Big Ten West after week 7

MNVCGUY

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And just like that, the West doesn't look quite so out of reach.

Contenders

1. Iowa - This is still a really good Iowa team but Purdue proved that if you can pass without getting picked off you can beat them. Iowa's offense is bad, any team that can build a lead against them has a great shot of winning the game.

2. Minnesota - If the team that showed up against Nebraska keeps coming back the Gophers have a great shot of finishing in the top spot in the West. Defense is playing at a really high level and the offense showed signs of finally understanding they have to do more than just hand off to the RB.

3. Purdue - Very impressive showing at Iowa yesterday. This is a good solid Purdue team. Glad the Gophers have the tie breaker against them.

4. Wisconsin - Very underwhelming win against Army last night. Defense is still solid but offense is just not good and any team with a strong run defense has a good shot of taking down the Badgers this year.

Better luck next year

5. Nebraska - If there is a team that can play spoiler the rest of the way it is Nebraska. They have enough weapons to be dangerous but like most Scott Frost teams they just can't seem to get it together for one reason or another.

6. Northwestern - Think the last two are a tossup but will give Northwestern the 6 spot for winning yesterday while Illinois was idle. Can never fully take a Northwestern team for granted but this one is very mediocre.

7. Illinois - Had a bye week so at least they couldn't lose a game.
 


Xerxes_

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Contenders

1. Minnesota: 1st place in the loss column. They own the tiebreaker currently over Purdue & Iowa in a 3 team tie. Their massive OL could propel them to Indy.
2. Purdue: Head to head win over Iowa and it wasn't nearly as close as the score which wasn't close. Their game vs Wisconsin next week is the battle for #2.
3. Wisconsin: Still dominant front 7, QB isn't getting it done but I still have faith in their coach to put together a functional offense
4. Iowa: Their worst OL in a decade & a statue QB = train wreck offense. Young DL is getting exposed.

Not gonna happen this year


5. Nebraska: Talented but finds ways to lose. Will be dangerous for Purdue & Iowa.
6. Northwestern: The still have Fitz and he won't let them pack it in. They'll spoil it for somebody in the contenders group.
7. Illinois: At least they were in 1st place after week 0
 

RememberMurray

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A really well-written, well thought-out summary, MNVCGUY.
 

RememberMurray

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Good write up. I just looked and Graham Mertz was 8-15 for 112 yards. Chryst really is the QB whisperer. He tells them to be quiet. I think Neb beats Wisc when they play.

Wisconsin has to travel to Purdue next weekend. I will definitely be following the score in that one. Purdue might just take them down.

Purdue has two losses — to Notre Dame and to Minnesota.
 


Marooned

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Contenders

1. Minnesota: 1st place in the loss column. They own the tiebreaker currently over Purdue & Iowa in a 3 team tie. Their massive OL could propel them to Indy.
2. Purdue: Head to head win over Iowa and it wasn't nearly as close as the score which wasn't close. Their game vs Wisconsin next week is the battle for #2.
3. Wisconsin: Still dominant front 7, QB isn't getting it done but I still have faith in their coach to put together a functional offense
4. Iowa: Their worst OL in a decade & a statue QB = train wreck offense. Young DL is getting exposed.

Not gonna happen this year


5. Nebraska: Talented but finds ways to lose. Will be dangerous for Purdue & Iowa.
6. Northwestern: The still have Fitz and he won't let them pack it in. They'll spoil it for somebody in the contenders group.
7. Illinois: At least they were in 1st place after week 0
It’s hard because MN has a Jekyll and Hyde personality disorder. The 1st half MN team from yesterday will win the west. The 2nd half MN team will lose 2-3 more times.
 

MNVCGUY

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Wisconsin has to travel to Purdue next weekend. I will definitely be following the score in that one. Purdue might just take them down.

Purdue has two losses — to Notre Dame and to Minnesota.
Purdue is going to be an interesting team to watch the rest of the way. Their remaining schedule isn't super daunting outside of a trip to Ohio State. But they are also a team that managed to put up 13 against Illinois.

With the Iowa loss yesterday, there really isn't a single team in the West without some pretty major questions marks around it.
 

