Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ruminations on Week 5

Well, as you can tell from my immediate reaction post on Saturday, I had a rough weekend. I'm still not over it, and don't think I will be unless UW can upset OSU this weekend. Either way, there was at least one inexcusable loss this weekend...and that tops the list of my Ruminations on Week 5:

1) Michigan did something this weekend. Let's just move on...what? You think this blog is biased? You're right, but fine. Michigan did something great this weekend. Greater than any other time in the history of football games at the Big House, they came back from a 19 point 1st half deficit against a supposedly 9th ranked Wisconsin team. They won after giving up 5 turnovers in the 1st half. Their highly talked about conditioning program came through as they were clearly in better shape than the Badgers.

2) Did this game really tell us anything? Penn State pulled away from Illinois to win by 2 touchdowns. Are you surpirsed? I had a feeling this was coming, considering the dropoff in Illinois' tackling and defensive communication this year and the improvement of the Nittany Lion attack. Derrick Williams came through on his recruiting hype finally, and even though it took a while (4 years), it was as timely as could be. In the end, this game told us that Penn State may be the class of the league this year...and that the Illini aren't where they were as a team a year ago. So, did this game really tell us anything?

3) Better with Beanie. Is there any doubt than Beanie Wells would have had an impact in the USC game? Wells came out on a limited basis and ran all over the Gophers this weekend, at the same time rejuvenating the Buckeyes for their Big Televen title run. Wells did his best Knowshon Moreno impression...err Matt Bernstein impression...and hopped over a Gopher defender in the secondary. OSU is a decidedly more potent team with Beanie in the backfield.

4) We're almost bowling...and it's only Week 5. Northwestern and Michigan State both improved to 5-0 this weekend. Historically two teams plagued by disappointing early season losses, both squads have taken care of business in 2008. The Spartans have hopped on the back of Javon Ringer and his "money makers", and he has delivered in a big way. The durable tailback is running his way to the Heisman ceremony if he keeps this pace up. Northwestern has taken an opposite route and ridden the success of their defense in 2008. New coordinator Mike Hankwitz has the Wildcats playing with a passion that true fans haven't seen since the days of Pat Fitzgerald the linebacker.

5) More of the same. Indiana, Iowa Minnesota, Purdue...welcome to more of the same. 2008 is sure looking like a lot of previous years for these four teams. Actually, it's not for Minnesota. Nothing could look as bad as 1-11, but they didn't play with much emotion in Columbus last week...and that should look familiar. Indiana's defense is nowhere to be found. Iowa couldn't get passed Northwestern again, and stalled deep in Wildcat territory with a 1st and Goal at the end of the game. Purdon't lost to ND...almost as inexcusable as the Badgers loss to Michigan.

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