Grading the Big Ten following Week 3
The Big Ten went 10-2 in week three, but with Michigan State losing its marquee match-up with Notre Dame, it won't do much for league's national reputation. The fact is, there are only three undefeated teams in the league, and none of them are named Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Penn State or Wisconsin.
Minnesota is not likely to complete the season unblemished, and Northwestern does not have the track record nationally to move the radar that much. Ohio State is holding up this league, but with them on probation it can only do so much.
The good news is there are still nine games for someone to step forward and help the league. And at the same time, there are nine more games for fans at some programs to be made very happy (i.e. Purdue or the surprising Gophers). Here is how each team looked Saturday.
Illinois Fighting Illini: A
Indiana Hoosiers: C
Iowa Hawkeyes: A-
Michigan Wolverines: A
Michigan State Spartans: D+
The Spartans just lost gap control on a couple of plays, and it cost them. After all, the defense held them to just 300 yards and 1 of 14 on third down.
Offensively, it's really hard to do much of anything when your QB takes a pounding. Andrew Maxwell was sacked four times and harassed all night.
One thing that surprised me was that Le’Veon Bell only had nineteen carries. Against Boise when the passing game was struggling, Bell put the team on his back with 44 carries. Sure, MSU was trailing, but it was only 14-3 at half. In fact, Notre Dame’s second-half field goals were not kicked until under seven minutes left in the game. Plenty of time for MSU to run its stuff. Instead the team panicked a bit and threw it 45 times. Way too many attempts, considering Bell was averaging 4 yards a carry, despite the rough day the Big Uglies had up front.
Minnesota Golden Gophers: B+
Nebraska Cornhuskers: A
Northwestern Wildcats: B
Ohio State Buckeyes: C-
Penn State Nittany Lions: A
Purdue Boilermakers: A
Wisconsin Badgers: D
More Big Ten >> B1G Prediction Reflection, Week Three