Scrape the frost off the car and pour some hot coffee if you're headed out early! We'll be sitting in the 30s until 8am, winds out of the southeast at 10mph- and climbing. 45 degrees by 10am, but it'll still feel about 5 degrees cooler with the wind chill. By 10am, winds will have gone up to a steady 15mph with gusts up to 20mph (loose paper blows about, small twigs scatter across the ground).
Remember it's an 11 o-clock CT start! Partly sunny skies and 49 degrees for the start of the game. Winds will have picked up to 15mph, gusts up to 20mph (small trees sway), still out of the southeast.
Warming up just a bit with more clouds building in- but no rain! Mostly cloudy and 52 by halftime, and those SE winds are still climbing. 17mph winds, complete with gusts up to 25mph (empty plastic garbage cans tip over, you can hear the wind "whistling").
Hitting 54 degrees around game's end with mostly sunny skies. SSE winds continue with a steady 17-18mph flow, and gusts remain up to 25mph (you need to use effort to walk against the wind). Winds will stay up through the night into early afternoon Sunday. Temperatures stay mild with all that warm air streaming in- staying in the 50s throughout the entire night, just touching in the upper 40s before Sunday's sunrise. Cloud cover decreases in the evening for partly cloudy skies, which will continue into tomorrow- dry, but windy, conditions whether you're leaving for home after the game or Sunday.
If you're staying home... Not quite as warm (we'll see the warmer, windier weather Sunday) as Iowa, but still a fantastic day! Temperatures in the upper 20s until 9am (yep, it's November), then warming quickly to 42 degrees by noon. Ann Arbor will see a high of 51 degrees, with mostly sunny skies. Winds will be out of the southeast at about 10mph all day. By 9pm, mostly clear skies let us get back down into the 30s, so grab that coat as you're headed out for some late-night celebrating! Go Blue and have safe travels, or fun watching here at home! And don't forget to turn your clocks back!
Christina Burkhart is a meteorologist for NBC/ABC in Traverse City, MI. She grew up in Ann Arbor and associates Saturdays with Michigan football. Go Blue!!
Wisconsin continued its slide down the rankings. Michigan State and Clemson pick up a loss and drop out of the Top 10. The leaderboard was full of people who had picked those three teams last week so this caused a big shakeup in the Pick Six standings.
Elsewhere in the country, the Texas schools, A&M and Tech, both dropped out of the rankings. That leaves Houston as the only school from Texas ranked in the AP poll. I wonder when the last time there was no Texas school ranked. Is it possible we’ll see that happen this year? Probably not. Who is going to beat Houston?
Georgia Tech and Auburn get back into the rankings, so no new unranked teams this week. Southern Miss is hanging on right at the edge of the poll. A weak team could drop out and put USM into the poll for the first time since 2004.
Individual Ballot Analysis
Despite all the losses last week, the perfect ballot hasn’t actually changed teams. It is still LSU, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Michigan State, Southern Cal and Clemson. It has dropped from 109 points last week to 97 points this week though.
We have two new leaders this week. AMazinBlue and orobs climbed up to first place with slightly different entries. They both have Alabama, Stanford, Arkansas and Michigan as their unranked team. In Group D and E they made different choices though. AMazinBlue chose Michigan State and West Virginia which was worth the same amount as orobs’ choice of Georgia and Southern Cal.
At the complete opposite end of the leaderboard, there are now five people who have the absolute lowest possible number of points. All five picked Oklahoma for 19 points and all their other picks are unranked.
Judging your Picks
Last week the MGoBlogosphere had the unfortunate shame of having a worse median ballot than a completely random one. Fortunately this week we’ve improved to the same as a random ballot.
Someone who made their picks completely randomly would expect to earn 51 points. The median of the Pick Six entries is 52 points and the mean is 51 points.
Weekly Brian Watch
I have not given an update on how Brian has been doing in a while. It happened to coincide with a slide down the rankings
|5||52||87||Everything looking good|
|6||70||79||Texas was blown out by Oklahoma|
|7||84||77||Texas loses to Oklahoma State|
|8||307||58||West Virginia loses to Syracuse! Wisconsin gets close loss to Michigan St|
|9||551||52||Wisconsin loses to Ohio State|
He now has undefeated Boise State and Stanford with one good win (USC) between them but no really good wins. Then Wisconsin, West Virginia and Texas all have two losses with one combined good win (Nebraska) and Notre Dame has 3 losses with one good win (Michigan State). That is the perfect recipe for a completely average rank.
Games to Watch
#10 South Carolina at #8 Arkansas
(7:15 pm on ESPN)
Two of the 3 best second-tier SEC teams face each other. This should probably be won handily by Arkansas handily now that South Carolina is without Marcus Lattimore and their QB situation has been Spurriered. But who knows, Arkansas didn’t look that great against Vanderbilt last week.
#17 Kansas State at #3 Oklahoma State
(8:00 pm on ABC/ESPN2)
After starting out 7-0 Kansas State will probably lose their second game. It’s entirely possible they’ll lose their final 5 games of the season. Next week home against Texas A&M is probably their only chance to not have at least a 4 game losing streak. They play at Texas and home against Iowa State after that.
#6 Oregon at Washington
(10:30 pm on FSN)
If Oregon can get by Washington who was briefly ranked two weeks ago then they’ll set up a Pac-12 showdown with #4 Stanford next week. If Washington somehow pulls the upset then they’ll shoot back into the rankings probably around #20.
