Analysis of Big Ten teams, impressive and depressive

Submitted by Lionsfan on September 24th, 2012 at 3:20 PM

So rather than start another thread questioning the offense, I decided to take a look around our lovely conference:

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The Good:

1: Northwestern/Minnesota - They haven't gone up against great competition, but remain the only two (postseason eligible) teams that are undefeated. Back in August if I told you the October 13th game between the two could feature a 6-0 Northwestern and 5-0 Minnesota, I bet people would slap me silly.

2: Purdue - Again, not so great competition, but since they host Wisconsin at home they should be the favorites for the Leaders division. Let that sink in....Purdue isn't a darkhorse, they're not a longshot, they're the favorites for the Division. Sure it's because the rest of their division imploded, but hey, baby steps.

And that's all the positives for the conference

The Bad:

1: Wisconsin - At worst, they should be 1-3, but in reality they should at least be 2-2. No matter how you slice it, Wisconsin is the leagues Number 1 disappointment. The defending conference champion almost losing to FCS teams, dropping a game against a what will probably be a middle of the pack PAC-12 team, and essentially losing to a WAC team is not how you want to start off your title defense. Couple that with having Montee Ball yet only having the 88th best rushing attack in the country and they're a clear number 1

2: Iowa - Coming in at a close second is the 2-2 Hawkeyes, fresh off a stinging home loss to Central. Going into this year people knew was going to be difficult for the Hawkeyes. They're replacing both coordinators, and were extremely thin at receiver and RB, but they had hopes that with an average defense and a veteran QB, they could make a fight in the division. Plenty of dropped passes later, a few special teams meltdowns, and you've got people questioning whether Iowa will make a bowl or not

3: Illinois/PSU - I don't really know what to say here, at this point we're not talking about teams that are clear disappointments so much as they are performing somewhat below expectations. Illinois has blowout losses to Arizona State and Louisiana Tech (!!!), with a win over WMU and a seal clubbing over Charleston Southern, which is apparently a real school; while Penn State dropped their first two games to Ohio and Virginia, while managing to salvage games over Navy and Temple

4: Nebraska/Michigan - Here we've got teams that could be 4-0 and 3-1 respectively. Both teams could win the conference, but could jsut as easily go 8-4. For Nebraska, the defense should stiffen up if they want some Roses, and for Michigan, well there's about 40 other threads discussing us, go there and talk about it (turnovers)

5: MSU/OSU - They're just below Neb/Mich. Here neither team has lost a game they should have won, but they haven't looked impressive winnning those games. MSU had to give Le'veon Bell 5 million touches in their opener to beat a rebuilding Boise team, and had to do the same gameplan to beat Eastern (!!!!!!!!!). The defense has looked good, but they have also gone up against some pretty bad offenses, Boise got shut out against BYU, and Eastern is Eastern. Notre Dame put up 300 yards on them, but had one big break for a TD, and a bunch of FG's. Right now their best win is over a CMU team. And when you look at OSU, struggles against Central Florida, UAB, and Cal don't bode well for their season. Braxton Miller has been doing it all for the Buckeyes, but as any Michigan fan can tell you, that's not a viable plan for continued success. The passing offense leaves much to be desired and various injuries have knocked their starting RB's out of commision at one point or another. Their defense hasn't been embarrassed, but they can't claim greatness either.

The Meh: Indiana. IU sucks, and a loss to Ball State isn't really surprising, nor are their wins over UMass and Indiana State. Conference play will knock them back down to nothing



September 24th, 2012 at 5:10 PM ^

Just as everyone is expecting Michigan to get better and has seen proof of that, at least defensively, I expect the "top tier" teams to follow suit as well. Wisonsin looks to be a complete mess but a win this weekend will be advantageous for us as will an Ohio victory. I assume everyone will be encouraging these two schools from their couches, bar stools, or other ergonomically designed sitting devices so we come out of the bye week a game up on our stiffest competition for Indy. 


September 24th, 2012 at 5:27 PM ^

But maybe as a post instead of a diary?  The whole data-driven vs. opinion thing.

Sparty still has a great D, and that's the best unit in the conference.  You can ride a good D to title in a year where other teams haven't put it together. Still, I predicted a setback for Sparty based on their inexperienced O, and that's on track (though nothing original in that sentiment, there were others out there believing the loss of Cousins/ Cunningham/ Martin/ and their RG didn't matter much).  Maxwell may find a receiver he clicks with, especially given he seems to be OK passing to Sims.  But their OL problems in pass protection are not going to be solved (can we take advantage of it?), and if we play like we did Saturday, we should contain the run game.

Ohio looks uninspired.  They have talent but don't seem to have the right energy, as zen bullshitty as that sounds.  Maybe it's the bowl ban / tatoo-gate hangover.  With another team I'd say it's bad coaching.  Maybe Miller is a team leader and he's kind of an arrogant dick, thus leading a cadre of arrogant dicks (even moreso than usual).  Who knows?  We'll learn more about both these teams Saturday, but I predict ugly.

Nebraska is going to beat some good teams badly and lose to some badly. 

All goals are still in front of this Michigan team.  Saturday was depressing and encouraging at the same time.


September 26th, 2012 at 11:25 AM ^

yeah MSU is pretty good on Defense still, they havent looked like the world beaters many thought but I think they are still solid which this year is better than anybody else in the big ten. Much like in 2008 where for us a god awful offense made our average defense look bad the same thing is happening for sparty. Their D will keep them in games all year despite maxwells attempts to blow them.


September 24th, 2012 at 11:32 PM ^

This will sound ridiculous but, Central Florida, Ohio U, and LaTech are actually pretty good squads this year. Beyond that, I can't really muster beef for losing to/being challenged by AQ BCS level competition. Having said all that, the B1G is perty terrible.