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The Big Ten in Review, Week 9: Strengths, Weaknesses and Maryland

So, uhh, all that hand-wringing about the Maryland game seems to have been misplaced. I'm pretty sure we can all confidently say that Wisconsin will win the national championship this year.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Man, this weekend had it all in the Big Ten! A blowout by Wisconsindouble-overtime gamesMichigan scoring 11 points and Illinois beating Minnesota (LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!).

What the conference lacks in legitimate Playoff contenders, it sure does make up for in hilarious box scores and games participated in by Rutgers. Let's get down to business and see who did what to whom during this past weekend of Big Ten football.

Big Ten East


S&P+ rank: 73rd overall, 49th offense, 89th defense

Biggest strength: Indiana was on the bye this week, but for the 80th week in a row (I'll have to check on the accuracy of this stat) Tevin Coleman was the Hoosiers' biggest strength. He's still third in the country in rushing yards and of the top 10 backs, he has the second-fewest carries.

Biggest weakness: Did you know: Indiana has sacked the quarterback 14 times this season. Hau'oli Kikaha of Washington has 15 sacks BY HIMSELF. I like to get my random, cherry-picked statistic out of the way early on in the column.

Remaining schedule: The Hoosiers travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan. These teams are a combined 1-6 in conference. Bet you didn't think Michigan would be the team bringing the "1" to the table.


S&P+ rank: 56th overall, 74th offense, 47th defense

Biggest strength: Being a really scary opponent leading up the game this weekend. Traveling all the way to Wisconsin for the game. The flight from Maryland is at least two hours, and I can barely sit still for 22 minutes to watch an episode of Archer on DVD.

Biggest weakness: Where to begin? Passing offense, rushing offense, rushing defense, passing defense and scoring in the first 59 minutes of the game were all pretty big weaknesses for the Terps on Saturday. They were also 3-for-15 on third down, had seven penalties and turned the ball over once.

Remaining schedule: If you look at the drive chart leading to the first takeaway from the game over at Testudo Times, you will see what I'm talking about for Maryland's offensive ineptitude. The Terps travel to Happy Valley to face Penn State in a game that will largely decide where both teams finish in the East Division.


S&P+ rank: 43rd overall, 70th offense, 33rd defense

Biggest strength: Scored more points against Michigan State than it did last season, reversing an almost decade-long trend.

The Wolverines had the same amount of rushing yards as you did in the first half, unless you play for MSU.

Biggest weakness: Unfortunately, that point total was still only 11. Michigan State had 35. The Wolverines had the same amount of rushing yards as you did in the first half, unless you play for MSU.

Remaining schedule: Home game against Indiana in a game they are somehow favored by more than a touchdown in.

Michigan State

S&P+ rank: 2nd overall (!!!!!), 7th offense, 5th defense

Biggest strength: Running back Jeremy Langford had a career-high 177 rushing yards. He has rushed for over 100 yards in 12 straight conference games, which ESPN tells me is the longest active streak. Melvin Gordon has rushed for over 100 yards in three straight conference games, as a comparison.

Biggest weakness: Doesn't get to play Michigan again this season. Allowed the same Michigan team to score in double-digits, including a touchdown in the fourth quarter. That touchdown was the first one Michigan State had given up to Michigan since the fourth quarter of the 2011 game. Is MSU's defense overrated? I'm not saying ...

Remaining schedule: The Spartans have a bye, which can't possibly impress the Playoff committee. Maybe this whole team is overrated!

Ohio State

S&P+ rank: 9th overall, 6th offense, 18th defense

Biggest strength: Won an exciting game in double-overtime against Penn State. Or did they? Having the refs on your side is probably a strength, too.

Biggest weakness: Getting field goals off on time. J.T. Barrett only threw for 74 yards, which is just awful. Gave up 17-point second-half lead.

Remaining schedule: Hosts Illinois next, and if Ohio State needs the officials' help to win this one, maybe we should consider giving Urban Meyer a couple of weeks off to think about what he's done.

Penn State

S&P+ rank: 30th overall, 80th offense, 11th defense

Biggest strength: Hung tough with a far more talented Ohio State team. DaeSean Hamilton had 14 catches for 126 yards. The defense is really good. Held OSU to under 300 total yards.

Biggest weakness: Not offering to pay the officials more than Ohio State. Averaging 0.5 yards per rush as a team. Apparently having two punters that play? That is some Iowa-level garbage there, Nittany Lions.

Most people will probably talk about lacrosse at the tailgate.

Remaining schedule: Get Maryland at home for an old-fashioned, East Coast slobber-knocker. Most people will probably talk about lacrosse at the tailgate.


S&P+ rank: 57th overall, 40th offense, 70th defense

Biggest strength: Leonte Carroo had five catches for 127 yards and a touchdown. Turned the ball over fewer times than Nebraska did. Tied after the first quarter. I'm grasping at straws here, Nebraska took it to em pretty good.

