Around the Big Ten: Week 10
The first College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday, slotting Michigan State (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) at No. 3. They are far from safe, with two ranked games coming up in the extremely competitive Big Ten East.
Here’s the latest from the Big Ten Conference:
Heisman Moment? Walker leads Michigan State rally over Michigan
Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III may have put a lock on the Heisman Trophy with his five-touchdown performance against the Michigan Wolverines.
Walker had over 200 all-purpose yards, averaging an astounding 8.6 yards per carry on 23 carries.
The superhuman performance helped the Spartans rally from 16 points down in the 3rd quarter and stay unbeaten.
For Michigan, the narrative has stayed the same since head coach Jim Harbaugh joined the team. They just can’t win the big ones. Harbaugh is 2-13 against top-ten opponents -- a mark that is far from expectations for a coach making millions to lead one of the Big Ten’s most storied programs.
Of course, there is still a lot to be decided for the in-state rivals. Both still will face Ohio State and Penn State, so it’s truly a toss-up for who will be on top of the Big Ten East.
Nightmare for Iowa: From Playoff to outside the Top 20
It was just over a month ago when the Iowa Hawkeyes knocked off Penn State at home, advancing to 6-0 and vaulting to No. 2 in the AP polls.
Fast-forward to November and Iowa (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) are losers of two straight blowouts, now sitting in 4th place in the Big Ten West due to tiebreakers.
Iowa still has time to right the ship, and they benefit from the West not being too threatening.
Their remaining opponents in the regular season are a combined 8-14 in the conference, so the opportunity is certainly there. Can head coach Kirk Ferentz refocus his team is another question?
Sorting out the Big Ten West
Both divisions in the Big Ten are very much undecided, but the West is the undiscussed half of the Big Ten.
It was Iowa’s division to lose, and now that they’ve lost, it has become a dogfight for a chance to make the Big Ten Championship.
The frontrunners are the Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten), who have won their last four games since a 1-2 start. T
hey hold a one-game lead, but with head-to-head matchups with Iowa and Wisconsin (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten), the Gophers need to keep winning.
Both the Hawkeyes and the Badgers could claim first place in the division with victories over Minnesota.
The CFP rankings have the three teams ranked 20-22, truly showing just how close they are.
Trying to predict the winner of the West is just as good as trying to predict this week’s winning lottery ticket. And that is what makes college football so fun.
Sam Woloson is a first-year majoring in Journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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