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Sunday Spin: MSU-Wisconsin Set

Welcome to Sunday Spin!

Wisconsin's Russell Wilson and MSU's Kirk Cousins lead their teams to first-ever Big Ten title game.

We hope to make this a weekly recap on what happened in Big Ten football. Plus, we’ll share the first word on what’s next for each Big Ten school.

The regular season wrapped up with six games this weekend. Wisconsin punched its ticket for the first-ever Big Ten championship game by punching out Penn State 45-7 in Madison. Wisconsin and PSU tied for the Leaders Division title, but UW advanced to the title game with the head-to-head win.

The Badgers will play Legends Division champion Michigan State, which won the division outright with a win at Northwestern. That game is set for Saturday at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium (8 p.m., FOX). This is a rematch of the Oct. 22 classic in East Lansing, which MSU won 37-31 on a Hail Mary touchdown at the end.

The Game of the Week was at Michigan, where first-year coach Brady Hoke and the Wolverines snapped a seven-game losing streak to rival Ohio State with a wild 40-34 win in Ann Arbor.

OK, here we go with the week in review:

Michigan (17) 40, Ohio State 34

* What Happened – Michigan (10-2, 6-2) put seven years of misery at the hands of Ohio State (6-6, 3-5) aside with a dramatic win at The Big House. There were five lead changes as quarterbacks Denard Robinson of Michigan and Braxton Miller from Ohio State traded big plays all day.

“I’ve got the best job in the world,” Hoke said as UM fans stormed the Michigan Stadium field in jubilation.

Robinson rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 167 yards and three scores for the Wolverines.

Miller threw for a career-high 235 yards and two scores and also rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown. The Buckeyes played the game amid much speculation that Urban Meyer will be introduced any day as the new OSU coach. Luke Fickell, elevated to the head job after Jim Tressel’s resignation in May, refused to answer questions about the coaching situation.

"Like I said, it's about the Ohio State-Michigan game," Fickell said. "It's been about that since last Sunday. It's going to be about that always."

* What We Learned – Michigan took the final step toward a possible BCS bowl bid. If UM makes a BCS bowl, it would be its first since a spot in the 2007 Rose Bowl. The Big Ten has had two BCS teams each year since 2005 … Robinson reverted to the form he flashed in his breakthrough season last year … Hoke became the first Michigan coach since Fielding Yost in 1901 to win 10 games in his first year on the job … Miller showed he has a tremendous future as a runner and a thrower – perhaps in Meyer’s spread offense … Michigan’s 40 points were the most in a game against OSU since scoring 58 in 1946 … Ohio State’s injury-plagued defense was no match for Michigan, which rolled up 444 yards total offense (277 rushing) … Robinson and Fitzgerald Toussaint gave Michigan two 1,000-yard rushers in the same season since 1975 (Gordon Bell and Rob Lytle).

* What’s Next – Michigan has played itself in position for a possible BCS bowl bid. If not, the Wolverines could be headed to the Capital One Bowl. Ohio State could be a prime pick for the Gator Bowl.

* More Coverage – Click here for more coverage from Wolverine 247.

Click here for coverage of the OSU-Michigan game. Click here for more coverage from Bucknuts.com

Wisconsin (15) 45, Penn State (20) 7

* What Happened – Wisconsin (10-2, 6-2) won the showdown with Penn State (9-3, 6-2) for the Leaders Division spot in the title game. RB Montee Ball had 25 carries for 156 yards and four touchdowns to power the Badgers.

"We had a group of men in our room that we knew would take one day at a time to get to where we wanted to be," Badgers coach Bret Bielema said. "They started on a process to get through the last four weeks. Bottom line: We won a trophy today to earn a way to Indianapolis and can't wait to get there."

Wisconsin fell behind 7-0 early but went on to outgain PSU 450-233. QB Russell Wilson threw for 186 yards and two scores for the Badgers.

* What We Learned – Ball’s 34 touchdowns are five shy of Barry Sanders’ single-season NCAA record of 39 scores. Ball has seven games this season with three or more touchdowns … Wilson has thrown a touchdown pass in 36 straight games, tying the NCAA record held by former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell … Penn State interim coach Tom Bradley said he will give his team a week off after what has been the roughest month in program history ... Wisconsin reached 10 wins for the third year in a row for the first time in school annals.

* What’s Next – Wisconsin advances to play Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game next Saturday in Indianapolis. The winner of that game will play in the Rose Bowl. Penn State is bowl-eligible and could be a prime pick for the Insight Bowl.

