Through 10 weeks of the college football season I have learned one thing. The Big Ten blows. Pat Forde, now of Yahoo, put it best when he tweeted "Big Ten: short on quality teams, long on drama." The teams might suck, but the games are entertaining or at least compelling enough to make you keep watching.
Penn State might be the best team in the league record-wise but that program is about to go through hell. They had the worst possible bye week imaginable. This will take full swing throughout this next week. The story was just starting to break late in the week and the Grand Jury Testimony just came out Saturday regarding former PSU defensive coordinator Gerry Sandusky and two top university officials. The whole report is disturbing to read. You can find a great article on it by Yahoo's Dan Wetzel here. Again, this is beyond disturbing. The whole athletic program should be removed.
Michigan State looked terrible but got the win over Minnesota. With the win MSU is back in the driver's seat of the Legends division. The Spartans needed Nebraska to lose at least once to get back into things. While I should have been thrilled as Northwestern beat the Huskers, I was actually pissed. I was pissed because I was watching a backup quarterback put up 28 points in Lincoln when MSU could only muster 3 just last week.
Without further ado, here are my updated power rankings for both divisions in the Big Ten:
1. Michigan State (4-1, 7-2) - Offensive Coordinator Dan Roushar should not be back next year. He is terrible. I was not a fan of Don Treadwell's conservative and predictable playcalling but I will take that back in a heartbeat. I have no understanding of what Roushar is doing. There are so many examples just from the Minnesota game to pick from. I'll go with this one. 3rd and 1. Le'Veon Bell, the 6'3" 240lb running back, has been running well. Minnesota comes out with three down lineman and only one linebacker on defense. MSU throws the ball. Incomplete pass - punt. Or how about the entire Nebraska game. When I read KeShawn Martin talk about how the MSU gameplan played right into Nebraska's cover 2 defense making it impossible to do anything I knew Roushar had to go. It's one thing to call bad plays in a situation. It's something far worse to gameplan directly into the strength of your opponent. Regardless, MSU sits atop the Legends division. That's the good. The bad is that the Spartans still have to play two more road games. I will say that having Bennie Fowler on the field should make a big difference for the team. He got his first two catches of the season Saturday after being out with injuries. Having a second receiver who can catch and run routes on the field with BJ Cunningham will make a huge difference for Kirk Cousins.
Biggest Game: November 12 @ Iowa. Iowa is back in hunt of the division after beating Michigan. One thing to note: Michigan isn't any good. I don't think Iowa is as good as they have been in previous years. That said, Kirk Cousins and the MSU offense has a pension for not showing up on the road. I guess God just wants Cousins to be even more humble.
Remaining Schedule: @ Iowa, Indiana, @ Northwestern
2. Nebraska (3-2, 7-2) - How can you take all the momentum of dominating Michigan State, getting into first place in the division, know that you are on the fast track to the first ever Big Ten Championship Game and lose to Northwestern at home!? Taylor Martinez might very well head the list of mobile Big Ten QBs who can't throw. Martinez joins Marqueis Gray, Denard Robinson, Braxton Miller, and Rob Bolden on the prestigious list. The schedule certainly isn't easy for Nebraska to close out and they definitely can't afford another loss.
Biggest Game: November 12 @ Penn State. Nebraska must bounce back and get a win to have a chance at winning the division.
Remaining Schedule: @PSU, @MICH, Iowa
3. Iowa (3-2, 6-3) - Good bounce back for the Hawkeyes. It's a shame for them that they lost to Minnesota last week. I didn't see any of the win over Michigan because I was in Spartan Stadium but judging from Twitter it was a great finish. At any rate, they won and could still change the whole landscape of the Legends.
Biggest Game: November 12 vs. MSU. Michigan State isn't the only team that can win out and win the division. Iowa is in the same situation. This game would flop the entire standings with an Iowa win.
Remaining Schedule: MSU, @ Purdue, @ Nebraska
4. Michigan (3-2, 7-2) - Again, Michigan is not good. When they play real teams they lose. They've only played one ranked team this season. Michigan fans, get ready to lose every game you have left.
