The Five Year War. Big Ten Week 11

After another crazy week of football in the Big Ten, it appears that many teams playoff chances seem to be out the window. Penn State lost its second straight game after its loss to Michigan State on Saturday. Ohio State looked a little hungover after its win last week against the Nittany Lions and got taken to the woodshed by Iowa. Both of these losses virtually derail any playoff hopes for both teams. No teams in the history of the college football playoff has had more than one conference loss. That would eliminate Penn State and that would mean things must fall perfectly now as they don’t control their own destiny. This also means Wisconsin better be praying the committee puts Iowa and Michigan in its rankings as they need all the ranked wins they can get. It appears they won’t have an opportunity to beat a zero or one-loss team in the Big Ten Championship, something that they were hoping for to boost their playoff resume. Could this all mean that Michigan State has the best hopes of making the playoff from the Big Ten? I think so. Wisconsin has played no one, and with this mess right now, aren’t guaranteed more than two ranked teams before the end of the year. Michigan State has already beaten Iowa, Michigan and Penn State and has a matchup with the Buckeyes this weekend in Columbus. If they win out and beat an undefeated Wisconsin team, their only losses would be to a top ranked Notre Dame and on the road to a tough conference opponent. I think that this resume definitely gets them strongly considered.

1. Red zone Matchup. Last week, I highlighted the matchup in the red zone as the potential difference maker in the Ohio State/Iowa game. Little did I know that Ohio State would only make it to the red zone once. But on that trip, they were held to a field goal. On the other hand, Iowa had 41 points on 7 trips. Iowa dominated in all aspects of the game, not only the red zone and came away with a thumping of Ohio State.

2. College Football Playoff Rankings. The second edition of the CFP rankings are released today. There shouldn’t be any movement among the top 5 as all of them took care of business. But the 10 spots will look drastically different as Penn State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech and Iowa State all lost. Expect Michigan State to take a big jump as well as The U and TCU. Wisconsin should be the Big Ten’s top team but I don’t expect to see them move up more than a spot if they move up at all. They struggled this past weekend for three quarters with Indiana and frankly don’t have the resume of other top 15 teams. In addition, we could see both Michigan and Iowa make an appearance in the tail end of the rankings as well.

3. Brandon Peters. With Speight still expected to be out another couple weeks. Brandon Peters will at least have  another week as starting quarterback for the Wolverines. He was very limited in his first start throwing only 13 passes but he completed 8 of them for 56 yards and a touchdown. Most importantly, he made the right decisions and protected the ball in lousy weather. He has a chance for his first road start and hopefully Harbaugh and Pep let him loose a little more and have him throw the ball.

Match Up of the Week. OSU/MSU line.

Vegas has Ohio State as 15.5 point favorites this week against Michigan State and I am quite puzzled. Michigan State has proved themselves as legitimate contenders this year having beaten Iowa, Michigan and Penn State. Ohio State looked like traffic cones in Kinnick Stadium this past week as they got the doors blown off of them. I don’t think Ohio State will play like that again but I can not see in any world where they beat MSU by more than two touchdowns. Lets not forget the past 5 years either. MSU has won twice, spoiling the Buckeye’s perfect season in both 2013 and 2015 and have lost twice, 17-16. This matchup has provided some of the best games in the Big Ten and this year shouldn’t be any different. The five year aggregate score between the two is Ohio State 121, Michigan State 120. These past five years between these teams have been war. I think this game comes down to the last possession again with Michigan State winning by a field goal. I know there is no such thing as free money, but take Michigan State and it will be about as easy as it will ever be.

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