The gnomes wanted me to tell you that they are tired of all the moping, and fighting over who the QB should be, and wondering if the Gophers will be a bowl team. They wanted me to tell you to buck up! Why, you might ask? Because the Gopher gnomes have a foolproof plan to get the Gophers back to the Rose Bowl and they've shared it with Coach Kill. In fact, this plan won't just get the Gophers into the Rose Bowl, it will WIN them the Rose Bowl. The gnomes feel so good about the plan that they wanted to share it here with you all. Bask in its genius and simplicity:
What could possibly go wrong? Before the gnomes move on to solving bigger problems like "What can be done to make Iowa less smelly?" it's time for our weekly B1G recap.
The gnomes pondered starting with Wisconsin again, but figured that the schadenfreude angle was played out right now. Instead, they turn their mirthful eyes to lowly Illinois as this week's featured team. Personally, I think the gnomes just got lazy and decided to go with an alphabetical roundup.
Illinois: 2-3 (0-1)
Illinois is making Indiana look respectable. Tim Beckman is not off to the fast start that many had predicted. When a comment description is "a Ron Zook type team that is missing the Zooker", you know things aren't going well. Seems like a sadly accurate assessment given that this team had a muffed punt and a running into the kicker penalty during the first 5 minutes of their game against Penn State. My favorite miscue of the game? Let's go to A Lion Eye:
And then, for me, the kicker: Penn State gains two yards on first down but is flagged for Illegal Shift. First and 15, right? Nope – we decline to set up second and 8. WHAT? I could understand (maybe) declining second and 15 to set up third and 8. It’s debatable. But turning down a penalty that would have given them negative yards after a play where they gained two on first down? WHAT?
Ooooooohhhhhhh...yikes. Overall thoughts (beyond the fact that the Illinois gameday staff seem to suck)?
I’m guilty. I’ll admit it. I was duped by the bowl win. I started my preseason SOC intending to predict a 5-7 record, but, as you can see when you read it, I got sucked into "but this is a team that won back-to-back bowl games, so this isn’t a rebuild." So I said 6-6.
This is a rebuild.
Not a full scale rebuild like Turner or Zook faced, mind you. But getting drilled by a Big Ten opponent reminded me that there was a reason we were 2-6 in the Big Ten last year. And that reminded me that Ron Zook only finished above .500 in the league one time. And that reminded me that we have a long way to go.
Up next? The Fighting Beckmans head to Camp Randall to face Wisconsin. I don't think things will be getting better soon. 2:30pm on ESPN2.
Indiana: 2-2 (0-1)
The Hoosiers turned their contest with Northwestern into a one possession game in the 4th, but Kain Colter was in BEAST MODE and was too much to overcome. It was an impressive rally for Indiana, as they were down 27-0 at one point. The Crimson Quarry see's a theme:
Obviously, it says something good about the team and the coaches that they do not quit and that they can adjust to what the other team is doing. It says something bad that the Hoosiers can't seem to do this in the first half. I don't have an explanation or a solution, but Saturday's loss to Northwestern was one of the more extreme examples of the genre.
Up next? Michigan State comes to Bloomington. 11am on BTN.
Iowa: 3-2 (1-0)
You all saw it or read about it. The gnomes and I don't feel the need to extend the misery more than needed. I will let Black Heart Gold Pants have their well deserved gloating though:
Good job, Iowa. We'll break down the game in greater detail shortly. In the meantime, WOO HOO.
Up next? BYE
Michigan State: 3-2 (0-1)
Losers of a classic low-scoring slugfest with Ohio State, 17-16. Michigan State needs to regroup and get back on track for what they still hope is a Rose Bowl bound season. They'll need their offense to step up more first though. According to The Only Colors, that's not the only worry:
A season that began with so much promise and a few questions has become nothing but questions. Why can't MSU run the ball against talented teams? Why can't the receivers catch? Why is the defense giving up killer big plays. And the ultimate question: Can MSU win the Legends this year?
All the goals are still possible, but unless those questions are answered, the Spartans aren't in a good position.
Up next? Going to Indiana seems like a nice way to get back on track. 11am on BTN.
Michigan: 2-2 (0-0)
Denard and company destroyed an undersized BYE WEEK team. Truly painful to watch. Maize n Brew didn't have a Purdue preview or lookahead up yet , so here's a great piece they did on the 5 Stages of Grief for B1G fans:
Up next? At Purdue. 3pm on BTN.
Nebraska: 4-1 (1-0)
Thank you Huskers. I could not have dealt with watching the game in Iowa followed by Wisconsin kicking your butt in a rout. Thank you for making Badger fans sad. Their tears are delicious. Corn Nation's take on the
game jerseys pajamas?
