It's finally here. It's the week when every Big Ten team plays on the same weekend. No more bye weeks. Just loads of fun, unadulterated conference fun.
The Buckeyes made some big mistakes in the early parts of this game to allow Indiana to take a 1-point score differential into the half. But Ohio State is Ohio State; they're better than Indiana in every way. The outcome was never in any doubt. The Buckeyes also wrapped up the Eastern Conference, guaranteeing themselves a spot in Indianapolis in two weeks. Hopefully, they're not looking too far ahead -- there's still one last game to play.
Melvin Gordon ran for an even 200 yards and 2 touchdowns. His record of 408 yards in a single game stood as the pinnacle for all of one week when Oklahoma's Samaje Perine got 427 (although he did it in more than three quarters). The Badgers now have one major game left before they can clinch the West. Minnesota won't go quietly, they want the division title and Paul Bunyon's Ax.
The Spartans torched the Scarlet Knights for 520 total yards. I don't know if I realized this until now, but Michigan State may currently be playing with one of the greatest offenses in school history. They rank 12th in the nation in terms of yards per play. Senior running back Jeremy Lankford has been sneaky good this season, racking up 1,242 yards on the ground. And you thought they were just a spectacular defense.
The Gophers fought back from some early-game mishaps to keep their Western Conference hopes alive. They now go into the final game of the regular season facing rival Wisconsin in what will decide who goes to the B1G championship. It's a playoff game. This is the best Minnesota team in a long time, at least better than any Gopher team I can remember. Can they keep the story going?
The Terps found two fourth quarter touchdowns to get the win over Michigan. Maryland now has seven wins, ensuring that their first season in the B1G was a legitimate success. The win also clinches their place as the third best team in the East. The upcoming matchup with Rutgers is one of only two B1G games that will not present a trophy to the winner, but I'm fairly certain they'll have one before too long.
Ameer Abdullah, who's at least the third best running back in the conference, eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark for the third consecutive season. That's amazing, but more amazing is that he's the first player in college football to ever do that. As a team, though, the Huskers blew this one. They had a 14-point lead going into the half but were unable to prevent the Gophers from stealing the victory.
However, the most important thing to come out of this game is a new trophy created for this B1G rivalry. Please, please click that link. It's truly awesome to see what happens when fake humans, mascots, twitter, and internet people work together.
Iowa fought from a 16-point deficit to within two with five minutes remaining. They put up a good fight for the Heartland Trophy, but were unable to defend agains the great MelGor. At this point, they're pretty certain to be the middle team of the B1G West. Their next game is Black Friday against the Huskers -- in my opinion, it's one of the best rivalries to end the season, even if this is only the fourth time it's been played when both are members of the B1G.
The Wildcats made the Boilermakers look horrendously bad, which isn't that hard to do in 2014 (or maybe it is..?). Now, they're already making plans for bowl season. We're both 5-6, but they're acting like the upcoming game for the hat is a given. It only makes an orange victory that much more important.
It was the best coached game in Tim Beckman's career. It doesn't feel lucky or too close for comfort; no, this one feels deserved and it's a feeling I haven't felt in years. It's overwhelming, really. We now prepare for the biggest showdown with Northwestern ever. The winner goes to a bowl game, the loser quite possibly fires their coach. I'm so excited and scared and pumped and anxious. This is what this rivalry should be. hat hat hat hat hat hat
Penn State fans are taking this one pretty hard. They hate Tim Beckman, and watching him win hurts somewhere deep in their chests. Their defense, which was the best in the conference, never showed up to take care of business. There's been a lot of good to happen for Penn State this year, but this is going to haunt them for awhile. Side note: Is Penn State - Michigan State the most forced rivalry in the conference?
When Maryland and Rutgers joined the conference, you probably guess that one of them was likely missing a bowl game, instead it was Michigan who missed out. There will be four B1G teams without a bowl: Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, and either Northwestern or Illinois. One of the worst seasons in school history is coming to a close with one of the least intriguing "The Game"'s ever. I have a question though, when does a blue-blood school become a regular school?
At one time earlier in the season I had Rutgers ranked as high as fourth. They had won five of their first six, with close loss to Penn State and a victory over Michigan that carried much more pride than it does now. From there, they entered the hardest possible stretch of any B1G schedule, so it wasn't really a surprise they were going to fall way down in the rankings. The good news is that they're going to a bowl, probably the highest hope before the season began.
The Boilermakers put up quite the stink verses this weekend, but now their attention turns to a more pressing matter: The Old Oaken Bucket. This is the Reverse B1G Championship as both teams sit well into the bottom of each division. Instead of playing for a bowl like Illinois and Northwestern, these teams are playing to not be the target of offseason mockery.
Indiana's had a rough year. They haven't won a single B1G game this year -- like Illinois two years ago, and last year's Purdue. But there is a good ol' silver lining to the season and his name, which will be written in the annals of Hoosier History, is Tevin Coleman. He's now rushed for 1,906 yards on the season, second in the nation (behind Melvin Gordon), while becoming the all-time rushing leader in school history.