LTP UPDATE: With the breaking news of Maryland joining the Big Ten in 2014 and Rutgers next to fall in line, we’ll be offering up a complete SPECULATION post tomorrow morning about why now, what might be next and how it all impacts Northwestern. You know we’re on it…hang tight. Go ‘Cats. Beat Illini.
PRR’s BlogPoll Ballot
I hate myself. I felt dirty putting Notre Dame so high and many of the commenters have asked why I had them ahead of Kansas State. My eyes told me Notre Dame’s defense was the reason but it still made my heart hurt. With this weekend transpiring the way it did seeing Oregon and Kansas State lose, there is one inescapable conclusion.
The No. 1 team in the country is Notre Dame. And if it isn’t them it is Ohio State. Oh yes, strange times these are.
11-0 will make you do very strange things. This just does not seem to be the right way to start off our “Hate Week.” Luckily Illinois is nowhere near the top. Nowhere near the top 25. Nowhere near anything successful. That is nice to think about at least.
Keep repeating that thought while you peruse my BlogPoll ballot for this week. As always, offer your suggestions and edits and I may include them in future drafts:
1. Notre Dame
Last Week: defeated Wake Forest 38-0. This Week: at USC (7 p.m. CT/ABC)
The Buzz: The Fighting Irish have had their defense carry them all season. And the final home game of the season proved to be a culmination of that defensive effort. Notre Dame pitched the shutout and held Wake Forest to 209 total yards. The win marked Notre Dame’s first undefeated home season since 1998. The Irish continually defy everyone and their own recent history. The program may not be “back,” that is a question for next season, but it has been a special year in South Bend.
2. Ohio State
Last Week: defeated Wisconsin 21-14. This Week: vs. No. 17 Michigan (11 a.m. CT/ABC)
The Buzz: The Buckeyes survived Camp Randall Stadium with a great overtime escape. The Badgers put together quite the final drive to force overtime. But with the ball first in the extra frame, Ohio State proceeded to score a touchdown on Carlos Hyde’s 2-yard touchdown run. Like in some of Ohio State’s other undefeated seasons, Ohio State had some great escapes. Like this one. The Buckeyes gained only 236 yards and Braxton Miller only had 145 total yards and less than 100 yards passing. That will not win many games, certainly not many in Madison. They did enough though.
Last Week: defeated Western Carolina 49-0. This Week: vs. Auburn (2:30 p.m. CT/CBS)
The Buzz: The Crimson Tide won their game in the SEC’s annual collective bye week. There is not much to say from this game except for video game stats that mean very little. There may not be much to say other than that after the Auburn game either.
Last Week: lost to No. 14 Stanford 17-14. This Week: at No. 22 Oregon State (2 p.m. CT/Pac-12 Networks)
The Buzz: Oregon has spent so much of this season just scoring at will and not needing a second half that it is somewhat shocking not only to see Oregon lose but not have 40 points in doing so. It turns out Stanford knew how to slow down Oregon rather than keep up with them. Stanford beat Oregon by holding Oregon to only 198 rushing yards and boxing in Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas. Easier said than done. But it can be done.
Last Week: defeated Georgia Southern 45-14. This Week: vs. Georgia Tech (11 a.m. CT/ESPN)
The Buzz: Georgia is still sitting and waiting for its date with Alabama at the SEC Championship Game. Of course, there is the rivalry game with Georgia Tech to clean up.
Last Week: defeated Minnesota 38-14. This Week: at Iowa (Nov. 23 11 a.m./ABC)
The Buzz: Nebraska needs a win Friday to clinch a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game. The Cornhuskers cannot overlook the trip to Kinnick Stadium. Nebraska did not overlook Minnesota last week. Taylor Martinez passed for 308 yards and scored 38 unanswered points to open the game. No doubt, Minnesota was not in Nebraska’s league. Will Iowa?
Last Week: defeated Io_a 42-17. This Week: at No. 2 Ohio State (11 a.m. CT/ABC)
The Buzz: Ohio State has a chance at an undefeated season. That should be enough to motivate Michigan to go to the Horseshoe and try to get a victory. That and the fact Michigan needs a win and a Nebraska loss to go to the Big Ten Championship Game, a result Michigan will know before taking the field. There should not be a need to get motivated. Devin Gardner looks more and more comfortable as the Wolverines’ quarterback and should prove a perfect challenge for Braxton Miller’s Buckeyes.
Why No Northwestern: Because every time I rank Northwestern they lose. No, actually, I have them 26th at the moment and right outside the top 25. Really they are tied with Mississippi State in my mind. But the win over Michigan State was impressive only in how NU had to grind it out. It still was not a particularly strong game and the Wildcats need a statement game to cement a place in the Top 25.
Oh yeah, I went there. #BeatIllinois.