There's no time to waste! To the CARNAGE REPORT:
- Purdue headed into halftime with an 11 point lead over a Minnesota team that had looked strangely impressive over the balance of the season. For all the jokes we made, the Boilermakers' switch to Austin Appleby has revitalized their offense and they had 31 points through the first 30 minutes. Unfortunately, games are 60 minutes long and they managed only 7 points in the second half while allowing 19. That win gave the Golden Gophers six wins and they became, officially, the first bowl-eligible team in the B1G. If you had them in your office pool, I would suggest you seek counseling.
- Maryland knocked off an Iowa team that unironically asked Jake Rudock to throw the ball FIFTY-SIX TIMES. Kirk Ferentz's hijinks are bordering on negligence.
- Ohio State and Michigan State managed to slip by their stiff tests from plucky underdogs. I assume both Rutgers and Indiana stayed close because I only watched the first quarter and can't imagine both teams lost 56-17 or something embarrassing like that. MSU became the conference's second bowl eligible team.
- Northwestern's hostile takeover of the B1G West continues to fall apart, as they were manhandled by the Cornhuskers at home, making Nebraska the third team in the B1G to achieve bowl eligibility.
B1G in the CFP?
Michigan State: Lots of people now projecting the Spartans into the inaugural CFP and I agree with them. Baylor's unexpected defeat by the Mountaineers has seemed to open up a spot in the final four that will likely contain two SEC teams and Florida State. It could very well come down to a one-loss Spartans and a one-loss Notre Dame. This could be an instance where a conference championship game is crucial, as MSU has the opportunity to add one more quality win to its résumé whereas Notre Dame must sit idle. Should the Spartans lose the B1GCG though, they'll likely have to step aside for the Irish.
The preliminary rankings from the CFP Committee come out next week and we'll see where they are. Best guess is some combination of FSU, MSSU, Ole Miss, and Michigan State.
B1G BOWL TEARS (* Bowl Eligible)
Ohio State moves up to Tier 1 and has the opportunity to really screw things up for the conference if they go into East Lansing and defeat the Spartans. MSU dominated the Hoosiers but believe when I say that any semi-capable defense would have snagged or batted away a lot of floating passes that instead went for touchdowns against Indiana. OSU's defense is far from dominant, but perhaps better suited to the task than Indiana.
Really, really excited to watch what this Minnesota team is made of over the next month and a half. They could conceivably be 8-1 prior to a three game stretch to close the season that consists of v. OSU, @ Nebraska, and @ Wisconsin. They could lose all 3 and lose some shine in the court of public opinion, but they would still be one of the better teams in the league. A win in any of those three games and they could be in line for some major love from the bowl game committees.
Rutgers hangs on by a thread, because I think they'll handle Indiana in Piscataway for their sixth win. Indiana now has gigantic issues at quarterback, as Zander Diamont didn't look anything close to a suitable starter against an elite Spartans defense. Hopefully he improves as the competition lightens up and he gets more preparation time.