Biggest weakness: Keeping Gary Nova upright (he was injured just before halftime). Stopping Ameer Abdullah, which in their defense not many people are good at doing.

Remaining schedule: Return home to face Wisconsin after getting blown out in consecutive weeks on the road against OSU and Nebraska. Hopefully UW continues the blowout trend! And not like hair blowout, people of New Jersey.

Big Ten West


S&P+ rank: 79th overall, 61st offense, 84th defense

Biggest strength: First conference home win since 2011! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I-L-L! W-I-N! Scoring defensive touchdowns and not blowing a double-digit, second-half deficit.

Biggest weakness: Well, technically the Illini did blow a double-digit second-half deficit, but then UNblew it by scoring on a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter. They were also outgained 411-263 ... wait, how the hell did Illinois win this game? I mean, the Illini were unsure of how to explain this over at The Champaign Room.

Remaining schedule: The Illini travel to Columbus to take on OSU and play for the coolest trophy in college football. Just look at that turtle! So fiercesome.

Maryland Ohio State trophy


S&P+ rank: 68th overall, 99th offense, 40th defense

Biggest strength: Had a bye. Uhhhh, Jake Rudock has a 3:1 TD:INT ratio? I don't like the Hawkeyes and I don't like saying nice things about them.

Biggest weakness: They still have two punters, Penn State has two as well and Wisconsin backup quarterback Bart Houston is the Badgers' best punter? I demand the CDC look into this virus spreading throughout the Big Ten.

Remaining schedule: Rivalry game with Northwestern. Hope to not get DUNKED ON TOO HARD BY THE CATS!


S&P+ rank: 42nd overall, 62nd offense, 32nd defense

Biggest strength: Seemingly dominated Illinois in every facet of the game and still lost. So, uhh, yeah. David Cobb is still pretty good, though.


Remaining schedule: Bye week to wallow in self-pity. After the Gophers get over the fact that they live in Minnesota, they might get around to trying to correct their mistakes during their off week.


S&P+ rank: 21st overall, 17th offense, 25th defense

Biggest strength: Ameer Abdullah is now second in Big Ten history in terms of all-purpose yards (6,604). He trails Ron Dayne by 825 yards for first all-time. He averaged 11.8 per carry on Saturday. He leads the nation in rushing yards with 1,249 and is second in rushing touchdowns with 17. This conference has a lot of good running backs this year, IMO.

Biggest weakness: Not a whole lot, honestly. I guess the Huskers turned the ball over twice and had more penalties than the Scarlet Knights, but that's just nitpicking.

Remaining schedule: Welcome Purdue to Memorial Stadium. Is this the game that Purdue finally ruins someone's season? Probably not, BUT MAYBE!


S&P+ rank: 65th overall, 90th offense, 41st defense

Biggest strength: How many teams had a bye last week? Like 100? PLAY SOME DAMN GAMES, TEAMS OF THE BIG TEN!

Biggest weakness: Still pretty terrible on offense. Although running back Justin Jackson is gonna be a real good back.

Remaining schedule: Playing Iowa. I want you to go back and watch the video in Iowa's "Remaining schedule" section. It's a classic.


S&P+ rank: 70th overall, 53rd offense, 75th defense

Biggest strength: What? ANOTHER BYE? Sheesh. Frankie Williams has three picks, seven passes defended, a sack and a touchdown on the year. He's also second on the team in tackles. He seems like a strength.

Biggest weakness: Still Purdue and still has only three wins. Sorry, Purdue.

Remaining schedule: Plays Nebraska. I doubt it will be a close game, and I've never been wrong before.


S&P+ rank: 17th overall, 21st offense, 14th defense

Biggest strength: Rushing attack. Rushing defense. The Badgers held the Terps to 46 yards on 28 attempts. That's like *does math* less than 2 yards per carry! Melvin Gordon had three rushing touchdowns and Alex Erickson had 121 receiving yards. Even the quarterbacks didn't look awful! It was a fine day.

Biggest weakness: Not preserving the shutout. Having a backup quarterback out-punt the starting punter.

Remaining schedule: This was my first time at Camp Randall this year and hoo boy,- did I have fun. Did you ever notice how if you just yell CHUG CHUG CHUG at someone they will start chugging? It blows my mind how silly people are after you've been drinking for seven hours.

Wisconsin also travels to play Rutgers this weekend. I'm hoping to have some special Buttgers news for you in next week's post! Cross your fingers. And lastly, my friend's wife had a bunch of her sorority sisters stay at their home for the weekend. She laid this out for every girl that stayed there. When I stay with my friends, I'm lucky if there are clean sheets in the house, let alone on my bed. Further proof you should only have friends that are girls.