Around the Big Ten
1. Ohio State
The Buckeyes will be here for a while. I don’t see Urban Meyer’s team falling at any time this year. Some might think that says more about the weak Big Ten rather than a good Ohio State squad, but I don’t really think so. The Buckeyes have a pool of talent in place and a two-time national champion at the helm.
This could be a trap game for the Cornhuskers against Michigan State, but Taylor Martinez has shown he has the moxie to be a big-time quarterback in this league. Which, again, isn’t saying much. The Huskers do have a filthy running game, and Rex Burkhead should be back this week.
3. Penn State
Bill O’Brien should be coach of the year. No one saw the Nittany Lions being anything but a doormat this year, and they are easily among the class of the Big Ten. The case could be made for Kansas State’s Bill Snyder as the coach of year, but he has Collin Klein. And the football stadium there is named after him, which I think tips the scales in his favor.
This might be a little high for the Wolverines. I think Northwestern would be able to handle them pretty well, as would many other teams in the Big Ten if Denard Robinson weren’t playing. This week’s battle for the Little Brown Jug may be closer than anticipated, but don’t expect an upset. The gilded rodents are just awful.
The Wildcats put on a clinic against Iowa last weekend. That was just brutal. They have a bye this week, which gives Paddy Fitz an extra few days to marinate in the glow of his most recent victory over the team he hates most.
6. Michigan State
Spartan quarterback Andrew Maxwell actually looked serviceable against Wisconsin last weekend, which is just fascinating, seeing as he looked atrocious up until then. Can he do it again against Nebraska this week at home? No.
With starting quarterback Joel Stave out for the season, free-agent acquisition from Maryland Danny O’Brien is back at the helm. Terrapin fans at first laughed at the Badgers’ misfortune of their former quarterback soiling himself, this time in Wisconsin Crimson. But after all four Terrapin quarterbacks were ruled out for the rest of this season with injury, word on the street is the brass for Wisconsin and Maryland are in negotiations for O’Brien’s triumphant return to College Park.
Woof. Iowa is real bad. Deal with it, people. Don’t expect a win this weekend, or ever, for that matter.
Little Brown Jug? Little Brown Jug. True freshman starting at quarterback? True freshman starting at quarterback. Denard Robinson? Denard Robinson. Game over? Game over.
Indiana is putting up a whole mess of points this year. The Hoosiers are second in the Big Ten in total yards. Bet you didn’t know that. If Iowa surrendered 349 RUSHING YARDS to Northwestern last week, just imagine the stomping the Hoosiers could implement on the Hawkeyes.
Who’s the idiot that predicted Purdue as a dark horse in the Big Ten this year? Me. I feel bad for the Boilermakers, not just because they’re bad, but because coachin’ Danny Hope is awesome and deserves to have a job simply because of his accent.
I wonder what it’s like to be worse than Iowa? A lack of Juice Williams will make playing Ohio State very tough this week for the Illini.
Games to Watch
Minnesota vs. Michigan
Time: 2:30 p.m. Saturday
Where to watch: BTN
The last time Minnesota beat Michigan was in 2005, and that was just because of Laurence Maroney’s overall filth. Seriously, though, how is this still considered a rivalry game? Michigan leads the series 67-22. How pathetic is that? I sure hope my friends who play for Minnesota aren’t reading this.
Michigan State vs. Nebraska
Time: 2:30 Saturday
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Where to watch: ABC
At last, at last, a decent game in the Big Ten. Michigan State has to have a lot of juice pumping since knocking off Wisconsin in Madison. Maybe Andrew Maxwell actually has turned into the quarterback head Spartan coach Mark Dantonio said he would be. But I doubt it. I see a three-headed Cornhusker rushing attack toppling this Michigan State squad.
Name: Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
Position: Running back
Burkhead has been struggling mightily with injuries this year. But after getting two weeks of rest, the former Heisman candidate should be close to full strength against Michigan State this week. His 8.5 yards per carry shouldn’t hurt, either. If Burkhead can’t go, running back Ameer Abdullah will have to perform at the same level he has been all season to give his squad a chance. Burkhead’s teammates notice what he brings to the table, and senior wide receiver Kenny Bell said he expects the return of Burkhead.
“Rex Burkhead, there’s only one like him in the whole nation,” Bell told ESPN.com. “He’s a phenomenal athlete, a phenomenal leader. When he gets back, he’ll give us a tremendous boost.”
Name: Mike Rallis
Rallis will be one of the many Gophers tasked with attempting to contain the elusive Denard Robinson in the latest installment of the battle for the Little Brown Jug, college football’s oldest rivalry. He, along with many other Minnesota players, recently shaved his flowing locks to raise cancer awareness, so hopefully, they don’t go the route of the biblical Samson.
Rallis has stated what he thinks of rivalry games, and this one should be no different.
“In a rivalry game, if you don’t ever win, it’s not really a rivalry,” Rallis told the Minnesota Daily. “This is why you sign on the dotted line to put on the Maroon and Gold.”
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