Well, there might not have been any Husker games this week but boy did we get some lively action and slew of upsets throughout the college football world and even in the B1G.
Everybody's Legends darling NW is now effectively out of the race and ironically more dangerous than ever, especially for NU. Yeah, I'm calling us NU because until they beat us, we get the name back. Iowa held stronger than we thought, Michigan looked like they were in the SEC with the way they were scoring, and giving up points. (Yeah, SEC elitists, outside of 'Bama, get over yourselves. It's not defense if the other team's don't try to score.) Oh yeah, and MSU did what I predicted and struggled on offense, failing to cover a ridiculous 27 point number and went back to having doubters of the offensive resurgence again.
THE STATS THAT MATTER:
That brings us to this week's stats, starting with, the FEI.
|51||at Penn State||-||76||43||66||29||82|
I added the SOS component this week showing what schedule teams have already played and what the future schedule holds. You can tell real quick that Nebraska has faced a pretty easy slate thus far but aside from Michigan State, no one has a real advantage from here on out in schedule either, at least in division. We dropped from 40 to 52 this week likely due to poor performances by UCLA, Wyoming, etc.
And now, the S&P.
|at Penn State||-||43||35||98||110||113||100||112||10||4||1||22||6|
|* PE = Play Efficiency; PS = Passing Situations|
|* F/+ combines S&P & FEI ratings. (Many Advanced Stats Guru's Like To Use This As Overall)|
UCLA fell big and that, in effect, hurt the Huskers as it was their best opponent. Couple that with the fact that Wyoming took a turn for the worse and it isn't hard to see why the NU team took a step back. Meanwhile, this week's opponent, the Golden Gophers, took a small step forward with their victory over NW.
And now, for fun, the Prediction Machine.
|Team||Result||Rank||OFF||DEF||O PASS||O RUSH||D PASS||D RUSH|
|at Penn State||-||43||47||19||46||94||26||26|
This thing loves Michigan much more than a lot of people. In fact, after being torched by Indiana, they still have the 13th ranked defense. What say you?
B1G Bowl Predictions:
Courtesy of BTN's Tom Dienhart, here is where the B1G currently sits.
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs Stanford - No Title Game for OSU? We will see. I still say if they run the table, there will be media fold pulling heavy to get old Urban in the game. But obviously they have to run the table.
Orange Bowl: Wisconsin vs Florida State - This would be interesting. Wisconsin has to win out and hope for an additional Husker loss (not the B1G title game) for this to happen though.
Capital One Bowl: Michigan State vs Auburn - Defense vs Offense in this one. Something will have to give.
Outback Bowl: Nebraska vs LSU - Outback officials have to be drooling for this possibility.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Michigan vs Texas Texas - Good Lord, what will the Over/Under be?
Gator Bowl: Northwestern vs Georgia - NW better do some winning to even get bowl eligible. I think they will though, especially when they get healthy. With all expectations gone, they are back to being the dangerous team no one thinks about.
Texas Bowl: Indiana vs TCU - Hoosiers can score, and so will whoever they play.
Heart of Dallas Bowl: Iowa vs North Texas - Wow, what an attractive game this is.
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Minnesota vs Ball State - Good for the Golden Gophers.
- Michigan State 3-0 (@Ill, Mich, @NU, @NW, Minn)
- Nebraska 2-0
- Michigan 2-1 (@MSU, NU, @NW, @Iowa, OSU)
- Iowa 1-2 (NW, WISC, @PUR, Mich, @NU)
- Minnesota 1-2 (NU, @IND, PSU, WISC, @MSU)
- Northwestern 0-3 (@Iowa, @NU, Mich, MSU, @Ill)
- Ohio State 3-0
- Wisconsin 3-1
- Penn State 1-1
- Indiana 1-2
- Illinois 0-2
- Purdue 0-3
At THIS POINT in the season, I'd predict:
I still want to see what we will look like with Taylor back in the lineup. There isn't a team left we can't beat and aside from Minnesota, there isn't a team that isn't capable of beating us left on the slate. IF we are an offense where Taylor is pass first and reluctant to run in effort to prove to everyone he is a pass first QB, then I see us losing to Michigan and likely one other, say a healthy NW team. I'm not sure the other one, but someone because IF we are back into passing the ball all over with Taylor, fast break offense, it won't help the team or the defense and we will lose a game we shouldn't. There for, at this point, until I see a change in our play calling on offense and game planning, I'm still sticking to 3 regular season losses. Whether that's good enough for a division title remains to be seen. Now, if Taylor is back to running the ball and doing it in a tough fashion, then all bets are off and we are looking at 1 or 2 losses at season's end. If you go purely off F+ or S&P base numbers, they'd have us losing 2 games or 4 more respectively.
