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Week 10 Big Ten Review and blogpoll ballot

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Today's entry is going up a little earlier than normal because I have tickets to the Colts-Patriots game tonight. I admit that I was wrong in saying that this week's slate of games was boring. All five Big Ten games came down to the final play this week. In three cases, the winning team had a backup quarterback directing them to victory. Purdue's offense exploded for 48 points with a third string quarterback running the show in his first career start. This was simply an unbelievable week. Here are this week's updated rankings with bowl possibilities.

11. Michigan (2-7, 1-4) Result: Purdue 48, Michigan 42. No Bowl – Brian's wonderful liveblog of yesterday's game over at MGoBlog shows that Michigan fans are pretty pissed off right now. They think it is inexcusable that a third string quarterback lit them up all day long. Can you really blame them? I would be pretty upset too. I knew Michigan would struggle this year, but like Notre Dame last year, there is no excuse for being that bad with that amount of raw talent.

On the other hand, meeting the Maize N' brew guys yesterday was a very enjoyable experience. The crew came down and enjoyed some glorious tailgating over on the IM Lots. They seem resigned tot heir fate, but enjoyed the game for what it was. Forget that both teams were 2-6, you couldn't ask for much more with a back and forth game that features tons of scoring and big plays. I can think of worse ways to spend an afternoon, and Dave agreed with me.

10. Indiana (3-6, 1-4) Result: Central Michigan 37, Indiana 34. No Bowl – One funny thing that Dave said yesterday was that he was glad Michigan didn't play Indiana this year. He didn't want to see the Hoosier unleash 40 some years of pent up frustration because he's had enough of everyone releasing frustration on Michigan. After Indiana's performance yesterday he may want to reconsider. In reality, Indiana and Michigan are joined in last place for the moment. One could argue that Indiana should be lower because of two MAC losses, but Michigan's came to a worse team. At least Indiana has lost to the best of the MAC.

The Hoosier Report is fed up. Indiana didn't have an answer for Dan LeFevour's backup. LeFevour didn't play, plus the Chips had no running game to speak of. All Burnner did was bomb away and Indiana couldn't stop them. Can you blame John for being upset? At least it is looking like he'll be happier come Tuesday when Obama gets elected.

9. Purdue (3-6, 1-4) Result: Purdue 48, Michigan 42. No Bowl – We're not going to have many years in which we beat Michigan, but lose to Minnesota and Northwestern. If we end up winning these next three games it will be even stranger. At least we should be encouraged that we're 2-0 against the state of Michigan. A win next week and a Motor City Bowl win over Western Michigan makes us the Michigan state champs, right?

As Boiled Sports said last night, it is very nice to see an invigorated fanbase even if it is for a week. Going to Michigan State we have something to build on. It will still likely be a loss, but at least it feels like we have a little more of a chance now. How ironic would it be if Painter goes 0-fer in his career against ranked teams, yet Siller gets one in his first attempt? If he starts again we just might do it. Unfortunately, Tiller is hellbent on having Painter play if he is healthy. This is where we queue up some Journey.

8. Wisconsin (4-5, 1-5) Result: Michigan State 25, Wisconsin 24. Motor City Bowl – Boiler fans, if we can stomach it we need to root like hell for Indiana this week. If the Hoosiers can knock off Wisconsin this week and Minnesota does the same that makes the Badger ineligible for a bowl game. It then opens the door for us to win these last three and go somewhere ourselves.

It's possible because Wisconsin continues to find ways to make me look like an idiot for declaring them as the team that knows how to close games out. This time they blew an 11 point lead with less than 10 minutes to play. It got so bad yesterday even Bret Bielema got called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after his own team scored!

7. Iowa (5-4, 2-3) Result: Illinois 27, Iowa 24. Insight Bowl – Iowa is now another team with some difficulty remaining as far as gaining bowl eligibility, but at least we can do something about it. If we can just win at Michigan State next week we will suddenly be in control of our own destiny because Penn State is going to crush the Hawkeyes. Iowa showed a lot of heart in the comeback yesterday, but the defense failed them in the end.

Iowa continues to struggle in close games. The five wins have each been by 12 points or more, while the four losses have each been by less than a touchdown. I believe this was called our 2002 season. Iowa is going to wish they had this game before the season is over because of games against Penn State and Wisconsin. If we beat Michigan State we might be fighting them for the last bowl slot a week later.

