Friday, October 3

Big 10 - Week 6

How big was Penn State's win over Illinois last week? HUGE. The Illini were supposed to be an up and coming team this year, having won against Ohio State last year and giving Missouri a good run for the money. But with the proliferation of the spread offense, and a quality quarterback in Darryl Clark, the Illini defense showed that they were not as up to the task as Penn State was.

But the impact on the Big 10 is immediate - their drop from the rankings, along with Wisconsin's poor loss to Michigan - makes the Big 10 look a lot weaker than they were two weeks ago. Noting that the Buckeyes got punished for losing to the #1 team (with a drop of 9 places), Wisconsin dropped merely 9 for losing to an unranked team, which indicates that 9 places might be the ceiling for a loss regardless of opponent at this point in the season...

With the Big 12 having 5 teams in the Top 10, the ceiling to rise in the rankings in the next few weeks is clearly higher for the Big 10 teams... and it only gets worse unless Wisconsin wins one against either OSU or PSU, and Illinois has to win one against either OSU or Wisconsin. That's a pretty hefty job.

GAME OF THE WEEK: Ohio State at Wisconsin - Terrell Pryor and the Buckeyes offense is starting to get more and more on a roll. Wisconsin's run game and big O-line is sure to provide a difficult time for the Buckeyes D-line. Still, I think this is the game that OSU's defense rises to the occasion and shuts down the Badgers running game, forcing them to go vertical... and Bucks take this one at Camp Randall.

Penn State at Purdue - The Littany Lions showed how their defense would handle a spread offense attack... basically, stop one or two drives, enough for their offense to score one or two more times than their opponent. Purdue has Painter and Sheets, who both have made big plays this year... but it won't be enough against PSU.

Iowa at Michigan State - Javon Ringer is a STUD. Iowa has recently found their running game. I expect this to be a matchup of decent offenses against poor defenses... but the Spartans come out on top at home.

Indiana at Minnesota - Well, both teams are coming off of a loss. Can Minnesota prove that they were worthy of their 4-0 start by beating Indiana, who has lost 2 straight? Can Indiana turn things around with Kellen Lewis at the helm? Minnesota's defense won't be able to contain Lewis (see Pryor last week) and they go down against the Hoosiers.

[Edit - Lewis isn't playing every down. I can't recall why. Which means Minny is going to have a better chance at a win.]

Illinois at Michigan - This is a game of a should-a-been and a has-been of the Big 10. I'll take Illinois spread attack over Michigan's.