People in Iowa still aren't sure if the Hawkeyes can make the national title game. Ummmm…why not? They're sixth in the first BCS rankings, just a tiny, tiny smidgen behind No. 5 Cincy. They're third – THIRD! – in the computers. Previous wins at Penn State, at Wisconsin and against Iowa State are impressive. Wins at Michigan State and Ohio State would be even more impressive – in other words, the schedule allows them to do this. IF they run the table.
I'll come out and say it: IF Iowa goes 12-0, it is better than a coin flip that the Hawkeyes will play for the national championship. Big IF, though.
2, Penn State (6-1, 2-1; last week, 3)
Still just the one blemish against Iowa at home. Penn State will be licking its chops and chasing Iowa the rest of the year.
3, Michigan State (4-3, 3-1; last week, 6)
And back come the Spartans, reeling off a three-game winning streak. Could the top spot in these rankings – not to mention a Rose Bowl trip – be on the line Saturday night in East Lansing?
4, Ohio State (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten; last week, 1)
And the nation breathes. The Buckeyes won't be playing in Pasadena this year – not in the title game, anyway.
5, Michigan (5-2, 1-2; last week, 5)
Wow, Michigan. Delaware State. Let's see if that gets you good and tested for the visiting Nittany Lions this week.
6, Wisconsin (5-2, 2-2; last week, 4)
"It's not how you start, but how you finish." I'm guessing Bret needed new markers after writing that phrase in the locker room whiteboard about 650 times.
7, Purdue (2-5, 1-2; last week, 9)
Hey! There are the Boilermakers in which I saw potential! Nice – very nice – win for Danny Hope and the program.
8, Minnesota (4-3, 2-2; last week, 7)
The Gophers could use a split of this road swing at Penn and Ohio. Couldn't reel in the first – and it doesn't look good against the Buckeyes, who should be hopping mad.
9, Northwestern (4-3, 1-2; last week, 8)
Got nothing. The Wildcats are under achieving.
10, Indiana (4-3, 1-2; last week, 10)
If the Hoosiers and Illini play a night game on Big Ten Network and nobody watches, does it actually count? It does? Really?
11, Illinois (1-5, 0-4; last week, 11)
Ummmm ... basketball season is around the corner? There you go. I knew I could cheer up the Champaign crew. Besides, that's what happens when Ron Zook is your coach. He's like the Norv Turner of college coaches.