Five B1G Things We Learned - Post Week Ten
By Phil Harrison
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Five B1G Things We Learned - Post Week 10
5. Michigan is not "who we thought they were"-
Yeah, Denny Green would be proud. Many had the Wolverines as the front-runner to get to Indianapolis this year to play for all the brats and cheese (and a Big Ten title), and some even had the Maize and Blue as a darkhorse to contend for a national-title. That all seems quite comical now, and is a great asterisk to lay on future preseason columns to note that *it is only opinion … prior to football games actually being played.
What with all the talent that Brady Hoke had brought into the cupboard, we all expected this year to be the year that it all came together. And when games didn't go so well against Akron and Connecticut, we chalked it up to a team overlooking its opponents.
Michigan has now lost to an average Penn State -- albeit on the road -- and literally got blitzed in East Lansing this past weekend. It's time to now call a spade a spade and realize that Michigan still has some mileage to traverse before we say the program is back among the elite.
4. The Golden Gophers are feeling Minnesota-
What a great story. Jerry Kill is a heck of a human being, and I'm not the only one that will continue to say a little prayer often for him and his family. But ever since news came out of Kill experiencing more health issues, the Gophers have come out of their hole to slug people around a bit. Minnesota now sits at 7-2 and has reeled off four-straight victories to stay in the hunt in the Legends division.
The team isn't winning pretty, and the folks in Columbus and East Lansing aren't likely to lose any sleep looking in the rear-view, but the way the team is playing is exactly what you'd point to when singling out a team that gets by on heart over talent. The reality is that the Gophers will need someone to turn the Mississippi River into wine to catch the Spartans, but at the least, a decent bowl appears to be on the horizon.
Travel well Jerry, travel well.
3. Head coach Darrell Hazell has his work cut out for him in West Lafayette-
Talk about an understatement. You expected a transition year no doubt, but it would not be a stretch to suggest that the Purdue program is sitting in one of its darkest valleys to date. The team's only victory is against an FCS school in Indiana State, and that was even a struggle.
The numbers are staggering in a very bad way. The fighting locomotives can put a man on the moon, but they can't seem to put anyone in the endzone. All told, Purdue is ranked 100th in passing yards, 121st in rushing yards, 124th in scoring, and 114th in points allowed. The silver lining? There's plenty of seats available in Ross-Ade Stadium if you want to catch some good ‘ole Big Ten football. They are likely going for a discounted rate. Clearly Darrell Hazell needs to change the culture first and foremost.
2. Ohio State continues to get better-
Remember all the talk about the Buckeyes' less-than-inspiring play against the likes of Wisconsin, Iowa and Northwestern? The offense was dynamic but the defense needed to tighten things up a bit. Consider the last part of that statement well on its way as Ohio State appears to be a more confident group up front and in the secondary on the defensive side of the ball.
The competition level hasn't been top-shelf the last couple of weeks, but giving up only fourteen points to a Penn State team with the leagues best passing-attack and shutting out any team on the road is goal-worthy, even if it was Purdue. The Buckeyes appear to be on the rise at the right time. If only for a little help at the top of the BCS rankings ...
1. It's Ohio State and Michigan State's world, and everyone else is just living in it-
It's pretty clear now that OSU is the class of the Leaders Division, and after the taming of the caged Wolverines, the Spartans are not just in the driver's seat for the Legends Division, they're renting the car out.
There's still plenty of football left to be played, and we don't want to put the cart before the Spartan horse if you will, but it would take some upsets of epic proportions at this point for either Ohio State or Michigan State not to get to Indy with the way both are playing.
Though the destination is the same, the two teams have traveled opposite paths. For Sparty, the offense needed to catch up in a big way to a stellar defense, while OSU's secondary and young front-seven needed to reel-in the offense. Both now appear to be happening, and if it all comes together, we could all be in for a fun amusement ride in Indianapolis on December 7.
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