MNVCGUY

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Contenders

1. Minnesota: 1st place in the loss column. They own the tiebreaker currently over Purdue & Iowa in a 3 team tie. Their massive OL could propel them to Indy.
2. Purdue: Head to head win over Iowa and it wasn't nearly as close as the score which wasn't close. Their game vs Wisconsin next week is the battle for #2.
3. Wisconsin: Still dominant front 7, QB isn't getting it done but I still have faith in their coach to put together a functional offense
4. Iowa: Their worst OL in a decade & a statue QB = train wreck offense. Young DL is getting exposed.

Not gonna happen this year


5. Nebraska: Talented but finds ways to lose. Will be dangerous for Purdue & Iowa.
6. Northwestern: The still have Fitz and he won't let them pack it in. They'll spoil it for somebody in the contenders group.
7. Illinois: At least they were in 1st place after week 0
I agree that a case could definitely be made for dropping Iowa out of the top spot after yesterday. I don't think I would have them below Wisconsin at this point though. Going to be a wild finish in the West this year as right now there is no clear cut #1 team in the division anymore the way there was prior to Purdue exposing Iowa.
 

RememberMurray

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It’s hard because MN has a Jekyll and Hyde personality disorder. The 1st half MN team from yesterday will win the west. The 2nd half MN team will lose 2-3 more times.

In the second half yesterday, the Gopher defense had a goal line stand for a turnover, plus they scored a safety against one of the more mobile QBs in the B1G.

This Gopher defense is plenty good enough to pick up the offense when it needs to.
 



RememberMurray

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Regarding the Iowa loss to Purdue: I wouldn't make more of it than it actually was. Iowa is far from done in 2021.

Purdue won by executing flawlessly. Yes, the Boilers proved what many of us here have been saying all along: If you don't throw interceptions and don't make huge mistakes, Iowa is highly beatable.

But remember: Avoiding miscues against Iowa is far easier said than done. Iowa wins year after year by sticking to their same, tried and true formula. They have been doing it very, very effectively since Hayden Fry was coach. The Hawkeyes will take the ball away from you if you aren't at the top of your game at all times.

Again, Iowa is far from finished. They are still formidable. One loss doesn't change that.
 
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cjbfbp

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And just like that, the West doesn't look quite so out of reach.

Contenders

1. Iowa - This is still a really good Iowa team but Purdue proved that if you can pass without getting picked off you can beat them. Iowa's offense is bad, any team that can build a lead against them has a great shot of winning the game.

2. Minnesota - If the team that showed up against Nebraska keeps coming back the Gophers have a great shot of finishing in the top spot in the West. Defense is playing at a really high level and the offense showed signs of finally understanding they have to do more than just hand off to the RB.

3. Purdue - Very impressive showing at Iowa yesterday. This is a good solid Purdue team. Glad the Gophers have the tie breaker against them.

4. Wisconsin - Very underwhelming win against Army last night. Defense is still solid but offense is just not good and any team with a strong run defense has a good shot of taking down the Badgers this year.

Better luck next year

5. Nebraska - If there is a team that can play spoiler the rest of the way it is Nebraska. They have enough weapons to be dangerous but like most Scott Frost teams they just can't seem to get it together for one reason or another.

6. Northwestern - Think the last two are a tossup but will give Northwestern the 6 spot for winning yesterday while Illinois was idle. Can never fully take a Northwestern team for granted but this one is very mediocre.

7. Illinois - Had a bye week so at least they couldn't lose a game.

Yes, Purdue took the luster of invincibility away from Iowa and the rest of the division should be grateful for that. We could say that Penn State sort of did that but then the second half of their game turned into a disaster as their offense could do nothing with that backup QB replacing Clifford. Iowa still has to be considered a significant favorite to win the division but they now look like a possible two or even three loss team instead of undefeated in the regular season.

"If the team that showed up against Nebraska keeps coming back the Gophers have a great shot of finishing in the top spot in the West." I think you mean the team that showed up in the first half. Yes, the defense played great for the substantial majority of the game (God love em) but the offense can't continue to crawl into a shell in the second halves of games after getting a lead. How many 56 yard TD runs can we count on the rest of the way?

I'm actually less confident of our ability to beat Wisconsin than I was 2 weeks ago. Their defense has been absolutely stifling the last two games (yes, I know they weren't playing premium competition) and they've been impressive running the ball lately. While I still think we have a fair shot of winning that game, it's going to be tough if they hold us to under 20 points.

