In response to the question of whether we actually improved on offense or not in the B10 this year, I offer the following thoughts.
see Brian's post:
It is certainly possible to cherry pick stats to try to prove a point and I think Brians points are on the whole well balanced in the above.
However, for me at least, if I was trying to measure improvement for college football in the big10 relative to peers my hierarchy would start with Wins, then Offensive Points scored to measure the offense relative to others and Defensive points allowed to measure the D.
As for Wins, none of the other stats, no matter how hard you look at them, get you to a bowl game and that is the goal.
For offensive points scored in the Big10 and measuring the offense, we were exactly the same as last season 22.1 points per game scored in the Big10(and that includes the 14 points the defense put on the board for us). Relative to the competition we went backwards. 8th in 2008 and 9th in 2009. So others improved at scoring points but we didn't move. Sure we felt more confidence in our offense, but it didn't translate to an improvement in points scored (which is the goal of the offense).
For defensive points allowed in the Big10 and measuring the Defense, we allowed 33.5 in 2008 and 33.2 in 2009. Actually, we improved purely on the basis of points allowed from 2008. However, relative to conference we went backwards here to from 10th in 2008 to 11th in 2009.
So, strictly speaking we went backwards on offense relative to Big10 and backwards on Defense relative to Big 10 from 2008 to 2009. Since my initial point was it is all about the wins, that is consistent with the story of offense and defense, We went from 2 wins in 2008 to 1 win in 2009.
No matter how we hard we try to explain that our offense improved and our defense did not, strictly speaking the improvement in offense primarily shows up in the warm and fuzzy feelings we had from the 4-0 start. Unfortunately, relative to the competition in the Big10, we did not show improvement on either side of the ball.