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Tag:Big Ten
Posted on: November 1, 2010 1:23 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2010 1:42 pm
 

Minnesota interim Jeff Horton standing by Weber

Posted by Chip Patterson

Minnesota football fans no longer have Tim Brewster to absorb their blame for another failed season in Minneapolis.  While the athletic department is working on narrowing down the list of candidates for his replacement, current interim head coach Jeff Horton has his hands full trying make the best of the games left on the slate in 2010.  With Brewster gone, much of the negativity from the Minnesota faithful has been directed at starting quarterback Adam Weber.  After picking up their eighth straight loss, the emails have been pouring into Horton's account on a daily basis.  According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the e-mails have become so plentiful Horton has created an auto-reply:
He replies to some of the thoughtful ones, spikes the more profane, but can't find time to answer them all. So to save him the trouble, here's a public reply -- all, straight from the keyboard of the Gophers' decision-maker,

Re: Adam Weber and MarQueis Gray. Dear Gophers Fan: No, there are no plans to change quarterbacks. None. Not now, maybe not ever this year. Thanks for your support, and Go Gophers! -- Jeff

"I think I've been pretty clear," Horton said.
Wide receiver MarQueis Gray is reported to only be taking about 10 percent of the snaps during the week in practice, and at this point in the season it would be pointless to try and install a new offense based around Gray's running and decision-making ability.  There has been talks of a pistol package being installed at Minnesota, but with only three games left on the schedule the best chance to win is to stick with the offense at hand and pray for the best.  Weber hasn't even really been that bad as a quarterback, his 17 touchdowns are good for fourth in the conference and statistically is quite similar with Michigan State's Kirk Cousins.  But for a 1-8 team that still has yet to win a game in conference play, statistics are not good enough for the fans.  Sounds like there won't be any changes though, so they might as well get used to it or continue to receive auto-reply's for the remainder of the month. 
Posted on: October 31, 2010 3:45 am
Edited on: October 31, 2010 1:28 pm
 

What I learned from the Big Ten (Oct. 30)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Michigan State isn't exactly BCS Championship material after all: Not even in our Insane Predictions did we ever see a 31-point Iowa throttling of Michigan State coming; the Hawkeyes dominated from the get-go and harassed Kirk Cousins into irrelevance, forcing three interceptions and keeping the Spartans off the scoreboard until the game was well out of hand. The vaunted Michigan State rushing was even more forcefully debilitated; the Spartans managed only 31 yards on 20 carries, and even that might overstate the Spartans' effectiveness rushing the football, as only one of their 13 first downs came on the ground: an 11-yard end-around by WR Bennie Fowler. The MSU tailbacks? No-shows. That, plus a harried performance by the quarterback, equals disaster, and that's what rained down on the Spartans in Iowa City on Saturday.

This makes four one-loss teams in the Big Ten, and with tiebreaker rules being what they are, there are essentially no teams left in the Big Ten that can win the conference crown "without help"; each of the four teams' Rose Bowl hopes depends directly on another team winning or losing. Might we see some eyes casting furtive glances at scoreboards from here on out? Don't be surprised.

Quietly, Ohio State marches on. Don't look now, but Ohio State is back to 8-1 (4-1) on the season, tied for first with Michigan State in the standings. The Buckeyes' latest act of aggression against the rest of the conference was a 52-10 spanking of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, OSU's sixth victory of 28 points or more on the season. Terrelle Pryor's still really good, and the defense is tightening up after that 31-18 horror show in Madison two weeks ago. A 12-1 mark to finish the year isn't exactly out of the question for the Buckeyes, whose only real tests are a visit to Iowa and whatever high-level bowl game they're awarded.

Now, even if the Buckeyes win out and even if they're ranked ahead of Michigan State in the BCS ratings (which they would be), they're not guaranteed a Rose Bowl bid; like everyone else crowded at the top, OSU needs one little bit of help. Again, more on that later. But rest assured that at the very least, an 11-1 Ohio State gets an at-large BCS bowl bid.  

Sorry, but Michigan's not legitimate. The Michigan defense's ability to breathe life into a moribund opposing offense is truly a sight to behold, and its 41-point performance against Penn State and former walk-on QB Matt McGloin (making his first start ever) might have been its magnum opus. Evan Royster, who basically hasn't found rushing lanes all season long, gashed the Wolverines for 150 yards and two scores. McGloin threw for 250 yards and another touchdown, and the Nittany Lions converted on 10 of 16 third downs (and went 2-2 on fourth downs, so really, 12 of those 16 third downs ended up getting converted). Again, this is the same Nittany Lion offense that scored three points against Iowa and Alabama, scored 13 against Illinois, and "racked up" 24 on Kent State. Throw in the backup quarterback, and Michigan still gives up 41 points -- and that's not even counting PSU kneeling at Michigan's 2-yard line to end the game. It could have been worse.

