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Up in the air and pondering a dynamic, successful Big Ten Conference

Drifting lazily over the Midwest on United Flight 611 from DC to Chicago, I glance down to see, rows of flat fields. Of course.

These fields are inevitable. The Big Ten's surprising 4-3 record...was not.

Celebratory editorials have been flung up on this site with reckless abandon since the Iowa Hawkeyes overran a faster, more athletic Yellowjacket team. And rightfully so. YOU the reader, you the TRE writer/ knew the Big Ten was improved this year. YOU watched enough noon games to see cohesive passing offenses and three of the hardest hitting defensive units ever to grace Big Ten playing fields. Victories weren't just to be celebrated for these schools who triumphed in bowls; they were for all of YOU who had confidence in Midwest football.

The Big 11 is flying high, thanks to some decisions and strategy gambits far more surprising and intriguing than these bland plains I move over.

Madison residents and Badger fans found themselves on shaky ground during Spring/Summer, sure of an uninspiring Phillips/Sherer combo at signalcaller. Word filtered in from B5Q and elsewhere - a career backup was game ready and Bielema was going to start ‘im.

Stuck in a mid-season offensive funk amidst turnovers and unrest, a staunchly unchanging coach listened to his many unsolicited advisors and tweaked the O. While it's too early to say "transformation," Jimmy T finally moved TP into a comfort zone by pushing zone-read runs and finding throws the occasionally limp-armed QB could make.

It's fun to be on top, looking over the wreckage of bowl season, fresh from a solid conference wide showing. The Big Ten isn't slow and backwards - we adapt, we change, we evolve. And that will make for a hopeful and exciting 2010 offseason.