11. (11) Indiana (2-4, 0-3) Result: Iowa 45, Indiana 9 – The Hoosier Report summed things up best on Saturday night in calling the loss to Iowa a season-ender. Though they currently sit at 2-4, the Hoosiers haven't been nearly as competitive as Purdue, nor does it look like they will be able to pull off four more wins on the season with Illinois, Wisconsin, and Penn State remaining. They are 2-4 after the easiest part of their schedule, while we are 2-4 after the hardest part.
Indiana's offense is stagnant and one-dimensional, while the defense cannot stop anyone. That is a recipe for failure. There is no running game to speak of. Opposing teams haven't had trouble either, especially since Shonn Greene and Indiana native Jewel Hampton both ran for more than 100 yards yesterday. At this point, Indiana will be lucky to win another game.
10. (8) Michigan (2-4, 1-1) Result: Toledo 13, Michigan 10 – The last time Michigan did not play in a bowl game was after the 1974 season. The only reason they missed a game that year was because it was the final season that the Big Ten allowed only its champion to play in a post-season game. Michigan has been a postseason regular for 33 consecutive seasons since. After losing to a godawful Toledo team yesterday, their first ever loss to a MAC quad, the streak is now in serious jeopardy.
The only Game that Matters joins the Hoosier Report and me from two weeks ago in saying that the sky is falling for our respective programs. Should the Big Ten indeed get both Penn State and Ohio State into the BCS it looks like Indiana, Purdue, and Michigan will be the three left at home at the moment. Sadly, Michigan's streak is the longest in the country, and three more losses would hand that honor over to Florida State, who will likely play in their 27th straight bowl.
9. (10) Purdue (2-4, 0-2) Result: Ohio State 16, Purdue 3 – Perhaps I am just overly delusional at this point. Michigan got the 10 spot because it has at least shown a pretty good defense even if its offense couldn't score in a women's prison with a fistful of pardons. Purdue is playing better at the moment, but that means very little.
I outlined our own bowl hopes yesterday, so there is no need to go over them again. If the Boilers can get a game in Evanston this weekend, things will likely calm down, at least somewhat, in West Lafayette. If not, I still think there is hope for next year. It's not going to be as bad as it seems, even if the GBI boards are in full meltdown mode.
8. (5) Wisconsin (3-3, 0-3) Result: Penn State 48, Wisconsin 7 – Three weeks ago I thought Wisconsin had a chance at the national championship. Now they may not even make a bowl game at this rate. Illinois and Michigan State are more than capable of beating the Badgers. If that happens, Wisconsin has little margin for error next week against Iowa or in the Big Ten finale against Minnesota.
The Badgers should be embarrassed with the crap game it turned in Saturday night at home. Penn State only outgained them by less than 70 yards, but did so much more with the ball when they had it. It is honestly hard to see where this one got away except for the punt return by Derrick Williams. The Iowa game this week will be important for both teams.
7. (9) Iowa (4-3, 1-2) Result: Iowa 45, Indiana 9 –After the past two seasons Saturday's win over Indiana had to be pretty sweet. Indiana had embarrassed them on consecutive occasions, but the Hawkeyes turned the tables. Now a bowl game looks like a better possibility, especially if they can take advantage of a down Wisconsin team this week. I'd give the edge to the Badgers, but the Purdue-Iowa game on November 15th could be an elimination game.
Iowa had a dual-headed running game from Hampton and Greene yesterday, but they have to get better play from the quarterback position if they are going to get the mandatory two wins needed. Andy Brodell did make the Hoosiers look silly though. As far as bowl hopes, they would get a huge boost by beating Wisconsin and hurting the Badgers even further.
6. (3) Illinois (3-3, 1-2) Result: Minnesota 27, Illinois 20 – After yesterday, my original comparison of Illinois this year to Purdue of 2002 look even better. Illinois can play with any team in the country, but they can lose to just about anyone as well. They are no longer a lock for a bowl game either with Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Northwestern left on the schedule. All three of those could easily be losses, and a dangerous trip to a pretty good Western Michigan team in November could trip them up. Just ask Iowa about November games against the Broncos. They need to take that seriously, unlike yesterday.