What this means is that even for Denard Robinson's heroic 380 yards of total offense in the loss, Michigan's overall ineptitude makes him more the next Antwaan Randle-El than a potential conference-winning quarterback at this point. And don't get it twisted, Randle-El was truly great, but there's no doubt that he'd have traded his first-team All-American designation for so much as a bowl bid in his four years of play. Didn't happen. Now, Michigan's not there yet, but the Wolverines are at least on their way; under Rich Rodriguez, the Wolverines are now an astonishing 4-16 in Big Ten play with Saturday's loss. They're not exactly "program-defining" wins, either (or they could be, perhaps, but certainly not in any positive sense): at Indiana this year, vs. Indiana in 2009, vs. Wisconsin in 2008, and vs. Minnesota in 2008. That's all. No teams with over seven wins on the season, one win by over seven points. At Michigan. In fact, only Indiana has fared worse in Big Ten play since RichRod showed up; for those keeping track at home, that's the second unflattering comparison to Indiana in this paragraph alone.

Stanzi for Heisman? Let's start with Stanzi for New York: Ricky Stanzi had his third straight game of three passing touchdowns and no turnovers, pushing his season totals to 19 TDs and two picks in eight games. That's usually not a Heisman-winning pace, and especially not this season, but the efficiency (second in the nation and gaining on Boise State's Kellen Moore) is awfully reminiscent of another QB in Iowa City just eight years ago: Brad Banks, who threw 26 TDs and four interceptions en route to a runner-up spot for the Heisman to Carson Palmer in 2002. If Stanzi keeps this up and if Iowa upends Ohio State in Iowa City (big ifs), might we see Stanzi at the Downtown Athletic Club? With Denard Robinson's (or more accurately Michigan's) season fading and Taylor Martinez dinged up, don't rule it out quite yet.

Wisconsin's biggest fans are the Spartans, and its biggest enemies are its victims. How badly does Michigan State need Wisconsin to win out? If the Badgers lose while either Iowa or OSU finish at 7-1, the Spartans' grasp on the conference title evaporates; Iowa has beaten MSU head-to-head, while it's extremely unlikely that MSU can overtake the Buckeyes in the BCS standings after its jarring defeat in Iowa City on Saturday. Meanwhile, the fact that Ohio State and Michigan State don't play each other has suddenly swung heavily in OSU's favor; more on that later this week. As for Wisconsin itself, its Rose Bowl chances hinge entirely on either Michigan State or the Iowa-OSU winner losing another game. But again, more later; trust us, that stuff gets complicated, especially now that "Just win, baby" isn't automatically enough for anybody in the conference anymore.

Posted on: October 30, 2010 9:00 pm
 

Iowa's Herky mascot wears Captain America costume

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Perhaps nobody in the country has had a happier Halloween weekend than the Iowa Hawkeyes, who spoiled Michigan State's perfect season with a 37-6 throttling at Kinnick Stadium. And being that this is Halloween, plenty of folks in the house celebrated the occasion by dressing up -- including Iowa's mascot, Herky himself.

The Captain America outfit isn't exactly a random choice; Iowa quarterback and captain Ricky Stanzi is famously patriotic, and the Hawkeyes have gone all-on on the concept for Stanzi this season. The team's senior poster features an American flag motif, the band plays "Born in the USA," and now the mascot's in on the act. Doubtless, Stanzi will reward all involved with Cabinet positions when he's elected President in 2012 (we expect an age exemption to be granted by Congress or whoever).

Posted on: October 30, 2010 5:20 pm
 

Iowa crushing Michigan State at the break, 30-0

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Any notions of Michigan State living up to their No. 5, undefeated record today are pretty well out the window at this point. The Iowa Hawkeyes have been all over the Spartans from start to finish of the first half, and Iowa leads by the shocking score of 30-0.

The highlight of the day so far has been a Tyler Sash interception that Sash quickly lateraled to cornerback Micah Hyde, who weaved his way down the field en route to a 67-yard score on the turnover. The play gave Iowa a 17-0 lead and put a giant damper on MSU's prospects for making a comeback. When Kirk Cousins threw an interception to Shaun Prater on the very next drive, Michigan State's fate was sealed even further.

If there's any consolation right now for MSU, it's that the Spartans are down 30-0 at the half and not at the end of the game; they do have 30 minutes to stage a comeback. But that prospect seems awfully unlikely considering how stout Iowa's defense has been both today and in this season. We'll see if MSU makes it a game in the second half.

Posted on: October 30, 2010 4:32 pm
 

Paper tigers? MSU, Mizzou getting housed

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Michigan State and Missouri might have entered this weekend undefeated and ranked in the top 6, but you couldn't say they were getting a whole lot of respect; according to Vegas both were decisive road underdogs, against Iowa and Nebraska respectively, and both stayed ranked behind known non-AQ quantities Boise State and TCU. The near-universal consensus seemed to be that the Spartans and Tigers had enjoyed a nice run, but that it was over.

