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Big Ten Football: What's The B1G Deal? Sweet Purdue, Savior Of The B1G

Time for your weekly gnome moderated Big Ten snarkfest. Now with just a tiny bit of basketball.

The gnomes remember a time when MGoBrian was predicting the end times if Michigan hired Brady Hoke. Then 2011 happened. It turns out he may have been right after all. But the gnomes don't want to get ahead of themselves...

Illinois: 3-6 (0-5)

The gnomes remember all the expectations of failure that faced Illinois in the preseason. This team is doing everything it can to live up to the dubious hype. Their most recent stumble? A 52-35 loss to Indiana. I think that the season is taking a toll on The Champaign Room:

It was one thing when the games were just blowouts and incompetence ran wild. But Nathan Scheelhaase is finally having a season worthy of all his potential and it's just getting flushed away by questionable play-calling and an incredibly lackluster defense. Yes, Indiana has a very good offense. But when you let your opponent crack 50 points, you're going to have a very hard time winning. The most frustrating aspect? The Hoosiers didn't even drastically outgain the Illini! Indiana had 646 total yards to Illinois' 614, yet Illinois still lost by 17 points. The team is better than last year, there is no denying that. But they still can't finish.

I mean, this has got to be getting tedious. Even Brewster never pulled this kind of a streak on us.

What was there to take away from this game?

Well, I've thought, and I've though, and then I thought some more. And I got nothing. I just don't know what else there is to say at this point.

The Illini have now lost 19 straight Big Ten games, but while that is terrible enough in and of itself, it's not like they're all that amazing outside of the Big Ten. The fact is that since our last Big Ten win in 2011, in Bloomington against the team that just put up 52 points on us, the Illini have gone 6-22 in 28 games.

We've lost 79% of our games since that last Big Ten win, and since we created The Champaign Room on October 22 last year, the Illini have gone 3-11. Again, losing 79% of the time.

In that time I've written about 11 losses. Losses of all kinds. Close losses, painful losses, blowout losses, FIRE EVERYBODY losses, every loss there is. We've talked about every silver lining there is, every dark cloud that hovers above, and argued for and against people keeping their jobs.

So I sit here now, and I don't know what the hell else there is to say that isn't just me repeating the same shit I've written before.

Yesterday sucked.

The ungodly long B1G losing streak is at risk next week soon. Why?




Up next? Ohio State is coming to town. I'm sure that will be pleasant. 11 AM on ESPN.

Indiana: 4-5 (2-3)

A little Tim Beckman is a great pick me up after a Hoosier-ing. The Crimson Quarry had this to say:

Now for the part we're all wanting to talk about, what the hell was up with Indiana last night? Especially in the first half they were disjointed, miscommunicating and in downright chaos at times. It was incredibly ugly. Tack on the fact that LIU Brooklyn was packing the lane and daring Indiana to shoot and we were looking at a first half where it was a small miracle it was only a three point deficit. A much better team would have put us away and the game would have been out of reach before Indiana had a chance to pull it together.

Sorry, wrong sport. Easy mistake to make given that hooptyball fever is a 365 thing around Hoosier land. Anyway, about that football win...


This is how Hoosiers dance.

Ok, one last try.

The Hoosiers walked away from the game with a 17 point victory but it didn't feel that easy. Fortunately enough, the Hoosiers are still tied with Penn State for 3rd in the division despite dropping the ball last week. Still, You can't help but continuing to live in a world of ifs with this team. The Hoosiers are a "meh" defense away from being 7-2. Instead we're struggle to put away the second worst team in the conference.

Yep, that's IU Football alright. Hoosiers gonna Hoosier and all that.


Up next? IU is off to Camp Randall. Beth Mowins will be giving us the play by play from that massacre. 11 AM on ESPN2.

Iowa: 6-4 (3-3)

Iowa needed to be bowl eligible, but Kirk knew what to do (no, not punt from his own 25...)



