Believe it or not, we’re halfway through the 2012 Big Ten football season. Six weeks in, Ohio State is the final undefeated Big Ten team. See my 10 observations—some whimsical, some fact based, some opinionated—from Week 6.
1. And then there was one—one unbeaten team. Northwestern fell from the ranks of perfection with a 39-28 loss at Penn State, leaving Ohio State as the only Big Ten that is perfect. And the Buckeyes may just finish that way, too. Who is going to beat this team? Exactly.
2. Michigan State is back—I think. The 31-27 win at Indiana certainly wasn’t pretty. But it required gutsy resolve and fortitude to fight through a rough start and rally from a 27-14 halftime hole to win a game the Spartans looked primed to lose. Take a bow.
3. Who is gonna win the Legends? I have no earthly idea. But it sure is gonna be fun to watch it all unfold. All six teams appear to still have legit shots.
[RELATED: Dienhart’s Week 7 Power Rankings]
4. Ever wonder who is better? Ohio State’s Braxton Miller or Michigan’s Denard Robinson? Each looked spectacular on Saturday, breaking ankles with some tremendous runs. These two are the closest things to one-man gangs we will see in college football.
5. While I really like those two guys, I love Penn State’s Matt McGloin. The senior is one of the Big Ten’s surprising stars. And he far and away is the top passing quarterback in the Big Ten, slinging arrows left and right, as the Nittany Lions are literally riding his right arm to surprising victory after surprising victory.
[RELATED: Dienhart: What I learned in Week 6]
6. Purdue? Indiana? Illinois? Really? Can ANY of these teams challenge Wisconsin for the Leaders Division bid to the Big Ten title game? The Badgers’ visit to Purdue this week may be Wisconsin’s last big hurdle within the division.
7. Speaking of the Badgers, Joel Stave may be settling in as the Wisconsin quarterback. The redshirt freshman look good on Saturday in leading the Badgers to a 31-14 win over Illinois. He hit 16-of-25 passes of 254 yards with two touchdowns and a pick. Danny Who?
8. Michigan State may have found a go-to receiver in true freshman Aaron Burbridge. He led the Spartans with eight catches for 134 yards in the win at Indiana. I still like this team—a lot. And I can’t wait for Michigan State’s trip to Michigan on Oct. 20.
9. Where does the Nebraska defense go from here? The unit already has two of the most dubious performances of the season, yielding 653 yards at UCLA and now 63 points and 371 yards rushing at Ohio State. It will be difficult to win the Legends unless this defense gets sorted out quickly. Of course, if the offense can’t limit turnovers (there were four more at Ohio State), it won’t matter how much better the Husker defense plays.
[RELATED: See who took home our Week 6 Game Balls]
10. Which direction will Purdue go after a 44-13 home loss to Michigan? This was the first of three key games to kick off the Big Ten season for the Boilers. This Saturday’s visit from Wisconsin is even bigger than the Wolverine tilt. Win, and the Boilermakers’ Big Ten title game dreams remain alive. Lose, and Purdue’s hill gets huge with a trip to Ohio State on tap for October 20. I wonder how much Robert Marve will play quarterback this week. The Purdue offense seemed to have more spark with him than Caleb TerBush. I say start Marve.
|BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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