Nebraska: they didn't lose yesterday because they shot themselves in the foot or couldn't keep from "getting in their own way." If anyone shot themselves in the foot, it was our team by throwing consecutive interceptions on our first two possessions of the second half. We had an absolutely horrific 3rd quarter offensively and the fact that we were only outscored 7-0 in that quarter was due to the heroic effort of our defense. Nebraska had zero turnovers in the game, they had the same amount of penalties and penalty yards we did, they missed a field goal and we missed a field goal. They simply were beaten by a better team, probably not a substantially better team but a slightly better team anyway. Minnesota is now 3-0 in games where they were 5 point or less underdogs going into the game. Maybe yesterday's win was less of a case Nebraska failing to live up to their potential and more of a case of Minnesota being underrated. I'm guessing that we will be favored against Maryland next week but I'd prefer being the underdog again.

I agree that Northwestern should be placed above Illinois. Hilinski was good playing QB yesterday and he probably will remain in that position for the remainder of the season. Defensively, they had their best game against an FBS team this season. After giving up 511 yards to Michigan State, 573 yards to Duke, and 657 yards to Nebraska, they gave up only 222 yards to Rutgers. I'm not sure how much of that is due to Northwestern's improved defensive prowess and how much is due to Rutgers' anemic offense.
 

stocker08

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Purdue is going to be an interesting team to watch the rest of the way. Their remaining schedule isn't super daunting outside of a trip to Ohio State. But they are also a team that managed to put up 13 against Illinois.

With the Iowa loss yesterday, there really isn't a single team in the West without some pretty major questions marks around it.

I agree. But as far as balance goes.....I think it is fair to say that Minnesota is the most balanced team in the Big Ten West. Defense has come around.....and the offense can move the ball on the ground and through the air. Iowa has one of the best defenses in the nation.....but their offense is just brutal. Goodson is a very good back.....but as others have pointed out.....their offensive line isn't as good as it has been in the past. And the passing game is a mess. Petras is below average and they don't have a number one receiver. Their leading receiver is their tight end, LaPorta.
 

stocker08

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I'm actually less confident of our ability to beat Wisconsin than I was 2 weeks ago. Their defense has been absolutely stifling the last two games (yes, I know they weren't playing premium competition) and they've been impressive running the ball lately. While I still think we have a fair shot of winning that game, it's going to be tough if they hold us to under 20 points.

Illinois is trash. In the games leading up to last week against the Badgers.....they put up 24 against Charlotte, nine against Purdue, 17 vs Maryland, and 14 vs Virginia. Sitikowski is completing just a shade over 50% of his passes. And the Army game can hardly be looked at as a measuring stick. Wisconsin's defense is built to shut down the run. A triple option team was bound to have a long day.

If Mertz keeps playing the way he is....the Badgers are going to struggle a hell of a lot more against our defense than we will against theirs.
 



Some guy

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Wisconsin has to travel to Purdue next weekend. I will definitely be following the score in that one. Purdue might just take them down.

Purdue has two losses — to Notre Dame and to Minnesota.
Wisconsin has 3

to Notre dame, Penn state, and Michigan


I think anyone 1-4 could win it. Have been calling Purdue a dark horse since the Oregon state game.


Big ten west champ could end up with 2-3 losses in conference
 

Gophergrandpa

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Agree that Nebraska didn't beat itself by turnovers or penalties--its usual path to a loss. No turnovers, only 3 penalties. Nebraska also did manage several explosive plays (many to TE Austin), but none involving Martinez rambling downfield. Our offense won the game in the first half, and our defense won the game in the second half ... even though we gave Nebraska some short fields.
Tanner threw 2 INTs to start the second half and PJ or OC dramatically dialed back the passing game after that. And Nebraska still couldn't beat us.

Nebraska played a pretty decent game; we simply played a better one. Nebraska did suffer from some weird play calling. On 4th and goal from the 10 inch line, with a QB who is big and has scored 10 TDs already this year, instead of a calling QB sneak with Martinez under center--a center who is Nebraska's best OL blocker--Nebraska goes with an off tackle handoff to a huge RB (240 lbs), deep from a shotgun formation. Slow developing play; big fella flinches a bit when he sees Tyler Nubin coming at him like a rocket; Nubin hits him low and hard, crumpling him behind the LOS. Gophers' ball. Nebraska fans hated this call. It is a play that isn't shown on any highlight reels I've seen, but was one of the plays of the game for the Gophers' D.
 

