Monday, August 31, 2009
BIG TEN FOOTBALL PREVIEW
Every team in this conference (except Purdue) can piss up a rope. Legacy conferences like the BigTen and the Pac-10 are the big roadblocks to any sort of playoff system. There are two sick teams in the Big Ten this season (Penn State and Ohio State), then a significant dropoff after that.
#1 PENNSYLVANIA STATE NITTANY LIONS
Don't forget that Penn State was 11-2 last year. Their first loss came on the road in a windy Iowa City, their second loss was to USC in the Rose Bowl. That's hardly a season to be ashamed of. Their defense is ferocious against the run. Their passing game won't be too sharp, but they can control the clock with the running game. I picked them to win because they play Ohio State in State College.
9/26 vs. #22 Iowa
11/7 vs. #6 Ohio State
11-2, Big Ten Champions, Rose Bowl loser
#2 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
You know what I'm sick of? The word "the." It was one thing when OSU players referred to their school as THE Ohio State. But now "The" precedes "Ohio State" on bumper stickers everywhere. Fuck "the."
OSU will fall to Penn State because their offense will be one man. Shut down Terrelle Pryor, and you've shut down the Buckeyes. He's a dynamic QB, rushing for 631 yards, and throwing for 1,311. But now he's by himself, and will underperform in big games.
9/12 vs. #4 USC
11/7 @ #9 Penn State
11/14 vs. #22 Iowa
10-3, BCS Bowl berth and an embarrassing loss
The rest of the previews will be alphabetical...
ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI
The Illini boast incredible talent in the skill position with guys like QB Juice Williams (3,173 passing yards, 719 rushing yards) and WR Arrelious Benn (1,055 receiving yards), but that's essentially all they have. Their O-Line is full of holes, as is their defense. Their games will be exciting to watch, but Illinois will be raped by quality opponents.
9/5 vs. Missouri
9/26 @ #6 Ohio State
10/3 vs. #9 Penn State
11/27 @ Cincinnati
Indiana sucks. They finally sorted out their QB situation, but any team outside of the WAC that resorts to utilizing the "pistol" offense is both desperate and bad. Their defensive backs will allow lots of Big Ten QBs to pad their stats.
10/3 vs. #6 Ohio State
10/31 @ #22 Iowa
11/14 @ #9 Penn State
Here's a girl dressed in an Indiana Jones costume:
The most forgettable team in college football. The good news for the Hawkeyes is that Iowa City is a tough place for opponents to play. The bad news is that they have to travel to State College, Columbus, and East Lansing. But they wisely threw in cupcakes like Northern Iowa, Arkansas State, Iowa State, and Michigan.
They'll be in and out of the Top 25 all season, feasting on the weaker BigTen programs, and being gobbled up by the giants.
9/26 @ #9 Penn State
11/14 @ #6 Ohio State
The Wolverines might be the 3rd best team in Michigan, behind MSU and CMU. Their QB position continues to have more question marks than a XXXL Riddler costume. They'll once again occupy airtime with pundits asking "Will Michigan return to form?" And for now, the answer is a deafening "FUCK NO!"
9/12 vs. #23 Notre Dame
10/3 @ Michigan State
10/10 @ #22 Iowa
10/24 vs. #9 Penn State
11/21 vs. #6 Ohio State
MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
Setpember 19th. That's when we'll find out if MSU can be a contender. They play #23 Notre Dame in South Bend. A win there, and they might be for real.
And here's another reason why the Big Ten sucks. MSU doesn't play Ohio State. They simply don't play each other. Penn State has to play both MSU and OSU. But Ohio State and Michigan State benefit from softer conference schedules. Just force Notre Dame to join the Big Ten, make 2 divisions, and have a title game.
The Spartans have to sort out their QBs, but they return 8 defensive starters, and have good receivers for whoever winds up throwing the ball. They also get to host Iowa and Penn State.
9/19 @ Notre Dame
10/24 vs. #22 Iowa
11/21 vs. #9 Penn State
Never vs. #6 Ohio State
MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
Too many teams in this conference have two word names. Lame. Minnesota returns 10 offensive starters, but they failed to run the ball consistently in '08, and will continue to do so. Their defense blows. They allowed 142 points in their last 3 games of '08. That's 47.3 per game.
It won't help that they play PSU, OSU, and Iowa on the road.
9/19 vs. California
10/17 @ #9 Penn State
10/24 @ #6 Ohio State
10/31 vs. Michigan State
11/21 @ #22 Iowa
The Wildcats don't have to play Ohio State either. Their defense boasts plenty of playmakers. But their offense will be a major struggle. QB Mike Kafka can run, but his passing has yet to be tested. They lost their top 3 WRs to graduation (Northwestern players actually graduate), and have no definitive ground game. Low scoring and boring games for the Wildcats.
10/17 @ Michigan State
10/31 vs. #9 Penn State
11/7 @ #22 Iowa
Their mascot is a train. How could you not love that?
Purdue finished 9th last year, and things don't look much better. No QB, no receivers, and their running game is completely untested. They don't have to play Penn State, but they have to play Oregon in Eugene, and host Notre Dame.
My God, how many BigTen and Pac-10 cupcakes can Charlie Weiss and Notre Dame devour?
9/12 @ #16 Oregon
9/26 vs. #23 Notre Dame
10/17 vs. #6 Ohio State
11/14 vs. Michigan State
Wisconsin begins their season with home matches against Northern Illinois, Fresno State, and Wofford. That should be against the rules.
The Badgers might surprise some people this year. They have a formidable offensive line, and a burgeoning D-Line. If they catch lightning in their platooning QB and CB situations, they could finish in the top 4 of the conference. Penn State doesn't have to play the Badgers, which might determine who wins the Conference title. Fellow 2nd tier contenders Michigan State and Iowa both have to play in Madison, which is an extremely hostile environment.
9/26 vs. Michigan State
10/10 @ #6 Ohio State
10/17 vs. #22 Iowa