TheSportsNotebook.com’s college football coverage has updated its BCS bowl projections following Week 4, with a special look at the chances of Fresno State rising out of the Mountain West. As part of a conference-by-conference wrap-up of the week, here’s a look at the Big Ten…
Big Ten: This conference still looks to be the weakest of the Five Families. Michigan played poorly and had to rally from 21-7 down to beat UConn. The inability of Devante Gardner to move the football in the air against a bad team from a weak conference doesn’t say very much. Northwestern was never in serious threat of losing to Maine, winning 35-21, but their own passing game was inept.
Minnesota had a nice win, 43-24 over San Jose State, as quarterback Mitch Leidner ran for 151 yards. But San Jose, with David Fales at the helm, threw for over 400 yards, and Leidner did nothing in the air. Give the Gophs credit for muscling over a good midmajor team, but note that they won’t be able to do that against everyone.
It was left to Indiana to continue the conference’s recent penchant for looking mismatched in winnable non-league spots. The Hoosiers were destroyed by Missouri, trailing 38-14 in the fourth quarter, en route to a 45-28 loss. The normally quiet Mizzou passing game was able to unleash, with James Franklin throwing over 300 yards. I guess this SEC rout of the Big Ten is a prelude to the higher-profile ones that will take place on January 1.
Michigan State could have salvaged something, but lost a tough 17-13 decision at Notre Dame, a game that cast more doubt on both teams than anything.
But hey, at least Ohio State beat Florida A&M 76-0, the Buckeyes’ last tuneup before playing Wisconsin next week. At least that’s one Midwest-South matchup the Big Ten can win.
Other post-Week 4 thoughts from the power conferences…