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Big 10 Midseason Review

October 21, 2009

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

ESPN has a nice writeup on the Big Ten at the midway point.

Here are some interesting nuggets and some that jumped off the page when I read this offering:

-O’Brien Schofield of Wisconsin leads the nation with 16.5 tackles for loss!   Jon Babineaux was 2nd in the nation in 2004, trailing only a player from Marshall.  I think Babs was right at 25 for the season.  Schofield is on page for close to 30!  Just as Bryan Bulaga what he thinks of the kid.

-Purdue is 119 out of 119 in turnovers this year with 23 so far.  You look at the games they have played and see so many close losses, and also games where they were ahead only to lose near the end fueled by mistakes.  I guess there is some ‘hope’ in Boilerland, as I felt this season would be a lost case for them.  They aren’t going anywhere at 2-5 mind you, but they have not been throttled.

-Penn State is allowing less than 9ppg, but this nugget was telling:  the Lions haven’t faced an FBS offense ranked in the top 70 and played four units ranked 99th or worse!  Whew!  They are 6-1, but their secondary is going to get tested the next two weeks against Michigan and Northwestern, both of those games coming on the road.  They have played just once away from home so far this year.

-Great observation regarding Ohio State’s offense this year; take away the big play, and they are like the snow monster at the end of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer after Kirby got done working on the big galoot’s teeth.

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-Northwestern’s defense has been a disappointment this year, especially Corey Wootton.  It’s unfair to call him a disappointment, as he tore his ACL against Missouri in the Alamo bowl and it takes longer to recover from that injury than just 9 months.  Perhaps he will catch his second wind over the final half of the season, but that is hard to do ‘in year’.  NW is 10th in rushing in the league this year without Sutton toting the rock.  But, don’t be fooled; I expect their best in three weeks at Kinnick.

-I asked Tim Brewster in late July why he was going away from the spread to the ‘power running game’ and he looked me in the eye and said ‘Because it’s who I am.’  I was unconvinced, but they have tried to run the ball more this year, even if they are not good at it.  As they sit at 4-3, I wonder if they will scrap that in order to get bowl eligible.  They will lose this week at Ohio State because it’s a bad week to play the Buckeyes.  Michigan State is on tap next week and if the Spartans beat Iowa this week, they are playing for the Rose Bowl.  Illinois comes to town and they are a wreck, then they play South Dakota State and close at Iowa.  If Iowa has a Rose Bowl bid on the line, that 55-0 game from last year will seem like a walk in the park.  I think they get to 6 wins and a trip to Detroit.  Start saving, Gopher fans!

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-Michigan State has eliminated any margin for error.  Win out, and they are likely headed to Pasadena.  Lose just one game, and the Alamo may be the best scenario.

-Michigan is 5-2 with a big spot against Penn State this weekend, at home.  It will be a telling game for both teams.  Michigan closes with Illinois, @Purdue, @Wisconsin and home against OSU.  I think they will at least get to 7 wins.

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-Indiana has forced 15 turnovers and their defense is salty.  Their pistol offensive formation is a unique set to face.  However, they were down 44-0 at one point against Virginia, who lost to Williams & Mary this year. What does that say about Illinois?

-Well, let me tell you.  Illinois is a complete mess and the Zooker is looking at starting the third string quarterback.  Not sure if he is serious or not.  It’s hard to tell.

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