Things we have learned from 5 weeks of football...

Submitted by MGrether on September 29th, 2012 at 10:27 PM

- The B1G sucks this year and is a clear level beneath the SEC, Big 12 and PAC 12... but still above the MAC.

- There is no "clear cut" set of school who should be considered Elite top 10. We have an Elite 3-4... but after that it is a hot mess that seems to be shifting around more this year then I remember is years past. 

Other thoughts?



September 30th, 2012 at 10:49 AM ^

Definitely.  As will some teams simply improving as they get through the Big 10 season.  Last year's two BCS teams were pretty good - that Oregon victory was by the skin of their teeth, as was UM's over VT.  The problem has been with the depth of the conference, but teams like NW, Wiscy, and PSU are frankly playing better than I had imagined, and even Minny looks like a dangerous squad.  Sure, Nebraska looks overrated but it is all about matchups.


September 30th, 2012 at 12:29 AM ^

After going 4-6 and 3-5 in bowls the last two years, I doubt this is the year the conf turns things around.  Especially considering one of the league's best teams (Ohio State) is going to be sidelined.  Almost any situation where you get a Big Ten #3 vs SEC #3 or Pac 12 #3 type of bowl matchup its going to go against the Big Ten.

Just face it: the league is bad this year.  Maybe they will be better next year...


September 30th, 2012 at 10:52 AM ^

I'm not disagreeing the conference is down, but I'm also not sold that the #3 team in the Big 10 (which looks like MSU, UM, or Wiscy) wouldn't be able to handle the #3 in the SEC (which is what, Florida or Georgia) in a bowl game.  Also, after USC and Oregon nobody in the Pac-12 scares me. 

The Big 10 lacks the dominant teams at the top and that's why it looks so down; I do think the conference will play reasonably well this year.


September 30th, 2012 at 10:17 PM ^

Right now it's Georgia who also happens to be ranked #5 in the country. Considering MSU and UGA played an OT game last year and one team is better (Georgia) and one is worse (MSU) who do you like in that game?

The SEC may be top-heavy, but it's real heavy at the top with 5 teams in the top 10.

South Bend Wolverine

September 29th, 2012 at 10:34 PM ^

I agree on the lack of elite teams.  Just look at the folks in the top ten right now.  ND may have the worst offense of any top-ten ranked team in history, Stanford lost to WSU, and a number of others have struggled with unranked opposition.  Really Alabama and Oregon are the only teams that have really shined to me.  LSU is right up there, but has struggled a great deal on more than one occasion.  Just an off year for football overall.


September 30th, 2012 at 10:54 AM ^

This.  UM gave up 25 to Air Force and people were freaking out; LSU gives up 22 and everyone just figures it was LSU toying with them.

Outside of Alabama, there is nobody in the SEC who scares me.  I truly believe that if UM had played LSU in the Jerryworld, it would have been much closer. 


September 29th, 2012 at 10:35 PM ^

Don't get it twisted. No one recognizes defense anymore. The Big12 and Pac12 don't play any. For a while there I was letting the media storyline about how the B1G is down and never coming back get to me, but no more. I agree that we will bounce back this season.


September 29th, 2012 at 10:45 PM ^

B1G is down, and so is everyone else. Aside from Alabama and LSU, who does the SEC have? Arkansas was supposed to be elite. Georgia is supposed to be elite, but barely beat unranked Tennessee. What's the Pac-12 got? Oregon, maybe. USC lost against Stanford (again), and Stanford is apparently shaky after what happened earlier this week.

Everyone who is not Alabama, LSU, or Oregon gets a giant MEH from me right now. And heck, we don't really know much about LSU or Oregon yet.

Perkis-Size Me

September 29th, 2012 at 11:29 PM ^

LSU is pretty meh, too. They let an FCS hang around with them today, and barely beat Auburn. I think Oregon will run the table in the PAC 12 and make the title game, but Saban will somehow craft a masterful game plan and completely shut down their offense. I swear that man has sold his soul for the amount of success he's had.

Alabama is, in my opinion, the only real elite team in the country. That's a junior NFL team.


September 30th, 2012 at 1:17 AM ^

At the top
• Mich loses to ND
• MSU loses to ND
• Nebraska loses to UCLA
• Wiscy loses to OrSt (Wiscy soon to fall to the middlings)
• Ohio escapes against Cal at home

Middling teams w/ a shot at their divisions due to weakness
• Purdue loses to ND
• Northwestern held serve and is 5-0. 
      Unthinkable at the beginning of the season,
      but now it's not out of the realm of possibility
      that a 40ish NW could squeak by Mich, MSU, & Neb clubs
     that haven't looked particularly Top 25 worthy.

In the lower middle class
• Iowa loses to Iowa State and Central Mich
• PSU loses to Ohio-Athens
      (OK, they could rebound & join the middlings)
• Minnesota also held serve at 4-0 OOC,
      but they've already been exposed by Iowa,
      and are soon to join the bottom-dwellers

The basement
• Illinois gets smoked by Lousiana Tech
• Indiana loses to Ball State

One Inch Woody…

September 29th, 2012 at 10:47 PM ^

After watching the *best* teams play from each conference, it is clear that there is one clear best conference this season, the SEC only because they have Bama and LSU. All of the other teams are quite flawed and haven't faced challenging competition. The PAC 12 got lucky this year in that all of their wins over BCS does tended to be at home while last season they played a lot of those games away (Asu, Ucla, etc).

