Thursday, September 22, 2011

Big Ten Review and Preview- September 24th

B1G Review and Preview- Week 4.It’s warm up week in the B1G. Almost everyone is going to take a breather this week before conference play opens up next week. That’s all right with me as I’m moving and this way I won’t miss a thing.

Last week-Tip of the hat to the Fighting Illini. That defensive genius Ron Zook found a way to pull out a win against Arizona State at home. Only their fourth win against a Top 25 team since 2005. No one guessed it would be a low scoring, 17-14 affair, but that’s why you should never bet, kids. In any event, count Illinois as a dark horse in the Leaders Division.

Ohio State was embarrassed in Miami (FL). It wasn’t the losing, 24-6, as much as the lack of an offense. There is a quarterback controversy in Columbus and the possibility that this thing could go south in a hurry.

Iowa, down 24-3, late in the third quarter rallied for a 31-27 win. It saved the season, but they have work to do on both sides of the ball.

Penn State struggled, as predicted, against Temple and barely got the win 14-10. The quarterback isn’t the only problem in Happy Valley.

Michigan State dropped a tough one to a Notre Dame team that really needed a win, 31-13. It’s not the end of the season for the Spartans, but it reduces their margin of error.

Nebraska won a shootout with Washington, 51-38. Minnesota survived against Miami of Ohio, 29-23.

Northwestern got upset by Army, 21-14. Paging Dan Persa.

Michigan, Wisconsin, Purdue and Indiana overwhelmed inferior opponents.

B1G GOTW- Colorado (1-2) at Ohio State (2-1), 2:30 p.m. ABC/ESPNThe Buffalo come galloping into Columbus, Ohio this week. They will be looking for their first road win in 19 tries.

Colorado is a member of the PAC-12 now and coached by Jon Embree. The Buffs are 1-2 with a loss on the road to Hawaii and an overtime loss to Cal. They beat in-state rival Colorado State in Denver, 28-14, last week.

They return a veteran offensive line that protects Tyler Hansen who likes to chuck it around the field. The pro-style offense averages 300 yards through the air and 90 on the ground. WR Paul Richardson and RB Rodney Stewart are his two main targets.

The 3-4 defense is led by LB’s Douglas Rippy and Jon Major. They give up over 300 yards a game, including 110 on the ground. In addition, they boast one of the worst percentages at stopping third downs in the country.

Ohio State on the other hand has been very balanced, averaging 170 through the air and on the ground. However, last week against Miami, they threw for 35 yards- total. Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller are competing for the starting QB nod. Neither is Terrell Pryor.

SR Center and consensus All-American Mike Brewster anchors the offensive line. Sophomore Carlos Hyde and Junior Jordan Hall split running back duties. Last week, Hall had 123 all-purpose yards against the Hurricanes and will probably see more playing time.

The defense is giving up 263 yards a game, which is 14th in the country. After the first two drives in Miami, the Buckeyes clamped down and gave up only 247 yards the rest of the way. Linebackers Andrew Sweat, Storm Klein, and Etienne Sabino lead the team in tackles. The Buckeyes picked off two passes and for the most part spent the night waiting for an offense that never came to life.

Of Note: Ohio State is not in the Top 25 for the first time since November 20, 2004. And they are coming off a road loss to an unranked team for the first time in 23 years.

The Line: Ohio State is a 15-point favorite.

The Pick: The good news for Ohio State is that their running game and defense, plus Colorado’s woes on the road, should be enough to get them the win. The Colorado defense is not Miami. Mentally, the Buckeyes should be looking to wash the taste of defeat out of their mouths. However, if their heads are not in it and they allow Colorado to hang around- nah, won’t happen. Ohio State 29, Colorado 17.

Quick Slants-Central Michigan (1-2) at Michigan State (2-1). Seriously how many schools play Division I football in that state? Spartans are licking their wounds and that’s bad news for the Chippewas.

San Diego State (3-0) at #22 Michigan (3-0). It’s the Brady Hoke bowl. Something tells me the Aztecs put up a fight here, but I see a Wolverine victory in the end.

Eastern Michigan (2-1) at Penn State (2-1). The Eagles played okay at Michigan last week, but the Nittany Lions will get a double-digit win even if it’s not pretty.

Louisiana Monroe (1-2) at Iowa (2-1). A chance to work on the running game and for the Hawkeye defense to buy a vowel- because they cannot solve the puzzle.

South Dakota (2-1) at #6 Wisconsin (3-0). Enjoy the kickoff because that is as competitive as this game will get.

Western Michigan (2-1) at #24 Illinois (3-0). I’ll go along with Illinois, but this isn’t a blowout.

North Dakota State (2-0) at Minnesota (1-2). I remember when the Bison played in Maryville for the DII playoffs. Now they are going to Minneapolis. They can win here if over looked, but I think Jerry Kill will have the Gophers ready.

Indiana (1-2) at North Texas (0-3). Dan McCartney is having a tough run trying to get the Mean Green back on track. Kevin Wilson is having a tough time at Indiana as well. The Hoosiers should enjoy the win, because it might be their last.

#9 Nebraska (3-0) at Wyoming (3-0). Two unbeaten teams. This serves as a reminder that not all border wars are compelling. Huskers win and set up a HUGE game in Madison next week.

Northwestern and Purdue players are idle and will be attending keggers.

The last week of non-conference football is a chance for each team to catch their breath and prepare for an 8-week grind and hopefully, a trip to Indianapolis. Enjoy it, because there will be no Dakota or directional schools next week.

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