B1G Life, B1G Stage: B1G Review- Week 7

Written October 16th, 2012 by Tim Shoemaker

Raise your hand if, at the beginning of the season, you had the Northwestern Wildcats to be the first Big Ten team eligible for a bowl game.

Nobody saw that one coming, even with Ohio State ineligible this year. And for the Wildcats to do it after just seven games is even more impressive.

Sure, Northwestern’s schedule hasn’t been the strongest, and the Wildcats don’t play Wisconsin or Ohio State this season, but you can’t argue with the results. With its 21-13 victory over Minnesota last week, Northwestern is currently 6-1 overall, and 2-1 in the Big Ten.

After three weeks of Big Ten play, there are four unbeaten teams left in conference play: Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa and Penn State.

The Nittany Lions were off last week and we all saw Ohio State squeak out a win at Indiana, but let’s take a look at the rest of the action in the Big Ten from last weekend.

Iowa gutted out a double overtime win against Michigan State, 19-16. The Hawkeyes (4-2, 2-0) scored the game-tying touchdown with just 55 seconds remaining. After trading field goals in the first overtime, Iowa took a three point lead in the second overtime on its posession. Greg Castillo then intercepted an Andrew Maxwell pass to end the game and give the Hawkeyes the win.

With the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions ineligible to play in the B1G Championship Game, the matchup between Wisconsin and Purdue would decide who represented the Leaders Division in the B1G Championship Game.

Wisconsin won easily, 38-14 and the Badgers seem to have got some of their mojo back.

After its 45-0 blowout loss to Michigan, I’m officially crowning Illinois as the worst team in the Big Ten this year and it’s not close. In three Big Ten games so far, the Illini have been outscored 111-21.

Three pretty big games next week for the Big Ten Conference: Nebraska goes on the road to face Northwestern, Michigan State takes on Michigan and Penn State will travel to Iowa.

The B1G Championship picture is starting to come together.

B1G Life, B1G Stage: B1G Review- Weak 6

Written October 9th, 2012 by Tim Shoemaker

If you take a look at the Coaches Poll this week, you will not see any Big Ten teams listed.

If that seems unusual to you, it should. This marks the first time in the history of the poll where no Big Ten teams are represented.

Ohio State is ineligible for the Coaches poll or it would be ranked, but the fact that none of the other 11 teams are speaks volumes about the state of the conference.

My eyes tell me, though, that the two best teams in the Big Ten are Michigan and Ohio State–the way it should be.

Michigan dominated Purdue by an eye-opening 44-13 margin. Many thought the Boilermakers would represent the Leaders Division in the B1G Championship Game, and they still may, but Purdue was run off the field by the Wolverines.

Ohio State’s defense may not have been all that impressive. But the Buckeyes’ offense more than made up for that, as OSU defeated Nebraska 63-38.

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B1G Life, B1G Stage: B1G Review-Week Five

Written October 2nd, 2012 by Tim Shoemaker

Eyes On The Prize

It’s October and Big Ten football is officially here.

I’ve been very critical of the Big Ten as a conference so far this season and rightfully so. September was an absolutely brutal month for the conference on a national stage. But, with the first week of conference play officially in the books, let’s take a look at some of last week’s results and see how things went down.

Obviously the marquee match up was Ohio State-Michigan State. A game in which the Buckeyes won in traditional Big Ten fashion, 17-16.

Nebraska came from behind to beat Wisconsin at home. Trailing 20-10 at halftime, the Cornhuskers were able to outscore the Badgers 20-7 in the second half to earn the 30-27 victory.

It will be interesting to see what kind of momentum a great win like that will do for a team like Nebraska. The Huskers will travel into Ohio Stadium this week for a primetime game. Will Nebraska feed off of that momentum, or did they use most of their juice to make that comeback?

Northwestern remained unbeaten on the season and it defeated Indiana 44-29. If they can get by Penn State in Happy Valley this week, the Wildcats have a real shot at being 7-0 heading into the week seven contest with Nebraska. And, with no Michigan or Ohio State on the schedule for Northwestern, it has a real shot at winning the Legends Division. Read More

Across the Web: Sparty Edition

Written September 28th, 2012 by Gary Russell II

This week THE Buckeyes will take on the other team from up North. For this week’s Across the Web we look to our friends at www.enlightenedspartan.com, who also joined us for last year’s chat. ES took some time from his busy schedule to answer our questions on Sparty.

Gholston The Lesser

1. Are MSU Fans excited about William Gholston’s play, or is it more of a “man, I hope he doesn’t kill us with a stupid penalty”?