Honestly the Big 10 might be the 3rd best /deepest conference but all teams are middling. The PAC 12 would be a close 4th, Acc 5th, and the Big 12 is the clear second.


September 30th, 2012 at 11:01 AM ^

Nothing about the Big 12 impressed my today.  When teams are dropping 60+ points on each other, that's not a good sign.  Honestly, if Baylor had picked off one pass or caused one turnoever against WVU, they would have won.  I hated hearing people on Gameday talking up the offensive firepower they were seeing in the Big 12 while knocking teams playing defense like MSU and OSU.  I'm not saying yesterday's game was magic, but watching WVU and Baylor play was equally offensive if you like to see teams at least try to stop each other.


September 30th, 2012 at 12:10 PM ^

I thought so too. To the pollsters it doesn't matter at all who you play, or how bad your defense is. You can play the weakest of cupcake schedules, put up 80 points a game and you stand out. It doesn't even matter if those cupcakes put up 73 points on you, so long as you put up 80. There is nothing to be gained for your season by playing good teams OOC. Maybe there's something to be gained from "exposure," the ADs bottom line, or some other intangible, hypothetical reason, but all of those are easily eclipsed by the benefits of going undefeated against 12 crappy schools. It gives you almost zero benefit for your season to play a tough schedule. Look at Boise. They've played absolutely nobody for the last 5 years and were consistantly ranked in the top 10. Even in the future with SOS being figured into the playoff formula it'll be a relatively useless stat because it'll likely only be used as a tiebreaker stat for the last few 2-3 loss teams to get in. If we win the B1G then we'll get in automatically and it wont matter if we played Alabama or Eastern to start the season.


September 29th, 2012 at 11:10 PM ^

Alabama is the only elite team, then maybe Oregon is after them. After that....?

LSU struggled with Towson
WVU can't play defense at all
Notre Dame doesn't have an offense
Georgia can't play defense
K State & South Carolina both seem solid but not elite

I still feel like the B1G is ours for the taking. The Big Ten sucks and we're a lot better than anyone is giving us credit for


September 30th, 2012 at 10:29 PM ^

How so? The team is 2-2. They beat an unranked Air Force team by 6 at home (an Air Force team that proceeded to lose to an AWFUL UNLV team the next week) and a blowout win over new I-A member UMass.

Can they win the B1G? Sure . . the conference is a POS right now. But this team hasn't shown anything yet after a third of the season.

It's not a good sign when a loss (to ND) is what gives you hope.


September 29th, 2012 at 11:11 PM ^

that the reason the Big Ten had the lowest ranked teams, or was considered a second tier conference, was because the league had the most parity. For example Northwestern, widely considered to be in the bottom third of the conference historically speaking, could beat any team any given week, whereas the bottom third of the SEC could never upset their best teams. Now I think we just suck....


September 30th, 2012 at 2:07 AM ^

Arizona puts up 35 points and 545 yards on Oregon State, in their 4th game under RR.  (Arizona was 4-8 last year.)  Wisconsin put up 7 points and 207 yards on Oregon State this year.  And we're moving to that MANBALL, Wisconsin, 1990s UCLA offense with Borges, right?  (Not the 2002-2003 Borges Indiana offense, or the 2005-07 Borges Auburn offense, etc., etc.)  Watching the good offensive teams today, did any West Coast offenses stand out to you?  


September 30th, 2012 at 11:04 AM ^

Remember Stanford last year? They were pretty damn good on offense...must have been the spread, eh? Oh wait.

And as the poster above said, Bama put 41 on us.

Wisconsin's offense sucks because Wisconsin's offense sucks...not because of their scheme. Remember RR in year one here? Can we conclude from that that his offensive system sucks too? It's all about having the right personnel to run what you run best...Wisky is struggling because they're weak at QB and not as good up front as they were a year ago. 


snarling wolverine

September 30th, 2012 at 12:25 PM ^

I'm not saying that at all.  Casteel has a good track record.

At some point, maybe we have to acknowledge that it's not the DC that's the problem.  Shafer, Robinson, Casteel - that's three DCs in the past four seasons he's had, and all have fielded terrible defenses.  And all three guys have pretty good career résumés.  Maybe the fault actually lies with their boss (and perhaps, the position coaches he keeps hiring over and over).  

If Rich Rod wants to be a championship coach, he's going to have to swallow his pride and recognize that he doesn't know how to handle the defensive side of the ball.  He needs to leave his DC alone in all areas, including hiring of position coaches.  I'm not sure if he is capable of accepting this.  




September 30th, 2012 at 11:10 AM ^

Stanford won a BCS bowl last year with an offense similar to the one Borges will run.  Alabama seems fine running a classic pro style offense. 

Any offense will work in college with the right personnel and schemes - hell, Air Force can put up 30 points on virtually anyone and they run an offense that high school teams think is archaic.  Yes, WVU dropped a bunch of points on Baylor - they also gave up 63 and its not like Baylor has ever fielded anything approximating a defense.  And sure, Oregon State shut down Wisconsin, but they still only won by 3 points (And scored 10 themselves) with that crazy spread offense they run.  Teams win and lose based on have a defined scheme and following it.  RR is running his offense at Arizona and it works fine; on defense, Casteel is still installing his plays and it will take some time.