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Week 8 Big Ten Wrap (with blogpoll ballot)

I keep hoping. I keep hoping that there will be a turnaround and something will be salvaged from this season. For it to happen now, we must win four of the next five beginning this week with a ranked Minnesota team coming to time. I keep expecting there to be one game where everything comes together and it all finally clicks as it is supposed to. With five teams already bowl eligible and teams like Iowa and Illinois close to gaining it themselves even if we do get to six wins there is no guarantee of a return to Detroit. It’s not much, but let’s face it, it would be a triumph at this point.

The news got even worse today. Joey Elliott is now done for the season. He joins key players like Kyle Adams and Jason Werner who continue to be "just weeks away" from seeing the field. Those two are good players, but they are not season savers. Elliott’s injury is unfortunate because we not only lose a player who looked to be ready for a major break, but he also now loses valuable prep for next year. This means Justin Siller now moves back to quarterback. This could be a blessing, but he has to improve if he is going to be "the man" under Hope.

As for the rest of the Big Ten, I sucked at picking the games. We now have a clear Big Ten championship game when Penn State visits Ohio State next week. The winner will represent the conference in the BCS barring a major slip up, while the loser has the best shot at reaching the BCS as an at large team. For our sakes if we get to 6-6, I hope they do. Personally, I don’t think it will matter for us unless something changes drastically.

The non-bowl teams:

11. (11) Indiana (2-5, 0-4) Result: Illinois 55, Indiana 13 The Hoosiers are back to being Indiana. The fall back into the cellar was complete. As bad as Purdue has played lately, Indiana has been loads worse. They just got waxed by a wildly inconsistent Illinois team that looked like it was on a completely different level. I don’t think the Hoosiers will win another game this year.

10. (9) Purdue (2-5, 0-3) Result: Northwestern 48, Purdue 26 – And we will fall to 2-6 now. Our fate was sealed today when all the major polls put Minnesota at the bottom. This is a most unexpected game to be facing a ranked team, but nothing I saw yesterday short of handing the ball to Kory Sheets 40 times will give me any confidence in beating a ranked and rest Gopher squad. Sadly, I know I am going to spend my week getting excited about having a good chance to end our streak against ranked opponents. Then I’ll go to Ross-Ade on Saturday and watch us get pantsed at our homecoming by yet another team that Tiller has historically owned. This isn’t a farewell tour, it’s a revenge tour for all the teams Joe beat repeatedly to get his record.

9. (8) Wisconsin (3-4, 0-4) Result: Iowa 38, Wisconsin 16 – It is time to question if the Badgers will even make a bowl game now. They are looking worse each week. They will still beat Indiana and Cal Poly, but where will the 6th win come from since they don’t play Purdue? They had no answer at all for Shonn Greene and Dustin Sherer, a kid I covered numerous times in high school, had a rocky first career start. I haven’t seen a nosedive like this since our own in 2005.

8. (10) Michigan (2-5, 1-2) Result: Penn State 46, Michigan 17 – Part of my hope for the rest of the year was that the bottom of the Big Ten was so bad we would have no choice but to win four games. Well, it is still bad, but Wisconsin is off the schedule and Michigan is somewhat better. For a half they were shocking everyone, but once again fell apart in the end. The Michigan State game this week will be very interesting to see how the Spartans recover and if Michigan can still own them after finally giving up ownership to Penn State.

Will be bowling for the holidays:

7. (7) Iowa (5-3, 2-2) Result: Iowa 38, Wisconsin 16 – I know I didn’t move Iowa up this week, but if there was a way to show separation in the conference it is clear that it lies between the seven and 8 spot. For those below this spot, it will take a dramatic turnaround to make the postseason. For those above it, they will eventually get enough wins to go somewhere. Shonn Greene is getting better each week. I had hoped this would be the year we got one in Iowa City, but I have my doubts now. Since we need this one or Michigan State to have a chance at going anywhere, it means we are likely done. The Illinois game this week key for bowl positioning.