ES: Gholston is the Spartans’ version of Dirty Harry… he is mean, and with a penchant for taking no prisoners ‘cause he’s THE MAN – but while kicking butt, he’s not thinking about the impact of his actions outside of his own skin. So, we’ll take his two steps forward, knowing we’ll take one step back.

2. What are the odds that MSU drops Notre Dame, following their move to the ACC? Bigger rival- the Irish or the Wolverines?

ES: Part 1, ND: Nil. As expected, the Catholics dropped the Wolvies, because scUM is a far more disinteresting matchup. The Spartans have a much longer history, and more wins in the series, and we’re on the docket for… forever.

Part 2, Rival: Our bigger rival is the Rodents, and that’s tied into our relationship in the Big Ten… speaking of which, the Roadkill was the only Big Ten school to vote against Michigan State joining the conference back in 1949, and we’ve hated that scUM ever since. The ES is permanently irked at having to watch both scUM and the Goddam Catholics get support annually from millions of Trailer Trash who love them yet never even attended college. Read More

B1G Life, B1G Stage: B1G Review-Week 4

Written September 25th, 2012 by Tim Shoemaker

Yup.

Well, at least it is over.

The embarrassing results to nonconference opponents that is.

Most of the nonconference games for Big Ten teams have been played as we head into week five, and the results were not pretty.

We continued to wait for the Big Ten teams to make a statement together as a conference, and it never came. And now, we may have to wait for bowl season to get another opportunity.

In the marquee game for the conference in week four, Michigan had as many turnovers as it did points. For the second time this season, the Wolverines looked terrible in the national spotlight, falling to Notre Dame 13-6.

Along with Ohio State, both Northwestern and Minnesota also improved to 4-0. The Wildcats easily defeated South Dakota 38-7 and the Gophers knocked off Syracuse 17-10.

Nebraska did what a team should do when playing a cupcake. The Huskers blew out Idaho State, 73-7.

Wisconsin struggled. Again. The Badgers had to fight hard against UTEP–now 1-3 on the year. The Badgers held on to win 37-26.

Penn State won its second consecutive game, defeating Temple 24-13. After losing its first two games of the season, Penn state has rebounded nicely to get to 2-2 on the season, one which will be very difficult for them as a program.

Ohio State’s next opponent, Michigan State, struggled a bit early against Eastern Michigan. Sparty scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, though, to pull away to the 23-7 win.

Then there is Iowa and Illinois. Both teams fell to 2-2 on Saturday with brutal losses. The Hawkeyes lost at home on a game-winning field goal to Central Michigan, 32-31. Illinois was blown out at home…by Louisiana Tech, 52-24. Really, Illinois? Really?

This week’s contest between Michigan State and Ohio State will get national attention. The winner will likely be declared the best team in the conference, but what exactly does that mean? I will have more on the Buckeyes and Spartans in my Thursday column.

Wisconsin will travel to Lincoln to take on Nebraska this week too. Four weeks ago, I was really pumped about this game. But as of today, I am not even sure I am going to watch. Right now I can only take one Big Ten football game a week.

But, I guess there is some good news in all of this. The Big Ten can’t do worse than 6-6 in a week from here on out, right?

B1G Life, B1G Stage: B1G Review-Week 3

Written September 18th, 2012 by Tim Shoemaker

Celebrating? Really?

I’m quickly running out of bad things to say about the Big Ten and it is only the end of week three.

The Big Ten has just three undefeated teams left: Minnesota, Northwestern and Ohio State. And, with the way the rest of the conference has performed so far, Ohio State has looked like the best team in the Big Ten.

But, the Buckeyes looked so unimpressive in its 35-28 win over Cal, they actually fell four spots (from No. 12 to No. 16) in the AP poll.

Michigan State, a favorite to represent the conference in the Rose Bowl, looked woefully bad against Notre Dame, losing at home 20-3. Wisconsin struggled to beat Utah State at home, 16-14. Despite being 2-1, the Badgers have to be one of the most disappointing teams in the country so far.

Penn State earned its first victory of the season, defeating Navy 34-7, a win that they Nittany Lions desperately needed.

Nebraska, Michigan, Purdue and Illinois all recorded blowout victories against sub par opponents. Minnesota defeated Western Michigan 29-23 and Iowa knocked off Northern Iowa 27-16.

Indiana’s bid at a perfect season ended (no surprise here) at the hands of the Ball State Cardinals, 41-39.

Something must be said about the Northwestern Wildcats, though. Northwestern defeated Boston College 22-13 on Saturday. With the win, all three of the Wildcats’ victories have been against teams from other BCS conferences. And, with their next four games against South Dakota, Indiana, Penn State and Minnesota, the Wildcats have a real chance to head into the Nebraska game with a 7-0 record.

