Tony's Tip Sheet – B1G Edition
by Tony Gerdeman
There are eight Big Ten teams in action this week, and fortunately Minnesota isn't one of them. In fact, I think the Gophers should be given a bye week every week. Take the rest of the year off. You are not needed here.
We are going to learn a little bit more about the Leaders Division this weekend, as if there's anything else we need to know about it. Indiana is at Michigan State, Wisconsin is hosting Northwestern and Penn State is hosting Michigan. This is a big week for division supremacy, which is not a real thing.
Saturday October 12
Teams: Indiana (3-2) at Michigan State (4-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN2)
Cheer For: Michigan State
At this point, it makes more sense for you to cheer for Michigan State, since the Spartans can finish higher in the rankings than the Hoosiers. Indiana is scoring 44.4 points per game this season, but Michigan State is only allowing 13.4 points per game. I'm interested in seeing if Indiana's offense is for real, or if it's fake like the Illinois offense. I do think the Spartans are going to punch the Indiana offense in the face repeatedly, so I want to see how well they can take those punches. Michigan State's offense is starting to resemble a Michigan State offense, which isn't to say that it's even remotely good yet, but at least it exists now. I'm not convinced Michigan State can run on anybody, but calling the Indiana defense “anybody” might be a stretch. They need to recruit much better to get to “anybody” level. Right now they are still “nobody”. Perhaps in a few years they can reach “somebody” level. Michigan State 27 – Indiana 23
Teams: Nebraska (4-1) at Purdue (1-4)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Nebraska
There's no use cheering for Purdue right now even though they show up on Ohio State's schedule. The Buckeyes are better served by having as many teams “and one” as possible. The later Nebraska's second loss comes, the better for the overall look of the Big Ten. And anyway, rooting for Purdue is a lot like rooting for paint to turn invisible once you put it on a wall. “I hope this isn't as terrible as it looks like it's going to be.” Too bad, because it's going to be even worse. It doesn't matter if Nebraska starts Taylor Martinez at quarterback, or Tommy Armstrong. Heck, it doesn't matter if Taylor Martinez starts at defensive tackle and Bo Pelini starts at quarterback. Though I bet John Cooper thinks that if Pelini starts at safety, then Purdue might have a chance. Nebraska 34 – Purdue 17
Teams: #19 Northwestern (4-1) at Wisconsin (3-2)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC/ESPN2)
Cheer For: Northwestern
I'm willing to waffle on which team Buckeye fans should cheer for. A win in this game for Northwestern turns into a win over a now 3-3 Badger team. While a win for Wisconsin, especially in a blowout, will drop Northwestern in the rankings. I'm not sure there's a positive or negative spin that is larger than the other here, but obviously the national media will spin it however they like. The point will be for either of these teams to continue winning out no matter what happens in this game. I'm telling you to root for Northwestern right now just to give Ohio State another game in front of the Badgers in the standings. As for what I expect to happen in this game, I see a lot of Melvin Gordon and James White running through a Northwestern defense that has trouble stopping quality running games. The key will be whether or not the Wildcat offense can keep up with the scoring. I don't expect a Northwestern emotional letdown. If they lose, it will be much like last week – because they can't win the line of scrimmage. This should be a fun one, unless the Badgers just blow Northwestern out, which I think is possible. Wisconsin 34 – Northwestern 26
Teams: Virginia (2-3) at Maryland (4-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPNU)
Cheer For: Maryland
Maryland lasted one week in the Top 25, and they made the most of it by losing to Florida State 63-0. Virginia, meanwhile, got blown out at home by Ball State, which is almost as embarrassing as...you know what, there's nothing more embarrassing than getting blown out at home by Ball State. I'm sure after the game, Virginia told Ball State, “Th...this...this has never happened to me before.” Maryland 38 – Virginia 14
Teams: #18 Michigan (5-0) at Penn State (3-2)
Time (TV): 5:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Michigan
If you've seen all of the talk about Ohio State's schedule the past couple of weeks, I'm sure you've finally come around to the wisdom of rooting for Michigan football. You've finally let the Maize and Blue into your heart, and the hate has left your body. You'll be rooting for the Wolverines like crazy in this game, but you'll need the Blue to get a pass rush on Penn State, and I'm not sure they have much to give. Don't give up hope on your new-found yellow-clad love, however, because as long as you stay strong, a united Wolverine can never die. Unless it eats a poisonous nut while scrounging, of course. I expect your Wolverines to play pretty conservatively and hope to capitalize on Penn State mistakes. They'll eventually have to put some faith in Devin Gardner, however. I expect that to work out well enough for them and for you. Congrats to your Wolverines, Buckeye fans. But before you run out and buy a Charles Woodson jersey, just remember that you were Buckeye fans first. Don't forget to come back, okay? Michigan 28 – Penn State 21
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