1. Time to break out the crystal ball. I want to know what happens at the END of the season. Give me your offensive and defensive Players of the Year in the Big Ten along with Coach of the Year and why.
While he accumulated a ton of yards last season, he was quite uneven. Still, if Purdue has a good year I think Curtis Painter likely will be the offensive player of the year. He does seem to have improved, and while Purdue hasn't played a really good team yet, he hasn't thrown and interception yet.
I don't trust Anthony Morelli, so I will presume that if Penn State has a god year, it will be because of the defense and Dan Connor. It also helps that Connor is one of the few household names on the defensive side. Even if someone else deserves it, Connor or James Laurinaitis will win it.
2. With the upsets, close games, and head scratchers so far, every game we thought was going to be important has changed. Michigan State is 3-0, for Pete's sake, and they look good doing it. Pick the three games on the Big Ten Schedule that will determine the Big Ten Champion. Bonus Points for not picking three games on your own schedule.
Ohio State - Michigan, November 17. As usual. I still think Michigan can salvage the season, and even if not, I would guess that OSU will be in a position to win or tie for the title with a win.
Penn State - Purdue, November 3. Depending on how each team performs against OSU and Michigan, this early November game could involve two teams with a legitimate shot. At least, this game likely will eliminate a contender.
Ohio State - Penn State, October 27. I would expect that whoever wins this game will be in the driver's seat.
3. How many games, this season, have you been to? How many games have you tailgated at? If you have tailgated, name your beverage of choice. If you answered no to the previous questions, hang your head in shame, or at least give a good story about watching the game in enemy territory and giving the bouncer the finger when he asked you to quiet down.
I have not been to a game this year. Fortunately, I have not tailgated either, which makes me better than certain IU fans discussed below.
4. As the Big Ten Season kicks off, the Conference is in somewhat of a difficult position nationally. Needing some momentum after a horrid BCS performance, the Conference needed some momentum early in the season. It hasn't gotten it. The first three weeks have been abysmal. Is this just a down year for the Big Ten, is there a change Nationally that the Big Ten just hasn't picked up on, is there some truth to the "Big Ten Style of Play" that everyone harps on, or has college football simply caught up? What so you think and why? I may be beating a dead horse, but no one looks good this year and I'm at a loss as to why.
The Big Ten has three truly elite programs. OSU played for a title last year and won it in 2002. The other two elite programs probably could use some new blood at the top. Still, Michigan has turned out a number of quality quarterbacks in recent years and hasn't been a stereotypical Schembechler/Hayes-type Big Ten team for quite a while. There has been quite a bit of coaching turnover in the league in recent years, and likely will be more at Michigan and Penn State in the near future. These things go in cycles. The Pac-10 was a laughingstock a few years ago, now it's right there with the SEC. I'm not worried about the long-term future of the Big Ten.