RudeBlog
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Forgive me for being frank, but personally, I'm tired of hearing about Penn State at this point. It's not to say I don't feel for the kids and want justice to be done in all instances, but after seemingly a week of non-stop coverage from every angle, I'm a little exhausted by it. There's no new news, or at least not enough to warrant the amount of coverage it's been receiving.

 

Instead, let's talk about something that won't evoke the sort of emotions the PSU story does. Let's talk about how the B1G flipped again last weekend and a lot of things were simplified.

 

First, Michigan State should, by all accounts, win the Legends Division. With a game this week against IU and next week against Northwestern, they are set up best of any team to finish strong. While Northwestern won't be an easy game by any means, it'll be a game they're focused for, but that's for next week's discussion.

 

Nebraska has to beat Michigan this week and then beat Iowa in a Friday game next week. It's a tall task for them, but they still won't even be guaranteed a spot in the title game. Given their schedule and more particularly MSU's schedule, I just can't see them winning.

 

As for Michigan, they are only mathematically in the contest anymore. They would have to win both their games, which includes a win over Nebraska this week, then have Michigan State lose to both IU and Northwestern. It's an even taller task, and one that's basically insurmountable.

 

In the Leaders division, things are just as hazy.

 

Penn State still controls it's own destiny despite the loss last week. With a win this week, they can eliminate OSU from title game contention and also set themselves up for the game of the year to end the season.

 

Wisconsin also controls their own destiny. They have a seemingly easy game at Illinois this week before the PSU game next week. If they win, then they'll win the B1G, simple as that. They would have the tiebreaker against PSU and a one-game lead over OSU.

 

Ohio State is also mathematically in the game too. For them to win, they need to beat PSU this week, giving them the tiebreaker and one-game back of Wisconsin. Then, they'll need to beat Michigan in the last week and hope Penn State takes down Wisconsin. That would give them the same record as UW and they have the tiebreaker there too.

 

This all sets up a great final two weeks of the season. Last week was a rough week for me as I went 4-4, dropping my record to 80-26.

 

The Yawners

 

Indiana @ Michigan State - I can sit here and talk about how much IU has been improving this year, but the fact remains that they are still a bad team. The only thing they can hope for is that, given the extra week, they are more prepared for MSU than they have been for any team and also MSU is overlooking them, but I don't know why they would.

 

Michigan State is in prime position for a trip to Indianapolis is a couple weeks. With the easiest part of their schedule at the end, the only thing that can stop them is themselves. They shouldn't have any problem with IU's weak defense and their great run defense shutting them down.

 

Michigan State wins this one easily 35-10.

 

Northwestern @ Minnesota - Talk about your zero-headline games. This game means nothing in the standings, neither team is in the B1G title hunt, and the only thing really at stake is that Northwestern can qualify for a bowl game with a win. Minnesota has played much better over the last couple of weeks and I do expect them to play well in their home stadium. Marqueis Gray has been playing better as of late and the offense has improved.

 

Northwestern seems to have the same offense no matter who the QB is. Persa played well last week, throwing 4 TDs, but it was against Rice. Minnesota isn't much up from Rice, so I do expect a shootout. With a bowl bid on the line, I think Northwestern is going to step up to the plate.

 

Northwestern wins this game in a shootout, 38-34.

 

Iowa @ Purdue - Just about every time you think Iowa is going to establish themselves and go on a roll, they prove you wrong. They beat Michigan and look like they might make a mini-run to end the year, they fall flat against Michigan State, falling down 31-7 by halftime. They have the Purdue to right things a bit before going to Nebraska to finish the year.

 

Purdue is just annoying to me at this point. They aren't good and they are getting lucky upsetting Illinois and Ohio State. They played two QBs against OSU and still managed an upset. And yes, this is an incredibly bitter IU fan speaking.

 

Iowa will give us hope one more time this year with a beating of Purdue, 38-14.