The 10-2 record in week three is much improved from the 6-6 mark in week two. But yet again, in the two marquee games—Notre Dame at Michigan State and California at Ohio State—the Big Ten struggled.

I have defended the Big Ten in previous years, saying that outside of the SEC it had been the best conference. An argument could be made for the Big 12 in a couple of seasons, but I felt overall the Big Ten was second only to the SEC.

The last big non-conference game for the Big Ten comes next week when Michigan travels to South Bend to take on the same Notre Dame team that just dominated Michigan State.

And for the conference’s sake, Michigan needs to bring home a victory.

B1G Life, B1G Stage: B1G Review- Week 2

Written September 11th, 2012 by Tim Shoemaker

That Kind Of Day

Week one was bad, but week two was much, much worse.

Despite going 10-2 as a conference in the first week of the season, I wrote that the Big Ten did not look very impressive in doing so. Now, following a 6-6 mark in week two, I am even more convinced the Big Ten may be headed for another down year.

No. 13 Wisconsin and No. 16 Nebraska both lost. Both results were somewhat surprising. Nebraska looked extremely impressive in its 49-20 win against Southern Mississippi. But the Cornhuskers went into the Rose Bowl and lost a highly entertaining game against UCLA, 36-30.

The Badgers weren’t as impressive in their opener, but were still picked by many to win, or finish near the top of the Big Ten. However, Oregon State had other ideas as the Beavers stunned Wisconsin 10-7.

Two of the projected top teams in the Big Ten, losing to middle-of-the-pack Pac 12 teams does not bode well for the conference.

Iowa needed a second half comeback to beat Northern Illinois in week one. The Hawkeyes, however, failed to score a touchdown against in-state rival Iowa State and fell 9-6.

Illinois got steamrolled by Arizona State, 45-14, making the Pac 12’s record against the Big Ten 3-0 last week.

Penn State looks headed for a dismal season as the Nittany Lions fell to Virginia 17-16, one week after losing to Ohio 24-14. And Purdue fought hard, and played a tough game against No. 22 Notre Dame, but the Boilermakers came up just short in the end 20-17.

Six teams did record victories for the conference, though: No. 11 Michigan State, No. 14 Ohio State, No. 19 Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern and Indiana. Read More

BBN: Three Questions From Ohio State’s 2012 Signing Day

Written February 2nd, 2012 by MaliBuckeye
Following an epic National Letter of Intent Day at Ohio State, several of the Buckeye Blogs wanted to take a closer look at how this will all play out for the future. Be sure to check out the work at The Buckeye Blog, Buckeye House Call, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, Our Honor Defend, and The Silver Bullet for their responses to the round table questions and all things NLOID related.

Marion. But of course.

It’s Groundhog Day; February 2, 2012. While it might be tempting to channel our inner Ned Ryerson, reliving the epic signing day yesterday over and over and over again wouldn’t be all that productive (unless you’re Bret Bielema’s therapist). Nope, it’s time to embrace the other side of the festive event and recognize that yesterday was a sign that the seasons were changing. The long, dismal, self inflicted winter of Buckeye Nation’s discontent is moving on, and the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an oncoming train.

No, Urban Meyer didn’t look for his shadow as he emerged from the Ohio State War Room on Monday, but you can bet that his presence has cast a shadow across the hearts of B1G fans as certainly as it brought sunlight to Columbus and beyond. A new day was here- a day where most of the B1G took yet another step strengthening their position against signing day abuses; a day where the most egregious oversigners had to change their habits and make decisions on NLOID; heck, a day where James Patrick Tressel may have even found a home.

But for Buckeye fans, little of that mattered. Most of them celebrated by quoting the great Mark Twain in reflection of their favorite squadron- “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” As we all know, though, they don’t hand out crystal footballs on signing day so the work continues for the OSU staff and student athletes.  And for those of us who follow and report and reflect on their decisions, there are always questions to be answered.

Who are you most excited to see in the Scarlet and Gray?

Eric- Hands down, I’m the most excited to see what Brionte Dunn can bring to the fold.  Reportedly, Dunn is a bruising power back that will harken back to the days of yore for the Buckeyes. 

Many people have made a big deal about how Dunn won’t fit into Urban Meyer’s system.  That statement couldn’t be further from the truth.  Recall that Tim Tebow was often used in lieu of a power back, being used to plow ahead for yardage.  Florida is not a state known for it’s big bruisers, being better known for it’s speedsters of course, and Urban Meyer was simply not able to get the kinds of running backs he prefers – the big kinds.

Meyer will easily integrate Dunn into the offense, and it should be fun to watch unfold.  As a bonus, Bill Greene commented during his Q&A liveblog yesterday that he believed Dunn would be the starting running back for the Buckeyes next season.  Just as an FYI. Read More