Biggest Game: November 26 vs. Ohio State. I love seeing Michigan lose to Ohio State. I can't wait for this game so I can hear all the UM slappies turn on Hoke and Al Borges.
Remaining Schedule: @ Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio State
5. Northwestern (2-4, 4-5) - One win over Nebraska doesn't change the season. It does, however, change the outlook on the season. Now it's time for the Wildcats to ride their momentum of the 2 game win streak into their game against Rice. WTF? How do they play Rice this late in the season. At any rate, NU is out of the Big Ten race. What they can do though, is ruin MSU's season.
Biggest Game: November 26 vs. MSU. I was worried about Dan Persa. After the win over Nebraska, I guess I should be worried about Kain Colter too.
Remaining Schedule: Rice, Minnesota, MSU
Minnesota (1-4, 2-7) - They played tough against MSU and helped everyone out by beating Iowa. It will still be a while before they are able to actually compete in the Big Ten though.
Biggest Game: November 12 vs. Wisconsin. They helped out the Legends by beating Iowa. Maybe they can help out the rest of the Leaders by beating Wisconsin.
Remaining Schedule: Wisconsin, @ Northwestern, Illinois
1. Wisconsin (3-2, 7-2) - Yeah that's right. I'm putting Wisconsin at the top of the Leaders division. I didn't like Penn State before this story came out and I sure as hell don't like them now. I'm calling for Wisconsin to win the Big Ten Championship Game. They got beat by two last minute (or second) plays. Putting up 62 points is a good way to get back into things.
Biggest Game: November 29 vs. PSU. This game will decide who will represent the Leaders division in the B1G Championship.
Remaining Schedule: @ Minnesota, @ Illinois, Penn State
2. Penn State (5-0, 8-1) - Refer to the top of this post. PSU is about to go through hell. They had better hope they get all their wins in before they aren't allowed to have sports at the university anymore.
Biggest Game: November 12 vs. Nebraska. Let's see if Penn State can put the controversy out of mind this week as they take on a sure to be pissed Nebraska team. A win here helps seal the division.
Remaining Schedule: Nebraska, @ Ohio State, @ Wisconsin
3. Ohio State (3-2, 6-3) - Spartan fans were laughing at the Ohio State-Indiana score when the teams were tied. I'm sure Buckeye fans were doing the same when they saw MSU losing to Minnesota. Braxton Miller will be good. Not for a couple years though. They could still win the division but it is extremely unlikely.
Biggest Game: November 19 vs. Penn State. If OSU wants a shot at the division, they must win this game.
Remaining Games: @ Purdue, Penn State, @ Michigan
4. Illinois (2-3, 6-3) - The bye week doesn't really do anything for the Illini. Remember when they were a top 25 team and it seemed like most of the Big Ten was ranked? They were 6-0 at the time. Now they have lost 3 straight and personify the crap that is the Big Ten.
Biggest Game: November 12 vs. Michigan. Michigan is slumping and Illinois is coming off a bye week. They could easily kick their current losing streak. I would love for that to happen since I said they were better than UM early in the season
Remaining Schedule: Michigan, Wisconsin, @ Minnesota
5. Purdue (2-3, 4-5) - Can the Boilermakers become bowl eligible? Well they just gave up 62 points so that doesn't bode well. The other thing going strongly against them is that they have to play Ohio State and Iowa still. Luckily they get the automatic win over Indiana at the end of the year. Or at least Danny Hope better hope (painfully unintended pun) it's an automatic win.
Biggest Game: November 12 vs. Ohio State. Hopes of a bowl game start with a win here.
Remaining Schedule: Ohio State, Iowa, @ Indiana
6. Indiana (0-6, 1-9) - Maybe someday IU will be decent in football. I don't know that I'll be around to see it. They have two games left to try and win a real game. Purdue is pretty awful so they could do it. It's too bad they face MSU on the road and not at home where they would have a slight chance at a win.
Biggest Game: November 26 vs. Purdue. Really going to be their only chance at a conference win.
Remaining Schedule: @ MSU, PurdueBack to the Michigan State Spartans Newsfeed