Just two weeks remain in the regular season, but there still is a lot to play for in the Big Ten. Michigan State could wrap up the Legends Division this week with a win at home over Indiana and a loss by Nebraska at Michigan. Regardless, if the Spartans win out, they are in the Big Ten title game on Dec. 3.
When it comes to consistent greatness, Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson has set the pace all season. From the season opener vs. UNLV, when Wilson hit 10-of-13 passes for 255 and two scores, to last Saturday, when he connected on 16-of-17 passes for 177 and four touchdowns, Wilson has been a study in weekly greatness.
Can’t wait for Saturday? Me neither. The top storylines for this weekend: Michigan State, Wisconsin and Penn State all control their destiny in their respective divisions. Can each stay on track? Also, Purdue and Northwestern look to become bowl eligible. Here’s a quickie look at each Big Ten game this weekend.
Just one more victory. That’s all Purdue and Northwestern need to become bowl eligible. And if each makes it, the Big Ten will have 10 bowl-eligible teams. However, the Big Ten has just eight bowl slots. Two more would need to be found for all of the Big Ten teams to find a postseason home. That means the Big Ten needs other leagues or schools to fail to have enough bowl eligible teams to fill their bowl slots.
Only two weeks remain for players to make a run at one of the Big Ten’s inaugural postseason trophies, and the races for the various hardware continue to scramble from week to week with many players still in contention. Who are the leaders? Check it out in my latest Trophy Tracker. And don’t forget to watch our interview with Wisconsin running back Montee Ball, whose name might just be in contention for some of the hardware in this post.
BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart chats live every Monday at noon ET during the football season. Did you miss it? We took questions for about an hour and Dienhart touched on the past weekend and he upcoming one, too. Look back at the conversation we had and come back to BTN.com next Monday at noon ET for the next football chat with Dienhart.
The races in each division came into sharper focus on Saturday with some big individual performances, headlined by Wisconsin’s Montee Ball setting the Big Ten single-season touchdown record. Michigan State’s domination of Iowa makes the Spartans the clear leader in the Legends as the only team still in control of its destiny. In the Leaders, Penn State and Wisconsin control their destiny, but each seems to be going in opposite directions (see the Big Ten standings). See what Tom learned this weekend in this post.
Following the action every Saturday, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart breaks down what every game, every result means for the teams involved and the Big Ten itself. See Tom’s Week 11 Snap Reactions in this post.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — This was all about payback for Michigan State. No one from East Lansing would say so before kickoff. But there was no denying the laser focus Michigan State carried into today’s game. The Spartans wanted to send a message to Iowa.
Many eyes will be on Michigan State’s game at Iowa, arguably the biggest tilt this weekend in what will be a matchup that goes a long way toward determining who wins the Legends Division. And what type of scene will unfold at Penn State, where Nebraska is playing? Following lower in this post is a look at what the other Big Ten teams need to do to enjoy success this Saturday. Note: Indiana is off.
Lots of tough decisions this week, with four conference battles and one non-conference game. Without a doubt, the races in each division will become more defined after this weekend. Who will prevail in key matchups between Michigan State-Iowa and Nebraska-Penn State?
This weekend’s nice collection of Big Ten games is highlighted by Michigan State at Iowa in a pivotal Legends Division tilt while Nebraska’s first trip to Penn State as a member of the Big Ten is the headliner in the Leaders Division. But the dark clouds of a child sex-abuse scandal that has cost coach Joe Paterno and others their jobs casts a long, dark shadow over Senior Day at Penn State.
The repercussions of a sex-abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky will be felt for years at Penn State. The fallout among the school’s brass has been swift and stunning. Joe Paterno was unceremoniously fired yesterday. On the same day, school president Graham Spanier also was dumped. Athletic director Tim Curley has taken a leave of absence after being charged with perjury. Still, their fates pale compared to Sandusky’s victims.
What’s unfolding at Penn State is one of the greatest tragedies in the history of collegiate sports.
It doesn’t get any bigger than this. Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg knows that. He understands the magnitude of this Saturday’s visit from Michigan State. Each school still controls its destiny in the Legends Division. The winner will be in the driver’s seat to advance to the inaugural Big Ten title game in Indianapolis. BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart talked to Vandenberg to get his thoughts on the big game vs. the No. 13 Spartans (7-2, 4-1) and his standout season.
Have a Big Ten football question you want answered? I’m Tom Dienhart and I want you to fire off an email to me. This is a great place for us to interact with each other, sharing our passion for all things Big Ten as the season prepares to hit the home stretch. This week, some questions focus on the chances of schools like Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan State winning a division or league title. See what other queries were posed.
The Iowa running has surged to the top of my Big Ten player rankings. The star sophomore has rattled off four straight 100-yard, two-touchdown rushing games (121, 2 vs. Northwestern; 138, 2 vs. Indiana; 252, 2 vs. Minnesota; 132, 2 vs. Michigan). He literally carried Iowa to victory on Saturday over Michigan, pushing him to a Big Ten-leading 1,101 yards rushing (122.3 ypg). The 230-pound Marcus Coker just may carry the Hawkeyes all the way to the Legends Division title. See Tom’s full top 25 list in this post.
Lots of interesting storylines and angles to watch in Week 11, as the divisional chases firm up—at least a little. Two games will go a long way toward determining who wins each division: Michigan State at Iowa is a big Legends clash, while Nebraska at Penn State is a major Leaders encounter. But there also are other intriguing matchups this Saturday.
This week is highlighted by two huge games, one in each division. The top game is Michigan State’s visit to Iowa, which is 6-0 at home and playing well. A loss by the Spartans—the only team in the division with just one division defeat–would further scramble the Legends Division race. In the Leaders Division, all eyes will be on Nebraska’s visit to Penn State, the only team in the division that controls its destiny. Following is a sneak peek at this week’s games. Note: Indiana is off this week.
Eight teams—four from each division—are bowl eligible, filling all of the Big Ten’s bowl slots. For now, I just don’t see the Big Ten getting a second BCS bowl slot, but there’s still lots of football left.
The Big Ten Trophy Tracker is coming into sharper focus as the season hits the final stretch. With only three week left in the season, there’s a new player on top of Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year checklist. And it’s a big, physical running back from the Legends Division who just may carry his team to the Big Ten title game.
BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart takes live questions each Monday at noon ET right here, and he’ll be joined by BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina, too. Dienhart is covering Big Ten football for BTN.com this season and will eventually move into men’s hoops, too. Dienhart posts Big Ten articles all week and can be found on Twitter (@BTNTomDienhart) as well. You can also as a question by using #AskBTN on Twitter. Join the live chat now or at noon ET, then come back each Monday for the rest of the season. We’ll also post the text of his chat on BTN.com later today.
BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart chats live every Monday at noon ET during the football season. Did you miss it? We took questions for about an hour and Dienhart touched on the past weekend and he upcoming one, too. He was joined by BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina. Look back at the conversation we had and come back next Monday at 10:30 a.m. ET for the next football chat with Dienhart. Next chat will be here!
The first Saturday in November was filled with a big surprise: Northwestern winning at Nebraska. That scrambled the Legends Division race, which may come down to a battle between Michigan State and Iowa. Here’s what else I learned on Saturday.