* More Coverage – Click here for coverage of Wisconsin-PSU from Badger 247. Click here for more coverage from Badger 247.

Click here for more coverage from Lions 247.

Michigan State (11) 31, Northwestern 17

* What Happened – Michigan State (10-2, 7-1) won the Legends Division title outright with a win over Northwestern (6-6, 3-5) on a rainy day in Evanston. Keshawn Martin returned a punt 57 yards for a TD just before half, Kirk Cousins became the school's career TD pass leader with two more and Michigan State's league-best defense came up with six sacks.

"We wanted to have momentum going into next week," Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said. "We'll have that."

Cousins threw for 214 yards and two scores, while B.J. Cunningham had six catches for 120 yards and two TDs.

Northwestern QB Dan Persa was 23 of 32 passing for 245 yards and two touchdowns.

* What We Learned – By beating Northwestern, MSU reached double digits in wins in consecutive seasons for the first time ever. It is also just the fourth time MSU has ever had 10 wins in a season … Cousins improved to 21-4 as MSU’s starting quarterback over the last two years … Northwestern lost senior defensive back Jordan Mabin to a right shoulder injury in the first quarter and it was a costly injured against the Spartans' talented passing attack.

* What’s Next – Michigan State plays Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game next Saturday. The winner will advance to the Rose Bowl. Northwestern’s regular season is complete. The Wildcats are bowl-eligible.

* More Coverage – Click here for coverage of Northwestern-MSU from the Spartan Tailgate. Click here for more coverage from Spartan Tailgate.

Nebraska (22) 20, Iowa 7

* What Happened – Nebraska (9-3, 5-3) bounced back from its loss at Michigan with a Friday afternoon home win over Iowa (7-5, 4-4).

RB Rex Burkhead, playing on a gimpy ankle, had 38 carries for 160 yards and a touchdown in the win. He had gotten banged up in last week’s loss at Michigan.

"A little sore -- definitely a little sore," Burkhead said afterward. "It feels good. It was a great win. To see the seniors go out in that fashion. That's the best thing."

* What We Learned – Nebraska likely locked up one of the Big Ten’s Jan. 2 bowl berths in Florida. Those bowls would love to have a fresh team in NU at their bowl … Nebraska outrushed Iowa 222-88 … The universities billed it as the inaugural "Heroes Game" and honored "citizen heroes" from each state at halftime.

* What’s Next – Iowa and Nebraska are both bowl-eligible. Nebraska could be ticketed for the Outback Bowl, while Iowa may be headed to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.

* More Coverage – Click here for more coverage from the Voice Of The Hawkeyes.

Click here for coverage of Nebraska-Iowa from Huskers Illustrated. Click here for more coverage from Huskers Illustrated.

Purdue 33, Indiana 25

* What Happened – Purdue (6-6, 4-4) became bowl-eligible with a win over Indiana (1-11, 0-8) in the Old Oaken Bucket game in Bloomington.

Purdue RB Ralph Bolden ran for one touchdown, Antavian Edison scored twice and Carson Wiggs made four field goals. Purdue bowl-eligible for the first time since 2007 and the first time under coach Danny Hope.

"We had some great wins this season, but nothing is quite as sweet as beating Indiana, in Bloomington, to get the Bucket and become bowl eligible," linebacker Joe Holland said.

Purdue snapped a seven-game road losing streak with the win.

* What We Learned – Bolden left the game in the third quarter with an injured right knee. His status was unclear … QB Caleb TerBush was 16 of 25 for 192 yards with one TD and no interceptions, and Akeem Hunt ran 10 times for 100 yards after replacing Bolden … It will be a long off-season for Indiana, which got its only win over I-AA South Carolina State. But there are some pieces: Freshman quarterback Tre Roberson was 17 of 26 for 147 yards with one interception, while Stephen Houston rushed seven times for 129 yards and one score … There was controversy on Roberson’s interception. It went to video replay, but the officials then ruled that replay could not be used on a dual-possession play. It was reminiscent of a play two years ago, when Indiana lost a tough one to Michigan.

* What’s Next – Indiana’s season is complete. Purdue is bowl-eligible and has the look and feel of a Little Caesars Bowl team.

* More Coverage – Click here for more coverage from Inside Indiana.

Minnesota 27, Illinois 7

* What Happened – Minnesota (3-9, 2-6) got some momentum going into the off-season with this all-too-easy win over slumping Illinois (6-6, 2-6) in Minneapolis.

