Oh how the mighty have fallen. A few weeks removed from being #3 in our prestigious WLW rankings, the ‘Cats are down to #8 this week after two straight deflating performances against Michigan and Iowa. But Northwestern fans can take heart – at least we’re still ahead of Illinois. All in all, this team has exceeded expectations so far – especially in the non conference portion of the schedule – so there’s reason for optimism. But it’s tough knowing that just two weeks ago the ‘Cats were sniffing the Top 10 in the AP poll. So goes the weight of expectation.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Michigan and Michigan State played a snoozer in Ann Arbor, with Michigan State edging the Wolverines 27-23. JK – it was actually one of the best finishes I’ve ever seen live. The Spartan faithful need to come up with a solid nickname for what we witnessed, since that last play should go down in the annals of college football history with the likes of “The Stanford Band,” Flutie’s “Hail Mary,” and Auburn’s “Kick Six.” Many thought Michigan State was going to get run out of the Big House in a blowout, but my biggest takeaway from the game was that the Spartans are for real. They may have been lucky to win – but they were right there in the game the whole time. If you have a quarterback as quality as Connor Cook, you can do pretty darn well in the Big Ten. After a devastating loss, it’ll be interesting to see how Michigan responds for the remainder of the season.
Lastly, let’s talk about Iowa. The Hawkeyes are in a very strange spot right now, sitting at 7-0 and likely to be the favorites in every game from here on out. That’s right, the most likely outcome is that the Iowa Hawkeyes will roll into the Big Ten title game at 12-0. I tend to think they will trip up somewhere along the way (at Indiana in two weeks, or at Nebraska the last week of the season), but we shall see. Iowa has an extremely easy schedule, so it’s hard to really gauge how good they actually are. But, if they can win out and can pull out a victory in the B1G title game, they have to be in the playoff – right? I look forward to betting heavily against the Hawkeyes in the first round against Baylor. Shout out to our Iowa friends Zak Bergman, Blake Yocom and Mike Parrott.
Here are the rankings this week:
|1. Ohio State (7)||98|
|2. Michigan State||90|
|7. Penn State||54|
|13. Purdon’t (tie)||12|
|13. Maryland (tie)||12|