Am I forgetting anything? Oh, I guess maybe you could watch
#1 LSU at #2 Alabama
(8:00 pm on CBS)
The second-favorite choice from group A (Alabama was on 33% of the entries) facing the least favorite choice (LSU was on 3%). It probably won’t actually affect the standings very much though. The loser will still be in the Top 10 unless it’s a blowout and probably will stay in the Top 5 if it’s close.
Kick it off like we always do…
The early touchdown saw the unadjusted numbers drop below 30% but the spread adjustment kept the expectation at about 70% or above for the whole game.
Top 3 Plays:
Play #45, +12%, Robinson to Roundtree for 49 yards on 3rd and 20.
Play #73, +11%, Robinson to Gallon for 42 yards and 1st and Goal.
Play #67, +10%, Avery picks off the Marve deflection
Bottom 3 Plays:
Play #6, –18%, TerBush to Bush for 48 yards a Purdue lead.
Play #36, –9%, Robinson picked on third down.
Play #46, –9% Gardner picked for the first time this year.
The story of Saturday was mostly Fitz Toussaint, and rightfully so. His +7 on the day was the best mark for a Michigan running back on the season. In fact, other than Vincent Smith’s +6 against Eastern Michigan no Michigan back had even crossed +3 on the season.
The defense continues to do enough to allow the offense to take hold of the game. After four B1G games this season the defense has had a best Win Percent Added (WPA) of +6% from Saturday to a worst of –7% against Northwestern. That is a incredibly tight window to operate in and means that defense has essentially held serve in every B1G game this season. The offense is still doing the heavy lifting, but at least the defense isn’t adding to load this season.
Grades are in PAN (pts/game) and opponent adjusted.
Rush Offense: +3
Vincent Smith: +1
Pass Offense: +5
Rush Defense: +2
Pass Defense: +0
Special Teams: +1 (best of the year)
A little frustrated with the coverage on the Heisman this year. Apparently the NFL GM’s are now deciding who the best performer is in college football. This isn’t a knock on Andrew Luck, but just because the NFL says he is a sure thing, doesn’t automatically mean he is going to have the most deserving year. He has piled up good stats against bad teams so far and the conversation could still change.
Here are my ratings of the top contenders looking at both PAN and WPA.
Player, School: PAN (Rank), WPA (Rank)
Andrew Luck, Stanford: +6 (25th), +1.7 (8th)
Trent Richardson, Alabama: +4 (2nd RB), +.4 (11th)
Kellen Moore, Boise St: +11 (4th), +2.1 (4th)
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin: +13 (1st), +2.4 (1st)
Case Keenum , Houston: +13 (2nd), +2.2 (3rd)
Denard Robinson, Michigan: +6 (22nd), +2.2 (2nd)
Ron Zook Dumb Punt of the Week
Pickings were a little slimmer this week but this week’s award goes to the Will Muschamp and the Florida Gators. Trailing by 4 in the World’s Largest Non-Alcoholic but Actually a Total Drunkfest Party with a little over 8 minutes to go, the Gators faced 4th and 2 at the Georgia 37. This one works out for the Gators, even though they go on to lose, anyway. After taking a Delay of Game to give the punter more room (the first sign of a dumb punt), Florida manages to down the ball at the 4 and get a three and out. Florida gets the ball back at the 36, trading 2+ minutes on the clock to get a yard and a fresh set of downs, the Gators throw three straight incompletions and then go for the 4th and 10 but fail, never getting the ball back.
Projections and Ranking
If you missed it Monday I posted detailed odds for the B1G championship game. Michigan stands at 9.5% overall. Going 4-0 down the stretch bumps it up to nearly 40%. A loss to division foes Iowa or Nebraska effectively kills the chances where going 3-1 with a loss to either Illinois or Ohio still leaves the odds around 20%.
After an expected win last week against Purdue, the overall win projection for Michigan is relatively unchanged in between 9 and 10 wins.
Opp (Change vs last post)
@Iowa: 67% (-1%)
@Illinois: 55% (+6%)
Nebraska: 56% (-8%)
Ohio: 70% (-7%)
My Top 5
1. Oklahoma St
2. Boise St
15. Michigan St
19. Penn St
PAN, National Rank (leader), B1G Rank (leader)
Michigan: +5, 3rd (Georgia Tech), 1st
Iowa: +1, 53rd, 7th
Michigan: +2, 32nd (Boise), 4th (Wisconsin)
Iowa: –6, 118th, 11th
Michigan: +2, 25th (LSU), 5th (Michigan St)
Iowa: +3, 18th, 3rd
Michigan: +1, 43rd (Oklahoma St), 7th (Michigan St)
Iowa: +3, 23rd, 2nd
Michigan: 0, 88th (Florida St), 10th (Purdue)
Iowa: +1, 49th, 7th
The next three games are all slight Michigan favors before matching up with an improving Ohio team. A home game versus Iowa would make me more comfortable but I still think it goes our way, 37-30 Michigan.
One final note is that based on a little twitter prompting from @cdbarker I have begun work on a game-theory manifesto and it's going to be long, probably to be posted in December. Planned topics include: how to use timeouts, suprise on-side kicks, a better 2-point conversion chart and possibly a revisit of 4th down stategy. Hit me in the comments or @The_Mathlete with other things you would like to see.
more roster changes this week :( as well as more depth chart shuffling. the depth chart is based of the one on MGoBlue.com which has Kovacs starting, but view this with a jaundiced eye.
