It was a bad week for the Big Ten. Maybe you’ve heard. The conference went 6-8 over the weekend, but all of the losses came to unranked teams.
Let’s jump into ugly details, and some not-so-ugly ones, to determine if these results were Impressive, Fair or Deceptive.
Indiana 38 Ball State 10: The Hoosiers handled their business against a solid Ball State team. Indiana engineered all the edges that matter –– success rate, yards per play, field position –– and came away with a four-touchdown win without any turnovers padding the number. Look who’s 3-0. | Impressive
Temple 35 Maryland 14: Look who’s not 3-0. Maryland struggled to move the ball at all against a previously winless Temple team, gaining just 195 yards and picking up only 11 first downs. It was a dreadful performance of the offense as the Terps’ two touchdowns came on an interception return and a blocked punt. Otherwise this one looked like it should’ve, even if nobody thought it would look like this. | Fair
Troy 25 Nebraska 19: Not as easy a call as it was last week, but Nebraska won the efficiency and explosive-plays battle (based on a 10-plus runs/15-plus passes threshold) and that’s usually enough to survive some turnovers and a field position disadvantage. Though not this time. Just like last time. I lean a little towards “slightly deceptive” here, but it was still pretty close to a coin flip. | Fair
Penn State 63 Kent State 10: It’s tough for a 63-10 win to be deceptive. That said, it’s tough for a win over Kent State right now to be impressive. | Fair
Kansas 55 Rutgers 14: But when you’re dealing with Kansas, apparently it isn’t that hard for for a 55-14 win to be somewhat deceptive. The Jayhawks were +6 in turnovers on Saturday with an expected margin of +1.6 based on national averages. Kansas scored 24 points off those six turnovers. Based on the yardage, it’s possible Rutgers still would’ve gotten hammered, but with such a big disparity between actual and expected turnovers I have to give Rutgers at least partial credit. The Knights are probably only three scores worse than Kansas. | Very Slightly Deceptive
USF 25 Illinois 19: I did not expect this one to be this close and it wouldn’t have been if USF hadn’t had four drives inside the Illini 40 end without any points. The Bulls had a big yardage edge here as Illinois played with its backup quarterback. | Deceptive
Michigan 45 SMU 20: It looked like this game was going to go to half with Michigan holding a 14-7 lead. Then Josh Metellus picked a pass and returned it 73 yards for a touchdown to end the second quarter. The rout was on from there. Worth noting: SMU’s 20 points were the most a G5 opponent has scored against Michigan during the Harbaugh era. | Fair
Minnesota 26 Miami (Ohio) 3: Not a blockbuster day for the Gophers’ offense by any means as Minnesota gained 295 yards and managed just 24 points out of eight trips inside the 40 (the other two came via a safety). Otherwise Minnesota leaned on the Redhawks in all the predictable ways. | Fair
BYU 24 Wisconsin 21: The shocker of the weekend as a BYU team that averaged 5.52 and 3.88 yards per play against Arizona and Cal busted out for 6.1 against the Badgers’ defense in Madison. The Cougars also claimed the only takeaway of the game and it was enough, along with a missed field goal at the end, to earn a hard-fought win. This was straight-up football, and not many teams beat Wisconsin that way. | Fair
Iowa 38 Northern Iowa 14: The Hawkeyes’ offense got untracked a little bit against an FCS foe, going for 545 yards at 6.7 yards per pop. Northern Iowa did manage two late touchdowns, more points than Iowa’s previous two opponents combined, but otherwise the Hawkeyes simply handled their business. It sets up a huge game in the West Division race as Wisconsin visits this weekend. | Impressive
Akron 39 Northwestern 34: The Wildcats didn’t have a run longer than 12 yards and still had a 124-yard edge in this game. But Akron hit for passes of 56, 43 and 40 yards and those plays lead to drives that end in points, typically. It was the Zips only real edge in this game as Northwestern dominated most everything else, but big plays are powerful. Most times, however, this is a win for the Wildcats. | Deceptive
Missouri 40 Purdue 37: The Boilermakers have been outscored by a total of eight points this season and sit at 0-3. This may have been the cruelest of the three defeats as Purdue won the big-play battle, made slightly more of its scoring chances and nearly matched a powerful Tiger offense in efficiency. Purdue deserves better than its winless record right now. Remember that when they make more noise in the West than anyone would think they should right now. | Deceptive
Ohio State 40 TCU 28: It looked like the Buckeyes were in a little danger early in the second half, but Ohio State was leaning on TCU through much of the night, including engineering a huge field-position edge. It took a while for the Horned Frogs to finally collapse under the weight, but that’s what a game between two good teams typically looks like. | Impressive
The Grab Bag
- Nebraska made Dan Wolken's "Misery Index" but are simply trending towards misery, not actually miserable.
- The Huskers fell to 46th in the latest S&P+ rankings, Michigan ranks 10th.
- An explanation behind the amazing North Texas fake fair catch punt return for a touchdown against Arkansas.
- ICYMI: Nice breakdown of the key plays from the Troy game, five key stats from Saturday, three final thoughts on the loss and Nebraska soccer picked up its first Big Ten win.
Today's Song of Today