Minnesota QB MarQueis Gray rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns and threw for another score.

Illinois managed just 160 yards total offense against the Gophers in losing its sixth straight game.

“This is clearly not the same team that opened the season 6-0,” said Illinois coach Ron Zook.

* What We Learned – If Zook’s job status were a stock, you’d have to sell it – provided you could find somebody to buy it. You can’t start 6-0 and finish 0-6 and expect to keep your job … Gray rushed 27 times to break the single-season rushing record for a Golden Gophers quarterback, giving him 966 yards. Billy Cockerham had 831 yards rushing in 1999 … This was the first time Minnesota led from start to finish since winning 17-6 at Purdue on Oct. 25, 2008. The Gophers posted their largest margin of victory since beating Florida Atlantic 37-3 on Sept. 20, 2008, and their biggest in a conference game since a 63-26 win over Indiana on Nov. 4, 2006.

* What’s Next – Illinois is bowl-eligible, but the future has to be murky for the Fighting Illini. Minnesota’s season is complete.

Big Ten Standings

Leaders Division

*Wisconsin (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten)
#Penn State (9-3 overall, 6-2)
Purdue (6-6, 4-4)
Ohio State (6-6, 3-5)
Illinois (6-6, 2-6)
Indiana (1-11, 0-8)

Legends Division

*Michigan State (10-2, 7-1)
Michigan (10-2, 6-2)
Nebraska (9-3, 5-3)
Iowa (7-5, 4-4)
Northwestern (6-6, 3-5)
Minnesota (3-9, 2-6)
*-Division champions playing in Big Ten championship game
#-Shared division title

Nov. 25 Game

Nebraska (22) 20, Iowa 7

Nov. 26 Games

Michigan (17) 40, Ohio State 34
Michigan State (11) 31, Northwestern 17
Minnesota 27, Illinois 7
Purdue 33, Indiana 25
Wisconsin (15) 45, Penn State (20) 7

Dec. 3 Game

Big Ten Championship Game: Leaders Division champion (Wisconsin) vs. Legends Division champion (Michigan State) at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium, 8 p.m. (FOX)

Picks Recap

During Week 13, I was 19-4 straight-up. I am now 245-69 straight-up for the year.

I was 13-10 against-the-spread. I am now 165-133-4 ATS for the year. I’m 32 games over .500.

We will do it again for Week 14 on Thursday.

  • Steve excellent job covering the team this year. Who knows what will happen over the next 10 days but I am sure you and the staff will be all over it. Luke Fickell, he did all he could...aside from Wisconsin game I have never seen anything like it where our defense couldn't stop anyone all year (games that mattered and vs. Illinois the weather helped them very much), they didn't even stop Indiana (they stopped themselves). With Brax there is great hope...but our OL depth and its talent as well as our entire defense (regardless that we return 10 starters) really concerns me for next year. I look for Curtis Grant, Jeremy Cash, Steve Miller, Chase Ferris to really step up during spring...any thoughts on DL moving over to offense to provide depth and talent???

  • Biggest surprise this year for me...MSU. The majority of the defense graduates, lose their offensive coordinator in Treadwell and their first 4 Big Ten games were brutal (OSU, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska). Disapointment, Illinois...started off 6-0 and they lose their last 6....they had OSU, Michigan at home and Penn State on the ropes and choked...later Zook (typical). Thoughts on Michigan...they have the 2nd best player in the Big Ten, 8 home games, the easiest schedule in the Big Ten, terrible non conference schedule and people were surpised they won 10 games? They played the worst OSU team since 99 and barrely won and beat an overrated Nebraska team. The 2 teams that were the toughest on their schedule...they lost both games. Cherrish it Michigan...chalk it up to beginners luck under Hoke

  • Bucknuts

    SteveHelwagen

    rblackbu said... (original post)

    Steve excellent job covering the team this year. Who knows what will happen over the next 10 days but I am sure you and the staff will be all over it. Luke Fickell, he did all he could...aside from Wisconsin game I have never seen anything like it where our defense couldn't stop anyone all year (games that mattered and vs. Illinois the weather helped them very much), they didn't even stop Indiana (they stopped themselves). With Brax there is great hope...but our OL depth and its talent as well as our entire defense (regardless that we return 10 starters) really concerns me for next year. I look for Curtis Grant, Jeremy Cash, Steve Miller, Chase Ferris to really step up during spring...any thoughts on DL moving over to offense to provide depth and talent???

