Friday, October 10

Big 10 Week 7 preview

The Big 10 has seen its fair share up ups and downs, and this year is clearly a year of downs. With only Penn State represented in the Top 10, it comes down to PSU and OSU to show whether the conference is better than what people think. Wisconsin showed a lot of heart against the Buckeyes last week, and this week they're faced with yet another test against the Nittany Lions. Illinois has had two heartbreaking losses to teams in the top 10.

Iowa vs Indiana - Mediocrity bowl! Both teams fared well against weak non conference opponents, but it was Indiana that had the biggest fall last week against Minnesota. How many turnovers can a team have in one game, let alone one half? That loss was poor showing for Lewis, and I have a feeling that Shonn Green and the Hawkeyes will prove their mettle this week.

Toledo vs Michigan - The Wolverines came back into the fold last week, reverting back to their early season style and getting romped by Illinois. Could their game against the Badgers have been a freak accident? Let's just say that their win against the Badgers is what brought down the strength of the conference. With this non conference game, I think Michigan will be just fine.

Minnesota vs Illinois - Can a 24 point stomping in the Big House be enough to energize the Illini for the rest of the season? The last roadblock they face is OSU later this year. Minny's performance against Indiana was just awful, and I look for at least 4 touchdowns (on the ground and through the air) for Juice.

Purdue vs Ohio State - The Boilermakers lost to Notre Dame. NOTRE DAME. Pryor's poor week last week still gave the Buckeyes a win. If the defense keeps Sheets and Painter under control, which I expect them to after last week, I don't see how the Boilers make it out of Columbus with a W.

Michigan State vs Northwestern - the faceoff of the power running backs. Javon Ringer has been a stud all season, and Tyrell Sutton is definitely the reason why Northwestern is undefeated. But NW hasn't faced a team nearly as potent as Michigan State - Hoyer is playing well, Mark Dell is a big threat on the outside, and the O-line has been providing Ringer with half the field. I see five losses out of the remaining seven for the Wildcats, and this will be one of them.

GAME OF THE WEEK: PENN STATE VS WISCONSIN - Darryl Clark is to PSU as Terrell Pryor is to OSU. Beckum finally got in the game last week, but if Wisconsin is to succeed they need to patch up that weak secondary down the middle. Unfortunately, Penn State doesn't need a good secondary as Wisconsin has relied on their TE's for the important catches down the field. I expect this to be close - Wisconsin has gone a long time at Camp Randall without two losses in a row.

Basically, the Big 10 is screwed for the rest of the season. If PSU wins out, they'll be in contention for the title game, and everyone else will have at least 2 losses on their record. But if PSU loses to OSU, the decline in respect for the Big 10 will be complete. Wisconsin's loss hurts the most, with the Buckeye's loss to USC the second biggest loss. All in all, this is the year of the SEC and the Big 12. Expect one from each conference to meet in the NC game, and a second team from each conference in a BCS game (I don't forsee a non-big-six team getting there, since BYU and Utah face each other AND they both have to face TCU).