Graham's Week 7 Notes: What's the Best Conference in America? Can MSU Go Undefeated?

Hey Ma, top of the world...Nevermind. The Bucks got bucked from the #1 spot, Iowa survived a fierce Michigan comeback, Minnesota continued its freefall, and MSU stands alone as the Big Ten's only undefeated team. Weird.weird.weird.

This week also gave us an overrated, one dimensional Nebraska team and a three (3!!) loss Florida team which leads me to the appropriate next discussion: In the bullshit BCS world where conference supremacy actually DOES matter, what's the best conference in the nation? I guarantee there won't be consensus in the comment thread so I'll just have fun with Mad Men themed groups...


The Joan Holloways (Top Heavy)

Mountain West



The Peggy Olsons (Talented But Relatively Unknown and/or Unappreciated)

Big 12

Pac 10


The Don Drapers (Formerly Talented, Falling Apart)


Big East


...And then there's the Big Ten. We have one undefeated team whose monster game (Iowa) now looks more winnable than ever, but we've got a couple 1 loss teams that have have moved themselves out of MNC consideration.

Weekly thoughts below.

  • Michigan State's last 7-0 start? 1966. Oh my, it's been a bit. The last time they won seven games in a row? 1978. Even though this ugly performance against Illinois showcased a tired team surviving a letdown game, the Spartans continued to stop the run better than anyone else in the Big Ten. (Side note - Kirk Cousins got slapped around by the Illini early, but kept getting up).
  • MSU will probably end up somewhere around #10 in the nation. Three teams ahead of MSU will drop (South Carolina, Arkansas, Nebraska). And if you really want to take this discussion a step further, does an undefeated Spartan team make it to the BCS title game?
  • Before the season, there were tons of questions about this unproven Spartan defense. Those questions have been answered week after week. The defensive backfield has been playing with confidence and aggressiveness, a tremendous change from last years confused group.
  • Tate Forcier helped Michigan roll up 523 yards of total offense on Iowa, which on paper looks like some kind of typo. Penalties and mistakes finished the Wolverines though and Michigan fans are having PTSD-esque flashbacks to last years collapse.
  • I hear that Denard will be back to play Penn State on October 30 though. And to be honest, Denard ran quite effectively against Iowa, picking up over 100 yards on the ground and averaging 6 yards a pop. But injuries ended his night early, for the second time this year.
  • The Michigan defense warrants some mention because frankly, they're ridiculous. The tackling is bad and the toughness is non-existent. This is a situation which leads people to ask me, "How can a Michigan team have such a bad defense with all that recruiting power and history?" It's a three step process: 1) Lloyd Carr left little for Rich on the recruiting front and the players that did come through were 2) either busts, injured, or transferred, which in turn left 3) inexperienced and underwhelming players in an unproven defensive scheme.
  • Purdue's undefeated in the Big Ten...and their final victim of the night isn't the Gopher football team, but in fact Tim Brewster, who will no longer be the Gopher head coach. You can check out a laundry list of potential Minnesota coaches here and please enjoy my visual illustration of Tim Brewster right now:


The cactus is Tim Brewster, btw and you can see more of these illustrations here

  • JJ Watt went nuts against the Buckeye offensive line, showing tremendous quickness, power, and a motor that didn't even slow late in the fourth quarter. He's been basically unstoppable since he came to Madison.
  • OSU got punched in the face early and all Wisconsin did was play to a draw the rest of the game. I have two difference makers. 1) The Wisconsin coaching staff, for their excellent playcalls and the way playaction was utilized so effectively. 2) The Wisconsin offensive linemen. Unable to move MSU on the road, these fat boys roadgraded and pass blocked flawlessly against the veteran Buckeye defense.
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