Every week after the Big Ten slate of games, I will bring you some B1G thoughts on everything that happened! This will include analysis, stats, key players, moments, and maybe a joke or two. Check out the I-70 Football Show in the Land-Grant Holy Land podcast feed for more in-depth analysis and to preview the next week of B1G games.
Jim Knowles was hired away from the fake OSU, Oklahoma State University, to become the defensive coordinator at the Ohio State University this past January. He was tasked with one job, fixing the defense. He was deemed the head coach of the defense as Ryan Day lamented having to take focus away from the offense to help out last year’s defensive staff.
Well, in the 10 short months since Knowles was hired he has proven his worth. This offseason he threw on his lab coat, picked up the random parts and pieces left of the buckeye defense, and sewed them together. He pulled a Dr. Frankenstein taking them to the top of the shoe and waiting for lightning to strike! Strike it did as he rebirthed the Silver Bullets from the ashes of failed regimes and poor coaching. Knowles is a defensive mastermind and the Buckeyes are lucky to have him.
Do the right thing and retire
Iowa is not in a position to fire Kirk Ferentz, largely because they gave him an unnecessary contract extension in January. You could argue that’s fair seeing that he won the west Division but he was under contract and not going anywhere.
If Ferentz loves Iowa as much as he claims, or if he loves his son too much to fire him then it is time for him to retire. He is 67 years old and the sport has passed him by. I am not convinced even if he fired Brian and hired a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach that the Iowa offense would be fixed. Ferentz needs to do what’s right and retire so Iowa can move toward the future.
Welcome to the Big Ten Roman Hemby! Maryland has struggled to maintain a consistent running game under Mike Locksley but that may be changing with freshman running back Roman Hemby, Hemby broke onto the scene with a 114-yard performance against Buffalo and a 151-yard performance against SMU. Despite showing promise early in the season, Maryland refused to make him a featured part of the offense which they may regret especially a 2-point loss to Purdue where he only saw 7 carries.
Against Northwestern, with Taulia on the sideline, Maryland needed to find a spark and found one in Hemby. He carried the ball 24 times for 179 yards and three touchdowns including the game-winning 75-yard score with three minutes remaining in the game. Hemby needs to be a major focus in the future whether Taulia comes back or not.
Maryland is bowl eligible
The University of Maryland Terrapins are bowl eligible and it only took eight games! Coming into the season there was a lot of hype behind Maryland including some people considering their wide receivers the best in the big ten. That was absolutely false but they are a very talented team with Taulia Tagovailoa leading them for a third straight season. Maryland started the season and showcased they were a serious team defeating SMU and pushing Michigan late into the fourth quarter.
Despite Taulia missing the game due to injury Maryland came from behind to beat Northwestern and secure bowl eligibility. With four games left in the season, Maryland has a chance to secure its best season in recent history. Hopefully, Tualia comes back healthy as they fight for a chance at a new year’s six bowl game.
Wisconsin wins 16 straight!
Purdue, under head coach Jeff Brohm, has experienced some of its highest highs and has competed for the West division until late in the season. This season, despite two baffling losses on last-minute scoring drives, Purdue was setting themselves up for a winner take all game against Illinois for their first West division title. That may still be the case but their chances have been diminished after losing to Wisconsin. Purdue needed to beat Wisconsin but despite all the positive momentum, it’s a challenge they haven’t come close to conquering.
Wisconsin, under interim head coach, got out to a 35-10 lead before Purdue scored 14 points in the garbage to make the game’s final score closer than the game was. Congrats to Leonhard who may have secured the Wisconsin job full-time while Purdue is stuck trying to find a way to clear a seemingly impossible hurdle.
Penn State bounces back
Penn State's embarrassing defeat to Michigan last week sent the team looking for answers. They gave up over 400 yards rushing and had to face Mo Ibrahim and the Minnesota Gophers in their next game. Without a significant change and some renewed focus Penn State was in line to get run over again and face Ohio State after two tough losses.
Well, change came and Penn State dominated Minnesota and found a way to slow their run game. Not having to face Tanner Morgan helped as the veteran quarterback was unable to play this game but the Nittany Lion’s defense swarmed the Gophers and their offense found its rhythm. The defense forced Mo Ibrahim to work to maintain his 100-yard rushing streak limiting him to 102 yards on 30 carries on 3.4 yards per carry.
Sean Clifford propelled his team past the Gophers and into a tough OSU matchup throwing for 295 yards and four touchdowns. This win was much needed as it gives Penn State some confidence and momentum going into an Ohio State game where they need to have a much better performance than they did against Michigan.
B1G is keeping divisions for now
Our long wait is over, for the time being. After the division one committee announced that conferences could get rid of divisions we have been waiting for the Big Ten to announce our division-less future. That decision was put on hold with the addition of USC and UCLA and we still do not know what the conference will look like in 2024. What we do know though is what it will look like in 2023 and that is the same.
Instead of making a change for the 2023 season and changing again in 2024 when the west coast teams join the conference has decided to keep the same division format for 2023. This was the most likely outcome and probably the smartest as the conference has enough change to deal with and a lot of decisions to make finalizing the fine print with the new tv contract, transitioning into two teams, and trying to prepare for a 12-team playoff. No need to spend all this time changing something that will last one season.
We will have to wait to see the Big Ten’s future but for now, we know it will maintain the status quo, for one more season at least.