Big Ten Power Poll week 3

I know it is a little late, but I was having major computer issues last night. Let's just say my six year old desktop is now virtually clean, as a complete restore allowed me to clean off almost 17 gigs of useless crap that had accumulated over the years. And no, it was not 17 gigs of porn before you even joke, J Money.

In the meantime, the Rivalry, Esq. posted its weekly Big Ten Power Poll this morning. Purdue dropped a spot overall to ninth, but it is obvious we missed a big chance to move up with the Oregon loss. At least we get another big chance to move up in two weeks when Notre Dame comes to town. That, of course, assumes we don't spike ourselves against Northern Illinois this week. Here is how I voted in this week's poll.

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Now with graphics!

•1.       Penn State - The Nittany Lions are just about the only team that has not had major issues at this point. Black Shoe Diaries summed it up best by saying, "you know it is a good sign when you don't play your best and still win by three touchdowns." That is exactly right.

•2.       Ohio State - There is absolutely no shame in losing to USC, but I really think it is a sign for concern that Ohio State's offense couldn't do diddle squat in the second half. I know they had the lead, but it seems like they got too content on playing Tressel-ball and didn't go for the throat. You don't beat team like USC that way. You go for the kill and do not stop until they are dead. OSU lacks that instinct.

•3.       Michigan - Let's face it, many people expected an 0-2 start for the Wolverines. The best part is they have been damned impressive in starting 0-2. We are all happy that they have ruined the alleged national championship dreams for Notre Dame. They also were the only team that successfully defended Big Ten honor this past weekend. With the rest of the conference looking down, you have to consider the Wolverines among the better teams so far.

•4.       Wisconsin - While they haven't been as impressive, they have gotten results against two pretty good mid-major teams. That is a lot more than what someone like Michigan State can say. Fresno State also looked good enough that you have to consider them a threat against Illinois later in the season. At some point, results are what matter. Wisconsin has gotten it done when they needed to.

•5.       Northwestern - The Wildcats always seem to have one non-conference game where they just are not fully awake. That may have come against a perennially bad Eastern Michigan Saturday. On paper, the Eagles had no business being that close at the end. They should have  decent test this coming week against Syracuse in the third leg of the Greg Paulus-Big Ten Challenge.

•6.       Michigan State - I think I am more impressed by Central Michigan than I am disappointed in the Spartans. First, the Chips had the stones to go for the win, then they executed the onside kick and go down to score again. This was the marquee Big Ten win that Central has been looking for with LeFevour.

•7.       Purdue - Why not? We have at least shown that we're not an automatic blowout. We only have to make sure we don't beat ourselves. If there is such a thing as a good loss, it was Saturday's game because we were angry that we lost a game we should have won. People are starting to be impressed with Purdue, but we must turn some of these games into wins or it means nothing.

•8.       Minnesota - I'd probably make them about even with Purdue at this point, as they are about like Wisconsin. It hasn't been pretty, but they do have two wins. The same, honestly, can be said of Indiana and Iowa. In all honestly, spots four through nine are very even.

•9.       Iowa - Yes, I am still penalizing them for the near miss against Northern Iowa, but they took care of business emphatically in a place where they normally struggle. We should get an interesting transitive property game next. They face Arizona, who handled Central Michigan, who just beat Michigan State.

•10.   Illinois - Their lead on Indiana is much shakier than previously thought. They proved nothing by winning a laugher over Illinois State. Now they have some injury issues with both Benn and Juice Williams. Those are the two players they cannot afford to have knicked up if they are going to have a successful campaign.

•11.   Indiana - I don't think a bowl game is really that laughable now. It was ugly, but they are 2-0. Now they need wins against a bad Akron team, an awful Virginia team, and then somehow steal two wins in a Big Ten that has a very muddled middle.   

Other Opponents:

Toledo (54-38 win over Colorado) - Well now, suddenly our defense doesn't look so bad since Colorado's decided to stay in Boulder for Friday's game. The Rockets were quite impressive in dismantling a BCS conference foe, even if it is a bad one. Western Michigan cannot say the same after losing at Indiana. Beating the Rockets is nowhere near as good as beating Oregon would have been, but it does not look as bad now.

Notre Dame (34-38 loss at Michigan) - In a move that is sure to infuriate the Notre Dame faithful, it is refreshing to see that the national title dreams for the Irish are the same as ours: none at all. Still, the media is praising them for "being aggressive" in the final moments and passing. Of course, that makes perfect sense to stop the clock while you have the lead instead of using a running game that had produced 154 yards to that point. I mean, you have that decided schematic advantage, after all. It trumps common sense like running the clock or making the other team use its timeouts. Of course, it was the official's faults anyway. There is absolutely no way Notre Dame could have lost that game because of its own idiotic playcalling.

Northern Illinois (41-7 win over Western Illinois) - This is a good litmus test for us. The Huskies have a close loss at a fellow Big Ten team and have taken care of a usually strong 1-AA team. The Huskies didn't show a whole lot and run for almost 250 yards in the win. They are a spread option running team, but something tells me they won't execute on nearly the same level as Oregon. For Northern Illinois' sake it probably would have been better if they were facing us after a different team other than Oregon.

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