Every Big Ten team has played at least eight games, with Penn State, Illinois, and Indiana playing nine. The Big Ten and SEC have the most teams who are currently bowl eligible, with six – Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State, and Wisconsin. Iowa and Ohio can become bowl eligible with wins this weekend, over Michigan and Indiana, respectively, and Purdue is two wins away.
It’s time to look at the third quarter of the season report card for Big Ten teams, now nine weeks into the season. The report card will factor in each team’s success (or lack thereof) offensively and defensively, while keeping their win-loss record in mind. I’ll also provide a few games to look at over the next three games for each team. I included my percentages for teams to make the Big Ten Title Game, these are in no way scientific. The Mathlete put a lot of work in to his percentages, I did not.
To see articles like this and more, visit my blog at Before Visiting the Sportsbook.
Illinois – Projected Record: (6-3); Actual Record: (6-3)
Total Offense: 402.56 yards/game; 58th. Quarter 2-[448 yards/game; 33rd.]; Quarter 1-[410 yards/game; 60th.]
Run Offense: 198.44 yards/game; 26th. Quarter 2-[226 yards/game; 13th.]; Quarter 1-[223 yards/game; 22nd.]
Pass Offense: 209.9 yards/game; 83rd. Quarter 2-[224 yards/game; 65th.]; Quarter 1-[187 yards/game; 83rd.]
Total Defense: 280.11 yards/game; 9th. Quarter 2-[297 yards/game; 15th.]; Quarter 1-[269 yards/game; 17th.]
Run Defense: 102.89 yards/game; 15th. Quarter 2-[80 yards/game; 9th.]; Quarter 1-[63 yards/game; 7th.]
Pass Defense: 177.22 yards/game; 11th. Quarter 2-[217 yards/game; 56th.]; Quarter 1-[205 yards/game; 59th.]
Notes: The Illini started off the season on fire, starting 6-0 with an average MOV of 16.8, since that time, they are 0-3 with an average MOD of 6.7. While they are bowl eligible, Illinois is looking to go to a more prestigious bowl than the Texas Bowl they attended last year, when they were 6-6. Illinois is led offensively by QB Nathan Scheelhaase (2188 total yards, 63.9% completion, 17 total TDs, but 5 INTs), RB Jason Ford (492 rushing yards, 3.9/carry, and 6 rushing TDs), and WR AJ Jenkins (1030 receiving yards, 15.1/catch, and 7 receiving TDs). The Illini are on a bye this week and finish with rival Michigan at home, Wisconsin at home, and Minnesota on the road. Their best bet for a win is probably Minnesota, but they have lost two of the last four meetings and one of those two wins was by three points.
Big Ten Championship?: With losses to Ohio and Penn State, Illinois is mathematically eliminated from a trip to Indianapolis.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 0%
Wins: Arkansas State (33-15); South Dakota State (56-3); #22 Arizona State (17-14); Western Michigan (23-20); Northwestern* (38-35); @ Indiana* (41-20).
Losses: Ohio* (7-17); @ Purdue* (14-21); @ #19 Penn State (7-10).
Quarter 1 Grade: A-.
Quarter 2 Grade: A-.
Current Grade: C+.
Indiana – Projected Record: (3-6); Actual Record: (1-8)
Total Offense: 378 yards/game; 75th. Quarter 2-[369 yards/game; 82nd.]; Quarter 1-[417 yards/game; 55th.]
Run Offense: 163.56 yards/game; 54th. Quarter 2-[119 yards/game; 92nd.]; Quarter 1-[169 yards/game; 55th.]
Pass Offense: 214.40 yards/game; 75th. Quarter 2-[256 yards/game; 44th.]; Quarter 1-[247 yards/game; 38th.]
Total Defense: 458.33 yards/game; 112th. Quarter 2-[422 yards/game; 97th.]; Quarter 1-[373 yards/game; 73rd.]
Run Defense: 234.67 yards/game; 117th. Quarter 2-[210 yards/game; 109th.]; Quarter 1-[177 yards/game; 87th.]
Pass Defense: 223.67 yards/game; 62nd. Quarter 2-[212 yards/game; 48th.] Quarter 1-[195 yards/game; 48th.]
Notes: Indiana is in the midst of a rebuilding year, but even by Indiana standards, this year is exceptionally bad. The Hoosiers are in the midst of their worst year since 1984, when they were winless. Despite the bad year, Indiana has only been blown out in a handful of games, with their first four losses coming by seven points or less. Unfortunately, their average MOD since then is 28.75, with none of the losses being by less than 21 points. QB Tre Robinson (791 total yards, 59.7% completion, 4 total TDs, but 2 INTs) is the third quarterback for the Hoosiers this season. RB Stephen Houston (577 rushing yards, 5.2/carry, and 6 rushing TDs) and WR Duwyce Wilson (217 receiving yards, 12.8/catch, and 3 receiving TDs) lead the Hoosiers offensively. Indiana will be hard pressed to win even one of their final games, likely giving them their worst record since 2003, playing in Columbus, East Lansing, and home to Purdue.
Big Ten Championship?: Indiana has been mathematically eliminated.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 0%
Wins: South Carolina State (38-21).
Losses: vs. Ball State (20-27); Virginia (31-34); @ North Texas (21-24); Penn State* (10-16); #19 Illinois* (20-41); @ #4 Wisconsin *(7-59); @ Iowa* (24-45); Northwestern* (38-59).
