Blog Entry

What I learned from the Big Ten (Nov. 13)

Posted on: November 14, 2010 2:32 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. The Iowa defense is the biggest fraud in the Big Ten. Credit must go to Dan Persa and Northwestern for their gutsy fourth-quarter comeback against the Iowa Hawkeyes, but it's time to stop lauding the Iowa defense as one of the nation's best, because it isn't -- not when the game is on the line. Iowa has given up game-winning drives -- and long, sustained ones, at that -- to three different opponents this season, and if it hadn't been for an unconscionable end zone drop by Indiana wideout Damario Belcher on 4th down last week, that total would be four, in just 10 games. It's one thing to hold lightweights like Iowa State and Eastern Illinois to just one score. It's another to get a stop when the team needs one the most, and Iowa's defense just doesn't seem capable of doing that.

2. Bret Bielema's empathy generator is broken. Quick, name the one Big Ten coach who would run up 83 points on a conference opponent. It's probably the same one that goes for two while up by 25 with under seven minutes to play, isn't it? Why yes it is. Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema continued his quest to get every mediocre coach in the Big Ten fired with an 83-20 firebombing of Indiana in Madison. And though Bielema will again claim not to be running up the score, it's worth pointing out that Scott Tolzien was throwing passes to fellow starters Lance Kendricks and David Gilreath with a 39-point lead and under five minutes left in the third quarter. Yes, it's up to Indiana to make the stop, and Indiana never did, but in a 63-point win, it's never good to see the winning team converting a 76-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter -- regardless of whether a backup threw it. Wisconsin, we're looking at you here.

3. There's plenty of Hawkeye fans in East Lansing. The Big Ten title race is down to three one-loss teams, and as of right now, Wisconsin owns the tiebreaker for the trip to Pasadena (or if all hell really breaks loose, Glendale, but let's assume Pasadena). Of the three teams, only one -- Ohio State -- faces a ranked team down the stretch, and that's OSU's trip to Iowa next weekend. If Iowa wins, all of a sudden, Michigan State has the upper hand for the league title. Ohio State wins, and we're back to the three-team non-round-robin tiebreaker, which is BCS standing. MSU is not such a big fan of that idea: the Spartans are firmly mired at third among Big Ten teams in that department. So yes, there's still plenty of endgame drama left in the Big Ten, even if it involves two teams that are at best longshots for the title.

4. Matt McGloin has "moxie," but Ohio State has a secondary. Advantage, OSU. It's hard to believe, looking at the 38-14 final score from Columbus, but Penn State actually led the Buckeyes 14-3 at the break, and it could have been worse. PSU QB Matt McGloin threw two touchdown passes in the first half, and unlike the two he threw in the second half, the first half scores were to his own team. Yes, things sort of fell off a cliff for Penn State, and the turning point was likely late in the first half, when Joe Paterno got greedy on 4th and 1 at the OSU 20 and went for it. The Evan Royster rush failed, the Buckeye defense's heart grew three sizes, and PSU never even threatened to score for the rest of the game.

It was a sobering return to reality for Penn State fans who witnessed McGloin's dissection of the Northwestern defense last week and were entertaining dreams of McGloin as a wildly successful three (or two-and-a-half, anyway) -year starter over true freshman Rob Bolden, Joe Paterno's choice at the beginning of the season. The fact of the matter is, there's usually plenty more to turning a struggling offense around than just making a switch at quarterback, and when Bolden's got a full year of film study and practice under his belt, he's probably going to be a better quarterback than McGloin. That fact doesn't have much relevance today, which is why McGloin started at Columbus and probably will next week, but it would be extremely presumptive to look at McGloin's first two quarters at OSU and attach a tag like "the future" to him -- unless the words "clipboard holder for Rob Bolden" immediately follow.


Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 19, 2011 12:39 am

What I learned from the Big Ten (Nov. 13)

Continue the beneficial get the job done, Nice providing.

Since: Nov 17, 2007
Posted on: November 16, 2010 7:26 am

What I learned from the Big Ten (Nov. 13)

Indiana put 11 orange cones on the field. Wisconsin refused to trip over them.


Since: Sep 14, 2009
Posted on: November 15, 2010 1:55 pm

What I learned from the Big Ten (Nov. 13)

Im sick of this crap about beilema running up the score. Yeah.. he went for two up big against minnesota in a very woody hayes against michigan fashion. But please stop with this against Indiana because they essentially stoped playing... Wiscy threw the ball a grand total of 22 times the entire game, and lets not forget that the 3rd string running back started the game to begin wtih. Call the 75 yrd TD pass what you will, but it was the 3rd string QB to the fourth string WR on a third and long. They just kept playing football... Indiana gave up at half time.

Since: Aug 18, 2010
Posted on: November 15, 2010 1:24 pm

What I learned from the Big Ten (Nov. 13)

This has always been a touchy situation for coaches.  While I do not really like Bielema at all, what is he expected to do?  My belief is fairly simple; put the backups in and let them run your offense.  How else are they going to be prepared if they are ever needed in a big game.  You cannot expecct Wisconsin to just take a knee, and that was the only way they were going to be stopped.  I do not like running up the score at all, but when your third and fourth string players are in there, the opponent has to be expected to stop them.  If they can't, that is their problem. 

Since: Mar 25, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2010 11:15 pm

What I learned from the Big Ten (Nov. 13)

You can tell this guy might not have watched much of the Wisconsin game....

What do you want Bielema to do? Tell his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th stringers to not play hard.  Tell a kid who may not see the field again this year to fall down instead of running in for a score.  Tice will remember that score for the rest of his life and you should have seen the reaction on the Wisconsin sideline.  The players acted like they just won the NC because they know that opportunity probably will not happen again for Tice.

What about the Vests 73 point outburst against Eastern Michigan? Are you going to say he has no mercy either. 

This is a total double standard. First you say Wisconsin doesn't score enough on weaker teams and then when they do its classless and unsportsmanlike. 

Since: Jun 1, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2010 12:06 pm

What I learned from the Big Ten (Nov. 13)

Hey Adam, 

Wisconsin was passing because thats the weak part of their offense.  If they would have kept running the ball, they would have scored over 100.  Indiana quit, that's not Wisconsin's fault.  Are they supposed to quit to?  Start taking a knee in the 3rd quarter.  Wouldn't that be a bigger insult.

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