The "Unrivaled" Techno-fit jerseys were even worse in person than I had thought. Walking to the game, I must have seen five or six different unauthentic black-and-red jerseys from various manufacturers; all superior to the pajamas that Nebraska wore. That's a matter of taste, and your taste may differ from mine. Some people, after all, like Nickelback and Britney Spears.
Up next? Another prime time showcase, this time at The Shoe. 7pm on ABC.
Northwestern: 5-0 (1-0)
Undefeated. Ranked. Sure, they turned a laugher versus Indiana into a Cardiac Cat special, but seemingly that's in this team's DNA. If they are winning (and putting up 703 yards of offense...JEEBUS!), then who cares? Not Sippin' On Purple:
Northwestern got off to the best start we have seen this year, leading 20-0 at halftime and 27-0 in the third quarter, before Indiana managed to make things interesting with 21 points in the third quarter and another 8 in the fourth. The NU offense was stellar all game, setting a school record for total yardage with over 700 yards. The defense wasn't entirely to blame for Indiana's second half scoring burst, as Indiana also scored a touchdown on a kickoff return, but Northwestern once again struggled to hold a big lead in the second half.
Up next? A road trip to Happy Valley to face the suddenly not so inept Nittany Lions. 11am on ESPN.
Ohio State: 5-0 (1-0)
The B1G's other undefeated team. OSU overcame 3 TO's to grab a road victory. From what I was hearing while listening on the radio, Braxton Miller continues to impress. What did Land Grant Holy Land have to say?
The Buckeyes's battle with the Spartans of Michigan State was billed as a defensive grudge match all week, and neither team disappointed. Michigan State's do-everything power back Le'Veon Bell was limited to 45 yards on only 17 carries, forcing the Spartans to repeatedly put the ball in the hands of untested QB Andrew Maxwell and a receiving corps that had suffered from the a bad case of the dropsies all season. Maxwell performed admirably, going 22/42 for 269 yards and a TD, but they were never able to sustain enough consistent drives to put them over the top.
Up next? Nebraska comes to Columbus. 7pm on ABC.
Penn State: 3-2 (1-0)
Well look who rose from the dead. Sure, they were playing Illinois, but Penn State is on a bit of a roll. Black Shoe Diaries is pleased that Tim Beckman got his comeuppance:
It's called karma, Tim. It's also known as justice. Oh, I know you have excuses for sending your entire coaching staff to State College. I heard you stumble and mumble your way through the BigTen media days, doing your best - which wasn't much - to disguise your scumbag-ness.
"We didn't go to Penn State."
Really? Everyone saw you there.
"I mean, we went to Penn State, just not on campus. But we didn't go after any of their players."
Really? You didn't call any Penn State players?
"Well, I mean, we called them to let them know we were in town, and invited them to meet with us."
What a joke. Illini faithful would have us believe that Beckman and his staff all went to see Ryan Nowicki, the redshirt freshman guard who didn't make the depth chart coming out of spring practice. That's right - you fly nine people to State College for a Ryan Nowicki, because Ryan Nowickis don't grow on trees.
Yea...that goes on for a bit. Can't say I blame them.
Up next? Can PSU stop undefeated Northwestern? 11am on ESPN.
Purdue: 3-1 (0-0)
The lone B1G team to play a non-con opponent last week, Purdue defeated Marshall 51-41. It was not as easy of a win as Hammer & Rails would have liked:
For a team that scored 51 points and led 42-14 with the ball before halftime I was sure nervous in the fourth quarter. After the extra point by Paul Griggs was blocked when we went up 51-35 I knew the game wasn't over. Their offense was too damn good on the day to think any lead was safe, especially one of just two possessions.
That's what makes this game so difficult to judge. I feel like the defense gave up 439 yards passing and still played well.
Up next? Michigan comes to West Lafayette. 3pm on BTN.
Wisconsin: 3-2 (0-1)
Oh Biels. You have a big season redeeming road win there for the taking and then...splat. No seriously, that's the sound of your Heisman trophy candidate running into the big butts of his offensive linemen. Something that happened repeatedly in the 2nd half of your loss at Nebraska. Some would say that gloating over the pain of this loss is not allowed given the way Iowa smoked the Gophers. I say nonsense. Schadenfreude cares not. Anyway, back to the Wanderings...Bucky's 5th Quarter was understandably disappointed by the outcome:
This was one of those curse your head off, scream until your throat is dry, smash your Xbox controller type of games.
For the first time all season, B5Q isn't ending one of these talking about the Rose Bowl like it was still a very attainable goal. While mathematically possible, I think the B5Q guys may have finally latched on to an important fact...the Badgers just aren't that good this season, weak ass division be damned.
Up next? Hapless Illinois comes to Madison. For Biels sake, he better win. 2:30pm on ESPN2.