Last week, the debriefing was on the state of the Big Ten East. Outside of the Ohio State Buckeyes, the East had an identity crisis. Penn State and Michigan State nearly lost, and Michigan, well, did.
This week, the first part of the statement is true: Ohio State again looked really good—like, College Football Playoff good. But instead of the East, it’s the Big Ten West that doesn’t know what’s going on.
The upset of the weekend for the Big Ten occurred when Purdue found a way to lose to Eastern Michigan on a last-second field, 20-19. This game included the Boilermakers missing an extra point, being assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after scoring a TD late in the fourth quarter, intercepting the EMU quarterback on the first play after the conduct penalty, missing a 38-yard field goal with five minutes left, and letting ECU drive 72 yards in the final 4:51 to win the game.
At every turn, Purdue couldn’t close the door on the Eagles. Because of that, they are now 0-2 on the season, and are headed into a matchup next Saturday with the SEC’s Missouri Tigers.
Another team that lost on a game-winning field goal was No. 15 Michigan State. The broadcast team in Tempe, Az., noted that the temperature at game time was 100 degrees, making it the perfect condition for some “Pac-12 After Dark” mayhem. Both teams traded blows, but the Fighting Herm Edwardses got the ball last, and worked the clock. A chip-shot FG sealed the 16-13 win, and added to the Big Ten’s woes.
Even though both Purdue and Michigan State took bad losses on Saturday, I still can’t shake the feeling that both are laying in the tall grass, waiting to pounce on an Ohio State team that’s eyeing a playoff berth. Both teams get the Buckeyes at home, which only adds to the uneasiness. If it weren’t for a “Holy Buckeye” in 2002, the Boilermakers would’ve ruined that national championship run.
On the other hand, MSU has made it a personal mission to rip the hearts out of the Buckeye fanbase. They did it in 1998, 2013, and 2015. It doesn’t matter if it’s Nick Saban or Mark Dantonio, Sparty is out to get Brutus Buckeye when he’s deep into a national title run.
Switching back to the chaos that is the B1G West. Scott Frost finally started off his tenure at Nebraska. However, he started it with a loss to Colorado at home. Like the Boilermakers, the Huskers controlled their destiny late, but couldn’t pull out the win. On the final play of the game, Nebraska had a chance to win; just 20 yards away and needing a TD, quarterback Andrew Bunch’s pass went out of the endzone, leading to the Buff’s surviving in Lincoln, Neb., 33-28.
Northwestern also took an “L” on Saturday, falling to fellow academic powerhouse Duke, 21-7.
Minnesota and Indiana had to hold off Fresno State and Virginia, respectively. A late interception in the back of the endzone by Antoine Winfield, Jr.— yes the son of our Antoine Winfield— secured the Golden Gophers’ win; and a penalty on the final play of the game led to Virginia getting one untimed down— and a chance to win the game; fortunately for IU, the Cavs were unsuccessful.
Iowa did very Iowa things, beating in-state rival Iowa State, 13-3. Illinois beat up on Western Illinois, 34-14, but after last week’s narrow victory against Kent State, the jury is still out on how competitive the Illini will be when they have to play real Power 5 teams.
Even Wisconsin struggled early in the contest with New Mexico. But after the offense got going—specifically Jonathan Taylor on the ground—the Badgers pulled away for an easy win in Camp Randall. Wisconsin unsurprisingly looks to be the frontrunner in the West, with at least two zip codes worth of space between them and the second best team on that side of the conference.
Arguably, you can make the case for either Iowa, Nebraska or Northwestern are the second best team in the West right now. That’s not necessarily a good argument to have, though, as those three teams have looked underwhelming, at best.
On the East side, Penn State strolled past Pitt, after being up only 1 at halftime, shaking off the rust from last week’s overtime nailbiter with Appalachian State. The Nittany Lions are the second best team in the East behind OSU, and Michigan State (with a loss) is probably third best.
For its part, Michigan shook Western Michigan. Finally after four games, the Wolverines got a “W.” Shea Patterson looked decent this week, but considering the fact that they were playing Western Michigan, I would think he would have looked more than decent. That wasn’t the case against Notre Dame, where all facets of the Harbaugh game plan looked busted.
Maryland could be the surprise team of the whole conference. They have two wins already, and have a chance for three in a row if they can knock off Temple next week. Will the Terps upset Ohio State this season? lol no. But, will they go bowling? I think they will.
What did you see in Week 2 of college football? Let us know in the comments.