Big 10 Bowl Projections; Much Hinges on Wisconsin Badgers

When looking at the Big Ten conference standings, and trying to figure out the hierarchy for the college football bowl system, I can’t help but think of one of my favorite lines from the ’80s movie “Fletch.”

“I’d say we’re in a gray area.”

“How gray?”

“Charcoal.”

We do know this however- the Big Ten bellcow is still Wisconsin (get it bellcow, dairy state?). The Badgers, last year’s Rose Bowl representative is still the favorite to go to Pasadena this year.

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Big 10 Football Power Rankings: Mediocrity, Parity, Blah Edition

There are only two times when doing a power rankings can be fun- way early in the season/preseason, or when everything is jumbled, disorganized chaos and blah. Doing a power rankings when the hierarchy is clear cut is a practice strictly for centrist, vanilla losers.

In the current Big Ten football world, mediocrity, blahness, national irrelevance, and parity reign. And remember that’s PARITY not PARODY! Weird Al Yankovic does not play tailback in college football.

I HATE when writers make that mistake worse than when announcers call coincidence “irony.” Some say the teams beat up on each other and hurt each other’s record. That’s a feeble excuse; because every team in this league is severely flawed in at least one major area. And in the interest of me being my ornery, cynical self, I’m going to highlight each team’s fatal flaw in my snippet.

Numerical rankings are from the latest BcS standings.

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Michigan Suffers 1st Season Loss at Michigan St. Still Have Cool New Uniforms

Just like I predicted on Thursday morning, the #23 Michigan State Spartans pulled the upset over the #11 Michigan Wolverines. It’s the first loss of the season for UM, and their fourth in a row to State. Little brother no more? And entire graduating class of Spartans is now undefeated against their in-state rivalry.

But hey Michigan still has some really cool new retro uniforms (more on that later). MSU used a big 14 point third quarter to win 28-14 and take control of the Legends division in the Big Ten. The winner of this game has the inside track to representing the division in the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis.

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#11 Michigan Wolverines vs. #23 Michigan State Spartans: Brutally Honest Game Preview

Michigan Wolverines vs. Michigan State Spartans, the battle for Great Lakes State supremacy.

Basically, if you’re a college football fan who lives in the Upper Midwest, and you don’t have a boner (figuratively, not literally of course) for this game then…..you are a terrorist. There is no question about it, you’re not with us, but with the terrorists.

As relevant a national game as any this weekend, as heated a rivalry as any, story-lines galore:

the “little brother has won the last three, the big brother looks to finally be ready to move out of his parents basement now after losing his job and gaining some weight the past few years. And only one loss combined with the two teams. Let’s get it on!

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Michigan WR Junior Hemingway: A Movable Feast of Receiving Yards

Coming into the 2011 season, it was thought Roy Roundtree would be the go-to guy for the Michigan Wolverines receiving corps. After all, he broke the school record for single game receiving yards (246) versus the Illini last year and fell just 65 yards shy of a 1,000 yard season.

But Roundtree only has 8 grabs for 127 yards on the season and it’s senior Junior Hemingway who’s been THE GUY. Hemingway’s 26.1 yards/catch average leads the Big Ten; second in all of college football.  For Hemingway it’s been “the Old Man and the YAC” or “A Farewell to PBUs” or “For Whom the Blown Coverage tolls.”

(Tell me when to stop because I can do this all day. If Fitzgerald Toussaint were to develop into a dominating offensive weapon, watch out- I’d be dropping F. Scott Fitzgerald references all day.”
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Michigan’s Denard Robinson: Overrated, Below Average Passer

Denard Robinson

Michigan Wolverines QB Denard Robinson is exciting and fun to watch. But he’s not a “dual threat quarterback.” That term is getting thrown around by the media way too liberally these days. Literally, it means a signal caller that can both pass and run effectively. But the way it’s applied, it really means any QB who’s a great runner.

Technically, both Denard and Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez are “single threat” QBs because both are electric runners, but neither can actually pass the ball very well.

