PSU Schedule Breakdown

In our continuing weekly series, FOS goes around the Nittany Lion schedule to look at the previous week's games, and what is left to come for all of Penn State's 2005 opponents. Who is in the hunt for the Big Ten crown? Read on to learn the whole story.


TeamConf W-LOverall W-L
Penn State
Ohio State
Michigan State

South Florida Bulls (3-3)

Florida A&M, 37-3
Central Florida, 31-14
Louisville, 45-14
Penn State, 13-23
Miami (FL), 7-27
Pittsburgh, 17-31
Next Up: at Rutgers (Nov 5)

Last Week: The Bulls were dealt a scheduling blow over concerns about Hurricane Wilma, as what is certain to be a critical game with West Virginia was postponed until the end of the season. South Florida gets some additional down time this week, as they are not scheduled to play until Friday, Nov 5. at Rutgers.

Season Highlights: South Florida shocked the Big East with a 45-14 thumping of pre-season favorite Louisville. Wins have been tougher to come by against other significant competition. The Bulls stand at their season midpoint with a 3-3 record, counting wins over out of conference foes Florida A&M and Central Florida on the plus side. Although losses to Penn State and Miami (FL) were expected as the season began, fans players alike had higher expectations when the Bulls met the Pitt Panthers. A 31-17 defeat at the hands of Dave Wannstedt's troops leaves USF in 4th place in the Big East race.

Looking Ahead: The Bulls play three of their remaining five games on the road, against Rutgers, Syracuse, and Connecticut, while hosting Cincinnati and West Virginia. Given the overall weakness of the Big East conference, the rescheduled December 3 meeting with West Virginia is likely to have major implications on the Big East selection to the BCS.


Cincinnati Bearcats (3-4)

Eastern Michigan, 28-26
Western Carolina, 7-3
Connecticut, 28-17
Penn State, 24-42
Miami (OH), 16-44
Pittsburgh, 20-38
Louisville, 22-46
Next Up: at Syracuse

Last Week: The Bearcats fell victim to a Louisville Cardinals team eager to atone for early season losses that left them scrambling for respectability. The early season favorite to emerge as Big East champions, Louisville struggled early, losing to South Florida and West Virginia, and dropping to the bottom of the Big East standings. Louisville got their first Big East victory at the expense of Cincinnati, as the Bearcats drop into a tie with the Cardinals for 5th in the Big East.

Season Highlights: The season has not been an easy one for the rebuilding Bearcats, who claimed a Big East win over Connecticut, along with out of conference foes Eastern Michigan and Western Carolina. In the more challenging games on the schedule, Cincinnati has lost by an average scoring margin of more than 20 points per game against Penn State, Miami (OH), Pitt, and Louisville.

Looking Ahead: With three of the remaining four games on the road, the schedule is not favorable for the Bearcats to make waves in the Big East. Cincinnati plays Syracuse,  South Florida, and Rutgers away, and hosts conference favorite West Virginia on November 9.


Central Michigan Chippewas (4-3)

Miami Ohio, 38-37
Akron, 31-17
Army, 14-10
Ohio, 37-10
Indiana, 13-20
Penn State, 3-40
Eastern Michigan, 20-23
Next Up: Toledo

Last Week: The Chippewas had a bye week in preparation for a critical matchup with Toledo. Central Michigan is currently tied for second place in the MAC Western Division, trailing Toledo by 1 game, and setting up a big matchup this week.

Season Highlights: In a successful season to date, Central Michigan has won the games that it needed to in order to be in a position to make a run at the MAC conference title. Stumbling only to Eastern Michigan, the Chippewas came up big against Ohio University in order to set up a showdown with MAC West leader Toledo.

Looking Ahead: Central Michigan controls its own destiny in the Mid-America Conference. Currently the Chippewas are tied for second place in the MAC West with Northern Illinois, trailing only Toledo, which is the only team undefeated in conference play. CMU hosts Toledo this week and Northern Illinois next week in a run which could set the Chips up as MAC favorites. CMU wraps up the season on the road against Western Michigan and Ball State.


Northwestern Wildcats (5-2)

Ohio, 38-14
Northern Illinois, 38-37
Wisconsin, 51-48
Purdue, 34-29
Michigan State, 49-14
Arizona State, 21-52
Penn State, 29-34
Next Up: Michigan

Last Week: Northwestern continued to make a statement that they will be reckoned with in the Big Ten, as Randy Walker's troops blasted Michigan State to settle into third place in the conference behind Penn State and Wisconsin. Brett Basanez passed for 331 yards and two touchdowns, while running for two more scores, as the high powered Wildcat offense took advantage of Spartan miscues to turn the highly anticipated matchup into a rout. The Spartans suffered two interceptions in the end zone, two missed field goals, and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown in the first half, allowing Northwestern to jump out to a 21-7 lead at the intermission from which they would never look back.