Quarter 1 Grade: D.
Quarter 2 Grade: D-.
Current Grade: F.
Iowa – Projected Record: (7-1); Actual Record: (5-3)
Total Offense: 402.63 yards/game; 57th. Quarter 2-[388 yards/game; 70th.]; Quarter 1-[411 yards/game; 59th.]
Run Offense: 159.13 yards/game; 60th. Quarter 2-[129 yards/game; 78th.]; Quarter 1-[127 yards/game; 82nd.]
Pass Offense: 243.5 yards/game; 50th. Quarter 2-[281 yards/game; 28th.]; Quarter 1-[284 yards/game; 22nd.]
Total Defense: 402.25 yards/game; 76th. Quarter 2-[388 yards/game; 66th.]; Quarter 1-[397 yards/game; 88th.]
Run Defense: 163.63 yards/game; 69th. Quarter 2-[152 yards/game; 64th.]; Quarter 1-[157 yards/game; 76th.]
Pass Defense: 238.63 yards/game; 81st. Quarter 2-[235 yards/game; 80th.]; Quarter 1-[240 yards/game; 82nd.]
Notes: With numerous losses offensively, including QB Ricky Stanzi and WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, the Hawkeyes knew this would be a tough year. Fortunately for them, the non-conference schedule was Snuggie soft, allowing them to pick up three of their five wins to date. The Hawkeyes have been led by Junior QB James Vandenberg (1918 passing yards, 62.2% completion, and 20 total TDs), RB Marcus Coker (969 rushing yards, 5.3/carry, and 10 rushing TDs), and WR Marvin McNutt (858 receiving yards, 17.9/catch, and 9 receiving TDs). Iowa needs one more win to be bowl eligible, and they missed the potential to do that last weekend, with a loss to lowly Minnesota. Iowa finishes up with Michigan and Michigan State visiting Iowa City and visits to Purdue and Nebraska. A loss to Minnesota, because of how awful the Gophers are, takes Iowa from what could have been a C or C+ down to a D+. Could Iowa miss their first bowl game since 2007?
Big Ten Championship?: Despite two losses, Iowa controls their own destiny. Wins over Michigan, Michigan State, and Nebraska (as well as Purdue) would create, at most, a three way tie for first, and Iowa would be 2-0 over its competitors. Any loss down the stretch likely eliminates Iowa.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 10%
Wins: Tennessee Tech (34-7); Pittsburgh (31-27); Louisiana-Monroe (45-17); Northwestern* (41-31); Indiana* (45-24).
Losses: @ Iowa State (41-44 OT); @ Penn State* (3-13); @ Minnesota* (21-22).
Quarter 1 Grade: C.
Quarter 2 Grade: C-.
Current Grade: D+.
Michigan – Projected Record: (6-2); Actual Record: (7-1)
Total Offense: 463.14 yards/game; 21st. Quarter 2-[491 yards/game; 14th.]; Quarter 1-[461.5 yards/game; 24th.]
Run Offense: 253.29 yards/game; 8th. Quarter 2-[270 yards/game; 7th.]; Quarter 1-[245 yards/game; 13th.]
Pass Offense: 209.9 yards/game; 79th. Quarter 2-[168 yards/game; 105th.]; Quarter 1-[177 yards/game; 87th.]
Total Defense: 340.57 yards/game; 35th. Quarter 2-[348 yards/game; 39th.]; Quarter 1-[374.5 yards/game; 76th.]
Run Defense: 144.29 yards/game; 55th. Quarter 2-[142 yards/game; 58th.]; Quarter 1-[202.5 yards/game; 103rd.]
Pass Defense: 196.29 yards/game; 26th. Quarter 2-[206 yards/game; 39th.]; Quarter 1-[172 yards/game; 26th.]
Notes: Michigan has now equaled last year’s win total, having their most wins since 2007. Since 2007, Michigan is 5-9 against its rivals (4-1 against Notre Dame, 1-4 against Michigan State, and 0-4 against Ohio), a number that could improve with the last game of the regular season. QB Denard Robinson (2104 total yards, 53.5% completion, and 21 total TDs, but 11 INTs) still continues to make errors throwing the ball. RBs Fitzgerald Toussaint (423 rushing yards, 6.0/carry, and 4 rushing TDs) and Vincent Smith (268 rushing yards, 6.5/carry, and 2 rushing TDs) lead the Wolverine ground attack. Michigan now hits the road for two games, at Iowa and Illinois, before returning home for clashes with Nebraska and Ohio to end the year. Wins in two of those remaining games allows the Wolverines to match their 2007 win total, wins in three allows them to exceed it, and wins in all four may give them a trip to Indianapolis.
Big Ten Championship?: Michigan is very much alive in their chances to represent the Legends Division in Indianapolis, but they will need some help. First, Michigan likely needs to win out, as Michigan State holds the tiebreaker over them. Secondly, they will need Michigan State to lose at least one (the best opportunities are at Iowa and at Northwestern).
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 19%
Wins: Western Michigan (34-10); Notre Dame (35-31); Eastern Michigan (31-3); San Diego State (28-7); Minnesota* (58-0); Northwestern* (42-24); Purdue* (36-14)
Losses: @ #23 Michigan State (14-28).
Quarter 1 Grade: B.
Quarter 2 Grade: B+.
Current Grade: A-.
Michigan State – Projected Record: (5-3); Actual Record: (6-2)
Total Offense: 363.63 yards/game 84th. Quarter 2-[398 yards/game; 61st.]; Quarter 1-[396 yards/game; 67th.]
