It was a nervy week up and down the Big Ten, but mostly everyone averted complete disaster. Those who didn't know what they did.
- Ohio State and Michigan State each went on the road and pummeled ranked foes in front of their own fans. Sparty got a little lazy after going up 36-7 but made it out of South Bend with a big win. OSU offered the Sooners no such opportunity.
- Michigan and Nebraska each found themselves losing to a Pac-12 squad in the first half and each bounced back to get the victory. Oregon went for 2 five times against Nebraska, failed four times and lost by three. That's PEAK OREGON. (Editor's Note: I mixed up Nebraska and Wisconsin, but to be fair is there really any appreciable difference?)
- Wisconsin, Maryland, and Rutgers struggled against their cupcake opponents but eventually capturing the W. The Terrapins requiring two overtimes to dispatch Central Florida.
- Penn State beat Temple. Progress in Happy Valley!
- Northwestern beat Duke- making them undefeated against the Power 5 this year. So take that, haters.
- Iowa and Illinois each suffered rather embarrassing losses, but at least Illinois stopped feeling pain a long time ago.
- Minnesota, Purdue, and Indiana were all idle. Bad loss for Purdue.
B1G in the CFP?
The Big Ten West came close to bowing out of the discussion altogether, with all three contenders going down to the wire in their contests. Wisconsin and Nebraska could still theoretically finish undefeated, though neither look the part of a team that can survive a season without blemishes, and that might be what it takes to impress the committee. Granted, an 11-1 team that defeats, let's say a 12-0 Ohio State in the B1G Championship, could be hard to keep out of the top 4. There's hope yet, Hawkeyes!
Wisconsin and Michigan State meet up Saturday in East Lansing, good chance for the West to prove something.
Meanwhile, the B1G East put their three contenders on display this weekend, with Ohio State grabbing a statement blowout on the road against the Sooners and the Spartans doing the same in South Bend. Michigan dispatched of a pesky Colorado that lost its starting QB during the game. The East representative remains the odds-on favorite to be the Big Ten's CFP entrant, if not their runner-up as well. I realize suggesting two Big Ten teams in the playoff is considered treason south of the Mason-Dixon line, but with three weeks in the books, we can say all sorts of ridiculous things with impunity.
Which reminds me! MY TOP FOUR: 1. Alabama 2. Louisville 3. Ohio State 4. Stanford
Ohio State: CFP Semifinal vs. Louisville
Michigan: Rose Bowl vs. Washington
Wisconsin: Citrus Bowl vs. Florida
Michigan State: Outback Bowl vs. Tennessee
Nebraska: Holiday Bowl vs. UCLA
Iowa: Pinstripe Bowl vs. Pittsburgh
Indiana: Music City Bowl vs. Arkansas
Penn State: Foster Farms Bowl vs. Utah
Maryland: Quick Lane Bowl vs. NC State
Minnesota: Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Western Kentucky
LOL NAH: Illinois, Purdue, Rutgers, Northwestern
Original draft had MSU in the Citrus Bow and Wisconsin to the Outback but the Badgers have already played there and in the Holiday Bowl, making it likely that conference bowl agreements will push them to the Citrus as they've played in the other two games in that tier. Both are still certainly in play for at-large bids to CFP or New Year's Six spots. I don't think Maryland or Minnesota look like bowl teams but they've both got bowl schedules. Of the four teams projected not to make a bowl by this blog and everyone with a brain, Indiana has three on their schedule. With a home date against Wake Forest to close up the non-conference, the Hoosiers have no excuse not to achieve bowl eligibility for the second straight year.