Big Ten's Week 1 Was About the Past, Present, and Future
And why have a normal Week 1?
This past weekend, the conference featured:
- an emotional tribute,
- an underwhelming defeat for Northwestern, and
- a nationally significant victory for Wisconsin.
But in the end, it still looks to be Ohio State and Michigan as the top two teams in the conference.
Nebraska, coming off a losing season for only the third time in 54 years, temporarily put new hope aside in their opener to honor a fallen Husker.
Punter Sam Foltz was killed in a car accident over the summer.
And to the human vermin who burglarized the Foltz family home while they attended the tribute ...
That 43-10 blasting actually resembled Nebraska football as we used to know it.
Next up is Oregon and a shaky defense to offset its usual blitzkrieg of a Quack Attack. Whether the Huskers can pound via ground enough to keep up will be a better indication of their relevance in this season's Big Ten race.
Speaking of 10-man formations, that still aptly describes LSU's passing attack.
The Bayou Bengals are national players. How is it they can't find a slinger year in and year out?
LSU's Brandon Harris lowballed 131 passing yards on 12-21 accuracy, recording one touchdown and two interceptions for a 6.9 QB rating. Enough said.
The Badgers' morale has benefitted, which they'll need once they get into the game video. The rest of the non-conference schedule is soft, but they're gonna need a few glorified scrimmages to make the necessary fixes. Wisconsin gets Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa in a period of five weeks starting in late September.
That's a veritable gauntlet. Don't put the mortgage on their chances.
Northwestern began last season by upsetting Stanford. What goes around, comes around.
The way Western Michigan controlled this game, their 22-21 triumph was an upset in image only. On top of that, the
Wildcats Mildcats lost this one in what was once a familiar fashion:
Déjà vu wasn't supposed to be in Pat Fitzgerald's plans.
It'd still better not be.
The 'Cats may stuggle from here on in as they attempt to make it to another bowl game. Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa, and Michigan State opened with cupcakes, and even though the Spartans struggled, all four won. Northwestern is thisclose to looking like roadkill for these teams.
The Big Ten's main contenders were content to spend Week 1 buying wins:
- Ohio State blew out Bowling Green, warming up for Oklahoma,
- Michigan toyed with jet-lagged Hawaii,
- Michigan State plodded past Furman, and
- Iowa schooled the nearby Miami.
In the Big Ten, they're concerned about the Hawkeyes. A relatively soft division schedule gives them the same puncher's chance they had last season.
And given the rash of upsets in Week 1 reminding all that this is the realm of 18- to 23-year-old athletes, who's to say it won't happen?