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The Big Ten in Review, Week 10: Strengths, Weaknesses and Rutgers AND Northwestern

Wisconsin and Iowa just #BEATEMDOWN this weekend, continuing the logjam atop the Big Ten West. There were also only two teams on a bye, so we have waaaaaaay more material for jokes!

Drew Hamm

First off, I hope you all stayed nice and unarrested during Halloween this weekend and tried to eat your weight in Reese's like I did. Second of all, I don't know if I've seen a more miserable-looking crowd than the group of hearty souls that made it out for the Wisconsin/Rutgers game, and that was before Wisconsin started scoring! Cold, rained on and in New Jersey is no way to go through life, son.

There was a lot of excitement in other Big Ten cities, too! There was a kicking clinic in State College, a moderately impressive win in Ann Arbor, a curb-stomping in Columbus and Purdue "played." Let's goooooooooooo!

Big Ten East


S&P+ rank: 74th overall, 54th offense, 91st defense

Biggest strength: You know that Tevin Coleman is still a strength, but he can't do everything. HE'S ONLY ONE MAN, INDIANA! He's the only running back in the country to rush for over 100 yards in every game this season.

Biggest weakness: Getting blown out by Michigan (for the 19th straight time, holy crap) is always a weakness. Expert catburgular Zander Diamont was 5-of-8 for 24 yards but no turnovers! The team was 3-for-13 on third down and had 191 total yards. We need to airlift Coleman out of Bloomington.

Remaining schedule: Comes back home to play Penn State in what amounts to a "must win" game for PSU. Because I like chaos, I hope IU wins by 14.


S&P+ rank: 48th overall, 61st offense, 42nd defense

Biggest strength: Kicking field goals. Proper hygiene and flu prevention methods. Not getting ejected after an obvious illegal hands to the face penalty ON AN OFFICIAL. Will Likely.

Biggest weakness: Beating Penn State historically. This was only Maryland's second victory over PSU all time and the current rivalry stands at 35-2-1 in the Nittany Lions' favor. Another weakness is the 194 total yards the Terps gained and their putrid 1-14 success rate on third down. Goodness is that awful for a winning team. OMG THEY ALSO AVERAGED 1.1 YARDS (which I barely had to make plural) PER CARRY! I wonder what the ACC's return policy is?

Remaining schedule: Bowl eligible in their first Big Ten season! Celebrate with a bye this week, Terps!


S&P+ rank: 39th overall, 59th offense, 28th defense

Biggest strength: A shockingly efficient offense. Devin Gardner was 22-of-29 for 220 yards and two touchdowns (and one pick) while running back Drake Johnson had 122 yards and two touchdowns. 1-0 in games this season when Dave Brandon isn't the athletic director.

Biggest weakness: You know? Not a whole lot this week. Michigan played pretty well. Its athletic department is in shambles and it still has a losing record in conference and overall, but for this week? Well, for this week Michigan is king... of Ann Arbor. The Wolverines are still terrible, lol.

Remaining schedule: Travel to Evanston for a matchup with the Wildcats. I would rather eat raw peppers than predict who will win this dumb game. Oh, you guys probably don't know how much I hate raw peppers. It's a lot.

Michigan State

S&P+ rank: 4th overall, 8th offense, 4th defense

Biggest strength: Had a bye, which did not hinder them in getting the Big Ten's first (only?) Gameday of the season.

Biggest weakness: Purdue has scored the second-most points against Michigan State. I hope the Playoff committee takes that into account at the end of the year if MSU is in contention.

Remaining schedule: Just a massive game against Ohio State on Saturday night.

Ohio State

S&P+ rank: 9th overall, 6th offense, 12th defense

Biggest strength: Got to play Illinois. Had 296 rushing yards, with no one player carrying the ball more than nine times or gaining more than 69 (nice) yards. Three different dudes attempted a pass. Just when you thought Wisconsin would lead the league in "number of dudes that have attempted passes," stupid OSU comes swooping in.

If I've learned anything in this dumb life, it's that you either kill an Ohioan or spend the rest of your life looking over your shoulder.

Biggest weakness: Only picked off Reilly O'Toole twice. Still lost to Virginia Tech, which is just looking worse and worse by the week.

Remaining schedule: Game of the Year of the Week against Michigan State. OSU will be looking for revenge since MSU ended its win streak in the CCG last year. If I've learned anything in this dumb life, it's that you either kill an Ohioan or spend the rest of your life looking over your shoulder.

Penn State

S&P+ rank: 32nd overall, 79th offense, 15th defense

Biggest strength: Gentlemanly behavior. Like Maryland, the kicking game is also a strength here.

Biggest weakness: Starting QB being compared to Jay Cutler.

Hanging onto the ball. Four turnovers is atrocious. The offensive line is about as good as having four turnovers in a game. Dominated Maryland in total yards with... 219? SMDH, this game was a pox on the entire conference. Don't go look at the box score for this game if you value your eyesight.

Remaining schedule: The Nittany Lions are at Indiana on Saturday in a game they need to win if they want to make a bowl this year because the following week they play Best Team in Pennsylvania a.k.a Temple.


