Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, November 18, 2012
Here?s a look back at the Saturday that was-along with a few sneak peeks forward-in my weekly top 10. It?s good to be a Nebraska and Michigan fan. Ohio State, too. It's also not to be bad being a Penn State fan, what with the way Matt McGloin and Allen Robinson are playing.
1. Is Braxton Miller now a Heisman front-runner? Losses by Kansas State?s Collin Klein and Oregon and its candidates has scrambled the race and created an opening for Miller. He?s still a long shot. But maybe the sophomore can at least get to New York for the ceremony with a big game in a win vs. Michigan.
[RELATED: Dienhart: Defense wins this one for Ohio State]
2. If Penn State beats Wisconsin this Saturday, Bill O?Brien should be a lock for Big Ten Coach of the Year honors. Heck, even if the Nittany Lions get beat, I think O?Brien still may get the award. But a case can be made for Ohio State?s Urban Meyer, too. Hmmm.
3. I won?t be shocked if Michigan State fails to get bowl eligible. The Spartans have to win at Minnesota this week. But this is a beleaguered MSU team that has lost five Big Ten by an aggregate 13 points. And its two league wins have come by a combined seven points. The seniors must step up.
[RELATED: Dienhart: 5 things I learned in Week 12]
4. Denard Robinson likely will have to play a big role running the ball at Ohio State on Saturday with Fitz Toussaint hurt. Robinson took turns at tailback in the 42-17 win over Iowa, finishing with a team-high 98 yards on the ground on just 13 carries.
5. With each passing week, I am more amazed at what Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin is doing. In leading the Nittany Lions to a 45-22 win over Indiana, he set the school single-season record for pass yards with 3,071. He also set the school mark for career touchdown passes with 45. Not bad for a former walk-on.
6. Speaking of Penn State, there is no better wide receiver in the Big Ten than Allen Robinson. In fact, he?s one of the best in the nation. Robinson set the school single-season mark for catches with 73 on a day when he set a career-high with 197 receiving yards and tied a career high with three touchdowns (Watch No. 1 | No. 2 | No. 3). Would all of this be happening had Justin Brown not transferred to Oklahoma?
[RELATED: See who took home Week 12 Big Ten Game Balls]
7. Let?s hear it for Nebraska signal-caller Taylor Martinez. The junior has 6,140 career passing yards, moving past Zac Taylor for the all-time lead. The Huskers have won five league games in a row for the first time 2009, when they were in the Big 12. They also went unbeaten at home for the first time since 2001. Should we put Martinez in the Heisman hunt?
8. There are few quarterbacks hotter than Purdue?s Robert Marve, who has the Boilermakers one win from being bowl eligible. He passed for 266 yards and two touchdowns in a win at Iowa two weeks ago. He threw for 173 yards and a score in a win at Illinois on Saturday. Oh, and Marve is doing all of this with a torn ACL in his left knee. Take a bow, Robert.
[RELATED: Gerry DiNardo tweets Week 12 Sunday Ruminations]
9. Iowa has now lost five games in a row and been eliminated from postseason consideration. The 4-7 Hawkeyes finish the season on Friday vs. Nebraska. They last had eight losses in a season in 2000, when Iowa finished 3-9 in Kirk Ferentz?s second season in Iowa City. The last time the Hawkeyes finished with a losing record was 2006, when Iowa went 6-7 following a bowl game loss.
10. Wisconsin needs to win at Penn State on Saturday. Yes, the Badgers already have sewn up a trip to the Big Ten title game. But they don?t want to go to Indianapolis riding a two-game losing skein with a 7-5 mark. Lose the Big Ten title game, and a 7-6 Badgers team could fall far in the bowl pecking order. While on the subject of the Badgers, who have they beaten of note this year? Look at their resume. Wisconsin has beat Northern Iowa, Utah State, UTEP, Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota and Indiana. That?s it. Just saying.
|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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