Friday, October 24

Big 10 Week 9 Preview

Looking at the Big 10 this week, and every team beyond the top 2 is a topsy turvy look at how the Big 10 has been this past decade. You have Penn State and Ohio State at the top, followed by Michigan State, Northwestern, and Minnesota. Purdue, Wisconsin, and Indiana line the bottom of the conference, and two of those teams were supposed to be competitive this year. Wasn't it just not too long ago when Wisconsin was ranked in the Top 10? Yes... it's one of those years for the Big 10.

I still think that Michigan State has a great chance at being a solid #3 in the conference behind OSU and PSU this year, and Minnesota's lone loss to OSU doesn't look bad at all. However, I see all the teams below the top 2 dropping at least one game between now and the end of the season.

GAME OF THE WEEK - Penn State vs Ohio State - The #3 ranked Nittany Lions come to the Horseshoe to face a Buckeye team that needs a statement win. The only problem is, the statement win comes in conference, and will make their conference look "weaker". Pryor didn't have a terrible game last week, but that second half was attrocious for the Buckeye offense. The defense, however, held their ground, but it will be much more difficult with the Spread HD in town.

The question really comes down to the PSU offense vs the OSU defense. Can the Buckeyes, whose defense hasn't been as stingy as they were supposed to be, keep the Lions offense off the field? Will they just have Laurinitis spy on Clark all game and open up the middle for passing routes? We'll find out!

Northwestern vs Indiana - IU is a disappointment for the Big 10 this year. Kellen Lewis has not played up to his potential, and the defense is just, well, horrible. Northwestern, however, has overperformed, with their only loss coming to a good Michigan State team. Sutton runs around the IU defense and we see Northwestern continue to build confidence this weekend.

Minnesota vs Purdue - Curtis Painter was supposed to be better than this. Especially with Cory Sheets in the backfield, and decent wideouts, and a spread system which allows him to throw with very little pressure. Andrew Weber was not supposed to have the kind of breakout year he's having. Minnesota's defense has been opportunistic, if not consistent, and it has been the reason why they've been able to stay in games. Turnovers will be the reason why this game is won or lost.

Illinois vs Wisconsin - This is a matchup of Big 10's Should-have-beens. If not for the loss to an upstart Minnesota their 2 losses would have been to top 10 teams. However, they did put up over 50 pts against a horrid Indiana defense. Does Juice keep up the momentum gained from the last game? Or does Wisconsin hold their own at Camp Randall this time? Wisconsin has lost 4 straight games since losing to Michigan at the Big House.

Michigan State vs Michigan - Rich Rodriguez knows that this game is important for morale. You can't let an in-state rival come and beat you... but there's not much he can do with the talent he has remaining. Michigan State's lone loss to OSU, albeit the fact that it was by such a huge margin, should have them fired up. The Wolverines will probably be so-so in the first half, but if they come out raging in the second half like they have every so often, then this will be a game to watch.