Thanks to Michigan Sports Center for hosting the roundtable last week. This week our attention stays with Michigan as Maize-n-Brew has the questions. Go check him out and follow the links to the other bloggers.
1. Time to break out the crystal ball. I want to know what happens at the END of the season. Give me your offensive and defensive Players of the Year in the Big Ten along with Coach of the Year and why.
I think Curtis Painter from Purdue is on pace to throw 543.7 touchdowns this year. Say what you want about Joe Tiller, but that man can coach quarterbacks. Everybody told him he couldn't run a pass happy offense in the Big Ten. By God, he's doing it. Of course, maybe he should have listened when they told him you have to play tough defense too.
On the defensive side of the ball I'm going to have to be a homer and go with Dan Connor. Moving him to the middle has resulted in him being a factor on every play. He's leading the team in tackles, sacks, and tackles for loss. He's everywhere. And if Penn State continues to compete for the conference championship he'll get the publicity he deserves. James Laurinaitis may be tough to beat if quarterbacks keep throwing the ball at him.
For coach of the year, right now Mark Dantonio at Michigan State is my front runner. He's sitting at 3-0 now and will probably be 4-0 after playing Notre Dame this week. They have actually looked impressive. If he continues that momentum through into the conference schedule and takes this team to a bowl game that will be a small miracle considering the train wreck John L. Smith left him.
2. With the upsets, close games, and head scratchers so far, every game we thought was going to be important has changed. Michigan State is 3-0, for Pete's sake, and they look good doing it. Pick the three games on the Big Ten Schedule that will determine the Big Ten Champion. Bonus Points for not picking three games on your own schedule.
I'll have to forego the bonus points because I think Penn State will be a major factor in the Big Ten race this year.
Oct. 6 - Iowa at Penn State
The Hawkeyes don't play Ohio State or Michigan this year, so their games against Wisconsin and Penn State will be pivital to them. Unfortunately for them they play both teams on the road. But win them both and the Hawkeyes will win the conference.
Oct 13 - Wisconsin at Penn State
Both teams could be 6-0 at this point assuming Penn State gets past Michigan and Wisconsin gets past Iowa. The winner has the inside track to the conference championship.
Nov 3 - Wisconsin at Ohio State
It's possible both teams could have one or two losses by this point, but it's also possible they will both be undefeated. This game is a major piece in determining the conference champion. The winner keeps their Rose Bowl hopes alive. The loser will probably end up in the Outback Bowl.
3. How many games, this season, have you been to? How many games have you tailgated at? If you have tailgated, name your beverage of choice. If you answered no to the previous questions, hang your head in shame, or at least give a good story about watching the game in enemy territory and giving the bouncer the finger when he asked you to quiet down.
I've only made it to one of the three games so far, the Florida International game. We sipped down Captain and Cokes as we ate our pancakes and scrapple. It was a glorious day after the eight month football layoff. I'm planning on going to the Iowa game in a few weeks. I've got tickets lined up through the rest of the season except for the Ohio State game. So if anyone out there has a spare ticket...
Bitter/Angry Bonus Question!
4. As the Big Ten Season kicks off, the Conference is in somewhat of a difficult position nationally. Needing some momentum after a horrid BCS performance, the Conference needed some momentum early in the season. It hasn't gotten it. The first three weeks have been abysmal. Is this just a down year for the Big Ten, is there a change Nationally that the Big Ten just hasn't picked up on, is there some truth to the "Big Ten Style of Play" that everyone harps on, or has college football simply caught up? What do you think and why? I may be beating a dead horse, but no one looks good this year and I'm at a loss as to why.
Did I just imagine Penn State and Wisconsin beating ranked SEC teams last year?
You know what, this has to stop. It's a down year for Michigan. Why does that mean the rest of the conference is "abysmal"? Because Iowa lost in a rivalry game? Or because a rebuilding Ohio State offense was slow out of the gate against Akron? The rest of the conference is fine. Take a look at these records.
I think the record of the Big Ten fits in just fine with these other conferences. The thing that sticks out is Michigan. Everyone else is taking care of business except for the bottom feeders and the fluke loss by Iowa. There have been some scares with Wisconsin and Ohio State, but then every other conference has had their share of scares too.
The Big Ten put themselves in this position by elevating Ohio State and Michigan above all the other teams. When Michigan and Ohio State do well the Big Ten is the greatest conference in the Milky Way Galaxy. When they lose it's a down year for the conference. It's always been like this and until it stops teams like Penn State and Wisconsin are going to pay for it. If any Big Ten team other than the big two goes undefeated they may very well get shut out of the championship game. We'll end up watching an undefeated and untested West Virginia get slaughtered by USC or Florida in the National Championship game while we're playing Hawaii in the Rose Bowl.
We as bloggers must not ignore the power we hold. We don't have to like it, but we can be proud of our conference champion even if it isn't Michigan or Ohio State. Any team that gets through Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Purdue, Penn State, Wisconsin and the others deserves consideration for the National Championship.
|Conference||Record Against FBS Teams||Record Against FCS Teams|
||20 - 6||6 - 1|
||12 - 5||6 - 0|
||23 - 8||4 - 1|
||12 - 3||5 - 0|
||11 - 8||5 - 0|
||18 - 6||2 - 0|