Wisconsin will have a chance to avenge one of their last minute hail-mary losses from the regular season at Lucas Oil Stadium in the first ever Big Ten Championship Game. I still hold strong on my Power Rankings from last week and believe that Michigan State and Wisconsin will win their respective divisions and rematch in the title game.
Thanks to Ohio State's loss to Purdue on Saturday, all Wisconsin has to do is win on the road at Minnesota and Penn State. Essentially the winner of Wisconsin-Penn State will win the Leaders division. And it will be Wisconsin. Take away around 40 seconds of their season and they are undefeated ranked #2 in the nation.
All Michigan State has to do is beat Indiana, who has 0 real wins, and Northwestern, who I'll give credit for coming on strong as of late. The first half of the Iowa game gave me confidence that MSU and more importantly Kirk Cousins can play on the road. The second half reinforced my belief that offensive coordinator Dan Roushar must be fired. There is no way that he will be back as OC next season. Let him focus only on the offensive line. Go get somebody to run the offense and call the plays.
Finally MSU has realized that Le'Veon Bell is the go to back. I have been telling everyone I can that he should get 20+ touches every game since the beginning of the season. Seriously, what more did he need to do to take the job away from Edwin "can't hold onto the Rock" Baker? He is MUCH bigger, just as fast, falls forward, breaks more tackles, catches more consistently, AND DOESN'T FUMBLE AS MUCH. Baby steps towards making a working offense.
I was excited heading in to the Iowa game because Mark Dantonio said that all the nagging injuries were relatively healed and everybody was supposed to play. Then during the game it seemed that everyone got hurt. Having a healthy Chris Norman makes a huge difference for the defense. Steve Gardiner and Kyler Ellsworth just aren't the playmaker that Norman is. Darqueze Dennard being healthy is almost as important as Chris Norman. Tony Lippett has been able to fill in, but he forces the defense to play more zone than man-to-man. MSU's safeties struggle when they go zone.
The one-time #1 defense in the nation is slowly limping to the finish line. Luckily they don't need a strong showing to beat up lowly Indiana. That way they key guys can get some rest and get ready for a surging (as much as they can) Northwestern team that does have a somewhat dangerous offense. More importantly, they need to get to full strength because Wisconsin will be more than ready to rip them apart to make up for the mother of all hail-mary wins.
All Michigan State and Wisconsin need to do is win their next two games and they will play each other again in the Championship Game. I know it's easier said than done with how the B1G has been this year. The winner will go on to get crushed by either Stanford or Oregon in the Rose Bowl. The loser will be lucky to get an at-large BCS Bowl bid. Michigan State is the highest ranked 2-loss team in the BCS rankings right now, and Boise State's loss to TCU does help the cause, but don't expect the loser of the Championship Game to automatically make it to a BCS Bowl.Back to the Michigan State Spartans Newsfeed