This is what happens when you let Ted write things. The B1G went 7-5 last week, and it really was not pretty. We're blaming Ted, deal? Deal.
B1G Picture: What I Generally Want for the Conference:
DO NOT LOSE TO A SINGLE NON-AQ SCHOOL.
It was pointed out the last time I wrote that Iowa already screwed the pooch on this one during Week 1. Well, I’m giving them a pass, since it was NIU. OK? Good. Indiana screwed it up against Navy, but I suppose I shouldn’t have expected too much from them. That’s my mistake.
I was going to get mad at Penn State, then I realized that the AAC is technically still an AQ conference. So…yeah. That’s a thing. Oh well, I’m still mad at them for losing at home to the Knights of the Pegasus.
GO 2-1 AGAINST NOTRE DAME.
Well, Purdue, you did your best. I think we’ve learned that Notre Dame may, in fact, not be that good. But Michigan State, it’s up to you, on the road, at Notre Dame. Let’s see what Connor Cook can do.
No. Penn State…no. Indiana, Week 3…bad. There should not be another upset, Big Ten. There just…there can’t. OK? For my sanity? For our sanity here at OTE? Thanks.
So, we examine Week 4 in the non-conference and what I want to see:
Minnesota (-3.5) vs. San Jose State: Cover it, Gophers, and put to rest any of this Jerry Kill nonsense. Seriously, Jim Souhan, you suck. But yeah, it would also be nice if Philip Nelson was healthy and could show that he can throw the ball efficiently. Failing that, Mitch Leidner could show us that there’s a QB controversy in Minnesota, and I can’t say I’d lose sleep over seeing the Gophers find a quarterback who looks comfortable throwing from the pocket. I also don’t like wondering that about Minnesota in Week 4. SJSU brings in the highest Sagarin rating the 65th-rated Gophers will face: #68. Covering the spread and possibly winning by a couple scores would serve to dispel a lot of doubt.
#4 Ohio State (-a billion) vs. Florida A&M: No one hurt, blow-out, etc.
Iowa (-16.5) vs. Western Michigan: It would be nice to see Iowa cover this and cruise. The Broncos’ quarterback is not good, and Iowa would do well to flex the run D muscle. More importantly though, Iowa could certainly serve to play a complete, 4-quarters game and avoid any big blunders (like a fake punt…or an onside kick).
Michigan State (+6.5) @ #22 Notre Dame: Win. Find a way, Sparty. Connor Cook is the quarterback now? That’s immaterial. Win 3-2 on the strength of a field goal and #Sadler4Heisman punting 15 times on first down for all I care. Beat the Domers and give them a losing record against the B1G.
Nebraska (-20.5) vs. South Dakota State: Put the week, uh, behind you, I guess? Not pretty times in Lincoln. But we’ve been over that. A lot. Seeing the Cornhuskers prove that they can play defense against a halfway-competent offense would be nice (like, let’s shoot for <400 yards allowed), as would consistent play-calling from the coaching staff that lets Taylor Martinez build up a 4-score lead going into the half and cruise.
Penn State (-20.5) vs. Kent State: Covering that seems like it might be a tall order, but that’d be a nice way for Christian Hackenberg to lead the offense into the B1G season. I don’t doubt him as much, though. The Penn State defense could stand to shut down a bad Kent State offense that only managed 13 points against Liberty – recovering from the 500+ yards allowed last week would be nice, especially in the secondary, as I have no doubt that the Nittany Lions will stop an anemic Golden Flashes rush attack (3.3 ypc).
#18 Northwestern (-28) vs. Maine: The Black Bears have been sneaky efficient, coming in 3-0 on an FCS slate and running a balanced attack that’s racking up 400+ ypg. The ‘Cats still shouldn’t struggle. No one hurt, come out fast, put them away by half, something like 48-14.
#15 Michigan (-18) @ UConn: No Akron scares, hmm? I’m skeptical on Michigan after last week, and seeing Notre Dame struggle at Purdue has led me to question just how good of a win that was for the Wolverines. Devin Gardner needs to be much more efficient in the pocket, and I think that a conservative gameplan that forces him to make a couple play-action throws would set Michigan up nicely for the Big Ten road ahead. They still should cover.
Indiana (+2.5) vs. Mizzou: Not fun seeing IU be dogs at home to a lower-tier SEC team, but this is the opportunity for Kevin Wilson and Co. to stay alive for bowl eligibility. The Tigers struggled with Toledo, not putting the Rockets away until the 4th quarter, but amassing 172 yards on the ground. That, um, doesn’t bode well for Indiana. I’d love to see the Hoosiers win this game by controlling the point of attack on defense and running wild on Mizzou on offense behind Nate Sudfeld, who looked phenomenal against Bowling Green.
So How Will It Go?
What I Want:
9-0. Redeem yourself, B1G. I want to see the Spartans absolutely shut down Brian Kelly’s offense, Connor Cook to play just like he did (efficiently) against the Penguins, and Sparty to ride out of South Bend with a win. I want Indiana to Defend the Rock or whatever the hell they call it and give us a B1G win over the SEC.
What I Expect:
8-1. One of those two will lose, I get the feeling, and I don’t like how many yards Mizzou has been racking up on the ground this season.
Burn Mattresses in the Streets If:
6-3 happens. Minnesota or Iowa lays an eggs to start the morning, setting the stage for the Irish shredding the vaunted MSU defense and Mizzou pummeling Indiana under the lights. Oh, and burn mattresses in the streets because This Is Nebraska and we don’t tolerate giving up 24 points to SDSU. Just because, y’know?