FullBanana

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If we have the first half against Iowa that we had against Nebraska, we win that game.
 

hungan1

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This Big Ten West 2021 season is very intriguing.

It's wide open. It's anybody's guess at this point who will be crowned champion.

It's all about matchups. You can't take any opponent for granted.

Nebraska will play spoiler which will favor the Gophers. JJ of Corn Nation was right. Nebraska is such a giving team to the Gophers. They will soften Iowa and Wisconsin.
 

MplsGopher

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All has been said well.

Wisconsin @ Purdue next weekend is huge. Then Iowa goes to Madison the week after, while Purdue goes to Nebraska. Purdue also has Michigan St (supposedly a top 10 team) and Ohio State, plus rivalry game with IU.


If we can feast on Maryland, NW, and Ill from now until the Iowa City showdown, well let's see what happens.

Every Big Ten win is important, and a major victory.
 

Pompous Elitist

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Agree that Nebraska didn't beat itself by turnovers or penalties--its usual path to a loss. No turnovers, only 3 penalties. Nebraska also did manage several explosive plays (many to TE Austin), but none involving Martinez rambling downfield. Our offense won the game in the first half, and our defense won the game in the second half ... even though we gave Nebraska some short fields.
Tanner threw 2 INTs to start the second half and PJ or OC dramatically dialed back the passing game after that. And Nebraska still couldn't beat us.

Nebraska played a pretty decent game; we simply played a better one. Nebraska did suffer from some weird play calling. On 4th and goal from the 10 inch line, with a QB who is big and has scored 10 TDs already this year, instead of a calling QB sneak with Martinez under center--a center who is Nebraska's best OL blocker--Nebraska goes with an off tackle handoff to a huge RB (240 lbs), deep from a shotgun formation. Slow developing play; big fella flinches a bit when he sees Tyler Nubin coming at him like a rocket; Nubin hits him low and hard, crumpling him behind the LOS. Gophers' ball. Nebraska fans hated this call. It is a play that isn't shown on any highlight reels I've seen, but was one of the plays of the game for the Gophers' D.

The teams propensity to go into a shell and stop passing once a little adversity is experienced is troubling. It is a clear tendency of the staff and repeatedly gets the team into trouble IMO. Keep playing the averages.

Yeah, not sure why Martinez isn’t calling his own number there on the goal line instead of something slower to develop. He’s not a tiny guy. Everything looks good on paper, I suppose.
 

MplsGopher

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Everything looks good on paper, I suppose.
I think this is a massive mental block for some playcallers.

They suffer from this, to their demise, instead of going with, for example, what is working in that game.

"This play looked great all week in practice against the scout team. It should be perfect against their defense. I'm going to keep calling it."
 

jblass

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It’s hard because MN has a Jekyll and Hyde personality disorder. The 1st half MN team from yesterday will win the west. The 2nd half MN team will lose 2-3 more times.
Will the real Tanner Morgan please stand up!
 

Pompous Elitist

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Iowa and Wisconsin are both vulnerable right now because their offenses have been mediocre to bad depending on the day. Their defenses however, are elite. Iowa was comically overrated. I have no idea what’s going on with the polls this year but it’s wierd.

Getting back to yesterday Purdue picked off Iowa on the strength of a top shelf WR making big plays all over the field and QB play, protection that was really good, and bottling up Iowa’s constipated offense. If they play a seven game series I don’t know what happens, but yesterday Purdue had it.

If not for Penn State’s backup QB delivering the very worst performance I’ve seen from a Big Ten QB Iowa would be sitting with two losses. Wisconsin has the feel of a team that could make strides as the season wears on but that all depends on Mertz not fumbling the ball, tripping his running backs, and throwing the ball to the other team on a regular basis. Will that happen? I’m not convinced, but too early to write him off.

The race feels wide open right now.
 

stocker08

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Agree that Nebraska didn't beat itself by turnovers or penalties--its usual path to a loss. No turnovers, only 3 penalties. Nebraska also did manage several explosive plays (many to TE Austin), but none involving Martinez rambling downfield. Our offense won the game in the first half, and our defense won the game in the second half ... even though we gave Nebraska some short fields.
Tanner threw 2 INTs to start the second half and PJ or OC dramatically dialed back the passing game after that. And Nebraska still couldn't beat us.