Run Offense: 133.38 yards/game; 81st. Quarter 2-[129 yards/game; 79th.]; Quarter 1-[125 yards/game; 83rd.]
Pass Offense: 230.3 yards/game; 60th. Quarter 2-[269 yards/game; 34th.]; Quarter 1-[270 yards/game; 26th.]
Total Defense: 228.75 yards/game; 2nd. Quarter 2-[173 yards/game; 1st.]; Quarter 1-[192 yards/game; 4th.]
Run Defense: 101.50 yards/game; 14th. Quarter 2-[64 yards/game; 3rd.]; Quarter 1-[88 yards/game; 28th.]
Pass Defense: 127.25 yards/game; 1st. Quarter 2-[109 yards/game; 2nd.]; Quarter 1-[104 yards/game; 3rd.]
Notes: Michigan State hasn’t had back-to-back nine or more win seasons since 1965-1966, but right now, they have the potential to do just that. To do that, though, will require Michigan State to win at least one road game; MSU is 5-0 at home with an average MOV of 24.8, but 1-2 on the road with an average MOD of 12. Senior QB Kirk Cousins (1693 passing yards, 63.6% completion, 11 passing TDs, but 5 INTs) RB Edwin Baker (472 rushing yards, 4.3/carry, and 2 rushing TDs), and WR BJ Cunningham (723 receiving yards, 15.1/catch, and 3 receiving TDs) lead the Spartans offensively. The Spartans are already bowl eligible, but have their sights set on a trip to Indianapolis. The Spartans would have had an A- even with a respectable loss to Nebraska, except they were dominated. Michigan State finishes with Minnesota visiting East Lansing, a visit to Iowa City, Indiana coming into town, and a visit to Evanston to end the year.
Big Ten Championship?: Michigan State was in the driver’s seat to represent the Legends Division until a trip to Lincoln. Now the Spartans will need Nebraska to lose at least once, and Michigan State to likely win out. Michigan State has the softest schedule left, giving them the advantage over Nebraska, despite Nebraska controlling their own destiny. Nebraska has trips to Penn State and Michigan on back-to-back weeks. If Nebraska wins in Happy Valley, will Dantonio be forced to hope for a Michigan win, this time?
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 40%
Wins: Youngstown State (28-6); Florida Atlantic (44-0); Central Michigan (45-7); @ Ohio* (10-7); #11 Michigan* (28-14); #6 Wisconsin* (37-31).
Losses: @ Notre Dame (13-31); @ #14 Nebraska* (3-24).
Quarter 1 Grade: C+.
Quarter 2 Grade: C+.
Current Grade: B+.
Minnesota – Projected Record: (3-5); Actual Record: (2-6)
Total Offense: 303.38 yards/game; 113th. Quarter 2-[300 yards/game; 110th.]; Quarter 1-[373 yards/game; 78th.]
Run Offense: 147.25 yards/game; 72nd. Quarter 2-[145 yards/game; 65th.]; Quarter 1-[175 yards/game; 48th.]
Pass Offense: 156.1 yards/game; 107th. Quarter 2-[164 yards/game; 107th.]; Quarter 1-[197 yards/game; 77th.]
Total Defense: 430.75 yards/game; 97th. Quarter 2-[414 yards/game; 91st.]; Quarter 1-[399 yards/game; 90th.]
Run Defense: 201.75 yards/game; 103rd. Quarter 2-[167 yards/game; 77th.] Quarter 1-[93 yards/game; 31st.]
Pass Defense: 229 yards/game; 67th. Quarter 2-[248 yards/game; 91st.] Quarter 1-[305 yards/game; 112th.]
Notes: Minnesota showed signs of life last week, defeating Iowa for the second straight year; Minnesota has now won three of the last six meetings. Excluding the win over Iowa, Minnesota is 0-3 in conference with an average MOD of 39; they have been double-digit underdogs in five of their eight games this season. Minnesota has also lost a game despite being more than a three-touchdown favorite. QB Marqueis Gray (1440 total yards, 50.8% completion, 7 total TDs, but 4 INTs) and RBs Duane Bennett (406 rushing yards, 4.1/carry, and 3 rushing TDs) and Donnell Kirkwood (190 rushing yards, 3.7/carry, and 3 rushing TDs) lead the Golden Gopher offense. Minnesota could be bowl eligible if they win the final four games, but with a trip to East Lansing, playing host to Wisconsin, visiting Evanston, and host to Illinois, they will lucky to win even one of those games. One win in the final four games will allow the Gophers to equal their win total from last season.
Big Ten Championship?: Minnesota’s chances for making a trip to Indianapolis aren’t dead yet. Despite losses to Michigan and Nebraska, (1) if both Michigan and Nebraska end up with four losses, (2) Michigan State with at least three losses, (3) Iowa losing at least one more, and (4) Minnesota winning out, Minnesota could represent the Legends Division. The chances of that happening? Virtually zero.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 1%
Wins: Miami (Ohio) (29-23); Iowa* (22-21).
Losses: @ USC (17-19); New Mexico State (21-28); North Dakota State (24-37); @ #19 Michigan* (0-58); @ Purdue* (17-45); #13 Nebraska* (14-41).
Quarter 1 Grade: D+.
Quarter 2 Grade: F.
Current Grade: D-.
