5 B1G Observations: Week 4

So I spend most of my weekends with my in-laws on Sandusky Bay.  My wife’s grandmother is always there, watching the game right along with us.  She just turned 90 this summer and is starting to get to the point where she’s a bit more wily or maybe even crass.  Like any person of her age she runs into the typical problems while watching a football game: she can’t see the score, she forgets which team is wearing which color, she asks multiple times where they are playing the game, she likes to mention the weather conditions on the field, etc.  But there is one unique thing that she does that just… it gets under my skin a little.  Almost every play in football today is immediately followed by an instant replay from a different camera angle.  Well grandma sees those replays and – you guessed it – she thinks it is live football.  Sure, it’s cute the first five or six times.  Try the entire game.

Either way I wouldn’t trade her for anything.  Well, other than maybe a ticket to the game.  You keep on cheering, Grandma!


#1: De’Veon Smith is going to be a handful

Well I don’t think we can avoid this topic any longer.  That Team Up North might just be the real deal.  I know Big Ten play doesn’t start until this upcoming Saturday but there is no denying what the Wolverines did to BYU this weekend.  And after watching Utah destroy Oregon, you can’t exactly call Michigan’s loss to the Utes a blemish anymore.  The scariest part, to me, was this run by De’Veon Smith.  The dude is a beast.  He may not have explosive speed but he’s got a real knack for slowing himself down and bouncing off of defenders, bulldozing his way to pretty much anywhere he wants to go.  I know you’ve probably heard this comparison already, but he reminds me a hell of a lot of Mike Hart.  Am I telling you to be nervous about this game?  Well first, you should always be nervous about THE GAME.  And secondly, even Mike Hart couldn’t manage to win a single game against our Buckeyes.  Take that however you want to, but I’m keeping my head up.

#2: Indiana is undefeated – no that’s not a typo

BLOOMINGTON, IN - SEPTEMBER 27: Damon Graham #38 of the Indiana Hoosiers runs the ball as Kenneth Goins Jr. #30 of the Maryland Terrapins converges for the tackle at Memorial Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Bloomington, Indiana. Maryland defeated Indiana 37-15. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 513036555 ORIG FILE ID: 456214910So the Hoosiers, despite their awful candy cane uniforms, are preparing to host the number one team in the country this Saturday with a squeaky clean 4-0 record.  According to people who took the time to look it up, this is the first time the Buckeyes and Hoosiers have met as undefeated teams since 1954.  It’s about time, Indiana!  No offense to our neighboring state, but you can’t really blame the Buckeyes for this 61 year drought.  Ohio State should be close to a 20 point favorite by Saturday.  Why, you ask, will the point spread be so much in favor of the Buckeyes when Indiana is undefeated and hosting the contest?  I would say it has something to do with who the Hoosiers have played and how close those victories actually were.  Any defense that gives up an average of 32 points per game to Southern Illinois, Florida International, Western Kentucky, and Wake Forest should have a really hard time with the Scarlet and Gray.  Just sayin’.

#3: Maryland is fighting Purdue for worst team in the conference

So Purdue is not a good football team.  This isn’t news to anyone.  I had high hopes for Darrell Hazell when he left Kent State for West Lafayette.  He did, after all, turn a graveyard Golden Flashes team into an 11-3 squad with a bowl appearance after only two seasons.  Unfortunately for him, Purdue is worse than a graveyard.  It’s the Dante’s Inferno of college football.  Hazell only has one conference win in two seasons and probably won’t get another one this year.  I’m saying that, of course, because the Boilermakers don’t have the luxury of playing Maryland.  The Terrapins are miraculously 2-2 this season after laying an egg against West Virginia this past weekend.  With the Wolverines and Ohio State on tap to start the Big Ten Conference schedule, Maryland may not win another game until it faces Rutgers in the season finalé.

#4: Iowa might have the third most impressive B1G resumé this season

HBeathardKWith victories over Iowa State and Pittsburgh as well as blow-outs against Illinois State and North Texas, one could argue that the Hawkeyes are the best team in the B1G West.  ESPN has them fourth in their Big Ten Power Rankings this week and for good reason.  Quarterback C.J. Beathard is playing lights out: he’s got six touchdowns to only one interception, he’s completing 68% of his attempts, and has a QBR of 80.7.  To put that into perspective, Cardale Jones’ numbers in those categories are 4 TD, 4 INT, 57%, and 66.7 QBR.  No, he’s not a better quarterback than Cardale, but the kid is playing lights out.  AND he looks startlingly similar to my favorite professional wrestler of all time.  So there’s that going for him too.

#5: Buckeyes getting back into form

We’ve been waiting for this one, haven’t we?  I don’t know about you guys but this is the first game since Virginia Tech that I didn’t walk away from the television with a foul taste in my mouth.  No, the Buckeyes didn’t bulldoze the Broncos the way I would have liked them to.  But what I liked about it was that they never truly let Western Michigan into the game.  The defense was stout, particularly against the pass.  Adolphus Washington did his best J.J. Watt impression and returned his first career interception into his first career touchdown.  Raekwon McMillan (16 tackles, 1 sack) and Joshua Perry (13 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack) showed up big in a game where the Broncos spent a vast majority of the contest trying to establish the run.  Ezekiel Elliot still didn’t see the ball as often as I would have liked – he only got 16 carries – but he did lead the team in all purpose yards with 153.  Maybe WMU’s 15 minute edge in time of possession had something to do with that.  Whatever way you look at it, I imagine we can all say this: the outlook for Ohio State is better this week than it was last week.

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