That’s, it folks, we’re in the final week of the college football regular season. All the teams you expected to take care of business this week did, setting up a winner take all scenario in both divisions, with hopes still high for the teams on the outside looking in.
Iowa 28, Illinois 0
Iowa’s championship picture is done, as they needed Wisconsin to lose out in order to win the division. That didn’t stop them from making quick work of Illinois (who did not have a single kickoff in this game). Iowa themselves started slow, but soon realized that they wouldn’t need to pass the ball to win the game.
What this means for Iowa: Iowa is one regular season and bowl game away from repeating 2008 almost to the T.
Up Next: Nebraska
What this means for Illinois: As you’ll see below, Illinois might actually have a shot at another win next week. Always good to end on a good note.
Up Next: at Northwestern
No. 2 Ohio State 17, Michigan State 16
There’s a meme going around stating that Ohio State can’t play in bad weather (specifically rain), and I’m starting to believe it. Once again, a cold, rainy day led to absolutely nothing from the Buckeyes on offense, and Michigan State almost capitalized. Faced with the prospect of not getting the ball back (or only getting it back once more) the rest of the game, Mark Dantonio chose to go for two on the tying drive late in the fourth quarter. The attempt failed, and Ohio State will live to see another [playoff] day.
What this means for Ohio State: Their hope of making the playoff as a non-champion (if Penn State wins) or winning the East (if Penn State loses) are still alive. Take care of business once more, and they’re in good position.
Up Next: Michigan
What this means for Michigan State: Officially eliminated from bowl contention, the Spartans no longer have anything tangible to play for. They could play for pride, but as Dantonio himself has said, that comes before the fall.
Up Next: at Penn State
No. 7 Wisconsin 49, Purdue 20
Finally, Purdue just had a quiet game where they got blown out from start to finish. That must have been a lot more relaxing than the past few games, where hope is still right in front of them, only to be taken a way so suddenly in the third quarter. Wisconsin had 8 different people carry the ball (including QBs) in this game, and six of them ran for positive yardage.
What this means for Wisconsin: The win eliminated a few long shots from contention, as the only other team that could win the West now is Nebraska.
Up Next: Minnesota
What this means for Purdue: They could still play spoiler to Indiana in the Bucket game, which is not a bad consolation prize considering the circumstances.
Up Next: at Indiana
Minnesota 29, Northwestern 12
Remember how I said Illinois had a shot above? Well there it is. Northwestern, yet again, faced a competent team and folded faster than me at a poker table. In fairness to the Wildcats, they had many opportunities keep this game interesting. They, however, capitalized on none of them. What makes this even more apparent is that Minnesota themselves seemed to be sleep walking through this game, missing a PAT on their first touchdown of the game, and not scoring again until late in the second quarter. None of it mattered, since Northwestern didn’t manage a score of their own until the game was well out of hand.
What this means for Minnesota: Having been eliminated from contention, Minnesota is jockeying for bowl positioning right now. They could, however, spoil Wisconsin’s division hopes this weekend.
Up Next: at Wisconsin
What this means for Northwestern: They could probably still make a bowl at 5-7, but one would rather have to avoid that situation altogether if possible. Also, it would mean that Fitzgerald followed yet another 10-win season with a 5-win season.
Up Next: Illinois
No. 18 Nebraska 28, Maryland 7
I guess Mike Riley didn’t need Tommy Armstrong out there this Saturday, as I can’t see how a mere injury preventing him from trotting the concussed quarterback out there (oh, it was a leg injury you say? And, like, that’s worse than a brain injury you mean? OOOH you’re saying it was Maryland so he didn’t need to risk more injury on Armstrong? Got it). Anyway, Maryland couldn’t do anything Ryker Fyfe was admirable, and Nebraska won. Moving right along.
What this means for Nebraska: They can still win the West if Minnesota beats Wisconsin (and the Huskers don’t lose to Iowa).
Up Next: at Iowa
What this means for Maryland: Can still reach bowl eligibility by virtue of Rutgers
Up Next: Rutgers
No. 3 Michigan 20, Indiana 10
Another game, another opportunity at a big win wasted for Indiana. They seemed to have figured out Michigan’s attack for Most of the game, and were moving the ball just enough to have a third quarter lead, but Michigan’s running game came alive late in the third as well, and before you knew it, snow had covered the field (and Indiana’s hopes of a win). The lack of production at quarterback for Michigan was somewhat concerning, however, and will be interesting to follow during the week.
What this means for Michigan: They still have the best path to a division championship, needing only to win their next game to get in. But, if Wilton Speight can’t make it to Columbus healthy enough to play, well...
Up Next: at Ohio State
What this means for Indiana: They should beat Purdue on paper, but you throw the records out in rivalry games (it’s funny when that isn’t meant to be sarcastic).
Up Next: Purdue