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Hey Ma, top of the world...Whoops, nevermind again. Oklahoma's toppling sends further shockwaves through anyone who doesn't want to see Boise State or TCU in the MNC.The Spartans of East Lansing got their ass saved by a rocket armed QB, but it's going to take a more complete effort than that to survive a pissed off Iowa team/crowd/state. The other Big Ten games followed predictable scripts, but I will save time for special discussion of Bob Stoops and what I consider *some of the worst end-game coaching I've seen this year.
*Les Miles, king of curious late coaching calls, doesn't have a challenger to this ignominious throne, but Stoops did a couple of ridiculous things nonetheless.
- Just a thought: MSU's #5 ranking and undefeated season has been courtesy of two deep passes on fakes. The reason that Dantonio isn't being called a calmer version of Les Miles? A) The fakes are working and b) the plays are obviously practiced numerous times in practice and executed calmly.
- The Spartan O-Line is having a tough go of it with running up the middle lately. Both Illinois and Northwestern got enough penetration to force the Spartans to rely on Cousins. 105 yards rushing won't get it done against a better opponent.
- But you know what will get it done? Kirk Cousins laser rocketing passes into perfect spots. Here are his 2nd half stats: 16-23, 199 yards, two TD's. He was putting the ball on the money and his receivers were making great clutch catches.
- Here's an interesting parallel: Remember a Big Ten team last year that was surviving by the skin of its teeth, winning games they shouldn't have, propelling themselves to a Top 5 national ranking and making people talk about "dream seasons" and the like? Is 2010 Michigan State actually just a green and white version of 2009 Iowa?
- The big question for ANOTHER huge Iowa home game next week: Will the Hawkeyes fold, knowing their BCS dreams are dashed...or will they angrily take out their frustrations on the Spartans? I think Iowa will be favored against MSU, damn the records and MSU's lofty ranking.
- And how about Iowa v. Wisky? Was that the Big Ten game of the year so far? Iowa had some problems with pass protection late, which should cause flashbacks to the Arizona loss.
- PSU did stop the Internets from falling apart. Hell, PSU losing to this Minnesota team would be about as damaging to a fanbase as say, Texas losing to Iowa State. My favorite "text from last night" from Burnt Orange Nation's brilliant post-loss piece: (512) I should have gone to baylor, better senior season.
- I watched Illinois smash Indiana today via my DVR and learned a couple of things. 1) Remember all those 4/5 star recruits that Zook pulled from everywhere and then seemingly squandered? They're all playing and playing well. Terry Hawthorne, 4 star athlete? Playing solidly at CB, lit up an Indiana WR on a heads up play. Martez Wilson, 5 star super LB? Going to make the All-Big Ten team easily. Nathan Scheelhaase, 4 star QB? Fitting nicely into the offense, scrambling effectively. Corey Liuget, 4 star Florida DE? Also playing at an All-Big Ten team level, dominating inside and demanding double teams.
- Random thoughts....Cam Newton is a monsta, but Alabama is going to be favored against Auburn in the Iron Bowl...The MSU-NW announcers mentioned that the strong Evanston wind wasn't affecting Cousins throws; that's impressive...Big shout out to Spartan WR Keith Nichol, the Lowell (MI) product whose move to WR is finally showing results in the form of a couple huge catches in traffic...Dan Persa ran the ball 22 times, but actually was sacked 8 times, skewing the statistics a bit...Oregon's high powered offense is music to my DVR's words; I don't even have to hit fast-forward to get to the next play because they're already lined up...
- And finally, my riff on the horrendous coaching by Bob Stoops. Oklahoma was in a fight for their lives against Mizzou, but finally battled to within a score with 6 minutes left...or so I thought. You see the score was 36-21 and Oklahoma scored to make it 36-27. With six minutes to go and Mizzou's offense running at a good clip, the assumption is that you'll get one more drive to tie the game. Kick the extra point and make it a one possession game. ABSOLUTELY INEXPLICABLY, Stoops decided to go for two, which of course the Sooner failed to convert. The margin remained 9 points, a two possession game, and my mind was blown. Although I do understand that eventually Oklahoma would have to go for two, putting your team in position to tie the game is paramount. Stoops failed to do that. Les Miles was watching this game somewhere, grinning like a proud father.