I had this ninth grade English teacher named Mr. Trent at West Lafayette High School. And every Friday, he’d give us a “Super Quiz.” Only he spelled Quiz “Kwiz.” Man, I hated that. And I hated his quizzes even more. They ruined the Friday of every 14-year-old. So, it is in the late Mr. Trent’s honor that I present you with this week’s B1G grid quiz. Good luck. You’ll need it—or maybe not.
We are 25 percent of the way through the season. Can you believe it? No, that’s not the question. This is: Which player has been most impressive?
A. Iowa RB Mark Weisman
B. Indiana QB Nate Sudfeld
C. Penn State WR Allen Robinson
D. Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon
E. None of the above
Answer: Some good choices, huh? But, the correct answer is Gordon. The guy has been sensational, pacing the Big Ten with 477 yards rushing. He’s averaging 159.0 yards per game and an eye-popping 12.9 yards per tote. No doubt, he looks to be emerging as the key back for the Badgers, who also have James White (297 yards) and Corey Clement (251). Did you notice Braxton Miller wasn’t a choice? Life sure is interesting.
What team has the most to prove this Saturday?
D. Michigan State
Answer: D. It has been difficult to get a read on the Spartans. Michigan State is 3-0, but none of the victories have been impressive: a 26-13 sleep walk vs. Western Michigan; a 21-6 snooze-fest vs. South Florida; a 55-17 pounding vs. FCS Youngstown State. The offense started 2013 painfully slow but gained some momentum last week, as Connor Cook is emerging as the signal-caller. The defense? It has been the best in the Big Ten. But this Saturday’s trip to Notre Dame will tell us a lot about the Spartans. If MSU wins and offense shows more life, I’ll stamp the Spartans as legit contenders in the Legends Divisions.
True or false: Bo Pelini won’t be embraced by Nebraska fans after the revelation of a recording in which he disparaged them.
Answer: False. Nebraska Nation wants to love and revere everything that is Cornhusker football. Especially the coach. Pelini has done a lot of good things during his tenure, running a clean program, graduating players and having well-behaved players, among other things. He also has shown a soft side with his embrace of the “Little Jack Hoffman” situation in the spring. Pelini gets it. Life is bigger than football and his job goes beyond just winning games—through that’s mighty important, too. Yes, there will be some boos on Saturday when he hits the field for the South Dakota State game. But the cheers will be louder. And, if Pelini gets the Huskers back on the winning track, fixes the defense, wins some big games and takes the Big Ten, well, he’ll be a deity.
True or false. Michigan should be worried about quarterback Devin Gardner, who already has tossed six interceptions (two pick-sixes) through three games. That’s a 24-pick pace.
Answer: False. Look, the Gardner hype machine got cranked up way too quickly following his effort in a 41-30 win vs. Notre Dame, when the junior hit 21-of-33 passes for 294 yards with four touchdowns and a pick. He also ran 13 times for a team-high 82 yards and a score. Some pundits had Gardner declaring early for the NFL draft and being a legit Heisman contender. It all was insane. A week later vs. Akron, Gardner looked like he was pulled from the student section, tossing three interceptions, losing a fumble and generally looking discombobulated. Give Gardner time to develop as a decision maker. And it certainly will help the uber-talented Gardner if the o-line plays better and the tailback spot becomes more productive.
Who is the most impressive 3-0 team?
A. Ohio State
D. Michigan State
Answer: B. I have to give Northwestern a slight edge over Ohio State. The Wildcats have handled their three foes better and more thoroughly than anyone else. Plus, Northwestern arguably has played the toughest three opponents. To recap, the Wildcats have won at Cal, 44-30; vs. Syracuse, 48-27; vs. Western Michigan, 38-17. I can’t wait for Ohio State to come to Northwestern on Oct. 5. Has Evanston ever hosted a potentially bigger game?
|About Tom Dienhart||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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