The only thing was, someone forgot to remind Iowa they were better. Black Heart Gold Pants breaks it down:

Iowa was held scoreless in the first quarter (an ill omen) and found themselves tied with Purdue at 7-7 midway through the second quarter after a terrible muffed punt by Kevonte Martin-Manley.  KMM redeemed himself a few minutes later, though, hauling in the touchdown pass that gave Iowa a lead it would not relinquish for the rest of the game.

The turning point in the game -- the moment when you could break down Purdue's heart shattering, frame by frame -- was the fumble (Purdue's only turnover of the game) recovered by Christian Kirksey partway through the third quarter.  That came after an Iowa three-and-out and on a drive where Purdue was steadily moving down the field, threatening to potentially tie the game and set off a wave of "Here we go again..." exclamations from Iowa fans.  Instead, Iowa took over, jammed the ball down Purdue's throat with a steady stream of running plays to Canzeri, Damon Bullock, and Mark Weisman, and ended the drive with a TD and a 21-7 lead.

Yay Iowa. Congrats on being bowl eligible.


Up next? BYE

Michigan: 6-3 (2-3)


Maize n Brew uses the word abomination. They might be underselling things...

This game is absolutely not on the defense.  Michigan forced seven punts and a late fumble that should have set Michigan up for a seven point lead.  The first half saw Michigan constantly in terrible field position as a defense — both of Nebraska's first half scores came with field position from mid field — and Michigan held Nebraska under 300 yards of offense and to just three yards/carry.  It was a wasted effort.

Michigan absolutely should have won this game.  Even a below average effort on offense gets the Wolverines the measly amount of points it needs to eek out a win. And don't forget, folks: Nebraska's defense is not good.

175 yards.

Yeah, this was an abomination of an offensive game.

Up next? At Northwestern. Anyone have this pegged as a battle of the B1G West cellar dwellars at the beginning of the season? Thought not. 2:30 PM on BTN.

Michigan State: 8-1 (5-0)

BYE WEEK did not deter MSU's rise in the polls. The Only Colors looks at Nebraska:

MSU can clinch a share of the Legends division with a win at Nebraska, though it wouldn't clinch a Big Ten championship spot.

MSU has never defeated Nebraska, and it's the only Big Ten team Mark Dantonio hasn't defeated on the road. The Cornhuskers have been hanging by a thread, defeating Northwestern on a Hail Mary and then Michigan with a touchdown in the final minutes of an ugly game. Had they lost either of those games, and the division would be all but wrapped up for MSU. Instead, the Spartans will have to earn this one themselves.


Up next? To the friendly lands in Lincoln. 2:30 PM on ABC.

Nebraska: 7-2 (4-1)

Dammit Nebraska, you were supposed to lose that one. The gnomes are excited that there is a divisional race that the Gophers are a part of and they'd appreciate it if you'd win the games they want (MSU) while losing everything else. Seriously Nebby...


Corn Nation sees good things:

And that's why I'm growing so excited about the future of Nebraska football. For the second week in a row, Nebraska fans have been treated to a ferocious defense worthy of the label Blackshirts.  Yes, Nebraska's defense had flaws last season: talent and depth was an issue. This year, we swapped that problem for another: inexperience.  A second half meltdown against UCLA.  Bad form up in Minneapolis.  But adjustments have been made, and there's something to start getting excited about.

If you choose to believe.


Up next? Playing friendly hosts to Michigan State. 2:30 PM on ABC.

Northwestern: 4-5 (0-5)

BYE. Now it's time to see if this team wants to surpass 2011 Illinois for horrible season ending losing streaks. Sippin' On Purple looks at Michigan:

NU is currently favored by 3, which, if the line holds, would be the only time the 'Cats have been favored against the Wolverines since at least 1986; in the 18 games during that span NU has been an underdog by an average of 18.1 points/game.

Under Fitz, Northwestern is 3-1 when favored in November games and is currently riding a 3 game winning streak in such games in which the 'Cats have won by an average margin of 24.3 points/game.

Sweet, Cats are looking good.

