Michigan is Not Back (State of the Big Ten)



State of the Big Ten


So stop me if you’ve heard this one before…

A young Michigan quarterback leads the Wolverines back for a big win against hated rival Notre Dame and Michigan is back! Last year Tate Forcier accounted for 3 total TD’s and over 300 yards total offense and threw a game winning TD with 11 seconds to go in the game. He was a hero and being mentioned for the Heisman. Michigan was official “back.” They were ranked in the top 25 after the Notre Dame win and all was right with the world, except for the fact that they finished 5-7.

Let’s fast forward to this year, Michigan has two wins vs. bad to average teams and all of the sudden, once again they are back, this time under Denard Robinson. Robinson had a big game against Notre Dame and scored a TD with 27 seconds left on the clock. And once again after the win vs. ND, Michigan is ranked in the top 25 and is “back” according to all the talking heads out there. While I do believe they are better, I do not believe they are back. I’ll believe it when I see it.


Currently Penn State and their offense do not have an identity. Midway through the second quarter vs. Youngstown State the Nittany Lions were losing. Shades of Appalachian State were threatening. They finally got themselves together and routed the D1-AA school. The next test for PSU was mighty Alabama.

This game was not pretty. Penn State’s first team offense lead by true freshman quarterback Robert Bolden managed 0.0 (Howard Stern/Animal House reference) points and got a late FG with the backup QB in there.

At times it really did look like Alabama was toying with Penn State. Trent Richardson literally ran over the Penn State defense accounting for just under 200 yards total offense. Penn State is a team that could certainly get better as the season rolls along. They have got to get Even Royster going. So far the All American candidate has 72 yards rushing and is averaging 3.6 yard per carry with 0.0 TD’s.


The number 2 team in the country has lived up to its billing. Week one the Buckeyes crushed Marshall. After the game Marshall fans could be heard chanting, ”WE ARE”….”GLAD THEY DID’NT HANG 60 ON US.”

The next game was against the twelfth ranked Hurricanes of Miami. A game that was billed as a revenge game for Miami turned into a 19 pt lead for the Buckeyes in the third quarter and the Buckeye’s went into shutdown mode. Pryor had another huge game for Ohio State who looks like they will continue to roll.


This team has not yet been tested, and has a game coming up against #24 Arizona that should be a good barometer for the Hawkeyes. This team is steady as she goes. Lead by Stanzi and Robinson of offense, the Iowa O is not explosive but it is productive. It will be interesting to see how they fair against a decent Arizona team in Arizona.


Wisconsin has won their first two games against inferior opponents, but unlike Iowa has not done so in a convincing fashion. While the Badgers aren’t a team that is going to blow many teams out, they will play solid defense and will kill you with a potent rushing attack and play action passing game. Arizona State will be a good test for the Badgers as the look to move into Big Ten play.


After playing two nobody’s the Michigan State Spartans will host Notre Dame this Saturday, their first “test” of the year. Tailback Edwin Baker is lighting up the stat sheet and is leading all Big Ten tailbacks in rushing. It will be interesting to see what he can do against a real team.


Another 2-0 team in the Big Ten, the Wild Cats have started off strong in 2010. They started off the season knocking off SEC power house Vanderbilt (snicker, snicker) and may make some noise in the Big Ten. Northwestern does not have a difficult schedule and doesn’t play a ranked team until Penn State in November. The Wild Cats could be a sleeper in the Big Ten. Lead by athletic quarterback Dan Persa the Cats offense could be potent.


Only one game under the Hoosiers belt this young season, they are 1-0 beating Towson…whoever they are. The Hoosiers have a tough road ahead of them with 5 ranked Big Ten opponents. I like Indiana just because of their home town of Bloomington, or as I call it Columbus West.


Gone is Juice Williams and I’m not sure if Illinois fans are happy about that or not. He started off so strong and just really fizzled out. They dropped another game vs. Missouri and simply put aren’t very good. They will finish in the bottom half of the Big Ten.


They lost to Notre Dame. I refuse to talk about them.


They lost to South Dakota. I have no words for them either. Maybe they were looking past the Mighty Coyotes to USC…either than or they just suck. I’m going with the latter.

Overall the Big Ten Conference has certainly regained its lost mojo. This all started with a big bowl season last year and has continued with the resurgence of the Big Ten this year.


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