6. Illinois (5-4, 3-3) Result: Illinois 27, Iowa 24. Champs Sports Bowl – I don't think things are as bad as previously thought in Champaign, but team Up and Down finished the week on an up. Going to Western Michigan had better be an up as well. Otherwise it is entirely possible that Illinois could miss a bowl game too. At least if Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin all miss bowl games we might get to go to Orlando.

5. Northwestern (7-2, 3-2) Result: Northwestern 24, Minnesota 17 Alamo Bowl – Obviously Northwestern wants a mulligan from the Indiana game. On a day for backup quarterbacks Mike Kafka may have had the best day with over 200 yards rushing. Lake the Posts provides some great analysis of Kafka's performance in terms of where it ranks in the great rushing QB games of all-time. It's also very hard to top the finish of yesterday's game. This was much like Northwestern's 2000 win in the Metrodome.

4. Minnesota (7-2, 3-2) Result: Northwestern 24, Minnesota 17 Outback Bowl – I really hope the annoying Minnesota fan that was cheering for Painter to get hurt more last week enjoyed his day yesterday. A possible long-awaited date in Pasadena is now gone as fast as that interception return to end the game. I normally like Minnesota and have never had a problem with its fans, but that jackass from last week deserved yesterday.

For the second straight week Minnesota had a poor running game, as even Weber struggled to get things going. The Gophers will still likely play on New Year's Day since a fourth team will have to go if Ohio State goes to the BCS, but it will be bittersweet now.

3. Michigan State (8-2, 5-1) Result: Michigan State 25, Wisconsin 24. Capitol One Bowl – First it was Northwestern a week ago, then Minnesota this week. Will Michigan State at the hands of Purdue be the next team to have a potential unexpected Big Ten title run ended before the biggest game of said run? I certainly hope so! Michigan State is likely the one team left that has a chance at knocking off Penn State and getting a piece of the title for itself.

Michigan State played with a lot of poise yesterday, Javon Ringer had next to nothing, but the Spartans took advantage of every Wisconsin mistake in the final 10 minutes and made them pay. That's the mark of a very good team, and I doubt that they will look ahead for Penn State. If they do lose, it will be a very long two weeks before going to Happy Valley.

2. Ohio State (7-2, 4-1) Result: bye. Rose Bowl – Ohio State is going to beat the living hell out of Michigan and enjoy it. First up is a two game road sing through Illinois though.

1. Penn State (9-0, 5-0) Result: bye. National Championship Game – The Nittany Lions gained the most without even playing a down. Texas Tech knocking off Texas means Penn State only needs to win its last three games to get to the championship. The toughest of those games will be Iowa this week, and I don't think it will be that tough.

Blogpoll ballot:

The Texas loss obviously leads to some changes at the top. Texas Tech now announces they are officially in the fray as well. Both Alabama and Texas Tech still have very difficult roads to the title, while Penn State does not. There is now a very long line of one loss teams behind those three, but they will all have to wait for two of the three to lose before I will begin to argue for one of them.

Georgia deserves some serious punishment for crapping the bed in another big game this year. Something tells me there will be no whining about missing out on the championship with two losses now. Tulsa losing moves Ball State closer to the top. If the Cards take care of business and TCU, Utah, and Boise State can each lose a game the MAC might looking for a liquor store in Muncie in order to cash a large BCS check.

The bottom of the poll was chaos as usual. At least the Canes won so I can move them up. This team is learning how to win right now and will be incredibly good in a year or two. I'm excited to see them in person against Virginia Tech in a week and a half.

Rank Team Delta
1 Penn State 1
2 Alabama 1
3 Texas Tech 1
4 Oklahoma 1
5 Florida 1
6 Southern Cal 2
7 Texas 6
8 Oklahoma State 1
9 Boise State 2
10 Utah --
11 Ohio State 2
12 TCU 3
13 Missouri 1
14 Ball State 2
15 Georgia 8
16 LSU 1
17 Brigham Young 1
18 North Carolina 5
19 Michigan State 5
20 Tulsa 8
21 Maryland 5
22 California 4
23 Miami (Florida) 2
24 Georgia Tech 2
25 Northwestern 1

Dropped Out: Oregon (#19), Minnesota (#20), Florida State (#21), South Florida (#22).