 

Wisconsin @ Illinois - Yes, Illinois has been sent to the same level as IU, Purdue, and Minnesota. Having lost their last four and their only two B1G wins coming against IU and a Dan Persa-less Northwestern team. They loaded up on cupcakes, got bowl eligible early, and now are getting thumped week after week in the B1G. It doesn't get a bit easier this week as they play arguably the best team in the B1G.

 

Wisconsin has to have the worst luck of any team this year. While they absolutely should have stopped both MSU and OSU, they are essentially two hail mary passes away from being undefeated and probably a top 3 team in the nation. Instead, they are probably the best 2 loss team and will have to settle for a possible Rose Bowl.

 

Wisconsin wins this one in a landslide, 49-14.

 

This Game Really Matters

 

Penn State @ Ohio State - This game is going to get headlines because of the circumstances surrounding Penn State, but, as I showed earlier, this is an elimination game in the Legends Division. Ohio State had played much better under Braxton Miller until last week. I still like what I've seen from him and he'll become someone B1G will scream at for the next couple years. He's a multi-tool player who has the composure and intelligence to know when to throw and when to run. He made a couple huge plays, notably on 3rd down, against IU that only a certain type of special player will make.

 

As for Penn State, it's really unfortunate that the football players, who have nothing to do with the legal matters going on there, are suffering because of it. The distractions are immense and these are just college kids. They don't understand the enormity of the situation and are just trying to play football. And, prior to the story breaking, this was the B1G's best team. They had a stout defense and the offense was doing enough to win ball games. Now, with everything going on, I'm not sure this team can remain focused. They'll get a tune-up for Russell Wilson next week with Miller this year, although.

 

In the end, I think Penn State rights the ship and sets up the ultimate showdown next week, 17-13.

 

The Game of the Week

 

Nebraska @ Michigan - In terms of competition level, this is probably the best game. It is also an elimination game in a sense. While it doesn't seem like either is going to win the division, the loser of this game is mathematically out of contention. Michigan has had their annual collapse come, going 2-2 in their last 4 games. Brady Hoke certainly brings a different mentality to this team and this will be a huge test of that mentality. RichRod led Michigan teams would fall apart. Will Brady Hoke teams do the same?

 

As for the players, Denard Robinson has become wildly unimpressive, just like last year. He can torch a bad defense like they play in the non-conference portion of schedules, but can't do squat against B1G defenses. On the other side of the field of him will be Taylor Martinez, who is a rich-man's Denard Robinson. He can throw better, not run quite as well, but a player you can trust more. He has 768 rush yards and 9 TDs to Robinson's 864 yards and 12 TDs. The two are dead-even through the air with remarkably similar numbers all around.

 

Both defenses need to force the QBs to throw the ball. Neither are going to pick apart defenses through the air, so this game could quickly turn into a sloppy game if the run is shut down. However, I don't think it will be, honestly. Both QBs are too good, or more appropriately, the defenses aren't good enough.

 

In the end, I trust Martinez more than Robinson. I'll take Nebraska 31-24.

 

Next Best 3

 

1. Oklahoma @ Baylor - Oklahoma fell off the radar following their loss and that might have helped them. Since then, they have put up 58 points on K-State (who is ranked 13th) and 41 on TAMU. Oklahoma continues their under-the-radar win streak with a 52-38 beating.

 

2. USC @ Oregon - This is Oregon's last hurdle in the Pac-12 as the title game will be a joke. Oregon is too fast and too good and will win 49-28.

 

3. Kansas State @ Texas - Another Big 12 showdown as K-State tries to avoid the collapse. I think they stop the slide and win 45-31.
Comment #1 has been removed
November 17, 2011  07:11 PM ET

USC-Oregon is the clear #1 game of the week. The Big 10 isn't very good this year.

Comment #3 has been removed
November 17, 2011  08:18 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

USC-Oregon is the clear #1 game of the week. The Big 10 isn't very good this year.

Then you should read the Pac 12 and the Next Best 3.

November 17, 2011  08:18 PM ET

Good blog.

I think Michigan beats Nebraska, but other than that, I agree with the picks.

November 18, 2011  09:58 AM ET

Good read.

I'm picking OSU and Texas, agreeing on the rest.

 
Comment #7 has been removed

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