B1G Week Nine Preview: Not Much on the Plate

There are only four games on the B1G schedule this weekend and since Ohio State’s games are not covered in this weekly article, we will only have three games to preview. And when looking at the match-ups on paper….there’s not much to get excited about. I don’t see much intrigue surrounding these games, but I’ve been proven wrong before. Hey at least there’s no Purdue game this week! They’re busy preparing for Ohio State next weekend. And we’re all just looking forward to that game aren’t we?

Northwestern @ Iowa

To say Northwestern is struggling would be an understatement. They just haven’t been the same football team that everyone expected them to be. The Wildcats went from B1G contender to just hoping they can make a bowl game. When looking at their remaining schedule and with they way they’re playing, missing a bowl could be a possibility, which is absurd to think about. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald better get his team right mentally or it could be a nightmare season. Iowa is coming off a solid performance against Ohio State and look to get another win to reach bowl eligibility. I was pretty impressed with the Hawkeyes and their record certainly isn’t indicative of how good they are this season. Their three losses are against quality opponents (Ohio State, Michigan State and Northern Illinois). Iowa loves to run the football behind Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock, while Northwestern has struggled to defend the run all season. Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde and Wisconsin’s one-two punch of Melvin Gordon and James White had no problems finding holes in the Northwestern defense. So Iowa is probably going to run the football a good bit. If Northwestern doesn’t snap out of its downward spiral, then it’s going to be another long day for the Wildcats. I like Iowa to win this game behind their tough running game.

#24 Nebraska @ Minnesota

Ever since the UCLA meltdown and the Bo Pelini leaked rant, Nebraska has slowly improved with each passing week. The defense looked horrible at the beginning of the season and seemed broke beyond repair. But now it seems to be decent. That could be enough for Nebraska to win the Legend’s division because the Husker offense can score a lot of points behind their dynamic play makers (Martinez, Abdullah, Bell and of course Imani Cross). Minnesota is a surprising 5-2 on the season behind their solid running game (29th overall in the country, averaging 210.1 rushing yards per game) and a defense that is slightly underrated. Defensive coordinator and interim head coach Tracy Claeys has done a solid job of keeping the Gophers focused and playing well since head coach Jerry Kill has taken a leave of absence. When looking at Minnesota there really isn’t a player that jumps out at you and makes you say, “Wow he’s a star!” That’s because the Golden Gophers are really a true definition of a team in that all of the parts of the team are needed to win the game and they never rely solely on one player. With the game at Minnesota, the Golden Gophers should make this closer than expected and may even take it to the wire. But I think Nebraska will win this game based on having more talent and having more dynamic players who can make the big plays when needed.

Michigan State @ Illinois

MSU
Source

Oh, Sparty. Michigan State has a phenomenal defense that many teams would love to have. But their offense just plain stinks. When your offense only scores 14 points against freaking Purdue and one of them is a defensive touchdown, then you know there are problems. But then you look at who their offensive coordinator is and you nod your head in understanding. It’s offensive genius Jim Bollman! You remember Bollman don’t you Buckeye fans? The guy who was only an offensive coordinator in name when serving under head coach Jim Tressel. But then Tressel “retired” and Bollman actually started calling plays when Luke Fickell became interim head coach. And the Buckeyes had one of their worst offensive season in decades during the 2011 season. So if you’re dumb enough to hire Bollman to be your offensive coordinator, then you deserve a crappy offense. I’ve lost all hope of seeing any improvement out of the Spartans’ offense. Illinois on the other hand has a pretty solid offense and will look to find holes against the stout Michigan State defense. That’s basically what this game comes down to because any defense with a pulse can shutdown Michigan State’s offense. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has struggled against better defenses this season, but he had an encouraging performance against Wisconsin when he threw for over 250 yards. Running back Josh Ferguson has had similar results against great defenses. If the Fighting Illini can break through the Michigan State defense, Illinois could win this game with final score of somewhere around 34-17. If the Michigan State defense plays flawless as they usually do, then the Spartans will win 9-0. B1G football fever everybody!

Comments

  1. I truly believe Nebraska is suffering in the polls because of premature high rankings for teams like Georgia and South Carolina. Yes, the UCLA game was an abomination and yes they really haven’t played anyone else of merit, but still. They’re a good team.

Trackbacks

  1. […] season long. The big question mark all season has been the offense, which prompted me to go on this rant. Well now it appears the offense is coming around too. Michigan State has scored 40 or more points […]

Leave a Reply to Tony (el Kaiser) Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: