Raise your hand if, at the beginning of the season, you had the Northwestern Wildcats to be the first Big Ten team eligible for a bowl game.
Nobody saw that one coming, even with Ohio State ineligible this year. And for the Wildcats to do it after just seven games is even more impressive.
Sure, Northwestern’s schedule hasn’t been the strongest, and the Wildcats don’t play Wisconsin or Ohio State this season, but you can’t argue with the results. With its 21-13 victory over Minnesota last week, Northwestern is currently 6-1 overall, and 2-1 in the Big Ten.
After three weeks of Big Ten play, there are four unbeaten teams left in conference play: Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa and Penn State.
The Nittany Lions were off last week and we all saw Ohio State squeak out a win at Indiana, but let’s take a look at the rest of the action in the Big Ten from last weekend.
Iowa gutted out a double overtime win against Michigan State, 19-16. The Hawkeyes (4-2, 2-0) scored the game-tying touchdown with just 55 seconds remaining. After trading field goals in the first overtime, Iowa took a three point lead in the second overtime on its posession. Greg Castillo then intercepted an Andrew Maxwell pass to end the game and give the Hawkeyes the win.
With the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions ineligible to play in the B1G Championship Game, the matchup between Wisconsin and Purdue would decide who represented the Leaders Division in the B1G Championship Game.
Wisconsin won easily, 38-14 and the Badgers seem to have got some of their mojo back.
After its 45-0 blowout loss to Michigan, I’m officially crowning Illinois as the worst team in the Big Ten this year and it’s not close. In three Big Ten games so far, the Illini have been outscored 111-21.
Three pretty big games next week for the Big Ten Conference: Nebraska goes on the road to face Northwestern, Michigan State takes on Michigan and Penn State will travel to Iowa.
The B1G Championship picture is starting to come together.