Photo: The Lantern
Welcome to the Big Five! This is my weekly column discussing and take-ing on the top five headlines, news items, storylines, etc. of the week. Feel free to comment on my thoughts either below, on Twitter, on Facebook, or…shoot us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org – We’ll make sure to bring your comments up in the next podcast.
1. The Buckeyes respond
So what happened in that Iowa game? Ohio State’s 55-24 loss at the hands of the Hawkeyes may be the strangest Big Ten game by the end of the season, because the Buckeyes looked like a top 10 (maybe top 5) team in their 48-3 victory last Saturday against Michigan State.
Ohio State held the Spartans to just 195 yards and the Buckeyes’ Weber-Dobbins backfield combo gashed MSU for 286. J.T. Barrett also ran well, but struggled in the passing game, tossing for just 183 yards and two interceptions.
Ohio State looked really, really good on both sides of the ball. And Michigan State? Yeah, probably not the 12th best team in the country. Lewerke will continue to grow, the team will continue to get older and the Spartans will be really good next year.
2. Again, how did Ohio State get blown out by Iowa?
Iowa was a bit hungover from Ohio State last week. Actually, really hungover. Against Wisconsin, the Hawkeyes mustered up a total of 66 yards, making Michigan State look like an offensive juggernaut last week.
Some stats… Iowa had just five first downs all game. Five! And it finished 0-13 on third down conversions. I don’t even know how the Hawkeyes even scored 14 points. Oh yeah, because Wisconsin turned the ball over four times.
3. However, Wisconsin remains alive
The Badgers are the Big Ten’s last hope, and they need help. Iowa would have ruined the Big Ten’s season with a win against Wisconsin last Saturday. Now, Wisconsin is 2015 Iowa, with the weakest schedule of any team in playoff contention.
And, of course, Wisconsin beat Iowa in the least pretty of ways. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook threw three interceptions and the Badgers finished with less than 400 yards, despite scoring 38 points. It was the typical Wisconsin game. I have a tough time seeing typical-Wisconsin games earning the Badgers a playoff spot.
Photo: Twitter, because, of course.
4. Uh oh, Nebraska
The Huskers have gone so, so, so low and basically hit the ground last week with their 54-21 home loss to Minnesota. The only reason I haven’t said they have hit rock bottom is because they’re 4-6 right now. And they’ll finish 4-8 (they have Penn State and Iowa up next).
That sellout streak has to be in jeopardy, right?
5. Northwestern continues to climb the ranks
Meanwhile, the real NU (or, at least, the one who can field a winning football team) is on its way to a 9-3 season. Well, that’s if my 8-4 and lose to Illinois in the last week prediction doesn’t come true. But the Wildcats are really showing their talent and discipline. Wins over Michigan State and Iowa have turned into very quality victories, and with a 9-3 record likely, the ‘Cats should be bowling in solid fashion.
Maybe if Wisconsin played anyone, Northwestern would still be competing for the West.