Sunday, September 6, 2015

Week One Pass/Fail Report: Big 10

It was a rough week for the Big 10, as several traditional powers got beat in pretty bad fashion. Two coaches lost their debuts, and it was a disaster against Power Five foes. With Ohio State still set to play Monday night, there is a chance to rebound a bit, but you cannot put a great spin on a week that was largely a mess.

BIG 10

PASS: Northwestern, Michigan State, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Rutgers

Getting the cupcake wins out of the way. Iowa (beat Illinois State 31-14), Maryland (defeated Richmond 50-21), and Rutgers (beat Norfolk State 63-13). Only Iowa can really receive props, as ISU was the FCS runner up last fall, and could have given the Hawkeyes a challenge.
Northwestern knocked off Stanford at home, 16-6, but the media is severely overhyping how much of an upset this was. Stanford isn't very good this season, and Northwestern had the advantage of playing early and at home. This wasn't as huge as it may seem.
Michigan State struggled at times, but the Spartans did not look ahead to Oregon next week, and held off a pesky Bronco team. Next up, the Ducks...
Illinois had a tough week leading up to their opening game, but they played hard for Bill Cubit, and looked largely relaxed with Tim Beckman gone.

FAIL: Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State, Nebraska, Indiana, Wisconsin, Purdue
Michigan and Nebraska both failed in their debuts for head coaches Jim Harbaugh and Mike Riley. Michigan had their chances with the Utes, but three picks will doom you every time. Nebraska had the game in the bag, but with Taysom Hill out of the game, the Huskers allowed a backup QB to roll right and fire a 42 yard strike into the end zone for a TD with no time left, and BYU beat the Huskers in Lincoln 33-28.
Penn State had the most humbling game of the week, falling for the first time in 74 years to Temple, 27-10. The Lions looked horrible on the line on offense, and Christian Hackenburg looked like a kid that will never get it at QB.
Wisconsin learned the hard way that a part of the modern game is passing and run stop defense, and they failed to provide either in a 35-17 loss to Alabama in Dallas.
Minnesota played a strong game late, but it was too late as they allowed TCU an early jump in a 23-17 home loss. The Gophers still showed signs that they can win the Big 10 West, but they have to shake this one off.
Purdue hit the road and folded in front of a sold out crowd at Marshall, eventually losing 41-31 in a game that Austin Appleby started by throwing a pick six. It could be another long one in West Lafayette, and I am losing faith in Darell Hazell as coach.
Indiana was a failed two point conversion away fro losing to the Salukis of Southern Illinois, which would have been disastrous for embattled coach Kevin Wilson. Still, the Hoosier faithful could not have been please by the win after they largely trailed most of the way until late.

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