Nebraska – Projected Record: (7-1); Actual Record: (7-1)
Total Offense: 412.38 yards/game; 51st. Quarter 2-[419 yards/game; 46th.]; Quarter 1-[422 yards/game; 51st.]
Run Offense: 252.13 yards/game; 9th. Quarter 2-[247 yards/game; 8th.]; Quarter 1-[252 yards/game; 11th.]
Pass Offense: 160.3 yards/game; 106th. Quarter 2-[168 yards/game; 104th.]; Quarter 1-[169 yards/game; 92nd.]
Total Defense: 334.63 yards/game; 29th. Quarter 2-[373 yards/game; 59th.]; Quarter 1-[364 yards/game; 67th.]
Run Defense: 155 yards/game; 63rd. Quarter 2-[168 yards/game; 80th.] Quarter 1-[132 yards/game; 61st.]
Pass Defense: 179.63 yards/game; 12th. Quarter 2-[205 yards/game; 37th.]; Quarter 1-[232 yards/game; 78th.]
Notes: Nebraska was welcomed to the Big Ten with a 48-17 thrashing in Madison. Since then, Nebraska is 3-0 with a 18.3 average MOV, looking for their third back-to-back-to-back double digit win season, their first since 1999-2001. QB Taylor Martinez (1915 total yards, 54.9% completion, 17 total TDs, but 7 INTs) continues to panic when getting pressured. RB Rex Burkhead (882 rushing yards, 5.3/carry, and 12 rushing TDs) has come up big when needed the most, totaling 249 yards and 5 total TDs against Michigan State and Ohio; he has five 100 yard rushing or more games to date. Nebraska finishes with Northwestern, visits to Happy Valley and Ann Arbor, and playing host to Iowa in the Heroes Game.
Big Ten Championship?: As it stands, Nebraska leads in the three way tie, by virtue of divisional record (2-0) (Michigan State is 1-1 in division and Michigan is 2-1). Nebraska is in the driver’s seat; if they win out, they will be in Indianapolis. However, road games in Happy Valley, and, more importantly, Ann Arbor, could easily put them behind Michigan State and Michigan.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 30%
Wins: Chattanooga (40-7); Fresno State (42-29); Washington (51-38); @ Wyoming (38-14); Ohio* (34-27); @ Minnesota* (41-14); #11 Michigan State* (24-3).
Losses: @ #7 Wisconsin* (17-48).
Quarter 1 Grade: B+.
Quarter 2 Grade: C+.
Current Grade: A-.
Northwestern – Projected Record: (5-3); Actual Record: (3-5)
Total Offense: 431.75 yards/game; 37th. Quarter 2-[387 yards/game; 71st.]; Quarter 1-[390 yards/game; 71st.]
Run Offense: 187.75 yards/game; 33rd. Quarter 2-[188 yards/game; 37th.] Quarter 1-[220 yards/game; 24th.]
Pass Offense: 244 yards/game; 49th. Quarter 2-[167 yards/game; 106th.]; Quarter 1-[169 yards/game; 93rd.]
Total Defense: 431.63 yards/game; 98th. Quarter 2-[439 yards/game; 104th.]; Quarter 1-[394 yards/game; 87th.]
Run Defense: 193.63 yards/game; 95th. Quarter 2-[176 yards/game; 87th.]; Quarter 1-[205 yards/game; 105th.]
Pass Defense: 238 yards/game; 78th. Quarter 2-[264 yards/game; 97th.]; Quarter 1-[188 yards/game; 39th.]
Notes: The Wildcats were hoping to be a Legends Division contender, but opening conference play with four straight losses wasn’t the way to go about it. The schedule doesn’t get any easier, either, as the remaining three teams on their schedule are a combined 7-5 in conference play. QB Dan Persa (1251 passing yards, 75.5% completion, and 9 passing TDs) is now healthy, and won his first game of the season this past week, in Bloomington. All-purpose player/QB Kain Colter (1269 total yards, 66.7% completion, and 11 total TDs) and WR Jeremy Ebert (569 receiving yards, 12.6/catch, and 7 receiving TDs) lead Northwestern. Northwestern has made three straight bowl games, but haven’t won a bowl game since the 1948 Rose Bowl. They have their work cut out for them if they want to make a fourth straight, and snap that bowl losing streak. Games at Nebraska, home to Rice, Minnesota, and Michigan State loom; Northwestern will need to win at least three of those to be bowl eligible.
Big Ten Championship?: A loss to Nebraska officially will eliminate Northwestern from a chance to play in the inaugural Big Ten Title Game. As it stands, the following need to happen in order for Northwestern to make Indianapolis: (1) Northwestern needs to win their remaining three Big Ten games, (2) Michigan must lose their remaining four conference games, (3) Nebraska needs to lose their remaining three conference games, but beat Michigan, (4) Michigan State needs to lose two of their remaining three conference games (beside Minnesota), and (5) Iowa needs to lose three of their remaining four conference games. Hope is still alive, but Nebraska must beat Michigan, Iowa needs to beat Nebraska, and Michigan State needs to lose to Indiana and Minnesota. Northwestern won’t make the title game.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 0%
Wins: @ Boston College (24-17); Eastern Illinois (42-21); @ Indiana* (59-38)
Losses: @ Army (14-21); @ #24 Illinois* (35-38); #12 Michigan* (24-42); @ Iowa* (31-41); #21 Penn State* (24-34).
Quarter 1 Grade: B-.
Quarter 2 Grade: C.
Current Grade: D.
