The Big 10: They’re crushed in Columbus — and who’s the B1G West fave, anyway?
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Walking out of Nationwide Arena late Saturday, the Blue Jackets’ 4-1 loss to the Blackhawks in the books, I spotted a group of hockey fans milling about, up to who-knows-what.
‘‘Tough loss?’’ I offered, the type of inane question that deserves a roll of the eyes at the very least.
‘‘Purdue, man,’’ one of them answered. ‘‘Purdue!’’
Ah, yes — Purdue. In this town, where college football obsession can be found around every corner, then-No. 2 Ohio State’s 49-20 loss in West Lafayette, Indiana, had to shake the citizenry to its core.
It shook the college football world, too. It was coach Urban Meyer’s most glaring defeat with the Buckeyes. It rocked the Big Ten’s playoff chances. It was — to those of us who love chaos in the college game — a perfect storm.
More of that, please.
On to the rest of the ‘‘Big 10’’ (where 10 actually means 10):
2. Worst good call ever: Heading into the weekend, I wrote Purdue ‘‘might be the best 3-3 team in the country.’’ Not bad, eh? But then I went ahead and picked the Buckeyes to win and — and! — cover the 13½-point spread.
I could’ve been throwing myself a parade right now if only I’d had the brains and guts to pick an upset.
3. West world: And your new Big Ten West favorite is . . . Purdue? Iowa? Northwestern? Still Wisconsin? All have one loss in conference play in what suddenly looks like one of the most wide-open division races in the country.
Just asking: Might we be headed for a Boilers-Buckeyes rematch in Indianapolis?
4. Michigan, man: The Wolverines are 5-0 in conference play. They dominated Michigan State’s offense a week after dominating Wisconsin on both sides of the ball. Given Ohio State’s massive stumble, what more do we need to see before anointing Jim Harbaugh’s team as the favorite to win the Big Ten championship?
5. On the other hand . . . : Michigan defensive end Chase Winovich is a great player with an enormous personality, but he seems to have a case of selective amnesia.
‘‘Sometimes your little brother starts acting up,’’ he said after the victory against the rival Spartans, ‘‘and you’ve just got to put them in place.’’
Right. Like Sparty’s eight victories in the previous 10 meetings against the Wolverines barely even happened. Which reminds me: Ohio State has beaten Michigan 13 times in the last 14 years. Turning around that rivalry will be an even tougher task.
6. That’s heart, Felt: Just brutal to see Michigan State’s Felton Davis III, one of the most talented receivers in the country, carted off the field with a torn Achilles tendon. His words on his Instagram were touching:
‘‘[I] had the best 4 years of my life playing at this University. I experienced the highs and the lows with everything in between. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.’’
Here’s to a successful NFL career.
7. Um . . . congrats? Northwestern 18, Rutgers 15. If only I’d have recorded three hours of C-SPAN instead.
8. Not a misprint: Nebraska won a football game. You can Google it if you don’t believe me.
9. Notice served: The most impressive score of the weekend was Clemson 41, North Carolina State 7. With the emergence of superb freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the Tigers have kicked it into high gear. They’re a legitimate threat to win it all.
10. And then there’s Illinois: The Illini were outrushed by nearly double at Wisconsin. They were outpassed by more than double. They had the football for a measly 22 minutes. But the worst stat: five turnovers. Will amateur hour ever end?