SjT: View from... The Shucking of the Corn

Its the one we've been waiting for. How SWEET to beat #4 Iowa in Kinnick to spoil their season! Steve has observations on the game, and the bowl picture as it stands after NU's win....

I don't want to hear the excuses ... we had both of our QBs hurt and we've had our share of injuries, too.
Plus, like I said earlier with Oklahoma, a QB is one member of the team. If Iowa (or OU) had that great of a defense, they should have been able to hang on to the lead.

The bad news is that we likely won't get two BCS teams now unless Iowa somehow rebounds to win in the Shoe next week.

The good news is that with Minny losing and Michigan in trouble, we look to move up the bowl ladder (Phoenix? Phoenix! PLEASE!!!).

And the best part? WE BEAT IOWA!!! Any season where you beat Iowa and/or Wisconsin is a successful one in my book. Let's go for the sweep of rivals down the stretch!

Congrats Coach Fitz! Congrats to our defense, our gutsy quarterbacks, our dominating O-line (did I really just say that?:) ) and our coordinators (ditto) ... NICE win by the team all around!

A week after having PSU on the ropes and suffering an injury to our QB, NU got a bit of karma this week. A gritty win by the Cats at Kinnick. Yes, Stanzi was hurt, but we had our backup in and when he was knocked out, our gimpy original started filled in admirably. That's football and that's a big win for Coach Fitzgerald. Way to go, Cats!
Around the league ...
- WISCONSIN managed to avoid the upset bug narrowly in Bloomington, but based on what happened elsewhere, they may be bumped down a bowl now.

- MINNESOTA choked away their chance to rise above the 6-6 pack by becoming the Illini's second bowl-busting victim in as many weeks ... beware Cats.

- And MICHIGAN essentially blew any bowl hopes by choking on the Boilers. Welcome back to the hot seat, Rich Rod. As for Mr. Hope, beating OSU and Michigan in your first year ain't such a bad start.

- Oh yeah, MSU won over Western Michigan. Yawn.
So what does that do to the bowl picture ...

Well, we have four locks ...
* PENN STATE is in the BCS if they win today and avoid an upset the rest of the way -- most likely in Pasadena but it could be Miami if Iowa somehow wins in Columbus.

* OHIO STATE is in Pasadena if they win out, but more likely Florida if they lose today ... Tampa or Orlando depends on how they do against Iowa.

* IOWA still can get to Pasadena by winning out ... but they could fall out of New Year's Day if they can't rebound next week in Columbus. And given Stanzi's undertainty and their history in the Shoe, the Champs Bowl is looking more and more likely.

* WISCONSIN seems a solid bet for Florida and will be favored to win out, but not having two BCS teams probably bumped them a couple hours earlier from the Citrus to the Hall of Fame.
Now things get interesting, as all seven remaining teams are still alive going into the final two weeks (wow!) ... and a 6-6 cluster-mess is looking more and more likely.
* NORTHWESTERN can avoid the 6-6 cluster by beating Illinois next week -- not as easy as it sounded a week ago -- or winning the home finale vs. Wisky
* MINNESOTA could have emerged, but today's loss means they need to beat South Dakota State just to be bowl eligible, then win at Iowa to get to 7
* MICHIGAN STATE has to win next week at Purdue to get eligible (again, not an easy task) ... or beat PSU
* MICHIGAN is out unless they find a way to either win AT Wisconsin or finally beat the Sweater Vest. Ouch.
* PURDUE can still sneak in by beating MSU at home and winning the Bucket!
* INDIANA is still alive ... until they visit Happy Valley next week
* ILLINOIS is still alive ... but must run the table against NU, Cincinnati and Fresno State
We should know a little more after the game in Happy Valley and I'll have a guess tonight, but for now, all I can smile broadly after Fitz and the Cats pulled out the gutsy upset at #4 Iowa.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the shucking of the corn ...

The Cats go marching on indeed!

- SjT

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