Ohio – Projected Record: (6-2); Actual Record: (5-3)
Total Offense: 309.63 yards/game; 110th. Quarter 2-[315 yards/game; 105th.]; Quarter 1-[342 yards/game; 86th.]
Run Offense: 186.63 yards/game; 36th. Quarter 2-[169 yards/game; 48th.]; Quarter 1-[170 yards/game; 53rd.]
Pass Offense: 123 yards/game; 116th. Quarter 2-[154 yards/game; 111th.]; Quarter 1-[172 yards/game; 91st.]
Total Defense: 309.5 yards/game; 17th. Quarter 2-[308 yards/game; 22nd.]; Quarter 1-[263 yards/game; 14th.]
Run Defense: 113.13 yards/game; 26th. Quarter 2-[167 yards/game; 36th.]; Quarter 1-[107 yards/game; 37th.]
Pass Defense: 196.38 yards/game; 27th. Quarter 2-[192 yards/game; 21st.]; Quarter 1-[156 yards/game; 17th.]
Notes: The Buckeyes started the season 3-3, but now find themselves with a shot to win the Leaders Division. To do that, though, they will need a little help. Freshman QB Braxton Miller (834 total yards, 52.4% completion, 8 total TDs, but 2 INTs) is under center for the Buckeyes. Ohio has also had contributions from RB Carlos Hyde (408 rushing yards, 5.2/carry, and 5 rushing TDs) and TE Jake Stoneburner (150 receiving yards, 12.5/catch, and 6 receiving TDs). Ohio has made 11 straight bowl games, last missing a bowl game in 1999 (John Cooper’s second to last year); expect that streak to continue. Big wins at Illinois and home to Wisconsin in the recent weeks elevate the Buckeyes to a B. Indiana visits Columbus this week, Ohio will visit Purdue the following week, welcome in Penn State for their home finale, and visit Michigan on the final week of the regular season.
Big Ten Championship?: Ohio’s two losses in conference are from Legends Divisions members. Ohio will need to (1) win out (a loss to Michigan makes things all the more difficult) and (2) need another Penn State loss OR (1) defeat Purdue, Indiana, and Penn State, (2) need two more Penn State losses, and (3) need one more loss from Wisconsin. Despite being two and a half games behind Penn State, they are in decent shape, as Penn State still plays Nebraska at home and Wisconsin on the road in addition to Ohio.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 30%
Wins: Akron (42-0); Toledo (27-22); Colorado (37-17); @ #16 Illinois* (17-7); #15 Wisconsin* (33-29).
Losses: @ Miami (Florida) (6-24); Michigan State* (7-10); @ #14 Nebraska* (27-34).
Quarter 1 Grade: C.
Quarter 2 Grade: D.
Current Grade: B.
Penn State – Projected Record: (7-2); Actual Record: (8-1)
Total Offense: 356.67 yards/game; 88th. Quarter 2-[374 yards/game; 81st.]; Quarter 1-[306 yards/game; 103rd.]
Run Offense: 162.44 yards/game; 56th. Quarter 2-[162 yards/game; 53rd.]; Quarter 1-[148 yards/game; 66th.]
Pass Offense: 194.2 yards/game; 91st. Quarter 2-[222 yards/game; 66th.]; Quarter 1-[158 yards/game; 100th.]
Total Defense: 282.33 yards/game; 10th. Quarter 2-[251 yards/game; 4th.]; Quarter 1-[242 yards/game; 9th.]
Run Defense: 111.89 yards/game; 24th. Quarter 2-[93 yards/game; 17th.]; Quarter 1-[111 yards/game; 42nd.]
Pass Defense: 170.44 yards/game; 8th. Quarter 2-[158 yards/game; 5th.]; Quarter 1-[130 yards/game; 7th.]
Notes: Penn State has at least eight wins in their first nine games for the third time since 2008. Penn State also holds in the advantage in the Leaders Division, having a two and a half game lead over their nearest competitors. The Nittany Lion offense is led by QB Matt McGloin (1193 passing TDs, 55.6% completion, 7 passing TDs, but 3 INTs), RB Silas Redd (1006 rushing yards, 5.2/carry, and 7 rushing TDs), and WR Derek Moye (514 receiving yards, 17.1/catch, and 3 receiving TDs). Penn State will make their seventh straight bowl game. Because Penn State is 7-1, with their only loss to the #2 team in the nation, I feel obligated to give Penn State some kind of A; however, Penn State has had some real nail-biters in the recent weeks, playing teams with a combined 5-9 record in conference play. They’ll earn an A-, for now. The schedule gets much tougher for Penn State, with Nebraska visiting Penn State next week. Penn State then hits the road for its final two games, to Columbus and then to Madison.
Big Ten Championship?: If Penn State wins out, they will represent the Leaders Division. Even if Penn State goes 2-1 down the stretch they will represent the Leaders Division. If Penn State only wins one, it gets a bit more complicated, as a win over Nebraska would give them a divisional record of 3-2, but a win over Ohio or Wisconsin would put them at 4-1. The Nebraska game means the least out of the last three. Three losses down the stretch likely eliminates Penn State.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 45%
Wins: Indiana State (41-7); @ Temple (14-10); Eastern Michigan (34-6); @ Indiana* (16-10); Iowa* (13-3); Purdue* (23-18); @ Northwestern* (34-24); Illinois* (10-7).
Losses: Alabama (27-11).
Quarter 1 Grade: B-.
Quarter 2 Grade: B.