Nebraska played a pretty decent game; we simply played a better one. Nebraska did suffer from some weird play calling. On 4th and goal from the 10 inch line, with a QB who is big and has scored 10 TDs already this year, instead of a calling QB sneak with Martinez under center--a center who is Nebraska's best OL blocker--Nebraska goes with an off tackle handoff to a huge RB (240 lbs), deep from a shotgun formation. Slow developing play; big fella flinches a bit when he sees Tyler Nubin coming at him like a rocket; Nubin hits him low and hard, crumpling him behind the LOS. Gophers' ball. Nebraska fans hated this call. It is a play that isn't shown on any highlight reels I've seen, but was one of the plays of the game for the Gophers' D.

100% on Nubin. Play of the game, imo. Considering the Nebraska back had a good 30 pounds on Nubin....you'd think he'd win that battle and fall forward. But Nubin came through like a missle and just dumped him. Incredibly impressive job on that tackle. Game could have easily gone the opposite direction if he doesn't make that play. Huge. Going to be counting on him to be one of the leaders on the defense next year.
 

Gophergrandpa

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100% on Nubin. Play of the game, imo. Considering the Nebraska back had a good 30 pounds on Nubin....you'd think he'd win that battle and fall forward. But Nubin came through like a missle and just dumped him. Incredibly impressive job on that tackle. Game could have easily gone the opposite direction if he doesn't make that play. Huge. Going to be counting on him to be one of the leaders on the defense next year.
 

Gophergrandpa

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Nubin hit a 240 pound RB snd crumpled him as if he were a rag doll, before turning him around away from the goal line. Most awesome individual play of the game. It was elite. I agree with you. This was a game changing and momentum changing individual effort!
 
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Contenders

3. Wisconsin: Still dominant front 7, QB isn't getting it done but I still have faith in their coach to put together a functional offense
You might be the only one.
 


MNVCGUY

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Iowa and Wisconsin are both vulnerable right now because their offenses have been mediocre to bad depending on the day. Their defenses however, are elite. Iowa was comically overrated. I have no idea what’s going on with the polls this year but it’s wierd.

Getting back to yesterday Purdue picked off Iowa on the strength of a top shelf WR making big plays all over the field and QB play, protection that was really good, and bottling up Iowa’s constipated offense. If they play a seven game series I don’t know what happens, but yesterday Purdue had it.

If not for Penn State’s backup QB delivering the very worst performance I’ve seen from a Big Ten QB Iowa would be sitting with two losses. Wisconsin has the feel of a team that could make strides as the season wears on but that all depends on Mertz not fumbling the ball, tripping his running backs, and throwing the ball to the other team on a regular basis. Will that happen? I’m not convinced, but too early to write him off.

The race feels wide open right now.
At this moment I could see anyone not named Illinois or Nebraska winning the West. Heck, even Northwestern still technically has a shot of coming out on top and they have underperformed early in the past before turning it on later in the season.

Next few weeks will be very interesting. If we can come out of this 3 game stretch of super winnable game at 5-1 in the BIG we will be in a great position to win it over the final 3 weeks.
 


Some Day...Maybe

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Contenders

1. Minnesota: 1st place in the loss column. They own the tiebreaker currently over Purdue & Iowa in a 3 team tie. Their massive OL could propel them to Indy.
2. Purdue: Head to head win over Iowa and it wasn't nearly as close as the score which wasn't close. Their game vs Wisconsin next week is the battle for #2.
3. Wisconsin: Still dominant front 7, QB isn't getting it done but I still have faith in their coach to put together a functional offense
4. Iowa: Their worst OL in a decade & a statue QB = train wreck offense. Young DL is getting exposed.

Not gonna happen this year


5. Nebraska: Talented but finds ways to lose. Will be dangerous for Purdue & Iowa.
6. Northwestern: The still have Fitz and he won't let them pack it in. They'll spoil it for somebody in the contenders group.
7. Illinois: At least they were in 1st place after week 0
Regarding #6, I just hope it’s not Minnesota. It won’t be easy at Ryan Field.
 




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