|We are now three weeks into the season and have learned some things about some of the other teams in the Big Ten. Other teams still have some question marks as to how they will respond when the talent level on the other side of the field starts to increase. As Iowa fans patiently await another weekend and another big game, this Saturday at Pittsburgh, let’s take a quick gander at the rest of the Big Ten conference.|
Michigan is terrible, and Ohio State can’t win the big game
Hey national media, we get it already. But what most of you have forgotten is that contrary to popular belief, there are actually nine other teams in the Big Ten! Every year when one of the “Big Two” is down, it seems as though all the national pundits cannot wait to declare the Big Ten as weak, but what did we actually learn last weekend? Is USC better than the best of the Big Ten? Yes. Almost everyone agrees that USC looked like the best team in the nation on Saturday as they dominated Ohio State. Does that then mean the Pac 10 as a whole is a stronger conference than the Big Ten? Of course not. With what we’ve seen so far this season, the Big Ten probably ranks in as the third best conference in college football. Certainly the argument can be made that the SEC is stronger and deeper than any other conference in football. The Big XII can also make a strong case for being the superior conference in the nation. After that comes the Big Ten, Pac 10, Big East, and ACC.
Is Penn State the best in the Big Ten?
Penn State is 3-0 and scoring in a fashion Nittany Lion fans haven’t seen in a long time. Through three games, Penn State is averaging over 55 points per game. Sure the level of competition has been ridiculously poor (Coast Carolina, Oregon State, at Syracuse), but Big Ten fans would have to go back to the mid-90’s to remember a Nittany Lion offense that has looked this good. The only thing that can slow Penn State down now is the conference schedule. JoePa’s group has both Ohio State and Wisconsin away from home this season. Penn State should continue their offensive onslaught this weekend as they host Temple.
Wisconsin has the Big Ten’s most impressive non-conference win
The Badgers traveled West on Saturday to face Pat Hill’s “Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime” Fresno State Bulldogs. Wisconsin did what many Big Ten teams before them have failed to do, beat a very good Pacific Time Zone opponent in their house. For as much flack the Badgers have received for scheduling Cal Poly the last week of this season, most of it deserved, they should also get some props for getting Fresno on the schedule and taking care of their business. So how good are the Badgers? It won’t take long to answer that question as they open up Big Ten play at Michigan next weekend, and then face Ohio State and Penn State at home in back to back weeks.
Northwestern AND Minnesota are undefeated? Seriously?
Not joking. Not only has Northwestern defied history to this point as they have yet to drop a non-conference game against a lesser opponent (with Ohio at home this Saturday), but last year’s Big Ten bottom feeder Minnesota is also 3-0. Certainly the quality of their opponents hasn’t exactly been Big Ten caliber, but you can’t argue with a 3-0 record. Both teams also have a road win against opponents they lost to at home last year (NW at Duke, Minnesota at Bowling Green). The Wildcats and Gophers both have a great chance to enter conference play without a loss. Who would have thought that possible before the season? Of course Northwestern still has to take care of a stubborn 0-3 Ohio team on Saturday, and Minnesota has to do something they couldn’t do last year, beat Florida Atlantic.
Conference play starts in one week and Hawkeye Sports News will continue to keep you updated with weekly looks around the Big Ten throughout the season.