Nebraska did what was expected against what is the 2nd worst team, statistically and probably with the eye test, that we will see all year. For the defense, they dominated against teams that Bo's team usually dominate against. Purdue wanted to hit with some big plays usually a non-mobile QB and simply didn't have the time, nor the WRs to break free from the defense and the Blackshirts ate them up. It was the type of team Bo & Company can usually give a jolt to and they did just that. We said coming in that if they could handle them on 1st and 2nd down and put them in obvious passing situations, it should be a long day for the boys decked out in Black and that was the case all afternoon.
Offensively, it was uneven but successful day from a Purdue defense that threw everything at them they could and while it caused some turnovers here and there, it also gave up some big plays and saw the Huskers exploit their aggressiveness over the course of 4 quarters. You would expect a jump in the ratings but keep in mind, Purdue wasn't a great team coming in and S&P as well as FEI does factor in the strength of their opponents as well which is yet another reason I prefer their ratings than the standard stuff you'll find right after a game. It's also a reason you usually have to wait until Wednesday or sometimes Thursday for the ratings to be released each week.
In the FEI, the Huskers fell 10 spots to #40 and the offense, defense and special teams were finally released this week. We come in 40th on offense, 30th on defense (oddly) and 29th in Special Teams. Keep in mind, in FEI, you are rewarded much more for playing well against good teams, win or lose and punished more severely playing poorly against bad teams than being rewarded for playing well against bad teams. Basically, it usually takes awhile for FEI to shake out but it is usually pretty solid.
In S&P, our overall rank dropped from 32 to 43 which happens when you play bad teams, sometimes no matter how bad you beat them and while our defense popped up a ton, the reason our ranking was high was our offense and that took a step back. Our offense took a hit dropping from #10 to #17 and that was mainly due to a poor success rate where we went from 6th in the nation to 20th. We are now #23 in rushing, #25 in passing and up to #17 in obvious passing situations which shows good balance and that we can get our way out of jams when we put ourselves in them. Our defense, however, took a major leap. Previously the #97 defense, we jumped up to #78. We are still only #102 on success rate in downs and #111 versus the rush but we jumped almost 30 spots in pass defense to #74 and are now #21 in stopping teams in obvious passing situations.
B1G STAT RANKINGS THAT MATTER
Fremeau Efficiency Index
|44||at Penn State||-||75||21||82|
Bill Connelly's S&P+
|at Penn State||-||41||34||87||103||105||83||110||13||10||5||33||11|
|* PE = Play Efficiency; PS = Passing Situations|
|* F/+ combines S&P & FEI ratings. (Many Advanced Stats Guru's Like To Use This As Overall)|
|Team||Result||Rank||OFF||DEF||O PASS||O RUSH||D PASS||D RUSH|
|at Penn State||-||34||52||9||42||88||21||16|
Obviously, as the stats show, we have one more team that doesn't really match up on paper before the season really gets hot and heavy in November.
Big 10 Standings
- Nebraska 2-0
- Michigan State 2-0 (PUR, @Ill, Mich, @NU, @NW, Minn)
- Michigan 1-1 (IND, @MSU, NU, @NW, @Iowa, OSU)
- Iowa 1-1 (@OSU, NW, WISC, @PUR, Mich, @NU)
- Northwestern 0-2 (Minn, @Iowa, @NU, Mich, MSU, @Ill)
- Minnesota 0-2 (@NW, NU, @IND, PSU, Wisc, @MSU)
- Ohio State 2-0
- Wisconsin 2-1
- Indiana 1-1
- Penn State 1-1
- Illinois 0-1
- Purdue 0-2
Front-runners: MSU & Nebraska lead the pack and it may very well come down to their tilt with one another at this point. NW's schedule is hurting them (been there done, done that) and Michigan dropping to PSU was a major blow to their chances.
Challengers: Michigan. The can't afford to lose to either MSU or Nebraska at this point. Every other game on their schedule is a possible toss up game if they don't play well so they have to play up to par and don't forget they have the game against OSU, something NU & MSU don't have.
Dark horse: NW, I guess. Tom Dienhart still has them in the race so I guess I'll include them but they really have to win out and hope for some help being down 2 games of NU & MSU. It isn't impossible, since their toughest part of the schedule is over and they still have games against NU & MSU, which they have to really win.
It's not over but really, it is: Iowa & Minnesota. Minnesota is just reeling. Iowa has played better than expected but the grind of the schedule is coming up including games against Ohio State & Wisconsin.
Season End Look Right Now: We sit 5-1 with 6 to play in the regular season. The best part of the remaining 6 teams is only 1 and half have mobile QBs. So that is one thing to consider. Even with a loss at Michigan, it wouldn't be complete panic time because winning the rest, which is certainly possible, keeps us in the hunt. As for right now, I see us finishing 10-2 in the regular season logically, but then there is always that WTH game that pops out so I'll side with the safe 9-3 as there are just too many toss up games at this point to warrant one loss from here on out.
Athlon has us losing at Michigan and Penn State which isn't out of the realm of possibility but winning the home games which is key. They have Michigan State losing at Michigan and tying with us, sending us to Indy.
Games In the B1G (Last Week 4-0, 3-1 ATS)
Wisconsin (-11) at Illinois - Opened at 11.5, down to 11. Illinois is at home, line smaller than you might expect. No one really cares, not in our division.
Indiana at Michigan (Off) - Line opened at 12, money started going to Indiana and now it is off the boards. All sorts of interesting story lines here on who will come in ready to roll. Obviously a lot of intrigue for Nebraska fans. A loss would put Michigan in the Bo Pelini "Win Out" mode.
Purdue at Michigan State (-26.5) - Opened at 24.5, quickly jumped more to Michigan State. Can Michigan State score 27 points? Against Purdue, who can't?
Minnesota at Northwestern (-12.50) - Line staying steady. Did shift to 13 briefly, but came back. Sharps are watching! NW must be ready.
Iowa at Ohio State (-17) - Did briefly fall to 16 but then back up. Iowa has a tendency to play teams tough but on the road, against a team looking for style points in every win they try to get? Not sure on this one.
I'll look at these games more in depth in the next couple of days for the picks.
We would love to see Purdue upset Michigan State or Minnesota over Northwestern but that isn't happening so let's get down to actual things that could break our way. Is Michigan pissed or pouting? If they are feeling sorry for themselves, they could get tripped up for an Indiana team that has confidence and won't be scared. As for Ohio State, it should be an easy win for them which would come closer to putting an official nail in Iowa's chances. Still, it is Iowa, but do you ever really root for Urban Meyer? I'm torn and you probably will be too!
Dienhart's Bowl Projections:
- Rose Bowl - Ohio State vs UCLA - Very winnable game for B1G but UCLA won't be a gimme.
- Capital One - Nebraska vs South Carolina - Ugh. Somebody new please.
- Outback - Wisconsin vs Missouri - Could we switch with Wisconsin. Do we want to and risk giving up bragging rights though?
- Buffalo Wild Wings - Michigan State vs Oklahoma - Interesting match-up but I think OU would roll.
- Gator Bowl - Michigan vs Florida - Not good for the B1G. Florida pass defense would eat up Wolverines.
- Texas Bowl - Northwestern vs TCU - Plenty of purple in Texas for sure.
- Heart of Dallas Bowl - Iowa vs Tulane - C'mon Iowa, don't embarrass the conference.
- Little Caesars Pizza - Indiana vs Ball State - Good for the Hoosiers.