Is Michigan State at Purdue the best game this week? Sure, Iowa at Ohio State is going to decide the conference, but no one expects "the Dawson" making his first start to win. It is even more unlikely when he is making his first career start in Columbus. As bad as Ohio State's offense has been however, this could be a 3-0 affair.
That makes Purdue-Michigan State great because both teams have everything to lose. A loss all but eliminates either from bowl consideration, though I wouldn't count Michigan State out totally next week when they host Penn State. The rest of the Big Ten slate is kind of meh this week, but at least we get a new trophy game.
South Dakota State (7-2) at Minnesota (5-5) Noon, Big Ten Network
The Daily Gopher Preview (Not yet posted)
This is a banner week for the Jackrabbits. They will get mentioned quite a bit here, as they are our opening round opponent in the Paradise Jam next week. They also have a better chance of beating Minnesota in football tomorrow than they do of beating us in basketball. They are a 7-2 1-AA team that has a good run-pass balance and would have made the 1-AA playoffs if not for a loss to top 5 Southern Illinois in conference play last week.
That said, there is never an excuse for a Big Ten team to lose to a 1-AA squad. NEVER. Minnesota was guilty of this two years ago against North Dakota State (the same year Northwestern and Michigan were guilty). Minnesota gets this to get to bowl eligibility because if they don't, they should cancel any bowl invite even if they do beat Iowa. Minnesota 34, South Dakota State 10
Indiana (4-6, 1-5) at #11 Penn State (8-2, 4-2) Noon, Big Ten Network
I hate myself for thinking this way. Indiana is not a bad football team. They just cannot close games. They are like in that they had their crap the bed game (ours was at Wisconsin, theirs at Virginia). They couldn't close the deal against Northwestern, Michigan, Wisconsin, or Iowa. Ohio State and Virginia are the only two teams that have dominated them. Penn State has looked rather ordinary in games against good teams. I believe we saw the same last year with Michigan State. Call me crazy, but I absolutely think the Hoosiers have a chance tomorrow.
This could be their Michigan. They have never beaten the Nittany Lions, much less in Happy Valley. They are due to have a breakthrough win after blowing some games they should have won. If Indiana and Purdue both win it makes next week's Bucket game that much more interesting. I don't have the gumption to pick the upset tomorrow, but do not be surprised if the Hoosiers shock people. Penn State 24, Indiana 20
Michigan (5-5, 1-5) at #20 Wisconsin (7-2, 4-2) Noon, Big Ten Network
Hold on a second. Let me get out my editorial soapbox. First, a picture to get us started.
That's better. You are Michigan. M-I-C-H-I-G-A-N! You are one of the most storied programs in college football. No one has won more games than you. You have more tradition than the entire SEC combined. As I read somewhere this week, you recruit solely because of the paint scheme on your helmets. You took one of our best recruits, Roy Roundtree, for mostly that reason. He's going to be a damn good one too and showed why this week. You're so successful that even your bloggers in MGoBlog have made a career out of blogging. They are incredibly successful because you are successful. I have four words for you, from the head of the program down to the fans and Michigan media:
STOP BEING WHINY PRICKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have had nothing but respect for Michigan for years. I met Maize N' Brew Dave last years after the Purdue game in West Lafayette and even though the Wolverines had just clinched the worst season in decades he was a class guy and great to hang out with. This week, however, one of his co-bloggers viciously turned on Boiled Sports, sparking a rebuttal from J Money in which J did everything but call Maize N' Brew callow. The others weren't immune to cheap shots either, saying they had no business losing to "a piddly pretend program like Purdue."
Just stop it!
Michigan won games for DECADES with class. Ohio State fans were naturally peeved a few weeks ago when Purdue pulled the upset, but most were congratulatory because they knew they had been beaten by the better team that day. You didn't see Tressell getting all whiny in his press conference either. Some Michigan fans were crying screwjob after the blatantly illegal forward lateral (never mind that they shouldn't have had the ball on the drive anyway after the horrible fair catch interference call). I know Danny Hope didn't help things after the game, and I certainly don't approve of what he did, but come on! Sack up, Lucy! You're better than this, Michigan. Freaking act like it!
Michigan, I have always respected you, but shit happens, alright? Losing seasons happen, even for you guys. What made you so good is that you avoided them for so long. That is commendable, but handle a bad year or two with some dignity. At Purdue, we're used to it happening, so we deal with it. You're starting to turn into Notre Dame with all the whining and posturing. Ohio State is currently the gold standard in the conference, but a decade ago in 1999 they missed a bowl game. Did they whine this much? No. They won a national title (arguably) three seasons later.
What does this have to do with Wisconsin? Nothing, really. If the Badgers play as well as they did two weeks ago at home they will demoralize the Wolverines with a show of brute strength. After the way Michigan has acted all week (with some exceptions, as Brian from MGoblog and Dave have been respectful) I am kind of cheering for it. Ohio State, you have officially passed Michigan on my list of classier programs. Wisconsin 30, Michigan 10
Northwestern (6-4, 3-3) at Illinois (3-6, 2-5) Noon, ESPN Classic
Hail to the Orange Preview (Not yet posted)
That is the best design you can come up with for a rivalry trophy? It looks like a mutant Monopoly piece. Above is the new Land of Lincoln trophy, to be awarded for the first time between Northwestern and Illinois. Despite the record, I actually think Illinois should win handily. They are finally playing like they are capable of playing. They will be the first Big Ten team to finish the conference season, and a 3-5 record (after starting 0-5) should allow the Zooker to keep working. They also still have a huge Big Ten pride game at Cincinnati in two weeks.
One thing you can say about this Northwestern team though, they are resilient. The defense got the job done last week, pitching a virtual shutout after Stanzi was injured. With a win they can solidify their bowl position while eliminating Illinois from contention. That's worth a new hat to me. Illinois 27, Northwestern 24
Michigan State (5-5, 3-3) at Purdue (4-6, 3-3) Noon, ESPN
The Only Colors Preview (Not yet posted)
We get the big network tomorrow, as everyone else is on the Big Ten Network or, in the above game's case, a network that has fewer viewers than QVC. The Only Colors will also be represented in West Lafayette, as my podcast guest is coming to town. The weather should be beautiful for mid-November in Indiana. None of the other three division 1 schools in Indiana are playing at home, so there is no excuse not to Show up for the Seniors.
I think this one is decided by which Purdue team shows up. If the Ohio State/Michigan Purdue teams hows up we win. If the Northern Illinois/Wisconsin Purdue team shows up, we lose. I am leaning more towards the former than the later. These guys have been resilient leaders all season long. Since there is stills something to play for the seniors won't go down without a fight. Let's do some of the fighting for them by giving them a great crowd tomorrow. Remember students, it is just $10 to get in. Vets and their families get in free. Purdue 27, Michigan State 24
#10 Iowa (9-1, 5-1) at #11 Ohio State (8-2, 5-1) 3:30 ABC
Black Heart Gold Pants Preview
Can you imagine how interested Purdue would be in this game if we had not blown the Northwestern and Minnesota games? Had those been wins (and I would absolutely pick us again in a rematch) an Ohio State win would mean we would have a Rose Bowl bid on the line. We're really that close, even though it would have meant a likely rematch with Oregon.
Can we just call Iowa's James Vandenburg "The Dawson" since his name is close to James Van Der Beek? That allows us to have a Varsity Blues reference too. Does that mean Iowa will run the hook and lateral to a 450 pound offensive lineman for the win? We can only hope! Ohio State 13, Iowa 7