This Week's B1G Games:
Last week we went 4-1 straight up and 3-2 ATS though the NW game was a bit of a strange happening since those injuries weren't expected to be sitting out. Still, that puts us at 8-1 and 6-3 ATS on the season. So, now to this week's slate of games:
|Overall||NW's Ball||Iowa's Ball|
|NW||Iowa||NW Off||Iowa Def||Iowa Off||NW Def|
Northwestern at Iowa (-4) - Talk about must win for NW. Forget the division, that thing is over. But if they want a bowl game, they have to win 2 more games and this might be one of the more winnable games on the schedule. For Iowa, you could make the same case for them too. Sure, they still get cup cake Purdue but the other 4 teams on the schedule won't be easy so they would be well served to win this game for bowl hopes to be secure. Line opened at 3 for Iowa. For Iowa, they have a simple, but effective plan. Stop the run and put teams in obvious passing situations where they have shown effectiveness. That is also where NW is horrible, when they are forced to throw. Iowa also passes the ball well and NW has shown very little ability to stop it, even if they know it is coming. It would be nicer to know who all is playing for NW. Personally, I'd stay away from it but if push came to shove, I'd take Iowa to cover with very little confidence in it.
|Overall||MSU's Ball||Ill's Ball|
|MSU||Ill||MSU OFF||ILL DEF||ILL OFF||MSU DEF|
Michigan State (-10.5) at Illinois - Michigan State is the clear favorite and will be a tough out for any team they play, just because of their defense. Their defense is good enough to keep them in every single game from here on out. Problem with Sparty is their offense is bad enough to keep every single team they play in the game meaning close, gut wrenching games for most of the year. Game opened at 13 for MSU and has steadily climbed for Illinois and you can see why. Illinois can win this game. Their defense is garbage, but the few things they do the best are what MSU actually is decent at (passing situations). Meanwhile, if the Illinois QB can complete some passes, who knows. I still can't pick Illinois to win a conference game until, you know, they actually do, but I will take them to cover.
|Overall||PSU's Ball||OSU's Ball|
|PSU||OSU||PSU OFF||OSU DEF||OSU OFF||PSU DEF|
Penn State at Ohio State (-14.5) - Until Michigan rolls around, this might be the last team to give OSU a scare? Doubtful but from a national perspective, it will be their last chance, until Michigan, to nail down a marquee name win and it would help if they start doing things with some style points. No real line movement although a brief jump did go to OSU before coming back. OSU is at home, therefor you have to side with them and while their defense is trending backwards, I still don't see enough offensive punch for PSU to contend. Further, was the Michigan win the big game for PSU? Who knows, but it is an intriguing match-up as I see PSU as very similar to Iowa but in the end, I think too much OSU. I'll wait until I get them at 14 if I can but my pick is OSU.
|Overall||NU's Ball||MINN's Ball|
|NU||Minn||NU OFF||Minn DEF||Minn OFF||NU DEF|
Nebraska (10.5) at Minnesota - Minnesota is now in prime position to make a run at a bowl game and need just one more win to do so. However, with the slate they have left, that won't be a given. They beat NW so they should have some confidence even if it was a beat up Wildcat team. Line started at just 8.5 and quickly jumped. Minnesota's defense showed up and performed much better than a week ago than expected but that was without going up against the entire offense. This Husker offense will be better and equipped with a mobile QB, something NW did not have. The key is early downs but even if Minnesota gets some early down stops and puts the Huskers behind the sticks, odds are they can convert as they have been good in those situations and Minnesota has not on defense. Then, offensively, Minnesota will be one of the worse offenses the Huskers have faced. Further, the biggest weakness the Gophers have is passing in obvious situations and that is something Huskers defense actually excels in. For the defense, stuff that run early and force them to throw. It should be a recipe for success. Huskers 42, Minnesota 17.
A Rooting Interest!
Well obviously we need a Husker win. Pick who ever you'd like in OSU/PSU, it really doesn't have an effect on us much although an OSU win does help the conference as a whole I guess. Obviously be pulling for Illinois. It'd be an upset for sure but don't think it can't happen. MSU's defense can keep them in any game and their offense can keep their opponent in any game. Basically, exactly opposite of us. Then you have Iowa versus NW. You can really look at this two ways. Pull for NW to add some hype to the NW game the next week and make sure our players don't sleep walk into that game... AGAIN! Or, pull for Iowa to basically choke the last bit of life out of NW for the season which then puts them in complete panic mode for the rest of the year. Either way you look at it, it could backfire so I guess their is no real interest that we can pull for this week other than Illinois taking down Sparty.
Oh yeah, watching formed de-commit Josh Freeman was fun the other night. Reminded of when the Cats came to Lincoln.