18A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 12, 1998
After craziness, Big Ten is
back atop unpredictable heap
By Philip Maguran
For the Daily
Big Ten football is a mystery to
probably everyone in the country.
Year in and year out, top teams and
top players put up huge numbers and
yet the conference never seems to get
any national respect.
Even last year, the Big Ten's team
had to share the national title with
some overrated farm boys with an
average IQ less than their average
points per game.
The annual quest for respect has
ground to a screeching halt once
again with Michigan State's victory
over previously No. 1 Ohio State.
Not to mention the drubbing Penn
State absorbed in the Big House last
Now carrying the mantle for the
conference are the undefeated and
6th-ranked Badgers of Wisconsin,
who are also making a courtesy call
to the Big House this weekend.
- How many other major confer-
ences could have a big-time unde-
feated team this late in the season
ranked 6th nationally?
Even one-loss teams such as
Florida and Florida State are ranked
ahead of the Badgers. Bowl season
will soon be here. Maybe the Big Ten
and start AROUND THE
al respect that most top conferences
1OH10 STATE ( 5-1 Bic TEN, 8-1
OVERALL) AT IOwA (2-4, 3-6): Just a
random note about how disappointed
Ohio State fans were after last
week's home loss to Michigan State.
Some fans visiting Ann Arbor
went to bed at 8:30, too stunned,
apparently, by the prospect of a 30th
straight year of disappointment.
Bedtime in Columbus should be
moved back to around 10 p.m. this
weekend, as the Buckeyes travel to
towa for a game with the disappoint-
Iowa sports some impressive Big
Ten wins this season over
Northwestern and Illinois, and some
close defeats, such as a 31-0 loss to
Wisconsin and the heartbreaking 36-
14 nailbiter against Purdue.
2 This one will not be quite as excit-
ing, but still has some redeeming
values. Redeeming Value No. I is the
fact that David Boston, Dee Miller,
Andy Katzenmoyer, Joe Germaine,
Antoine Winfield, and Michael
Wiley all will be playing.
Redeeming Value No. 2 is the fact
that at some point during the telecast
the announcer will surely point out
the fact Ohio State has virtually no
shot left at the national title, which is
sure to make Michigan fans grin no
matter how many times they have
heard it before.
Other than that, there is little to
look forward to in this matchup.
Iowa boasts one of the worst offens-
es in recent memory, and is a shadow
of the dangerous Tim Dwight, Tavian
Banks and Matt Sherman-led team
of last year.
Point totals for their last three
games: 7, 0, 14. Even that is a little
bit optimistic for this weekend.
OHIO STATE 41, IOwA 6
NORTHWESTERN (0-7, 2-8) AT
PENN STATE (3-2, 6-2): Penn State
has to feel really good about this
one. If there is one sure bet this week
it has to be the Lions at home against
the Wildcats. First take this into con-
sideration: Penn State got blown out
don't lose consecutive games.
This is probably due to the fact
that they do not play good teams in
consecutive weeks, and not because
they are more focused following a
Remember when Northwestern
was in the Rose Bowl a few years
back? No one else wants to, either.
No one wants to remember that this
pathetic team was once the toast of
the conference, and almost the
The Wildcats have lost seven con-
secutive games. They are 0-7 in the
Big Ten. They are 2-8 overall.
They obviously do not respond
well to losses, as Penn State does,
therefore the edge goes to the Lions.
PENN STATE 26, NORTHWESTERN
MINNESOTA (1-5, 4-5) AT INDIANA
(1-5, 3-6): Antwaan Randle who?
The Hoosiers' three-game losing
streak has something to do with
In recent weeks, his completion
percentage has fallen below 50 per-
cent and he's now averaging fewer
than four yards per carry.
He will still win Big Ten freshman
of the year, but some of the luster has
fallen off of his campaign.
Another thing Indiana has going
against it is the fact that basketball
season has now officially begun,
limiting the number of people in
Bloomington who care about foot-
ball to somewhere around 100 (the
combined number of players and
coaches on the team minus the ones
who stopped caring once basketball
Minnesota actually resembles a
football team this year, which is an
interesting change from years past.
Football was a club sport in
Minnesota until a few years ago,
wasn't it ...?
If Minnesota -had a basketball
team worth mentioning, their fans
would probably have stopped caring
by now as well.
As it is, the Minnesota fan base
should stand pat at around 150 (total
number of players and coaches).
Since no one can forsee one of these
teams clearly being better than the
other, it will come down to fans in
MINNESOTA 150 FANS, INDIANA 93
WNWu® M~eU so.
That is why
this should be an easy week for the
Nittany Lions. They have responded
to humiliating losses exceptionally
in the past two years.
Following last season's 34-8 game
with the Wolverines, Penn State
responded with a huge two-game
winning streak, halted only by the
thrashing they took in their season
finale with the Spartans.
They then got uncharacteristically
handled by Florida in their bowls
game, but once again responded with
a three-game winning streak to start
That came to a close with the
whipping administered by Ohio State
on Oct. 3.
In typical Penn State fashion, a
three-game winning streak followed
until last weekend. The moral of this
story is that the Nittany Lions are not
a very good team, but also that they
Ohio State beat up on Indiana earlier this season, but couldn't handle Michigan StateI
Iowa on Saturday.
FANS. (A few more stopped caring
while this article was being written.)
PURDUE (4-2, 6-4) AT MICHIGAN
STATE (3-2, 5-4): No one thinks that
Michigan State is as good as it
played last week. Michigan fans are
bitter that the Spartans ruined Ohio
State's season before the Wolverines
Is Plaxico Burress a plastic manu-
facturing company or a Michigan
State wide receiver? A personal
favorite is Little John Flowers (5 car-
ries for 52 yards on the season).
His mother must have been watch-
ing Robin Hood immediately before
going into labor.
Purdue is not absolved from play-
ing the name game this week either,
as there are some dandies on
itsroster as well. J Crabtree's first
name is J.
There is nothing after the J, and
nothing before the J, just J. It sounds
like something out of a Kafka novel,
and not very football-like at all.
Part of the reason Michigan is so
good is because of solid names on
the roster, like Sam Sword, Cato
June, and Dhani Jones. Not Plaxico,
last weekend. The Buckeyes travel to
Little John, or J.
The over-under this week is 70,
and that's Drew Brees' pass attempts,*
not total points.
Brees has passed for more than
3,300 yards this season, which is
twice as many as Bill Burke has,
Michigan State does run the ball,
however, and Purdue seems to have4
lost those pages in their playbooks
But who can pick State after a win
like last week?
PIRDUE 38, MICHIGAN STATE: 24