Before we delve into the CARNAGE REPORT, I want to take a minute to hammer out a quick eulogy for the 2014 Indiana Hoosiers. This was a season filled with more hope and promise than just about any that I can recall. Even the 2007 season that saw the Hoosiers end a lengthy bowl game hex didn't start out with nearly as much confidence and fanfare as this year. Unfortunately, Nate Sudfeld's shoulder imploded and replacing the likes of Kofi Hughes and Cody Latimer proved to be a much taller task than many of us anticipated. While Zander Diamont's maturation over his handful of starts has been admirable and will undoubtedly serve him well when Indiana calls his name again (likely after Sudfeld's senior season), it wasn't enough to keep the Hoosiers on track for a bowl game.
This season ends like far too many before it: with the Bucket Game being our de facto "bowl game." Well, we also have that SEC East division title as well.
Anyway, let's get into the CARNAGE REPORT:
- Tevin Coleman nearly beat Rutgers but the rest of his team screwed things up for him. Rutgers, after being trapped in a 5-win prison for some time, got the sixth win they had been craving and will be bowling in their first year of B1G play. This was a game that, prior to the season, a lot of us thought would deliver bowl eligibility to the Hoosiers and at least we were half-right.
- Penn State went all "Penn State vs. Temple" against Temple, and are now bowl eligible as well.
- Iowa-Illinois had the most B1G score of all time after one quarter of play (7-2, in favor of the Illini) but things quickly went south for Tim Beckman's squad. However, if you don't count the last three quarters, that's a pretty nice win for Illinois and I WILL NEVER STOP MAKING THESE JOKES DEAL WITH IT DOT GIF.
- Ohio State went on the road and beat a Top 25 team when it was, like, 3 degrees outside. Minnesota is a good squad and I thought they showed well against the B1G favorites, and anyone trying to detract from OSU's résumé because they didn't win by enough are strange. Or ESPN.
- Wisconsin indirectly ruined Indiana, yet again, as they thumped Nebraska behind Melvin Gordon's 1/4th of a mile rushing total, taking the shine off of Tevin Coleman's 300+ yard day. The Huskers surrendered 49 points in the second and third quarter, which is not good. #analysis
- In what was, without a doubt, the most hilarious and best result of the weekend, Northwestern took Notre Dame to overtime IN SOUTH BEND and then, despite that being amazing in its own right, went on to win the game. I laughed so hard I cried and my heart cried out in song. Also, the Wildcats were rewarded handsomely for their efforts.
- The Spartans thumped Maryland in a game that apparently occurred during FSU / Miami, which makes you wonder if it ever happened at all.
B1G in the CFP?
Ohio State: The Buckeyes stand alone, as I can't fathom a two-loss team will make the playoffs this year, especially when that two-loss team is from the B1G. Nebraska had an outside shot before getting walloped by the Badgers and now the Buckeyes must dispatch of Indiana and Michigan prior to a likely date with Wisconsin in the B1G Championship Game to have a chance. They still need help from the top of the rankings, but OSU has to have one of the easiest slates remaining of anyone still in the hunt.
Also, as a bonus, here's my PROJECTED top 4.
- Mississippi State
- Ohio State
B1G Bowl Tears
Tier 1: Michigan State*, Ohio State*
Tier 2: Wisconsin*, Nebraska*, Minnesota*
Tier 3: Maryland*, Iowa*
Tier 4: Penn State*, Rutgers*, Michigan
Won't Have to Lose a Bowl Game: Northwestern, Illinois,
Penn State and Rutgers are now officially in the bowl picture, while Indiana joins Purdue as the only teams to be officially out of it. The excitement building around the Bucket Game has to be palpable. Wisconsin shoots to the top of Tier 2 and has a decent shot at ruining the B1G's chances at a playoff game if Ohio State hasn't already done that by defeating Michigan State. Minnesota's last two games are against the other two teams they share Tier 2 with, and probably have the biggest space between their floor and ceiling as far as what bowl they could possibly get. Michigan is suddenly back into the bowl picture if they can hold serve against Maryland in the Big House, I think they can get it done and I have not been drinking. Northwestern's win over Notre Dame gives them a chance, as their last two games are against Illinois and Purdue, but I have a feeling Purdue is going to knock them off this weekend. Nebraska's dark horse bid for the CFP is now dead, but they'll be looking at a fairly decent bowl if they can win out.
OHIO STATE: CFP Semifinal against Alabama
MICHIGAN STATE: Cotton Bowl against Baylor
NEBRASKA: Citrus Bowl against Ole Miss
MINNESOTA: Holiday Bowl against Arizona State
WISCONSIN: Outback Bowl against Auburn
MARYLAND: San Francisco Bowl against USC
IOWA: Music City Bowl against Mizzou
PENN STATE: Pinstripe Bowl against Miami