Big Ten Power Rankings Week 5: Guess You Know What Time it is, Time To Get Ill
Shot out to the Beastie Boys for this sick headline. It's time to get ill, sick and mad competitive as the Big Ten begins conference play this week.
The Illinois Fighting Illini are shocking the terrestrial globe with their 4-0 record behind Ron Zook and a sophomore quarterback from Kansas City (MO) Rockhurst High School.
Illinois is schooling opponents and standing on top of the rock, but rocking the Big Ten's traditional football hierarchy will be tough.
The Illini have a favorable conference schedule this season and could cause a lot of pain and suffering among opposing fans and teams. Where did they rank this week in this ill list?
Let your inquiring minds run free of the suspense. It's killing you.
12. Indiana Hoosiers: Suffering a Case of Gang Green
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The Mean Green of the former North Texas State University (1961-1989) were like gang green against one of the Big Ten's two cellar dwellers. Indiana fought back with an ill second half, but it was too little, too late.
North Texas was up 21-0 at the half last Saturday against visiting Indiana after posting over 400 yards of offense against the Hoosiers. The Hoosiers’ performance proved once again that Indiana is indeed a basketball school.
11. Minnesota Golden Gophers: Digging a Gridiron Hole
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Proving Minnesota is a basketball school, the football Golden Gophers dug a hole and buried their own heads in it after their latest loss.
The Gophers struggled last Saturday night against the North Dakota State University Bison in the Twin City. North Dakota State?
Once down by 24 points but trailing 31-17, the Gophers went for it on 4th-and-7 with about 9:00 left in the fourth quarter. Minnesota converted a touchdown pass on fourth down to wide open tight end Eric Lair to make it a one touchdown game.
The Bison drove down the field and missed a field goal with about 3:00 left, but the Gophers' two-minute offense couldn't break through. Maybe the Gophers should have stayed home from school.
10. Purdue Boilermakers: "P" Stands for Playing Hookey
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Purdue played hookey from their football schedule last week by enjoying a bye. They face Notre Dame this Saturday—October's first weekend.
Boilermakers take my advice: it's not too early to claim too much Halloween pumpkin pie made the whole team ill.
9. Northwestern Wildcats: Nation’s Future Defenders Run Wild against NU
The Wildcats have a staunch defense that is ranked No. 34 in the FBS, but the Army Black Knights racked over 300 yards rushing against them in last Saturday's loss.
Making Northwesternites sick, the Knights passed for a wild total of six yards at home against the Cats.
As this photo reveals, Wildcats fans are wild and crazy college kids at times. In their defense, college is supposed to be big fun once grades are good.
I'm not sure if the Wildcats will make the grade in the Big Ten this year, but I'll be watching with my shirt off. Handcuff your girlfriends for your own protection from a case of severe heartbreak.
8. Iowa Hawkeyes: Looking To Break Penn State Nittany Lions' Hearts
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The heartbreakers known as the Iowa Hawkeyes in name only look like the Pittsburgh Steelers from a seat in the stadium's distance.
If their defense was as ferocious as Pittsburgh's, then they'd have nothing to worry about against the Nittany Lions on October 8.
They'll have a bye week to scout the Lions which gives the Hawkeyes an all-seeing eye advantage. I'll be watching to see if the black and gold birds get ill.
7. Ohio State Buckeyes: Braxton Miller Starting To Break Out of His Shell
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Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller got ill in his first start and helped the Buckeyes bounce back from their upset loss to Miami.
Braxton finished 7-for-16 in pass attempts with just over 100 yards accumulated, but he found a reliable target in wide receiver Devin Smith who caught two touchdown tosses from Miller.
The promising QB finished with 78 rushing yards in his first career start.
6. Michigan State Spartans: They Need a New Start after the South Bend Debacle
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Michigan State bounced back last Saturday after their tough defeat at Notre Dame. The Spartans will face Ohio State this weekend in what should be a magnificent matchup.
The experienced Spartans have the upper hand in that department over Ohio State, but the athleticism of the Buckeyes could give MSU a broken heart.
5. Penn State Nittany Lions: All JoePa Does Is Win Games and Break Hearts
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Joe Paterno's middle name could be Win, and his heart is still holding up at the age of 84. I pray that mine is when and if that time rolls.
He's probably sick of the early-rising naysayers rolling his squad this season.
His unseasoned team is 3-1 and have faced Alabama and a tough Temple team. That's a tougher early schedule than a lot of Big Ten teams have faced this year.
The Nittany Lions will face a killer of a Big Ten schedule late in the season, so I'll report back to you if Paterno decides to change his middle name.
4. Michigan Wolverines: Playing Like Wolves in Sheep's Clothing and Uniforms
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The Wolves, who also named Michigan, appear to be getting viewed by opponents as the weak lambs they've been.
Wolverine's players haven't been meek so far; they've been inheriting the gridiron's earth.
Like Nebraska's Taylor Martinez, Robinson looks like a track start in the running game more so than a football player at times. That's because they're often running full speed ahead to the Promised Land from at least 60 meters out.
Robinson on the option keeper ran for 200 yards and scored three touchdowns against San Diego State. He threw for under 100 yards on 8-of-17 passing.
3. Illinois Fighting Illini: Qualifying as Winners under Ron Zook
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One of the four undefeated teams in the Big Ten, quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and the Fighting Illini of Illinois have three very winnable games against their first four conference foes.
Starting this Saturday against Northwestern, they'll also face Indiana and Purdue with Ohio State mixed in. Illinois will miss Michigan State and Nebraska in the regular.
This could be Ron Zook's and Scheelhaase's—the 2008 Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year—Big Ten year.
2. Nebraska Cornhuskers: Passing Game Ramping Up
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Like Michigan, Nebraska's running game is outstanding again this year, but the passing game is still far from what they'll need to be a force against Big Ten defenses.
The passing game had a worthy opponent in Wyoming to try tuning up against before facing Wisconsin next week. The Badgers aren't Cowboys, but they could be called passing fancies.
Martinez passed for two touchdowns against Wisconsin, but the Badgers have the Big Ten’s best touchdown tosser—one of the best in the nation.
1. Wisconsin Badgers: Bombs Away
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Russell Wilson, James White and Montee Ball are outstanding along with Nick Toon who had seven catches for 155 yards and two of Wilson's three touchdown tosses.
The offensive line is one of the nation's best and where the Badgers have a huge advantage over most teams.
Their passing game is the best in the Big Ten...by far.
Don’t stray too far because my next week’s rankings will be ill, I’m sure. Look for them on Monday or Tuesday if I get lazy.
How’s that for suspense?
Contact Lake Cruise at: email@example.com.