Best of the Big Ten Week Six

October 10, 2009

Written by Jon Miller

Best of the Big Ten:  The Iowa Hawkeyes occupy this spot this week.  Was their win against Michigan pretty from an execution standpoint?  No, it was not.  But any win, even a 30-28 win over a Michigan team that is not yet ready for prime time, is a good one.  Iowa forced five turnovers in this game, giving them 19 on the season, which should be near the top in the nation when those statistics come out Sunday morning.  Iowa had 32 all of last season, which was the high water mark for that statistic for the Kirk Ferentz era.  Rick Stanzi threw another pick six, which made the game more nerve racking than it should have been, and Iowa’s offense had every chance to bury Michigan.  Yet, they still got the win, they are 6-0 for the first time since 1985 and no team in the league really stood up to grab the reigns as the sure shot top team in the league on Saturday.

Best of the Big Ten Part II: If Iowa had some help from Michigan in this game, I guess we’d have to BOLD FACE TYPE the amount of help that Ohio State received in their win against Wisconsin.  The Badgers really dominated this game statistically…over 42 minutes of possession!  22 first downs to Ohio State’s 8!  368 to 184 total yardage advantage!  Terrelle Pryor was 5 of 13 for less than 90 yards!  So of course, Wisconsin loses 31-13?!?!  Ohio State returned two Wisconsin interceptions for touchdowns and returned a kickoff for a touchdown as well.  Just one offensive touchdown for the Luckeyes Buckeyes.  Iowa is the best team in the league, and I am not so sure Wisconsin isn’t #2.  Ohio State is as vulnerable as they have been since 2003, but they will get to their final three weeks of the season at 8-1 before traveling to Penn State, hosting Iowa then finishing at Michigan.

Worst of the Big Ten:  This is getting as tough to call as the previous category, because it’s a wide open three team race at this point in time.  Is it Purdue?  The Boilermakers jumped out to a 10-0 lead at Minnesota only to lose 35-20.  Three more turnovers for the Boilermakers, who are the most generous team in college football.  No one has committed more turnovers than they have, and no one has surrendered more points off turnovers, as you might expect.

However, don’t sleep on Illinois.  I have been saying this for the past few weeks; when Illinois comes back on Iowa’s schedule in 2011, Ron Zook will not be their head coach.  I am beginning to think Zook could be done after this year, with the decisions he is making.  He benched Juice Williams this week, Illinois’ all time yardage leader.  Then he benched Eddie McGee to start the second half in place of Juice.  Real, real nice.  This is one big dysfunctional family at Illinois.  What complicates matters is Athletics Director Ron Guenther is retiring at the end of this academic year.  What do you do?  Do you trust him to hire another football coach?  Can you wait another year with Zook running the asylum?  It’s a tough place to be in, and it couldn’t happen to a ‘better’ bunch of fans.

As bad as Illinois and Purdue have been, and that has been pretty brutal, Indiana made a huge statement Saturday at Virginia.  Indiana was down 44-0 at one point in the 4th quarter, and 30-0 at halftime.  They had two turnovers to none for Virginia when it was 44-0; not great, but not 44-0 atrocious.  They were manhandled by a team that lost to William & Mary to start the season!  They allowed over 500 yards along the way as well.

To all of the teams in the Big Ten that play Illinois, Purdue AND Indiana, if any of you wins the Big Ten title, you should consider it a gift, and you might want to donate that gift to charity.  Can you get taxed on something like that?

By the way, guess which Big Ten title contender plays each of those teams…Ohio State.  Figures, right?  Michigan plays that terrible trifecta as well.

Jon Miller’s Big Ten Power Poll for Week Six

1 – Iowa:  Winning the close ones, winning them all.  Partying like it’s 1985!

2 – Ohio State:  Four TD’s vs Wisconsin; two from the defense and one on special teams

3 – Wisconsin:  First big road game for QB Scott Tolzein; expected result

4 – Penn State: Needed a big blowout like the one they got against Eastern Illinois

5 – Michigan:  They should win no fewer than 7 games this year, perhaps 8.

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6 – Michigan State:  Grind it out win against Illinois, just what they needed

7 – Minnesota:  4-2 on their way to 4-4; @PSU & @OSU up next

8 – Northwestern:  Needed to be better than a 16-6 winner at Miami (Ohio)

T9- Who stinks more?  Illinois, Purdue or Indiana?  Reply below with your vote

Jon Miller’s Weekly Big Ten Bowl Slotting

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ROSE:  Ohio State -hosted Wisconsin and will host Iowa; that’s why

CAP ONE:  Iowa – have to go to Wisconsin, MSU and Ohio State; that’s why

OUTBACK:  Wisconsin

CHAMPS:  Penn State

ALAMO:  Michigan

INSIGHT:  Michigan State

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DETROIT:  Minnesota/Northwestern

Next Week’s Games

Iowa at Wisconsin:  If Iowa wins, Top Ten ranking and Rose Bowl dreams

Illinois at Indiana:  SEPARATION SATURDAY!

Northwestern at MSU:  Might have been a trap game for MSU in August; not now

Minnesota at Penn State:  Look for Penn State to ROLL IT UP in this one

Ohio State at Purdue:  Another loss for Purdue, and they won’t be ahead in this one

Delaware State at Michigan:  Tune up for home game vs PSU on 10/24

DID YOU KNOW: This is Iowa’s third 6-0 start since 1929…Iowa has NEVER started a season 8-0, and has just one 7-0 start since the back to back 7-0 seasons of 1921 & 1922

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