Conversations with Big Ten coaches have had one common theme heading into the start of conference play: No one has any idea where his/her team, or any of their fellow members, will end up in the title race come the end of November. The Big Ten has been the strongest conference in the nation over the past few seasons, but in a year that has witnessed the league set a new NCAA record for teams in the Top 25 (9), the Big Ten’s coaches are hesitant to make any predictions.
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I’ve said it several times: College football polls shouldn’t come out until at least October. You know, until we see what the teams look like and how they perform against quality competition. Well, with the calendar flipped to October, that means we’ve seen enough football to also consider other things. Like, for example, player rankings. View my first Big Ten player rankings of the season in this post.
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It’s never too early to make postseason plans, right? Yes, it is. Well, forget all of that and play along with me in my weekly bowl projections. It’s fun to play make-believe! Iowa was the biggest mover in my weekly bowl prognostications, as I now have the Hawkeyes in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, where they would play Baylor. Minnesota fell to the Little Caesar’s Bowl—if it is able to reach bowl eligibility, which could be difficult.
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Week 5 of the college football season is in the books, and while it wasn’t a jampacked Saturday in the Big Ten, it was certainly an exciting one. Ohio State edged out Wisconsin, 31-24, in a game that certainly lived up to the hype. Iowa found a way to grind out an impressive road win over Minnesota, while Illinois cruised to an easy 50-14 victory over Miami (Ohio). Purdue continues to struggle as the Boilermakers fell 55-24 to Northern Illinois.
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Quality over quantity was the theme Saturday in the Big Ten, which had just four games. The marquee matchup between Wisconsin and Ohio State lived up to its billing, as the Buckeyes reaffirmed that they are the best team in the conference. Iowa and Illinois also showed they mean business, as each program continues to surprise. Purdue? Well, it’s gonna be a long season in West Lafayette. See what I learned this Saturday.
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Before we turn our attention to Week 6, it’s time to revisit how the BTN.com team and Big Ten fans did with their Week 5 Big Ten predictions. Big Ten fans and Sean Merriman both went 4-0, putting the former in sole possession of first place for the first time this season. Congrats, fans!
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