Current Grade: A-.
Purdue – Projected Record: (6-2); Actual Record: (4-4)
Total Offense: 377.5 yards/game; 76th. Quarter 2-[412 yards/game; 50th.]; Quarter 1-[471 yards/game; 22nd.]
Run Offense: 181.75 yards/game; 42nd. Quarter 2-[215 yards/game; 20th.]; Quarter 1-[258 yards/game; 9th.]
Pass Offense: 195.8 yards/game; 89th. Quarter 2-[207 yards/game; 81st.]; Quarter 1-[212 yards/game; 64th.]
Total Defense: 374.63 yards/game; 53rd. Quarter 2-[346 yards/game; 36th.]; Quarter 1-[321 yards/game; 43rd.]
Run Defense: 169.50 yards/game; 75th.Quarter 2-[143 yards/game; 59th.]; Quarter 1-[109 yards/game; 40th.]
Pass Defense: 205.13 yards/game; 40th. Quarter 2-[203 yards/game; 32nd.]; Quarter 1-[212 yards/game; 63rd.]
Notes: Purdue is two wins away from making a bowl game, but may fall short. Two of Purdue’s losses are by a combined seven points, losing on a blocked field goal to Rice (on the final play of the game) and by five at Penn State. Purdue has played QB Caleb TerBush (1283 passing yards, 62.2% completion, and 10 passing TDs, but 4 INTs) as compared with QB Robert Marve (283 passing yards, 54.5% completion, 3 passing TDs, but 2 INTs). The ground game has paced the Boilermakers, led by RBs Ralph Bolden (420 rushing yards, 4.5/carry, and 3 rushing TDs) and Akeem Shavers (328 rushing yards, 5.0/carry, and 5 rushing TDs). Purdue has games remaining at Wisconsin, home to Ohio and Iowa, and a road game at Indiana to wrap up the regular season. Games against Wisconsin and Ohio will likely yield losses, so Purdue will most likely need to end the season on a two game winning streak to make a bowl game for the first time since 2007.
Big Ten Championship?: Given that Purdue has already lost to Penn State, one more loss will eliminate Purdue from a potential trip to Indianapolis. Purdue needs (1) to win out and (2) Penn State to lose out. Unlike other teams, Purdue’s task is simple, and Penn State could very well lose out, but Purdue won’t win out.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 1%
Wins: Middle Tennessee (27-24); SE Missouri State (59-0); Minnesota* (45-17); #23 Illinois (21-14).
Losses: @ Rice (22-24); Notre Dame (10-38); @ Penn State* (18-23); @ #18 Michigan (14-36).
Quarter 1 Grade: C.
Quarter 2 Grade: C-.
Current Grade: D+.
Wisconsin – Projected Record: (6-2); Actual Record: (6-2)
Total Offense: 490.5 yards/game; 10th. Quarter 2-[523 yards/game; 9th.]; Quarter 1-[505 yards/game; 14th.]
Run Offense: 231.75 yards/game; 13th. Quarter 2-[243 yards/game; 9th.]; Quarter 1-[238 yards/game; 17th.]
Pass Offense: 258.8 yards/game; 35th. Quarter 2-[280 yards/game; 29th.]; Quarter 1-[267 yards/game; 27th.]
Total Defense: 295.5 yards/game; 11th. Quarter 2-[264 yards/game; 7th.]; Quarter 1-[271 yards/game; 18th.]
Run Defense: 139.5 yards/game; 53rd. Quarter 2-[103 yards/game; 22nd.]; Quarter 1-[77 yards/game; 18th.]
Pass Defense: 156 yards/game; 4th. Quarter 2-[161 yards/game; 6th.]; Quarter 1-[193 yards/game; 44th.]
Notes: Wisconsin started the season talking about a national championship. They started the season at 6-0, averaging 50.1 points per game. Since then, Wisconsin is 0-2, averaging 30 points per game. At one point, Wisconsin controlled their own destiny, now they must rely on other teams to help them get to Indianapolis. Wisconsin is led by QB Russell Wilson (2033 passing yards, 71.3% completion, and 22 total TDs), RB Montee Ball (853 rushing yards, 6.0/carry, and 18 rushing TDs), and WR Jared Abbrederis (595 receiving yards, 16.5/catch, and 4 receiving TDs). Wisconsin is two plays away from still being undefeated. Their defense was exposed against UNLV and further exposed in the last two games. The exposed defense and mistakes by Russell Wilson allow Wisconsin’s grade to drop by a letter. Wisconsin will make their tenth straight bowl game, the question is whether it will be a BCS bowl, January 2nd bowl, or a lower tier bowl game. Games against Purdue, at Minnesota and Illinois, and home to Penn State will decide Wisconsin’s holiday destination.
Big Ten Championship?: Wisconsin will need some help from teams playing Penn State now. Wisconsin will need to (1) win out, (2) Penn State losing at least one game in addition to the finale, and (3) an Ohio loss OR (1) Wisconsin winning the divisional games and losing to Minnesota, (2) Penn State losing out, and (3) Ohio losing two games. Wisconsin is in trouble.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 24%
Wins: UNLV (51-17); Oregon State (49-7); vs. Northern Illinois (49-7); South Dakota (59-10); #8 Nebraska* (48-17); Indiana* (59-7).
Losses: @ #16 Michigan State* (31-37); @ Ohio* (29-33).
Quarter 1 Grade: A.
Quarter 2 Grade: A.
Current Grade: B.