So please stop the talk about why Denard’s just a phenomenal, transcendent type player. I’ll go into detail on why he’s extremely substandard as a thrower.

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Michigan Wolverines Stay Undefeated, Conquer Northwestern 42-24

The #11 Michigan Wolverines took to the road for the first time this season tonight. And in their trip to Northwestern‘s Ryan Field, UM quickly found themselves trailing for just the second time this season in the second half. (The first time was the Notre Dame “Under the Lights” game).

Denard Robinson, 17-26-337 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT made some really ugly throws in the first half, and Michigan trailed Northwestern 24-14 at the break. (Largely because of those Denard picks).

But then scored 28 unanswered to send a resounding message, in defeating NU 42-24.

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Michigan game could decide Northwestern’s season

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Four games into the season, it’s difficult to describe a game as must-win, particularly when you’re talking about Northwestern, and especially when the opponent is #12 Michigan. The Wolverines are 5-0 on the season, and have impressed thus far. The ‘Cats on the other hand, are in a two-losses-in-a-row slippery slope. Lose to Michigan, and that slope will get a whole lot steeper. [Read more…]

#11 Michigan Wolverines vs. Northwestern Wildcats: Brutally Honest Game Preview

If you ever needed any more evidence that Greg Robinson was in fact THE WORST Defensive Coordinator in college football history, look no further than what the Michigan Wolverines defense has done this year. They’ve only given up 10 whole points in their last three games, and the unit is more opportunistic and turnover-forcing (more on that here)

Sure, this unit has their two best DBs which they missed last year, but they also graduated their best defender from 2010. Personally, I knew Robinson was fired the minute I saw Illini RB Mikel Leshoure burn UM not once, but twice with the exact same wheel route in the 67-65 game. The exact same play the Illini burned Purdue the very week before.

Is the Mich defense that much better? Yes. Are they really that good? NO!

The visit to the Northwestern Wildcats will be big blue’s first time away from the big house in 2011, and their schedule has been soft. Are they a good team? Yes. Are they a top ten team in the nation? NO!

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Illinois 38, Northwestern 35: Rapid Reaction

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It was a game that could have changed the Northwestern season. The Wildcats had Dan Persa back, had an 18-point lead on the road, and had momentum. Then, it all fell apart.

Northwestern did everything in its power to lose on the road at Illinois. So did the Fighting Illini. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, fate appeared to be favoring orange over purple in the Big Ten season opener. Northwestern fell to Illinois 38-35, allowing the Illini to keep possession of the Land of Lincoln trophy. [Read more…]

Big Ten Football 2011 Power Rankings: Conference Season Kick-off Edition

College football is in mid-season form as Big Ten play begins this week. The Illini are 4-0 for the first time since 1951, and they just completed their first undefeated non-conference season since 2001. That’s all we really need for an intro- let’s get to the rankings.

1.) Wisconsin Badgers (4-0)

Have put in the most impressive offensive and defensive performance so far from the conference, and even though they still haven’t played anyone yet, they’re the only team from our region I think has a chance to compete for a national title. Here’s why.

 2.) Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-0)

ESPN College Gameday is coming to Camp Randall for their epic clash at the Badgers. And they SHOULD! By the way, Taylor Martinez has the ugliest delivery in college football. His throwing motion reminds me of Shawn Marion’s shooting stroke- no aesthetic value what so ever.

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#22 Michigan Wolverines vs. San Diego State Aztecs: Brutally Honest Game Preview

Michigan Wolverines vs. San Diego State Aztecs– pretty obvious storyline in this match-up of two 3-0 teams. Welcome to the Brady Hoke Bowl! From Fox Sports/AP:

When Brady Hoke was coaching at San Diego State, he played a part in scheduling a game for this week at Michigan Stadium. Hoke now wishes he hadn’t.

”I told Dave Brandon, `Let’s buy that one out,”’ Hoke recalled Monday. Why? ”They’re good,” Hoke said.

Hoke would know. He led San Diego State for two years, turning around its program after doing the same at Ball State, before he was hired by Michigan in January to replace Rich Rodriguez.

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