Going into week four of the 2010 College Football Season, the Big Ten was looking pretty good. Six teams in the top 25 (Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan State) and only a single team with a losing record through three games (Minnesota). Looking at The Slate for Week Four, I predicted a lot of blow outs and a couple of nailbiters. I also predicted that the Big Ten would come out unscathed and be the only BCS conference in the country without a team with a losing record. In doing, so I said:
I think Minnesota pulls this one out and gives it's fans cruel, cruel misguided hope that he might be able to salvage something this season
Oh, Tim Brewster. You little bastard, you gave me cruel, cruel misguided hope that you might be able to pull out a game against Northern Illinois after hanging tough with Southern Cal. Instead you managed to get rolled, at home, by a then 1-2 MAC team that was thoroughly stomped by Iowa State and Illinois.
But Minnesota's decent into the depths of Hell is only one chapter in the Big Ten story from Saturday. There's so much to get to, so we'll run down each game from the highest ranked to the unranked.
Eastern Michigan 20 - #2 Ohio State 73 - As predicted, the 44 point spread was actually a great bet. Tressel decided it was time to go neutron bomb on Ron English's Eastern Michigan Eagles, and as a result the only thing left of EMU's team are a couple of scattered electrons fluttering through the ether. The Buckeyes scored 24 unanswered points to start the game. When EMU had the gall, the GALL, to score a touchdown in response OSU plopped on another 14. Your haltime score... 38-14. Terrell Pyror even caught a pass for a touchdown on a trick play that Tressel only pulls out of his little Pandora's box when he's playing some patsy or sacrificing a live goat. They're really kind of the same thing. Irrespective of witchcraft, voodoo, or Presbyterianism, Ohio State is rolling into the conference season and is easily the most compete team in the Big Ten. Ohio State gets Illinois to start the Conference season. Anyone want to guess about the line on this one?
Austin Peay 3 - #11 Wisconsin 70 - Once there was a little boy who wandered into a government testing facility and... he was shot on sight. Austin Peay signed on to be a body bag game. Austin Peay went to Madison knowing they were going to be a body bag game. Austin Peay left in a body bag. For the first time this season Wisconsin looked like the team I predicted to win the Big Ten before the season started. Problems on the defensive end will be what may ultimately derail the Badgers' title hopes, but on Saturday they looked put together. They've got a legitimate test waiting for them this weekend when they visit 4-0 Michigan State.
Ball State 0 - #18 Iowa 45 - The only Big Ten shutout of the week came from the Iowa Hawkeyes who dropped the Ball State Cardinals into a Cement mixer and drove the cement mixer into a lake. Ball State managed only 112 yards and 8 first downs against Iowa's pissed off defense. Shockingly, Kirk Ferentz actually allowed his running backs to play in this game. Adam Robinson amassed 115 yards on 22 carries. Has Ferentz lost his mind? 22 carries against Ball State in a game you could put a walk on in the backfield for? Kirk Ferentz has no fear. He swims in a shark infested blood pond just to get some exercise and spends his vacations waking hibernating Grizzly bears just to see the surprised look in their eyes when he punches them in the nads. Kuthu, the demon goddess of college football, has taken note of your hubris, Ferentz. And while your display of cohones the size of tanker propellers has impressed her, she will determine at a later date whether to punish you or some other poor unsuspecting soul. Penn State is on tap.
Bowling Green 21 - # 20 Michigan 65 - I figured the Wolverines would play better than they did against UMass on Saturday, but I never believed they'd hang 65 on an FBS team, no matter how bad that team is. The scare of the weekend came when Denard Robinson went down hard on his knee finishing a 40-something yard run. With the entirety of the Michigan fan base yelling "GET OUT OF BOUNDS! GET OUT OF BOUNDS! GET OUT OF BOUNDS!" followed by uncontrollable sobbing when he didn't immediately spring up and trot back to the huddle with a giant smile on his face. Fortunately for Michigan, Denard is alright. Further, the game allowed Wolverine fans some measure of comfort in that they do have two additional competent quaterbacks and that their defense can occassionally stop someone. The someone, in this case, was the crippled turtle of an offense, played flawlessly by BGSU. With Indiana's Dr. Strangelove style air assault waiting for them in Bloomington this weekend, we're still a ways away from knowing whether this team is for real.
Temple 13 - #23 Penn State 22 - HAHAHAHA. I love it when I'm right. Last week I said,
Let's be clear, the Fightin' Cosbies will not win this game. But they're going to scare the everliving ---t out of the Nittnay Lions.