S&P+ rank: 57th overall, 42nd offense, 73rd defense

Biggest strength: RU serious? (get it???) There weren't any. If you've made it this far in the post, you probably noticed the picture at the top. Two friends of mine (yes, I have friends not from the internet, mom) attended the bloodbath in Jersey on Saturday wearing these homemade shirts. I have removed their faces since they are both, ostensibly, upstanding, contributing members of society. During the fourth quarter (which, BTN, I can't believed they stayed so long) they moved down to the first row of stands and the Rutgers cheerleaders laughed about their clever shirts. The Buttgers Movement is gaining momentum. Assimilate or die.

Biggest weakness: I'd say offense, but that is disrespectful to how good Wisconsin's defense was on Saturday. I also feel bad for how long Gary Nova played. He pretty clearly wasn't at 100 percent but wanted to help his team. He, uh, did not.

Remaining schedule: A bye and then Indiana in what is Rutgers' best remaining chance to get to six wins.

Big Ten West


S&P+ rank: 78th overall, 68th offense, 84th defense

Biggest strength: Both of Reilly O'Toole's interceptions were off receivers' hands, so I guess he wasn't wildly inaccurate. Didn't let OSU get to 50 before scoring its first touchdown.

Biggest weakness: Running game was impotent and both quarterbacks that played were woefully overmatched against OSU's defense. Defense couldn't stop any of the 39 players OSU gave carries to and the kicker missed his only field goal attempt. Other than that? Pretty good game.

Remaining schedule: After losing four of their last five (the one win being the inexplicable result against Minnesota), the Illini get a bye before playing Iowa at home.


S&P+ rank: 59th overall, 85th offense, 44th defense

Biggest strength: Iowa is the weirdest dang team. It loses to Iowa State and Maryland, barely beats Pitt and then comes out and dunks on Northwestern hard. The same Northwestern team that beat your Wisconsin Badgers. Mark Weisman had three touchdowns and I'm pretty sure is just a younger Matt Asiata. The defense had five sacks and the special teams blocked a punt for a touchdown.

Biggest weakness: Wait. The one Iowa punter is named "Kornbrath?" That's rich. You'd think for a state that produces three times as much corn as the entire country of Mexico, the Hawkeyes could spell "corn" right in their punter's name. They were also 0-for-1 on fourth down.

Remaining schedule: Travel to the Twin Cities for a Big Ten West showdown with Minnesota. This well clear up some of the clutter at the top of the standings.


S&P+ rank: 51st overall, 66th offense, 45th defense

Biggest strength: Split weekend series with in-state rivals St. Cloud State. This is a wonderful thing that happened.

Biggest weakness: Respecting our country.

Remaining schedule: Hate Week No. 1 has commenced, as Iowa is coming to town for the Floyd of Rosedale battle.


S&P+ rank: 20th overall, 19th offense, 20th defense

Biggest strength: Running the ball without Ameer Abdullah, who sustained a minor MCL sprain in the win over Purdue. Field position. Nebraska started with the ball in Purdue territory on six of its 15 drives (not counting their two kneel-downs as a possession). Three of those started in Purdue's red zone.

Biggest weakness: Only scored on two of the three possessions started inside the Purdue 17. Outgained by Purdue. Tommy Armstrong Jr. was 8-for-21 and had two picks. This is a lot of weakness for a team that won fairly convincingly.

Remaining schedule: Bye week to get Abdullah back to full strength and then coming into Camp Randall, where the Huskers will try and hold the Badgers under 45 points. I've seen nothing in the series history that suggests they can.


S&P+ rank: 71st overall, 87th offense, 49th defense

Biggest strength: Justin Jackson ran for 96 yards and a score. That's about it. Just a miserable day for the Wildcats, who are seriously just trolling Wisconsin at this point with their performances after beating the Badgers.

Biggest weakness: Continued the Big Ten's storied tradition of having two players punt the ball in the same game. Seventy five passing yards in a regulation, four-quarter game. I'd hate to cheer for a team that can't even throw for 100 yards in a game.

Remaining schedule: Faces against Michigan at home in a game that Dave Brandon probably won't watch. We suggest he finds a new team.


S&P+ rank: 56th overall, 55th offense, 61st defense

Biggest strength: Outgained Nebraska. Forced three turnovers. Probably better than its record.

Biggest weakness: Sending mail. Going 2-of-16 on third down. Throwing the ball 46 times and only catching 18. I know this may be asking a lot, but if Purdue could stop doing stupid things, it might shock everyone and win a game.

Remaining schedule: Home game against Wisconsin. GORDON COMIN', BOILERS!


S&P+ rank: 15th overall, 26th offense, 10th defense

Biggest strength: Having the best God damned defense in the country! First in total yards given up, first in yards given up per game, second in total points allowed (one point behind stupid Alabama), second in points allowed per game and second in total passing yards given up. While some of these stats must be taken with a grain of salt due to Wisconsin often winning the time of possession battle, I'M ALL OUT OF SALT! WISCONSIN IS THE BEST DEFENSE IN THE COUNTRY GO SCREW, EVERYONE ELSE! Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement are also pretty good. Rafael Gaglianone had a great game, in terrible conditions to boot.

Biggest weakness: Oh man, that passing game. Eighty-seven yards through the air, which is just... *stares out window while rain comes down*

Remaining schedule: What hopefully amounts to a simple tuneup at Purdue this week and then Nebraska vs. Wisconsin IV: The Touchdowning.

I'm also unsure of where to put this, but I think @RedditCFB nailed it with this MS Paint on Monday.