Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ruminations on Week 9

Homecoming 2008 in Madison has come and gone...and the damage was extensive. I'll have a tally of the weekend's events up soon, but for now, just know that it was a great weekend. All the old college crew was back, and the parents even brought a cake to celebrate my birthday at the tailgate. Due to obscene amounts of drinking, this is the first weekend that I didn't see any other Big Ten games than the Badgers, so my ruminations are based entirely on box scores and game recaps...

1) Defense is still king in the Big Ten. Forget all these new spread offenses taking over the league, defense is all the rage in the Big Ten. For evidence, see Penn State at Ohio State on Saturday night in the Most Important Big Ten Game this week. Ohio State had the more hyped defense coming into the game, but it was Penn State that proved to be opportunistic enough for the victory on this night. Holding OSU to an average of 2 yards per carry, and forcing two turnovers by the phenom, Terrelle Pryor, the Nittany Lions kept control of their own BT Title destiny.

2) Bad day to be a senior. Travis Beckum, broken fibula, career over. Tyrell Sutton, broken wrist, career over. It's the worst way to have your career ended, especially when you've been the face of your program for a few years. For Beckum, coming back to school meant turning down millions in the NFL for a chance to play as a Badger 12 more times. With a pre-season hamstring injury, a couple lackluster games, and now a season-ending injury, his senior year can be considered nothing more than a disappointment. Both players should go on to NFL careers, and both will have a good shot a future success, but unfortunately for them, and even for us fans, it won't be on the Big Ten gridiron.

3) Little Brother is all grown up. Sparty finally got victory against Big Brother Michigan. Granted, Michigan had to be at its lowest point in decades for it to happen, but a win is a win in rivalry games. Especially in a rivalry that coach Mark Dantonio has made such a focal point in offseason workouts for the Spartans. Javon Ringer got back to his normal self and Brian Hoyer even bounced back to have himself a game. But the best part of the day for MSU fans had to be the postgame chanting, as those in green rained "Lit-tle Sister" down on the home crowd.

4) Off the Schneid. Or slide. Or losing streak. However you want to say it, two BT teams without a win in the past 5 weeks got wins on Saturday. Wisconsin took down Illinois on the Badgers Homecoming game, and Indiana took down Northwestern on the Hoosiers homecoming game. Huge wins for both teams as fans were starting to become restless with the coaching staffs. Brett Bielema and Bill Lynch are breathing easier this week, but as is always in the Big Ten, another big game awaits.

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