The excitement seemingly has been building since the spring for Saturday’s Ohio State at Northwestern game. Oh, who am I kidding? The buildup actually began the moment last season ended.
The calendar says “October,” and I can’t believe it. The season is almost halfway over, with most of the best action yet to come in November. I can tell by your cards and letters that you are excited. Keep the correspondence coming! Let’s dig into this week’s Mailbag!
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.
It’s kind of a big week at Northwestern. The 4-0 Wildcats are hosting Ohio State, which has won its last 17 games, Saturday night in a game that could be a preview of the 2013 Big Ten title game. If Monday’s press conference is any indication, Pat Fitzgerald isn’t letting the pressure of the big-time battle ruin his disposition.
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.
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.