It is clear that Illinois needs a better running game. Minnesota never had to worry about it yesterday and sacked Juice Williams five times. It may have been the most wasted 462 yard performance since Brady Quinn threw for 400+ against Purdue in 2004.
5. (6) Northwestern (5-1, 1-1) Result: Michigan State 37, Northwestern 20 – I was actually a little disappointed that Northwestern lost yesterday, because a win would have given us a bonus chance at knocking off a ranked team. Sometimes college football is all about matchups. I feel we match up well with them, and I liked our chances had they been ranked to find a cheap way of ending our streak. Sadly, our only chance remaining will come at Michigan State, and it is not a good one. Northwestern will still get one more win for a bowl bid.
Tyrell Sutton is yet another impressive back we must contain his week. He went for 139 yards against a pretty good defense, but like Illinois on the day, Northwestern had finishing issues. Both teams from the state to the west of us grossly outgained their opponents while playing at home, yet it was the opponent that walked away with a win. We will need to be as efficient as Michigan State to get the win. They are disappointed, so we must take advantage.
4. (7) Minnesota (6-1, 2-1) Result: Minnesota 27, Illinois – Everything from this point forward is gravy. Minnesota will be playing somewhere in the postseason even if they collapse and lose the last five games. That isn't likely going to happen if they continue to play balanced, smart football. They get a week off to prepare for us, and they still have a weak Michigan team left.
Minnesota is not turning the ball over, moving it well, and now has a pretty good pass rush in order to cause disruptions with a much improved defense. The only cause for concern is the fact that the passing game is grossly skewed towards Eric Decker. He has almost half of the passing game's production. If we can slow him down in two weeks out chances at winning will greatly improve.
3. (2) Ohio State (6-1, 3-0) Result: Ohio State 16, Purdue 3 – I don't know if our defense played out of its minds or if Ohio State is just struggling right now, but I cannot believe we held one of the best backs in the country below 100 yards when we couldn't stop the worst rushing team in the country last year just two weeks ago. The Buckeye Battle Cry thinks they held back. Ohio State is too one-dimensional, but if they show up in East Lansing like they did in Madison they will be fine.
It is now a two game season for them. If they win the next two weeks they will clear their two largest hurdles for the Big Ten title. Northwestern and Illinois could be dangerous, but in reality Michigan State and Penn State are all that remain. If they don't get more of a passing game they will lose both.
2. (4) Michigan State (6-1, 3-0) Result: Michigan State 37, Northwestern 20 – This is the week we find out if Michigan State is real. If they can knock off Ohio State they will put themselves in line for a very special season. It would mean a potential season finally in Happy Valley where an unbeaten Penn State could end up losing the Rose Bowl to a one loss Michigan State team. I think the Spartans are that good.
Even the Cal loss isn't looking that bad at this point, as explained by the Spartan's Weblog. The more that Michigan State can prove it doesn't need Javon Ringer to go apeshit on teams to win the better. I actually like his chances after our own Kory Sheets had a decent game against a normally stout Buckeye run defense.
1. (1) Penn State (7-0, 3-0) Result: Penn State 48, Wisconsin 7 – It's not a gay thing, it's a dominance thing. Penn State raped and pillaged Madison on Saturday night, and now they have moved into the top 3 nationally. They are now the conference's only hope to win a national championship this season. Best of all, they will likely get there if they patiently take care of business. The odds are good that someone ahead of them will fall before the end of the season, especially since Texas still has games against Texas Tech, Missouri, and Oklahoma State.
Unfortunately, Penn State still must go to Ohio State where it has constantly struggled. Not only that, a season ending game against a very good Michigan State team could be trouble. That said, they have manhandled everyone so far in getting to 7-0. They are here at #1 until someone physically takes it from them. Your turn, Michigan.
CBS Sports Blogpoll ballot:
I was hoping that Missouri would have pulled off last night's game with Oklahoma State in order to immediately reward us with a #1 vs. #2 matchup this coming week. Instead, the Longhorns take my top spot. I also leapfrogged Penn State to #2 simply because of conference loyalty, Alabama not playing, and irrational dislike of Nick Saban. Ball State keeps on moving up at the bottom, and i think it will be interesting to see where BYU ends up playing if unbeaten teams from BCS conferences continue to fall. As usual, feel free to critique the draft ballot before Wednesday's final goes up.