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Who helped themselves in the Race for the B1G West?

After the first week of games, we've still got more questions than answers.

Willie the Wildcat celebrates victory with the butlers and nannies of Northwestern students. Now with the right Wildcat and less help.
Willie the Wildcat celebrates victory with the butlers and nannies of Northwestern students. Now with the right Wildcat and less help.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

So should we talk about that first weekend? No? Ok.  As we're still in the non-conference slate, there is only so much we can learn from the last week.  The important things are to 1) avoid injuries 2) win 3) avoid injuries.  So how did everyone do with these criteria?

Illinois (1-0)

No new injuries and they defeated future Gopher opponent Kent State 52-3? You'd have to say that the past weekend for Illinois was a resounding success.

Up next: 1-AA Western Illinois (1-0)

Iowa (1-0)

The Hawkeyes went about doing their business in beating 1-AA Illinois State 31-14. As I've said before and will probably say many times again: The only thing you'll learn from playing a 1-AA team is that you're in deep shit if you lose to them.  Iowa didn't lose.  They were also able to avoid injuries in week 1, so bravo.

Up next: at Iowa State (1-0) in the game known far and wide as EL ASSICO!!!!

Minnesota (0-1)

Have we here at The Daily Gopher talked about this Gopher game enough?  A 7 6 point loss at home to TCU is the best outcome that we could hope for that wasn't a win.  The defense did an outstanding job against one of the two best offenses we'll see all year, and the offense didn't get shut out. Injuries to Campion and Lauer are a bit worrying, but the OL did seem to play decently as the night went on. There's room for improvement, but absolutely nothing to make you think this team isn't a contender for the B1G West.

Up next: at Colorado State (1-0)

Nebraska (0-1)

Live by the Hail Mary, die by the Hail Mormon. Northwestern fans are going to spend the entire season posting gifs of the last play of BYU's 33-28 win in Lincoln all over the interwebs, and nobody should blame them at all. I will give the Huskers credit, as it looked like they were in real trouble in the 2nd quarter, but halftime adjustments got them roaring back into the contest. Unfortunately, they'll have to go a couple weeks without DE Jack Ganglish and TE David Sutton.  Fortunately, it sounds like P Sam Foltz will be back after getting rolled up last weekend.  We here at TDG love and appreciate all punters because we're B1G.

Up next: South Alabama (1-0)

Northwestern (1-0)

Northwestern had the most impressive win of the weekend, winning Nerd Bowl I over #21 Stanford 16-6.  The Wildcats held their opponent to 240 yards, including only 85 yards rushing. They also looked pretty good on the ground, racking up 225 yards. So not only did they knock off a ranked opponent, they also had controlling line play in the effort.  When was the last time we got to say that about Northwestern against anyone?  The only injury was C Brad North, but he was listed Monday as the starter on their 2-deep for this weekend's game.

Up next: 1-AA Eastern Illinois (0-1)

Purdue (0-1)

Let's give the Boilermakers some credit. They looked like they had a shot at winning at Marshall. Sadly, they fell short and lost 41-31. And Austin Appleby showed some real flashes of brilliance. But those flashes were between the bookended pick-sixes he threw to start and end the game along with an additional pair of interceptions. It doesn't appear that there were any major injuries, so they can always take solace in that.

Up next: 1-AA Indiana State (1-0)

Wisconsin (0-1)

Uh oh.  A loss? Yup. A 35-17 loss? Yup. 40 yards on 21 carries? Yup. 25 of those yards coming from a jet sweep when the game was well under control for Alabama? Yup. Injuries to their key players on offense (Clement) and defense (Caputo)? Yup.  This was a doomsday scenario come to life for Bucky.  The run game was non-existent, Clement had a groin injury, and Caputo had one of the scariest moments of the weekend following what was obviously a concussion when he lined up behind Alabama's huddle.  The Badger may attempt to convince you that this wasn't that bad of a loss, or that Alabama is a good team, or that Joel Stave looked good, but there's no reason to fall for this red propaganda.  They got taken behind the woodshed by Bama, the Gophers were never down by 25 to TCU, and Stave simply completed a ton of short-to-intermediate yard passes because Alabama didn't view him as a threat to cause any damage in doing this.

Up next: Miami of Ohio (1-0)


So there you have it: Illinois, Iowa, and Northwestern got passing grades, with the Wildcats looking the most impressive in their debut.  What do you think?  Also, as required for all "writers" at Off Tackle Empire, here's a poll: