Sunday, November 1, 2009

Big Ten thoughts

One thing I forgot to mention in the Purdue game wrap-up: we're bowl eligible. Last year that came as a huge sigh of relief, which may have been the best indication of how disappointing the season was. This year it's just another thing to check off on the list of goals.

Which bowl are we headed to? I think we're clearly the fourth-best team in the Big Ten, and since Iowa doesn't look like it's headed to the national title game and neither Ohio State nor Penn State deserve a BCS bowl bid, my best guess is we're headed to the Alamo Bowl. Which would be fine. Hopefully we could play a name program like Oklahoma or Nebraska.

Big Ten thoughts heading into November:

1. Iowa. They seem a lot like 2002 Ohio State, don't they? Remember, they almost lost to Northern Iowa and Arkansas State at home. But who's going to beat them?

2. Penn State. If they played Iowa again, who would win? Probably still Iowa.

3. Ohio State. Reflection of where the conference is and where OSU you is: they're clearly in a down/rebuilding year yet no worse than third in the league.

4. Wisconsin. No complaints.

5. Michigan State. Despite losing to Minnesota last night, I still think they're the better team. On the play before Duane Bennett's immaculate reception the refs blew a replay overturn that negated an MSU fumble recovery. Still, when the other team has 143 penalties like Minnesota did, you've got to win.

6. Minnesota. Did you see those thousands of empty seats at the Gophers' new stadium last night? Maybe it was too cold; they should build a dome. Can you imagine what that place will look like when the opening season novelty wears off? What, it already has?

7. Indiana. They seem to be close to finishing a big win. Hope it doesn't happen next week.

8. Purdue. As bad as they looked yesterday, they've at least beaten some teams. They almost beat Oregon at Oregon, and Oregon blew out USC, so by that logic we'd beat USC by about 30.

9. Northwestern. I guess.

10. Michigan. That huge win over Western Michigan seems like forever ago, doesn't it? They seem to be getting comfortable down here. If they beat Purdue next week to become bowl eligible that would theoretically make them less desperate in their game against us the following week.

11. Illinois. They still stink.

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