Now time for some bad news: NU is coming off of a bye week, and Fitz is 0-5 following an in-season bye. Northwestern's last win following a bye was 2005 against Wisconsin. But, this is the first time that Northwestern will be favored coming off of a bye since at least 1995 (over that span, NU has played 11 games following an in-season bye and was an underdog by an average of 9.3 points; the 'Cats went 3-8 in those games).

Just get it done Northwestern. The gnomes are tired of pitying you.

Up next? 2:30 PM on BTN.

Ohio State: 9-0 (5-0)

BYE WEEK + Oregon loss = A realistic Land Grant Holy Land:

If Urban Meyer's team completes a second straight undefeated regular season and so much as one of the two teams in front of them stumbles on the way to their respective league championships, Ohio State will have a very strong case to play for their second ever BCS crown. If the Buckeyes themselves trip up, well they won't have to worry about politicking, style points, or any of what we've come to expect this time of year during the last 15 years.

The gnomes want the Gophers in the best bowl game possible. Which means the gnomes considered an OH-IO chant but felt dirty.  They went with this instead.


Also, this is cool and must be shared.

Up next? Illinois must be destroyed. 11 AM on ESPN.

Penn State: 5-4 (2-3)


Yup. That sums it up. Black Shoe Diaries?

With every dull screech uttered by Beth Mowins on ESPN2, all of us at home wondered, "will the wind be strong enough to blow her out of the press box, so that we might earn a brief reprieve?" Nope. We weren't getting off that easy. She and her partner Joey Galloway - who twice diagrammed Minnesota RB David Cobb "expertly picking up the blitz", as Cobb bumped into Penn State defensive tackle Austin Johnson - resolved to complete the torture they started one week ago in Happy Valley.

Whoa there...


Moving along...

Penn State played like willing accomplices. The defense allowed Minnesota to score on all four Gopher first half possessions, including three touchdowns. Penn State's offense, meanwhile, managed the following result on its second half possessions: punt, punt, turnover on downs, turnover on downs, fumble.

Yep, Minnesota played no part in any of that.


Anyway, the summary?

You want my advice for the last three games? Start drinking heavily.

Never thought I'd be this eager to play Purdue.

Purdue. The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.

Up next? Bring on the Boilermakers (both kinds)! 11 AM on BTN.

Purdue: 1-8 (0-5)

Lost to Iowa 38-14. If you keep scoring touchdowns like that you'll never be the worst B1G team ever Purdue. Don't give up on your goals! Hammer and Rails is in rinse/repeat mode:

It was so bad that we can't even spell correctly ON OUR OWN SCOREBOARD:


The team isn't good either.

Up next? To a valley that won't be happy for them. 11 AM on BTN.

Wisconsin: 7-2 (4-1)

Played BYU, beat BYU. In news of note, my Badger friends were really hoping to see a BYU fan who would drink beer. It did not happen. However, the win keeps a possible GameDay appearance alive. Bucky's 5th Quarter says nice things about the Badger defense:

Stifling the BYU (6-3) rushing tandem of quarterback Taysom Hill and running back Jamaal Williams—who both averaged over 100 rushing yards per game entering Saturday—the Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1) defense bottled up the elusive duo for a combined 129 yards on the ground.

Coming back in his first game from injury, Borland made his presence felt through the entire game, recording 13 tackles and two sacks, as Hill often found himself being chased by Borland in pursuit.

And what do I spy? Could it be a crack in the Badger offensive foundation?

Unfortunately, Wisconsin's offense is mired in too much inconsistency for that to happen. The Badgers seem to summon a great level of urgency at the end of the first half when they're in the two-minute drill, but that urgency needs to be present throughout the game. Wisconsin should have buried BYU in the fourth quarter, but the Badgers had the ball for just 11 plays in the final 15 minutes, with each of the three drives ending in punts. Those 11 plays resulted in just 41 yards -- you can't take your foot off the gas pedal when you're trying to make a major move up the BCS ladder.

Just guessing that the Gophers will get more gas than BYU, but a man can dream.

Up Next? Goodnight sweet Hoosier. 11 AM on ESPN2.