That consensus has thus far been proven even more correct than even the most skeptical skeptics could have imagined. Missouri has given up two long Roy Helu Jr. touchdown runs, seen Blaine Gabbert start 3-of-11 with an interception, and trail 24-0 at the end of the first quarter. Michigan State has been a little more respectable, but only just: Iowa opened the game with a dominating 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, and increased their lead to 17-0 when Tyler Sash picked off a wayward Kirk Cousins pass and lateraled to Micah Hyde for the defensive touchdown.

So, as of this moment, it's Homestanding Agents of BCS Chaos a collective 41, Undefeated Conference Front-runners 0. Sometimes, unfortunately, the haters have a point.
Posted on: October 30, 2010 3:40 pm
 

Iowa defense hobbled before MSU game

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Coming into today's matchup against undefeated Michigan State, No. 18 Iowa is undoubtedly going to need to depend on its vaunted rush defense; the Hawkeyes are eighth in the nation in rush defense, while the Spartans average almost 200 yards per game on the ground.

If Iowa's defense is going to step up today, they'll have to do it at less than full strength. Senior linebackers Jeremiha Hunter and Troy Johnson were listed as starters on Iowa's two-deeps coming into this week, but as the team goes through its gameday prep, it appears neither player is actually going to start. Based on reports from Kinnick Stadium this afternoon, the linebackers running with the first-team defense during pre-game practice are freshmen Shane DiBona and James Morris, alongside regular starter Tyler Nielsen.

There's no telling as yet how much playing time will be split between the seniors and freshmen, since Hunter and Johnson are both dressed for the game, but it's safe to say Kirk Ferentz doesn't have much confidence in Hunter and Johnson's ability to put in four quarters today.

Posted on: October 30, 2010 12:28 pm
 

Boise, Michigan State to open 2012 season

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

A lot can happen in two seasons' worth of college football. But if Chris Petersen and Mark Dantonio can keep their programs at or near their current level, we'll have a blockbuster Week 1 nonconference matchup to open up the 2012 season, as Peterson's Boise State and Dantonio's Michigan State have agreed to face off in East Lansing on Aug. 31 of that year.

The timing is nice for the Broncos, as they continue to fend off charges of soft scheduling on their attempted rise to the top-two in the BCS rankings. (Their 2012 nonconference slate currently consists of the Spartans, BYU, and Miami-Ohio. Combine that with a Mountain West conference schedule and there shouldn't be too many complaints from the BCS-conference rabble.) Even nicer:
Boise State will receive a guarantee of $1.2 million for the 2012 game
Elsewhere, the headlines have referred to this as a "series," and technically that's true, since the teams have also agreed to play a home-and-home at a later date. But that date is 2022 and 2023. Maybe those games will happen, but 12 years' worth of waiting means the odds are much better that at some point, the schools will mutually agree to skip it and find other suitors.

So make no mistake: this is a guarantee game for Boise, a $1.2 million payday in which both schools get a big boost to their strength-of-schedule. It's win-win. But Boise's elusive quest to get a true home-and-home against a team from outside the state of Oregon -- or even a two-for-one -- hasn't been fulfilled just yet.

Posted on: October 30, 2010 11:59 am
 

Game day weather updates, Week 9

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. It's most certainly fall across the land today, and while most stadiums are staying dry, the wind is a real factor in several of the games. Will it affect the passing games of the undefeated teams playing on the road today? All times are Eastern.

Noon kickoffs

Tennessee at No. 17 South Carolina, 12:00, Columbia, SC: Low 60s, clear

No. 20 Oklahoma State at Kansas State, 12:00, Manhattan, KS: Low 60s, clear

Afternoon kickoffs

Georgia vs. Florida, 3:30, Jacksonville, FL: Mid 70s, partly cloudy, breezy

No. 5 Michigan State at No. 18 Iowa, 3:30, Iowa City, IA: Low 60s, partly cloudy, windy

No. 7 Missouri at No. 14 Nebraska, 3:30, Lincoln, NE: Mid 60s, clear, windy

No. 15 Arizona at UCLA, 3:30, Pasadena, CA: Low 60s, rainy 

Evening kickoffs

No. 3 Auburn at Ole Miss, 6:00, Vicksburg, MS: Low 60s, clear, breezy

No. 25 Baylor at Texas, 7:00, Austin, TX: Low 70s, clear, breezy

No. 8 Utah at Air Force, 7:00, Colorado Springs, CO: Low 60s, partly cloudy, windy

No. 1 Oregon at No. 24 USC, 8:00, Los Angeles, CA: Mid 60s, cloudy, early chance of rain

Late night kickoffs

Colorado at No. 11 Oklahoma, 9:15, Norman, OK: Low 60s, clear, breezy

No. 4 TCU at UNLV, 11:00, Las Vegas, NV: Upper 50s, partly cloudy

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com