As Littlefinger says in Game of Thrones, chaos is a ladder. However, after this week of Big Ten football, chaos feels more like a major obstacle to a Big Ten team making the College Football Playoff.
Iowa 55, No. 6 Ohio State 24
Let’s read that again.
IOWA 55, No. 6 Ohio State 24
Three long weeks ago, Iowa mustered 10 points in regulation and overtime against the Northwestern Wildcats. Sure, it was windy, and Northwestern’s defense is good, but no one expected that same Iowa offense to put up FIFTY-FIVE POINTS against No. 6 Ohio State. The Buckeyes came to Kinnick Stadium, with serious momentum after their win over Penn State, and fell completely flat. J.T. Barrett threw four interceptions and ruined his Heisman hopes after a short-lived week. Ohio State’s defense got bossed around by Iowa’s offensive line and completely fell apart in the second half. It was a stunning, shocking, and humiliating defeat for Urban Meyer’s team. Their Playoff hopes are now seriously in jeopardy. Ohio State now has two losses while Georgia, Clemson, Miami, Notre Dame and Alabama all won against decent opposition. Yikes.
But enough but Ohio State. How ‘bout dem Hawkeyes? Everyone knows Iowa is a tough team to play, but Iowa usually wins these types of game 13-10 or 12-7. Putting up 55 points against Ohio State is decidedly un-Iowa, and yet here we are. Nate Stanley threw five touchdown passes and had a 179.0 passer rating. Akrum Wadley and Nevada transfer James Butler combined for 192 rushing yards. It was a clinical offensive performance against a top-10 opponent, something that you almost never see from Kirk Ferentz teams. Also, it was enough to give Northwestern a transitive win over Ohio State.
No. 24 Michigan State 27, No. 7 Penn State 24
Turns out losing to Northwestern in overtime is the best thing that can happen to a football team. Either that or Michigan State is unstoppable in the rain. In a game that was delayed for over two hours due to lightning with 7:38 in the second quarter, Michigan State triumphed with a last-second field goal to hand Penn State it’s second consecutive loss. I could give you a statistical breakdown, but it would be irrelevant. Michigan State did very Sparty things on a soaked field, and Penn State just could not impose any control on the game. The Nittany Lions are also on the outside looking in for the Playoff.
Funnily enough, if Michigan State had managed to escape overtime with Northwestern, we could be looking at a one-loss Michigan State team as the Big Ten’s best hope for the Playoff. BUTTERFLY EFFECTS, BABY! BUTTERFLY EFFECTS!
No. 9 Wisconsin 45, Indiana 17
Instead, the Big Ten’s best hope is undefeated Wisconsin, which continued to roll along with a routine win over Indiana. Indiana went up 10-0 to start the game and proceeded to get out-scored 45-7, which is the most Indiana football thing to happen. This Wisconsin win almost knocks Northwestern out of Big Ten West contention, as the Badgers will now have to lose out for Northwestern to win the division.
Purdue 29, Illinois 10
Send some love to David Blough, who suffered a season-ending right leg injury in garbage time on a play that probably should’ve been targeting. Purdue won anyway, as Illinois is a total dumpster fire right now. Illinois hosts Indiana in the B1G Sadness Bowl. One of those teams will have a conference win, at least.
Michigan 33, Minnesota 10
I feel like every P.J. Fleck Minnesota game has been incredibly boring, except for the Purdue game. This game happened? It was on FOX and broadcast nationally? Go figure!
Rutgers 31, Maryland 24
Last but not least, RUTGERS HAS THREE CONFERENCE WINS! Let’s go! Remember, as I said, Rutgers is coming for everyone. They will stop at nothing until they avenge every slight from the last two years. Maryland out-gained Rutgers and won the turnover battle, but still lost.
Maryland is also down to its fifth-string quarterback. They are actually cursed.