saturday, and we are all hoping that he is back, patrolling the sidelines soon.
Well worth mentioning is the Spartan effort that Don Treadwell has done filling in during an extremely tough situation.
There are some interesting games on tap yet again this week, as things get even more intriguing.
Who would have thought at the beginning of the year, that the battle between arch rivals Michigan and Michigan State would be one of undefeated teams?
That's exactly the case as Michigan State travels to Ann Arbor to try and tie Denard Robinson's shoes. Expect a lot of fireworks with the winner taking a big step towards bowl eligibility.
In other matchups, we will get a real feel for Illinois and Penn State as they do battle in Happy Valley. There will also be the spectacle of Ben Chappell and the Indiana Hoosiers trying to exploit the Ohio Sate secondary in Columbus.
Not to be forgotten, Northwestern will try to keep an undefeated season alive at home against Purdue, and of course Paul Bunyan's axe awaits the winner of Minnesota and Wisconsin in Madison (please don't poke your eye out).
Off to Week 2 of conference play, where the undefeated teams will be whittled down to three at most. See you next week for the next installment of Big Ten Awards, Reflections, and Observations.