This week in the Big Ten was a disappointing one to say the least. Both top 25 matchups turned into blowouts while the others games provided little entertainment. The closest game in the Big Ten was 10 points this week. Lets hope the games this week yield some better results. Here are three things headed into Week 12 in the Big Ten.
1. What Happened to Sparty? Last week, I, along with many other writers, highlighted how good of a game that MSU vs. OSU should have been. But oomph…. were we wrong. Ohio State dominated right from the opening kickoff. Ohio State out-gained the Spartans 524 to 195. Ohio State out-rushed them 335 to 64. The surprising part is that despite dominating the ground game, Michigan State had more time of possession. That speaks to just how efficient was when OSU got the ball.
2. Michigan: The Perfect Spoiler. This week the Wolverines travel to Madison to take on the Badgers in what could have been a battle of top 15 teams. Instead, Michigan has stumbled against Michigan State and Penn State while Wisconsin has held up its end of the bargain. This game however, should still be able to deliver some fireworks. Wisconsin is coming off a great week, trouncing #20 Iowa and finally looked like they might be a playoff team. They have a Michigan team who has been rather overlooked since they couldn’t hang with Penn State in that second half about a month ago. They are a very quiet 8-2 and have no shot at the playoff but do have an outside chance at the Big Ten championship game. They are just playing for pride, for the opportunity at a New Year’s Six bowl and to try and play spoiler for Wisconsin this week. Michigan has the run game and the defense to keep it close, it will depend on the play calling and creativity from Michigan. The past few weeks, they have errors to the side of caution in terms of letting Peters throw the ball. They have limited him and have heavily relied on the run. This week, if Michigan is going to win, Peters will need to throw the ball more than 15 times.
3. What Big Ten player has the best chance at winning the Heisman? I think the Big Ten has three chances at the Heisman this year with J.T Barrett, Jonathon Taylor and Saquon Barkley but all three seem like more outside shots right now to me. J.T. Barrett has looked like a Heisman favorite at times but also disappeared against Oklahoma and Iowa. Jonathon Taylor is the best player on the undefeated Badgers. He has looked super impressive and has racked up over 1500 yards this season but a couple fumbles this season along with Wisconsin’s schedule are hindering him. The last player is Saquon Barkley. His hopes have slowly faded much like Penn State’s playoff chances. Barkley has surpassed 100 yards just once in his last 6 games. I think that Taylor is mostly likely to move up the boards as these three fall mostly between 3 and 7 on most Heisman rankings. Taylor has had the more consistent year and with a couple big games and a Wisconsin undefeated season, he might emerge as a dark horse to take the trophy.