The Big Ten went 9-2 against nonconference competition last Saturday. I can see already it’s going to be difficult for me to refrain from complaining about college football officiating. And it’s not all on the refs. There are just too many subjective rules these days that get called on a whim, most all of ‘em player protection rules. I saw a play in the Illinois game where a player was flagged for tackling. Not targeting, not the “helpless player” thing, the defender wrapped up the running back with his arms and threw him to the ground. Which, I believe, is the idea behind tackling. Unnecessary roughness was the call. Something has to be done about this.
Nebraska – Lost to Northern Illinois, 17-21. I’m not entirely surprised. Nebraska just isn’t anywhere near what most perceive them to be. It appeared from the couch that Northern had an equal amount of talent on the field. QB Tanner Lee is a problem right now, which will, at the very least, be prominent in the local media. And I would also assume HC Mike Riley will be taking a considerable amount of heat.
Rutgers – Won vs Morgan St., 65-0. I saw the first few minutes of this one and turned my attention to one of several other games happening in the 2:30 time slot. It’s good for Rutgers to win, I suppose. But not much to be learned from this one, considering the inferior FCS opponent.
Purdue – Won vs Missouri, 35-3. I’ve been sayin’ all along, watch out for Purdue and this game certainly validates. I didn’t get to see it as it was on the SEC Network channel which I don’t have access to, but the score and the game recaps indicate an overall dominant performance against an SEC opponent. The win doesn’t surprise me - I’ve been touting Purdue all along, but the margin of victory does. I’ve only seen Purdue once, so I’m anxious to see ‘em again.
Michigan – Won vs. Air Force, 29-13. For the second week in a row, the Wolves seemed less impressive than expected. This certainly wasn’t the same as opening night against Florida, so some degree of lack of enthusiasm can be expected. But the offense appears to be regressing. QB Wilton Speight wasn’t quite as bad as the previous Saturday, but still not great, and the run game struggled at times. Again, I’m chalking this up to lack of inspiration, this is still a good team.
Minnesota – Won vs Middle Tennessee, 34-3. I didn’t catch much of this game as it was one of several in the 2:30 time slot. The Gophers appear to be on a roll.
Iowa – Won vs North Texas, 31-14.The Hawkeyes are 3-0 and QB Nate Stanley continues to play solid. The Hawkeyes weren’t dominant from the start, though.
Penn St. – Won vs Georgia St., 56-0. I caught very little of this game. Obviously Penn St. has a good team this year, but that could get overstated watching them play an opponent like Georgia St.
Illinois – Lost to South Florida, 23-47. The Illini were simply outmanned in this one. Not quite ready for prime time opponents, and South Florida proved to be prime time. But there were some bright spots given the Illini’s recent history. RB Mike Epstein is proving to be a star, and the overall team effort looks good. I’m not too concerned about all the penalties in this one, the officiating was horrible. Illinois actually looks much more organized and disciplined under HC Lovie Smith’s watch. They just don’t have the horses.
Ohio St. – Won vs Army, 38-7. Didn’t see much of this one either. As I’m writing these recaps, I’m noticing that I’m saying that a lot, but the 2:30 time slot was overloaded and I had to pick my spots. Mismatches like this were not my first choice, and I’ve already seen more of Ohio St. than most other teams. The game was close early, but it doesn’t appear as though the Buckeyes were ever in any real danger.
Northwestern – Won vs Bowling Green, 49-7. Right on que, Northwestern does an about face and plays well.
Wisconsin - Won vs BYU, 40-6. I wanted to watch most of this game as I figured it to be the best of a weak Big Ten schedule. But the Badgers took control early and never looked back. QB Alex Hornibrook looked sharp, just in time for conference play. This is the Wisconsin I was expecting. The Badgers have a very good chance to win not just their division, but the whole conference.
Maryland – Did not play.
Indiana – Did not play. Postponed.
Michigan St. – Did not Play.