They did, but as predicted Temple came up short, Royster went over 100 yards, and the Penn State offense continued to have all to cohesiveness of a Carrot Top routine. Penn State ended the day kicking a record tying five field goals (Penn State record, mind you), and eeking out a nine point win. With Penn State's offense stuck in neutral, their upcoming visit to Iowa City and the Hawkeyes' stout defense could not come at a worse time. The Lions are going to have to find some way to start putting points on the board. Something that's going to get even harder with the loss of their starting right tackle Lou Eliades out for the year with an ACL tear.
Northern Colorado 7 - #24 Michigan State 45 - Another beat down. Michigan State came in riding an emotional high, wanting to win for their coach, and they. just. hammered. poor Northern Colorado. The Bears, as they are apparently known, had no answer for the Spartans' running attack. Or their passing attack. MSU racked up over 300 passing yards against the hapless Northern Colorado defense. The Spartans definitely opened up the air attack to put the fear of God in their upcoming opponent, the Wisconsin Badgers.
Central Michigan 25 - Northwestern 30 - See: Michigan v. UMass. This game was over, and then Northwestern started coughing the ball up while they were trying to cement the game away on the run. I figured Northwestern would win this one, but sheesh, I didn't anticipate seeing the Wildcats get outgained by the Chippewas. CMU shredded Northwestern's pass defense, passing for 347 yards, outgaining the Cats in total by almost 100 yards. Sure Northwestern's done something they've never done, go 4-0 out of conference, but they're going to need some sharper claws on defense to make it through the Conference schedule in order to make a New Year's Day bowl game for the second straight week. Still, with a trip to Minnesota followed by a visit from the hapless Boilermakers on the horizon, the Cats look like they're still on track to be 6-0 when they welcome Michigan State to Evanston on October 23rd. If that's the case.... oh baby is that going to be a fun game.
Akron 20 - Indiana 35 - This one kind of surprised me. Indiana's offense is as advertised, but only in the air. Seven different players caught passes and three different receivers caught touchdowns. On the ground I was absolutely stunned to watch the Hoosiers run the ball 29 times for just 84 yards. Darius Willis led the team with 87 yards on 19 carries, but it was readily apparent that when Indiana wanted to run the ball they couldn't. Akron has the worst defense in the country and they were able to get some pressure on Ben Chappell and force Indiana into punting situations. Not as surprising, Indiana's defense was as advertised. Bad. In the first half Akron moved the ball fairly easily against Indiana and had some success in the air. Still, the offense may be good enough to get them through the season and into a bowl. And you know who that reminds me of? Michigan, their next opponent.
Toledo 31 - Purdue 20 - Purdue somehow took the most anemic offense in the MAC, if not the country, and turned it into a world beater. In the process they lost their starting quarterback. I'd start making "Hope" jokes, but a season with some promise looks like it just went right down the tubes for the Boilermakers. Injuries to their starting tailback, best receiver, and quarterback have basically neutered this offense. With the injuries they've suffered Purdue has turned into the three legged horse that somehow got entered in the Preakness. The only player worthy of some praise in this awful showing was Senior Defensive End Ryan Kerrigan who currently leads the NATION in tackles for loss with 12. That's 3 a game. Kerrigan could easily be a top 5 Draft Pick, but he can't play offense. But if he can, Danny Hope might want to think about letting him.
Northern Illinois 34 - Minnesota 23 - Damn you Brewster! I sort of, kind of believed you wouldn't lose this week. You're like a hope vampire. You suck out all the hope from a fanbase and leave it dead, or some kind of un-dead zombie, which basically describes any season ticket holder after the start to this season. Hey Tony Dungy's a candidate for the job, right? Haha. No, he's not. I've reflected on this so many times, but man, that the University of Minnesota would fire a competent coach in
Ron Glen Mason to hire a bozo like Brewster still boggles the mind. It's like they said, "Hey, these bowl games are tiresome. Let's hire a guy with no head coaching experience. No. Wait... With no Coordinator experience and make him our head coach. He's gotta be better than the guy that keeps getting us to Bowl games. Right?" It's not like there aren't a skeleton or two in Michigan's coach search, but I can't think of a more screwed up hire in the last ten years than Brewster. And yes, I'm including Weis. [I have no idea how I got Ron Mason (MSU's AD) and Glen Mason crossed up]