Around the Big Ten: Week 11
Nobody is perfect in the Big Ten Conference. With Michigan State taking its first loss of the season, the division races have only gotten tighter.
Here’s the latest from the Big Ten:
Purdue does it again, stun second-ranked Spartans
The Purdue Boilermakers, or the “Spoilermakers” as fans call them, had the upset of the week on Saturday with their 40-29 victory over then-No. 2 Michigan State.
Purdue (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten) played a daring and explosive brand of football which helped put them in front for much of the game. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell had an astounding 536 yards passing with three touchdowns.
With a ranked win over Iowa already, maybe we shouldn’t be so shocked about Purdue’s success. Meanwhile, the Spartans (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten) are very much alive despite the loss, but now with much less room for error.
Is Wisconsin the team to beat in the Big Ten West?
After a rocky 1-3 start to the season, the Wisconsin Badgers (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten) have reeled off five straight wins, including two against currently ranked opponents. They now sit atop the Big Ten West.
It is a four-way tie at the top of the division, but Wisconsin has the advantage of head-to-head victories over Iowa and Purdue, winning by a total score of 57-20.
Their three remaining games in the regular season are against unranked teams. Wisconsin controls their destiny; if they can take care of business, they’ll have a ticket to the Big Ten Championship Game.
Sorting out the Big Ten East: One-loss log jam
Michigan State’s loss to Purdue draws them even closer to Ohio State and Michigan, with all three teams having 8-1 records. In the next month, these teams will battle for not only a division title but also a possible College Football Playoff Berth.
The good news for Ohio State is that it is ranked fourth in the CFP Rankings and is on top of the Big Ten East with a 6-0 conference record. The bad news for the Buckeyes is the upcoming schedule: No. 19 Purdue, No. 7 Michigan State and No. 6 Michigan. They are seriously going to have to earn their division title.
No. 6 Michigan has a much more forgiving schedule, taking on unranked Penn State, Maryland and then playing “The Game” against No. 4 Ohio State. The story for the Wolverines in recent years is their inability to win big games -- is this the year they put that narrative to bed?
No. 7 Michigan State has the advantage of having beat Michigan earlier in the season. A win against Ohio State would make them a shoo-in for the Big Ten Championship and likely the Playoff. Now it’s up to the Spartans to find a way to get that win.
It is going to be an epic race to decide the Big Ten East. Buckle up, the real season is upon us.
Sam Woloson is a first-year majoring in Journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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