Season Highlights: Northwestern trails only Penn State and Wisconsin in the Big Ten conference, and dealt Wisconsin their only loss of the season, a 51-48 nailbiter. The Wildcats fell to the Nittany Lions by a close 29-34 margin when Michael Robinson led a furious Penn State comeback.

Looking Ahead: The Wildcats host Michigan and Iowa, before traveling to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes on November 12 in a game which could have major implications on the final conference standings. Wisconsin meets Penn State on Nov. 5, and the Wildcats certainly have that game marked on the calendars as one to watch in determining their final position in the Big Ten.  The Wildcats wrap up conference play on Nov. 19 at Illinois.


Minnesota Golden Gophers (5-2)

Tulsa, 41-10
Colorado State, 56-24
Florida Atlantic, 46-7
Purdue, 42-35 (2OT)
Michigan, 23-20
Penn State, 14-44
Wisconsin, 34-38
Next Up: Ohio State

Last Week: The Gophers had a bye week to recover from a heartbreaking loss to Wisconsin in the battle for Paul Bunyan's axe.

Season Highlights: Minnesota escaped with a 23-20 win over Michigan, and took Purdue to double overtime in order to squeak out a 42-35 victory, but fell to Big Ten co-leaders Penn State and Wisconsin.

Looking Ahead: The Gophers host the Ohio State Buckeyes this week, in a game that will likely determine if Minnesota finishes in the top or the bottom half of the conference standings. Minnesota wraps up the season with Indiana, Michigan State and Iowa.


Ohio State Buckeyes (5-2)

Miami Ohio, 34-14
San Diego State, 27-6
Iowa, 31-6
Michigan State, 35-24
Indiana, 41-10
Texas, 22-25
Penn State, 10-17
Next Up: at Minnesota

Last Week: Suffering for much of the year, the Ohio State Buckeyes found their offense in running up their highest point total of the year with a 41-10 demolition of Indiana. It was only the second Big Ten road victory for the Buckeyes since November 2003, a span of seven games. The Hoosiers could manage just 137 yards on the powerful Buckeye defense, and Troy Smith dissected the Indiana defense, running for two scores and throwing for another.

Season Highlights: The Buckeyes entered the season ranked as high as #2 in the nation, and an easy favorite to carry the hopes of the Big Ten to the BCS National Championship game in the Rose Bowl. Texas upset the Buckeyes, in Ohio Stadium in non-conference play, and Ohio State fell to Penn State in a thriller in State College, PA to fall into a second place tie in the Big Ten. OSU has big wins over conference foes Iowa and Michigan State, and still has designs on at least a share of the conference title.

Looking Ahead: Ohio State travels to Minnesota this week for a game with major implications for the conference standings. Minnesota will be battling to climb back into second place, while the Buckeyes will battle to stay one game behind leaders Penn State and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes wrap up their season against Illinois, Northwestern, and Michigan.


Michigan Wolverines (5-3)

Northern Illinois, 33-17
Eastern Michigan, 55-0
Michigan State, 34-31 (OT)
Penn State, 25-23
Iowa, 23-20
Notre Dame, 10-17
Wisconsin, 20-23
Minnesota, 20-23
Next Up: at Northwestern

Last Week: For the second straight week, the Wolverines escaped with a close victory over a Big Ten competitor, and for the second straight week, several controversial calls played into the outcome. Michigan has climbed back into the middle of the Big Ten, after suffering losses to Wisconsin and Minnesota, but may be the weakest team in the middle of the conference, winning three conference games by a total of just eight points. Chad Henne threw for two touchdowns, as Lloyd Carr recorded his 100th career victory in the win over Iowa.

Season Highlights: The Wolverines have battled in all their games against conference opponents, beating Michigan State, Penn State and Iowa by a combined total of 8 points while losing to Wisconsin and Minnesota by a combined total of 6 points. Michigan is playing for respectability, and a chance to climb into position to represent the Big Ten in a bowl game as the Wolverines enter the homestretch.

Looking Ahead: Michigan faces a major test at the hands of the Northwestern Wildcats, who have not lost since falling to Penn State in the second week of conference play. Northwestern is tied for second place in Big Ten action, trailing only Penn State and Wisconsin, and will be looking to make a statement against the Wolverines. Michigan will close its schedule by hosting Indiana and Ohio State.


