Obviously, conference realignment has been the talk. Starting with the abrupt announcement of Syracuse and Pitt to the ACC, every school from every conference was rumored to be going somewhere. In the end, however, after 'Cuse and Pitt, Missouri was the only one to leave their conference.
The Pac-12 made, to me, the most questionable decision by announcing they wouldn't expand. OU, Texas, Texas Tech, and OK State seemed to want to go to the Pac-12 and they didn't want any of it, apparently.
The Big-12 was in the headlines all week. First, the OU was going to leave, then Texas was going with them, now no one is going anywhere (outside of the commish) and they are forming an expansion committee themselves. I wouldn't expect much to happen of it because the conference is so shaky, no one will want to join.
The SEC and ACC were the only teams to make moves. For the SEC, I don't like the addition of Missouri as they don't have the same feel of an Auburn, Alabama, or Arkansas. For the ACC, it's clear they have basketball on the mind, especially with UConn being another rumored addition. If so, then the ACC easily becomes the best basketball conference.
The one conference you haven't heard me mention is the Big Ten, and it doesn't seem like the Big Ten is worried about that. Big Ten commish Jim Delaney has said the Big Ten is comfortable where they are, but the rumors are swirling. Notre Dame is the obvious target, but outside of that, who do they go for? Missouri seemed to make a lot of sense, but that's gone.
In general, I think we're closer than ever to super conferences. Every time conference re-alignment talk starts up, they get more and more serious. Last year, it was Nebraska, then it was Pitt, 'Cuse, and Missouri. Next time around, I think it'll blow up, most likely being basically a merger between the Big 12 and Pac 12. If that happens, expect big moves to come from the Big 10. That could ultimately force Notre Dame's hand and make them make a move. While they say they'd go to the ACC first, the Big Ten makes the most sense for them.
Last week, I went 12-3 for my picks, bringing me to 36-9 for the year. As for the Big Ten football this weekend....
Northwestern - This comes at a great time for them. Dan Persa will be around for the next game and this gives him two weeks with the team to get back into form. The defense showed how bad I thought they would be, surrendering 381 rush yards. They won't ever win another game doing that in the Big Ten.
Purdue - This is another team that's going to benefit the most from the bye week. Robert Marve came into the game against Southeastern Missouri State and looked decent. He went 7 of 8 for 91 yards and a TD, but the game was a rout and Purdue didn't seem to want to risk anything, which I don't really blame them. They have a week off to prepare for Notre Dame, where they'll need to be full strength.
You can probably sleep through these games
Indiana at North Texas - I'll get my lengthened IU ramblings out of the way to begin with. The IU team that played against SC State last weekend was a team that did what they were supposed to. They came out, put up 21 first quarter points, and didn't let SCST get within 10 the rest of the game. This week will be a big measuring stick for the Hoosiers. Their first true road game against a subpar team. I think they'll win, but it won't be pretty. IU wins 28-17.
Central Michigan at Michigan State - Michigan State laid a pretty big egg against Notre Dame. I've been THOROUGHLY unimpressed with Edwin Baker this year. He had a lot of hype, maybe all from me, coming into the year and he's accumulated 167 yards on 34 carries. Kirk Cousins can't carry this team through Big Ten play. He's going to have to step it up. They'll win this weekend 38-10.
Eastern Michigan at Penn State - The whole premise of Penn State's offense has me confused. I'm convinced Joe Pa has gone fully senile and forgot how to run an offense. Never has a team been successful running a 2-QB system like what PSU runs. Neither QB likes it and it won't work for the future. Until they pick one QB and stick with him, I have little faith in PSU. Talk me out of it Grue. PSU wins 24-21.
LA-Monroe at Iowa - Iowa is making me look worse and worse with each week. First, they lose to Iowa State, which was a rivalry game and excusable. Then, they come home against Pitt and laid a bigger egg than MSU for the better part of 3 quarters. However, in the last 16:16 of the game, they outscored Pitt 28-3 and pulled off a miracle. This week should be easier as Iowa wins 38-17 going into the bye week.
Colorado at Ohio State - I thought Ohio State would lose last weekend, but I didn't think they'd look as bad as they were. It's looking more and more like it'll be a rebuilding year in OSU this year, especially considering after this week they play MSU, Nebraska, Illinois, and Wisconsin. It could get ugly quick. OSU wins this week 34-17.
South Dakota at Wisconsin - Consider me a member of the Russell Wilson bandwagon. He has 900 yards this year and 9 TDs and gives Wisconsin a great complement to Ball and White. The 3 of them together gives Wisconsin a legit trio. South Dakota State obviously won't put up much of a fight, and if he keeps going, Wilson will be in the Heisman contention soon.
Western Michigan at Illinois - Illinois had a weird game last weekend. They didn't do a lot offensively, but had some big defense plays and won a big game for the program. They have a couple more weeks to bolster their ranking before taking on legit competition. That being said, this game this week has upset written all over it, to me. Illinois is coming off a huge game facing a subpar team that's capable. I think Illinois pulls it out, but it wouldn't surprise me if they didn't. Illinois 24-23.
North Dakota State at Minnesota - Well it's good news for Twins as Minnesota won't go for an 0-fer this year. However, I'm not too sure if they'll win any other games past this one. If they don't win this one, they probably won't win another. They'll win this one, but it'll be interesting. 28-24 Minnesota.
Just stay awake for the beginning
Nebraska at Wyoming - I only put this here because of the fact that Nebraska's defense has been awful this year. They gave up 29 points to Fresno State and 38 to Washington. Wyoming's offense is more high-powered than either of those and their defense isn't bad. I think Nebraska will win, but it'll be a shootout. Nebraska 48-34.
San Diego State at Michigan - I shouldn't really have to explain why this one is here, but it'll be interesting for the simple fact to see if Denard can carve up the defense based on what Brady Hoke knows about his former team. Robinson seems to be back into his mode from last year and that only means good things for Michigan. I think they'll win the game, but SDSU will be motivated. Michigan wins 42-21.
Next Best 3
1. LSU at West Virginia - LSU has a freaking gauntlet of a schedule. I feel like they are repeatedly in this, but they are always playing in big games. I think they'll give WVU a lesson in SEC football and pound this one out 28-13.
2. Arkansas at Alabama - And so begins the SEC's weekly conference match ups that'll be in here. Alabama and LSU are November 5th and I don't see either slowing down until then. Alabama wins 24-10.
3. Oklahoma State at Texas A&M - This will most definitely be a good ole fashion Big 12 shootout. Justin Blackmon is going to have his typical huge game and OK State wins this one 45-42.