Tony's Tip Sheet - Big Ten Edition
By Tony Gerdeman
With only four games on the Big Ten schedule this week, a more organized person would have actually looked ahead and probably just gone and put these four games on yesterday's National Tip Sheet, but you don't read the Tip Sheet for its organization. You read it for its analysis and stuff.
Half of the conference is taking their bye week this week, almost like they're vacationing together. Can you imagine Michigan and Michigan State vacationing together? Michigan wants to go to Hawaii while Michigan State has already made reservations for a block of rooms in Gatlinburg.
Even Rutgers and Maryland are both off this week. I don't know where they vacation. I assume Rutgers just heads to the Jersey shore because they have an aunt and uncle who own a place. Maryland doesn't vacation because they can't afford to lose the hours at work.
Saturday September 28
Teams: Northern Illinois (3-0) at Purdue (1-3)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN2)
Cheer For: Purdue
Northern Illinois got a win over Iowa to start the season, and just last week they bettered that by squeaking out a 43-39 win over Eastern Illinois. This week they'll face the Eastern Illinois of the Big Ten in Purdue, so anything can happen. Well, almost anything can happen. For instance, a Purdue win cannot happen. But anything other than that can happen. Like if a plane fell out of the sky, but caught itself at the last moment, and was like, “Whoa, I just had a dream I was falling”; that is more of a possibility than the Boilermakers getting a win in this game. Northern Illinois 31 – Purdue 24
Teams: Miami (OH) (0-3) at Illinois (2-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Illinois
The Illini started the season out by flinging the ball all over the place with Nathan Scheelhaase, and it was working pretty good. In the first two games, he was completing 74% of his passes and averaging 364 yards passing per game. Then came Washington, and they brought with them a very potent Illini repellant called “competence”. Scheelhaase went 9-25 for 156 yards in a 34-24 loss to the Huskies, and now everything appears to be just like it was last year. The Illini should still get a fairly easy win this week, but then the Big Ten schedule begins, and not so coincidentally, that's also when the end of the Illini begins. Illinois tried to pretend that they were good in their first two games, but we're not falling for it. We know a bad team when we see it. We watch the Big Ten every week, remember? We're qualified in this regard. We've put in our 10,000 hours of watching football that sucks. Illinois 34 – Miami 21
Teams: Iowa (3-1) at Minnesota (4-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC/ESPN2)
Cheer For: Iowa
Iowa and Minnesota are battling once again for the Floyd of Rosedale, which is one of college football's greatest pig-based trophies. It's easily in the top seven in my opinion. There are few greater achievements in life than winning a pig. I can only think of three, and they all involve catching greased pigs, so even then it's still like this metaphor for winning a pig trophy. Honestly, if you can't get up for a game with a pig on the line, then you have no business playing football. That's why the famous line, “Win just one for the Pigger” is still spoken of today. The only down side to pig-based trophies is the cholera. Minnesota 27 – Iowa 24
Teams: #23 Wisconsin (3-1) at #4 Ohio State (4-0)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Ohio State
It's the game of the year in the Leaders Division, next to the Illinois at Purdue game, of course. The question that everyone is asking is can Ohio State contain Wisconsin's running game? This question is unanswerable, however, because nobody freaking knows. We'll know Saturday night, but until then it's all guess work and assumptions. What isn't guess work is Badger quarterback Joel Stave, who is basically a Wisconsin version of Colt McCoy. (That means he saves you from drowning while also enjoying a peanut butter milkshake and listening to Whitesnake's greatest hits.) People like to point to the Badgers' power game, but they'll run plenty of jet sweeps and receiver screens, so it's not like they'll live just between the tackles. The key will be containing the big play, and those plays are just as likely to happen outside of the box as inside the box. There is also the matter of Ohio State having a lack of interest in this game given that they won't get to taste Bret Bielema's tears afterward. In fact, they will likely be conflicted knowing that Bielema will be wanting Ohio State to win this game. This will have the Buckeyes questioning whether what they are trying to do is the right thing. After all, if Bret Bielema is for it, how can they not be against it? It will be tough for a conflicted Buckeye team to win the game, but they'll do it with a heavy heart and salt-lacking tongue. Ohio State 37 – Wisconsin 23
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