Illinois Fighting Illini (2-5)

Rutgers, 33-30
San Jose State, 40-19
California, 20-35
Michigan State, 14-61
Iowa, 7-35
Indiana, 13-36
Penn State, 10-63
Next Up: Wisconsin

Last Week: Illinois had the misfortune of meeting up with an angry Penn State team that had been dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten one week earlier by Michigan. It was bad enough that Ron Zook's Illini were hopelessly overmatched, but the Nittany Lions also emerged with a chip on their shoulder after the defeat at the hands of the Wolverines. Still, the Illini drew first blood, as Tim Brasic marched his team down the field on their opening posession to take a 3-0 lead. By the time Illinois dented the scoreboard again, however, the Nittany Lions had run up 63 unanswered points, 54 of them in the first half. The second half served little purpose other than as a scrimmage game for Penn State reserves as the Lions never attempted a forward pass after the intermission, and began taking a knee with more than two minutes remaining in regulation.

Season Highlights: The Illini opened with two wins, against Rutgers and San Jose State, giving fans something to cheer about as Illinois welcomed new head coach Ron Zook, but the season took a dramatic turn for the worst against California when the Illini fell 20-25. In four conference games against Michigan State, Iowa, Indiana, and Penn State, Illinois has not been competitive, losing each game by a minimum margin of 23 points.

Looking Ahead: The remaining season does not get any easier for Illinois, as they must yet contend with conference powerhouses Wisconsin, Ohio State and Northwestern, along with Purdue. Ron Zook has some major rebuilding to do to get this Illini team into contention in the future.


Purdue Boilermakers (2-5)

Akron, 49-24
Arizona, 31-24
Minnesota, 35-42
Notre Dame, 28-49
Iowa, 17-34
Northwestern, 29-34
Wisconsin, 20-31
Next Up: at Penn State

Last Week: The Wisconsin Badgers benefitted from an 84 yard interception return by Roderick Rogers to capture the momentum and drain the life from the Boilermakers, who were clinging to a narrow 13-10 lead. Purdue never recovered, as the Badgers went into high gear to keep pace with Penn State in the race for the Big Ten crown.

Season Highlights: Purdue opened the season as a strong favorite to compete for the Big Ten title. In an off year for scheduling, the Boilermakers do not face conference powers Michigan and Ohio State, creating what many analysts felt was an easy road to the Rose Bowl. Problems have plagued the Boiler offense, however, as Purdue has not yet managed a Big Ten win after capturing victories over Akron and Arizona in non conference play.

Looking Ahead: The Boilers face conference co-leader Penn State on Saturday, then finish the season with Michigan State, Illinois and Indiana.


Wisconsin Badgers (7-1)

Bowling Green, 56-42
Temple, 65-0
North Carolina, 14-5
Michigan, 23-20
Indiana, 41-24
Minnesota, 38-34
Purdue, 31-20
Northwestern, 48-51
Next Up: at Illinois

Last Week: The Wisconsin Badgers benefitted from an 84 yard interception return by Roderick Rogers to capture the momentum and drain the life from the Boilermakers, who were clinging to a narrow 13-10 lead. Purdue never recovered, as the Badgers went into high gear to keep pace with Penn State in the race for the Big Ten crown.

Season Highlights: Wisconsin has run up an impressive season in the final year for coach Barry Alvarez who will step down as head football coach and remain as athletic director following the 2005 season. In a year marred only by a 3 point defeat at the hands of the Northwestern Wildcats, the Badgers emerged from the non-conference schedule unscathed behind the power running of Tyrell Sutton. The Badgers have victimized Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, and Purdue on their way to the top of the Big Ten conference.

Looking Ahead: The Badgers travel to Illinois this week, before visiting Happy Valley on November 5 for what might well be considered the conference championship game against co-leader Penn State. Wisconsin finishes out the conference schedule against Iowa before traveling to Hawaii for a non-conference tilt on November 25.


Michigan State Spartans (4-3)

Kent State, 49-14
Hawaii, 42-14
Notre Dame, 44-41
Illinois, 61-14
Michigan, 31-34
Ohio State, 24-35
Northwestern, 14-49
Next Up: Indiana

Last Week: The Spartans suffered their second straight defeat, this time at the hands of the Northwestern Wildcats who are making a strong push for the top of the Big Ten standings. Once again, Michigan State miscues contributed to the collapse, as interceptions, missed field goals, and a fumble allowed the Wildcats to roll out to a 21-7 halftime lead.

Season Highlights: Michigan State captured national attention with a 44-41 upset of Notre Dame at Notre Dame stadium, following non-conference thumpings of Kent State and Hawaii, but the Big Ten schedule has not been kind to the Spartans who have fallen to conference heavyweights Michigan, Ohio State and Northwestern, remaining out of the basement by a victory over Illinois.

Looking Ahead: The Spartans host the Indiana Hoosiers this week in what they hope will be a get well game following two losses. Michigan State travels to Purdue and Minnesota before hosting Penn State in the season finale for both teams.

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