On Friday night I wrote about which Big10 team had the most at stake heading into their second games, or if the conference as a whole had the most to gain/lose. Now that the dust has settled and the games, along with the weekly polls, are complete, let's take a look back and see how we fared.
Here's Hilary's take on NW's near death experience at Ryan Field against Eastern Michigan.
Here's my take on the CMU upset in East Lansing.
The recap of the Forcier Experience in Ann Arbor
Law Buck comes out of his cave, haggard and lonely, to discuss the death of Tressellball against USC.
Summary of the wild Purdue-Oregon game.
What I said: "OSU's season doesn't quite rest on this game, but you can bet that OSU's reputation across the country is at stake here."
What happened: OSU played a tough game, and it's been argued that they actually outplayed USC for most of the night. As Law Buckeye pointed out, this was a heart breaker. They had some difficulty capitalizing on some fantastic opportunities on offense, but for the most part they kept USC at bay in this game. Unfortunately in the every-week-matters world of college football, the only thing that matters is that OSU didn't get the W.
What it means: OSU probably isn't quite the media-dog that it has been in the past after a tough showing against the Trojans, but there is still going to be the perception that OSU can't win the big one. Unfortunately their W-L record in such games dictates that perception.
What I said: "...if Michigan can pull this thing out it will really help the perception of Michigan around the conference and the NCAA."
What happened: Michigan played a great game and their young talent really showed us something in beating an experience Notre Dame squad. In the shocker heard round the world, Graham admitted that he left his viewing post before the end of the game, but also talked about Michigan's effort: "It's great to see the lifelessness of last year's disjointed effort replaced by the attacking, never-die style of 2009."
What it means: Well, it apparently means that Michigan is back, since they cracked the AP Top 25 this week. Things seem right with the world when Michigan is relevant on a national level, and coupled with some other nice showings, Michigan mattering again could be a nice shot in the arm for the Big10.
What I said: "...if the Boilermakers can find a way to win this game, or to at least show up and keep it close, they might suddenly pull themselves out of the conversation that goes something like "who will be the worst team in the Big10 this year, Indiana or Purdue?""
What happened: The Boilers held tight and only lost by two to the uglied jersey ones. In fact, the truth is that Purdue outplayed Oregon all over the field. This is not the Boilermakers team everyone expected to see this year.
What it means: I'm not yet prepared to say that Purdue won't still be in the bottom third of the Big10, but perhaps the bottom third of the Big10 is quite a bit better than we anticipated.
What I said: "Illinois needs to take that point spread, shove it's face into the dirt and find a way to win this game by more than 4 touchdowns. If they pull out a close win, or worse yet, manage to completely crap the bed and lose this game, they might get to replace Purdue in that conversation that goes something like "who will be the worst team in the Big10 this year, Indiana or......?""
What happened: The Illini took my advice, took care of their business, unlike last week, and won by... 4 touchdowns.
What it means: I have no idea. The won a game they were supposed to win in a way that they were supposed to win it. They were also supposed to beat Missouri last week and instead got embarrassed. Illinois is still mystery.
What I said: "This is a must win for a Gopher program that is working desperately to become relevant not only in the conference, but to the sports consuming public of Minnesota who seems to only have an appetite for a team that plays in the Gophers old stadium and has a senior citizen starting at QB for them this year."
What happened: It took the Gophers some time to figure out the triple-option of THE Air Force, but they managed to not take too much damage, and score some points in the process, to win the game. It was ugly, but it was a much better performance than a week ago, even though the Minnesota offense MUST find a way to put together some drives before the 4th quarter at some point this year.
What it means: Unfortunately not much on a conference and national level. It's a quality win for a Gopher program that needed a win on it's opening night in the new stadium, but as far as changing the perception of my beloved rodents, it didn't quite do that.
The Big Ten Conference:
What I said: "In one fell swoop the Big10 Conference has a chance to erase many of the question marks that remain from the previous several seasons about their ability to compete on a national level against the powerhouses from the major conferences. "
What happened: OSU did well, but fell short. Everybody else took care of business (and I'll even include Purdue losing a close one to Oregon in this discussion)... except Michigan State. I didn't think MSU had much at stake this week, but I definitely didn't take the possibility of them losing into account. Central Michigan is a good program, but there is no way they should beat Micigan State.
What it means: Unfortunately I don't think the conference made up much ground and unfortunately it's because OSU couldn't close against USC (honorable mention to the Spartans who also didn't help). Look, I think it's completely unfair that OSU takes the brunt of the national perception of Big10 football, but it's a reality. OSU's loss to USC broke the hearts of Buckeye fans everywhere, and along with them, the hearts of Big10 fans were breaking too.