Big Ten Survey: More impressive, Penn State or Wisconsin?
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It has been fun to watch Penn State and Wisconsin emerge this fall. Few had big expectations for either team in August. But now, with two weeks left in the season, each has a good shot to win their respective division. The Nittany Lions are 8-2 overall and 6-1 in the Big Ten. If they win out at Rutgers and vs. Michigan State, and Michigan loses one of its last two games (Indiana; at Ohio State), Penn State will win the East. The path is clearer for Wisconsin (8-2, 5-2) in the West: Finish with wins at Purdue and vs. Minnesota, and the Badgers will win the West.
Which team has been more impressive in 2016: Penn State or Wisconsin? I asked some Big Ten media members for their opinion.
Louie Vaccher, WildcatReport.com: I say Wisconsin. Penn State has the big win over Ohio State and is on a roll right now, but Wisconsin has been impressive all season long. The Badgers only losses were to two teams (Michigan and Ohio State) in the hunt for the College Football Playoff. They play lights out defense and a physical, old-school brand of Big Ten football.
GopherHole.com: Penn State for sure. They have a signature conference win (Ohio State), UW does not.
Jeff Rabjohns, Peegs.com: Penn State. While it’s very close between the two teams when the whole season is viewed, Penn State was a weeble-wobble early, starting 2-2 and getting its doors blown off by Michigan. Penn State has really righted the ship in its six-game win streak in terms of finding a way to win even if it didn’t play that great for 60 minutes. That type of tenacity can define a season and is the story of the 2016 season at this point for Penn State.
Steve Greenberg, Bleacherreport.com: Elite running back: Check. Big-play passing game: Check. Improving line play: Check. Penn State’s offense has gotten so good, it’s not unreasonable to ask if the Nittany Lions are as good as — or better than — Wisconsin. And there’s a pretty strong chance we’re going to find out at the Big Ten title game, right? Yet if I’m betting on that game today, I’m casting my lot with the Badgers. This Wisconsin team lives at the intersection of we’re-tougher-than-you and we’re-more-disciplined-than-you — a hell of a good place for any team to be. I’ll take the team that leads the conference in rushing defense, time of possession and fewest penalties committed. That’s the good stuff right there.
Matt Daniels, Champaign News-Gazette: Wisconsin. The Badgers defense is downright nasty and if Corey Clement continues with his late-season surge, watch out. Wisconsin might just have enough, if some other factors fall in its favor, to crack the Final Four despite having two losses.