6. (2) Michigan State (6-2, 3-1) Result: Ohio State 45, Michigan State 7 – This is where I can’t begin to figure things out. We go on the road and our defense plays well enough to win against the Buckeyes. Michigan State was frothing for a shot at Ohio State at home and gets shelled. Does this mean that the tickets I have for three weeks from now in East Lansing have some value? Considering my record for seeing Purdue play at other Big Ten venues, I expect an agonizing loss in my first trip up there. Michigan State has a ton of questions now because of turnovers and they are playing the quarterback shuffle for good measure. It's like Ohio State rolled htem up in a carpet and threw them in a river yesterday. Fortunately, a bad Michigan team gives them a chance to right things.

5. (6) Illinois (4-3, 2-2) Result: Illinois 55, Indiana 13 – If the Big Ten does get two into the BCS the Illini made a good audition for one of the two other New Year’s Day bowls that would be available under that scenario. Right now they can easily make it to at least Tampa if they simply stay the course and win the games they should. Iowa passes them if the Hawkeyes win a pretty good game upcoming this week.

4. (5) Northwestern (6-1, 2-1) Result: Northwestern 48, Purdue 26 – Could Northwestern be another team that ends up on New Year’s Day? The schedule is certainly favorable. With some help, much like Michigan State losing this week, the Wildcats actually control their own destiny for Pasadena. It probably won’t happen, but only the Ohio State game looks overwhelming for them. How many other teams can say they are in the same position as Northwestern? Fun stat: According to LTP, 48 points is the most Northwestern has ever scored against us.

3. (4) Minnesota (6-1, 2-1) Result: bye – This is probably a little high at this point, but again, we come to an area of clear separation in the conference. Ohio State and Penn State are out in CBS territory, and the Gophers already have a leg up on the rest with a win over Illinois. They would need some help in the form of two Ohio State losses and at least one Penn State loss, but the rest of the schedule isn’t very hard either in terms of making a run for the roses. It’s hard to believe, but the Northwestern-Minnesota game could decide a New Year’s Day bowl bid.

BCS country

1a. (3) Ohio State (7-1, 4-0) Ohio State 45, Michigan State 7 – Okay, so I was wrong in saying the Ohio State dynasty was dying last week and Michigan State would beat them. I think 10 defensive coordinators crapped themselves watching Pryor run the offense yesterday. It puts our job a week earlier in a much higher perspective. From the bottom of my heart, Terelle, please go pro after just three years. We’ll very much appreciate it.

1b. (1) Penn State (8-0, 4-0) Result: Penn State 46, Michigan 17 – Michigan State is clearly not ready, especially since that game will be in Happy Valley. That makes things simple for Penn State. Beat the Buckeyes in Columbus this week and they will finish the season undefeated and have chance at a national championship. It makes me want to break something knowing that we are the team that has come closest to beating these guys, then I saw what I saw yesterday from us against a lesser opponent. Penn State has scored 38 points or more in every game except the Purdue game. They have destroyed everything in their path to this point. That is what a championship team does.

Blogpoll ballot:

The blogpoll this week was hard once I got past the top 10. There was so much carnage in the middle to bottom of the poll that I had a hard time finding the bottom 5. I ultimately brought Oregon back after seeing them in person and decided to reward Minnesota and Arizona for good starts. As far as the top goes I have a simple rule. At this point in the season I won’t rank a 1-loss BCS team ahead of an unbeaten BCS team. They can piss and moan all they want. If they really wanted to play for the title they would have won the game they lost. In my mind only the top five have a legitimate claim at the moment by still being unbeaten. Should four of them go down, we can then discuss the merits of the one loss teams. Until such time there is no need.

I’m also well aware of moving Northwestern in and dumping Michigan State. Michigan State drops simply because they had no excuse for crapping the bed at home like that.


Rank Team Delta
1 Texas --
2 Penn State --
3 Alabama --
4 Texas Tech --
5 Oklahoma State --
6 Oklahoma 1
7 Florida 1
8 Georgia 2
9 Southern Cal --
10 Ohio State 2
11 Utah 2
12 LSU 2
13 Boise State 3
14 South Florida 4
15 Tulsa 7
16 TCU 10
17 Ball State 4
18 Brigham Young 10
19 Kansas --
20 Missouri 9
21 Boston College 5
22 Oregon 4
23 Minnesota 3
24 Northwestern 2
25 Arizona 1

Dropped Out: Michigan State (#15), North Carolina (#17), Virginia Tech (#20), California (#23), Wake Forest (#24), Vanderbilt (#25).