There's no time to waste! TO THE CARNAGE REPORT:
- Wisconsin, Rutgers, and Michigan State all hosted cupcakes and smoked them, with Wiscy coming the closest to "struggling" as they went into the half knotted up at 3 before pulling away with the ground game.
- Michigan's implosion continued as they surrendered the Little Brown Jug to Minnesota EASILY, and I totally would have listed Minnesota among the other teams "playing cupcakes" section but Indiana couldn't beat Maryland so I'm not really in a position to make such jokes.
- Ohio State fended off a plucky Cincinnati squad lead by former Indiana / LSU / Notre Dame recruit Gunner Kiel. OSU isn't struggling to score points without Braxton Miller, and unless Miller was playing All-B1G on defense as well, I don't know how much better they'd be. The Buckeyes are gonna be in a lot of shootouts this year if the defense doesn't come around.
- Nebraska and Iowa each took on conference basement-dwellers in Illinois and Purdue (respectively) and disposed of them neatly in their specified containers.
- In the conference's biggest surprise / disappointment: notably bad football team Northwestern throttled supposedly good football team Penn State in Happy Valley. These kind of games are the conference's worst nightmare when it comes to bowl season: teams that are likely not heading to a bowl putting dents in the résumés of teams that likely are.
B1G in the CFP?
Nebraska: The Huskers remain undefeated so they remain alive for the playoff. Their first gigantic test to stay undefeated comes next week when they travel to East Lansing to take on the Spartans of Michigan State. A win there and their stake in the CFP is legitimized, a loss will likely end any hope of a B1G representative. I still think Nebraska ends up with a few losses, but I'd rather write about their chances in the CFP while they still exist than just put "lol" in this section.
B1G BOWL TEARS
Tier 1 (New Year's Worthy): Michigan State, Nebraska
Tier 2: Wisconsin, Ohio State
Tier 3: Iowa, Minnesota, Penn State
Tier 4: Maryland, Indiana
Won't Have to Lose a Bowl Game: Michigan, Rutgers, Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois
I realize these tiers could create some teeth-gnashing in Piscataway but there's a legitimate chance that Rutgers has won their last game of the year. Here's the rest of the schedule: Michigan, @ OSU, @ Nebraska, Wisconsin, Indiana, @ MSU, @ Maryland. Yes, they have two winnable home games against Michigan and Indiana but I'm finding it hard to believe they cash in both of those tickets. As bad as Michigan has been, they're better than any team Rutgers has beaten ... I think. I literally have no idea how the Wolverines can look this bad.
Indiana remains in the bottom of Tier 4 because they're only a game off the pace of the 8-win season I projected at the beginning of the year. IF YOU'LL RECALL: I picked Indiana to beat Mizzou and then come home and lose to Maryland.There's no getting around that IU looked horrible on Saturday, but I've got five games left that I think they'll win and I'm sticking by it because: 1) I don't like admitting I'm wrong and 2) this is an IU blog come on, guy.
Maryland's win over IU is massive for their bowl hopes. Now winning any two of Iowa / PSU / Michigan / Rutgers gets them eligible. If that defense is going to look like that every week from here on out, Maryland is on their way to a huge year. If they go back to being bad, Indiana is in a lot of trouble.
MICHIGAN STATE: At-Large Bid to the Peach Bowl against East Carolina
NEBRASKA: At-Large Bid to the Cotton Bowl against Baylor
WISCONSIN: Outback Bowl against Mizzou
OHIO STATE: Capital One Bowl against Mississippi State
IOWA: Holiday Bowl against USC
MINNESOTA: San Francisco Bowl against Oregon State
INDIANA: Heart of Dallas Bowl against UTEP