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Wednesday Big Ten Sampler: Week 13

The Big Ten in review and preview

Mike McGinnis

Last Week

Basically, either the game was over by the end of the third quarter or it went to overtime.

Ohio State 21, Wisconsin 14 (OT)

Because of Ohio State's postseason ban, Wisconsin came into the game with a trip to Indy locked up. A Wisconsin win here would have kept Bucky in the running for the division title, but the Badgers couldn't get the job done. Wisconsin had to score with 8 seconds left to send the game to overtime, and it only took 4 OT plays apiece to settle the matter. Ohio State gets to claim some hardware for their excellent season, while Wisconsin gets to try to become the first Big Ten champion to lose their division.

Nebraska 38, Minnesota 14

After their win against Penn State, Nebraska was left with only speed bumps on the way to Indy. They handled the first one easily, scoring 38 points in the first three quarters before allowing Minnesota a pair of garbage time touchdowns. Somewhat surprisingly, Nebraska struggled to get the run game going against the Minnesota defense, instead leaning on Taylor Martinez's arm and a dominant defensive performance.

Michigan 42, Iowa 17

Michigan allowed Iowa to score 10 first half points, but 28 unanswered starting in the mid-2nd quarter put this game out of reach well before the end. The loss eliminates Iowa from bowl contention and guarantees their first sub-.500 season since 2006, when an Alamo Bowl loss handed the Hawkeyes their seventh. 2000 is the last time they had a losing record in the regular season. Michigan, meanwhile, keeps their slim CCG and BCS chances alive.

Penn State 45, Indiana 22

Penn State guaranteed that Indiana will not make a bowl, busting open a reasonably competitive game with 17 unanswered points to finish the game. You might think that this was the least interesting Big Ten game last week, but you would be forgetting the next game.

Purdue 20, Illinois 17

Purdue preserved their chance to go bowling by slipping past the Illini. Illinois is now 0-7 in conference and riding an eight game losing streak; we had better not lose.

Syracuse 31, Missouri 27

Syracuse picked up yet another comeback victory on the road. This time, they came out for the second half trailing 17-10 and tied the game with touchdowns twice before a Missouri field goal with 1:52 remaining gave the Tigers a 27-24 lead. Syracuse started their drive on their own 19 and took only 7 plays and 1:32 to take the lead; Missouri threw an interception to finish the game. The win was magic number 6 for the Orange, so they will be bowling; TNIAAM thinks that this means the Pinstripe Bowl.

Vanderbilt 41, Tennessee 18

Scores like this are normal for this series; of course, the teams are usually reversed. This was apparently the first time Vandy has beaten Tennessee at home since 1982. While Tennesee was able to keep things close in the first half, Vanderbilt scored 28 unanswered in the second half to make this game a laugher. Vandy is now riding a 5 game winning streak; they are also the only team Northwestern has beaten that is guaranteed to finish the season with a winning record.

Boston College 23, Virginia Tech 30 (OT)

I turned on the end of this when I realized that BC had a chance to pick up their third win. It was an ugly finish. Va Tech tied the game with a field goal with 1:05 remaining; BC didn't try to win in regulation. Instead, they gave up an easy touchdown in overtime and failed to gain a first down on offense. It surprises exactly nobody that Frank Spaziani is a dead man coaching.

This Week

I thought last week's slate was awful.

#14 Nebraska @ Iowa

Will Iowa have to go to a silent count? Will Nebraska score 50? Those are just two of the fascinating questions surrounding this game.

#19 Michigan @ Ohio State

I guess this is a big game, if you are into this kind of thing. Ohio State could be undefeated with nowhere to go, or Michigan could preserve their chance to go to Indy. The second angle is kind of ruined by Nebraska's clubbing of Iowa being scheduled for Friday night, so mainly this game is about finding out how much Ohio State wishes they had taken a bowl ban last year.

Michigan State @ Minnesota

Michigan State needs a win to go bowling, while Minnesota needs a win not to be jumped by Sparty in the bowl selection order. Minnesota's only conference wins are over Illinois and Purdue, so my money is on the Spartans.

Indiana @ Purdue

If Indiana had been able to beat Ball State or Navy, this could be both a minor rivalry game and a bowl eligibility bowl. Instead, Purdue needs the win to go bowling, and Indiana can only play the spoiler.

Wisconsin @ Penn State

Look, it's the second place game in the Sanctions Division! This game at least has bowl ramifications; if Wisconsin loses and Northwestern wins, NU has to be picked ahead of the Badgers.

Syracuse @ Temple

Somebody thought that an 11:00 AM Eastern game between two bad Big East teams on Black Friday was a good idea. I actually am more excited about this game than most of those Big Ten games, since a seventh win against Syracuse would at least guarantee two NU wins over opponents with winning records this year.

Vanderbilt @ Wake Forest

This is a game between two southern private schools with identical color schemes. That's all I've got.

Boston College @ NC State

If you can think of something interesting about this game, please let me know.