Big Ten Football: What We Learned in Week 11
Week 11 of the college football season is in the books and the Big Ten is starting to take shape looking forward to postseason play.
This week, there were two matchups that occurred where Big Ten title game teams became more evident. Nebraska faced a tough team in Penn State and came away with a close win, improving their conference record to 5-1 with two games left. They face Minnesota and Iowa to close out the season and will keep a close eye on Michigan as they are tied– Nebraska holds the tie-breaker, however.
The other game with title game implications was surprisingly the Wisconsin vs. Indiana. This was my upset alert game of the week and I was completely wrong. The Badgers ran away with a victory, literally, rushing for over 500 yards and winning 62-14.
Wisconsin can run the ball
The Badgers were competing for a chance to represent the Leaders Division in the Big Ten title game, and they delivered. They ran away with the game and clinched the Leaders Division with a 62-14 win and ran for 564 yards. Montee Ball gained 198 yards on the ground and scored three touchdowns while backup James White ran the ball 14 times for 141 yards and two touchdowns. The Badgers are now guaranteed a spot in the title game and they can thank their talented running backs, and a slightly agile new starting quarterback.
Michigan and Nebraska race will come down to the final game
Michigan and Nebraska both won today and find themselves tied at 5-1 atop the Big Ten Legends Division with just two games left. The Cornhuskers hold the tie-breaker in a head-to-head win. The Cornhuskers must play Iowa and Minnesota to close out the season while Michigan has to face an undefeated Ohio State team in the final game. This will be an interesting race to keep an eye on.
Iowa is worse than we thought
Iowa had such a promising start to the conference season at 2-0 and looked like they would contend for a division title. However, they have not won a game since beating Michigan State at home. They played a Purdue Boilermakers team without a conference win at home and still couldn’t get their fifth win of the season. They sit at 4-6 and need to win their final two games of the season in order to make a bowl game– not looking so good for Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes.
Illinois is still bad
The title of this section tells it all. Illinois is easily the worst team in the conference and they keep proving that week after week. After scoring just three points in a loss to Minnesota, the Illini have now lost seven in a row and have not been competitive in any of their games. This may be a short-lived tenure for Tim Beckman.