    Thanks for the comment ... I think with a new staff, all bets on positions and starters are off. They'll look at what they have, plug the holes the best they can and go play. No idea who may jump from one side to the other.

  • Bucknuts

    SteveHelwagen

    rblackbu said... (original post)

    Biggest surprise this year for me...MSU. The majority of the defense graduates, lose their offensive coordinator in Treadwell and their first 4 Big Ten games were brutal (OSU, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska). Disapointment, Illinois...started off 6-0 and they lose their last 6....they had OSU, Michigan at home and Penn State on the ropes and choked...later Zook (typical). Thoughts on Michigan...they have the 2nd best player in the Big Ten, 8 home games, the easiest schedule in the Big Ten, terrible non conference schedule and people were surpised they won 10 games? They played the worst OSU team since 99 and barrely won and beat an overrated Nebraska team. The 2 teams that were the toughest on their schedule...they lost both games. Cherrish it Michigan...chalk it up to beginners luck under Hoke

    Good observations

  • Bucknuts

    SteveHelwagen

    OK, time for the bowl projections ...

    BCS title game -- LSU vs. Alabama, even with an LSU loss to Ga., I think these are still the top 2

    Rose -- Oregon vs. Wisconsin, these 2 would be favored to win their respective conf title games

    Sugar -- Michigan vs. Houston, Michigan sits 16th now and needs to be in the top 14. They could benefit if Oklahoma (10th), MSU (13th) and Georgia (14th) lose and fall below them this weekend. Houston must beat Southern Miss in the CUSA title game.

    Orange -- Va. Tech vs. West Virginia, VT avenges its loss to struggling Clemson to get here while WVU is the Big East survivor

    Fiesta -- Okla State vs. Stanford, get your popcorn because this is an NC caliber game, provided Ok State beats Oklahoma this week.

    Big Ten tie-ins

    Capital One -- Nebraska vs. South Carolina, Cap One would have an instant sellout here, 2 rabid fan bases

    Outback -- Michigan State vs. Georgia, I dropped MSU here since they were in Cap One last year

    Insight -- Penn State vs. Baylor/Texas winner (Baylor, I presume). Some think PSU drops down ladder, but Lions did win 9 games and deserve this spot

    Gator -- Ohio State vs. Florida, yeah neither of them could beat anybody by the end of the year, but this is a tailor-made double play ball.

    Meineke -- Iowa vs. Missouri or Texas A&M

    Ticket City -- Purdue vs. SMU

    Little Caesars -- Northwestern vs. SMU

    New Orleans -- Illinois vs. Sun Belt team, Illini fill in since CUSA comes up short

  • The one (maybe only) downside to having a champ game is the two teams involved (meaning two best teams) don't go to the two best bowl games available. Loser gets screwed.

  • OSU has no business being anywhere near a mid-tier bowl game. They go 3-5 in conference and 6-6 overall? Heck, Florida has no business in that game either. What a crock. (And just how many bowl games does SMU get?....LOL)

  • Ohio State doesn't belong in the Gator Bowl, seeing as it's a contest requiring the 5th or 6th best team in the B1G and OSU is 7th with a 6-6 record behind Wisconsin (10-2), MSU (10-2), scUM (10-2), Nebraska (9-3), PSU (9-3), Iowa (7-5) and Purdue (6-6 with the head-to-head tiebreaker). The B1G WILL NOT put 2 teams in the BCS this year. The SEC will send two (LSU and Bama), PAC 12 will send two (Oregon and Stanford), and the Big 12 will send two (Oklahoma State and Oklahoma). That leaves four spots: one for the Big East winner, one for the ACC winner, one for the B1G champ, and one non-BCS school. Ohio State won't sniff the Gator Bowl in that situation.

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  • buckeye_mikey69 said... (original post)

    Ohio State doesn't belong in the Gator Bowl, seeing as it's a contest requiring the 5th or 6th best team in the B1G and OSU is 7th with a 6-6 record behind Wisconsin (10-2), MSU (10-2), scUM (10-2), Nebraska (9-3), PSU (9-3), Iowa (7-5) and Purdue (6-6 with the head-to-head tiebreaker). The B1G WILL NOT put 2 teams in the BCS this year. The SEC will send two (LSU and Bama), PAC 12 will send two (Oregon and Stanford), and the Big 12 will send two (Oklahoma State and Oklahoma). That leaves four spots: one for the Big East winner, one for the ACC winner, one for the B1G champ, and one non-BCS school. Ohio State won't sniff the Gator Bowl in that situation.

    Well unfortunately Mikey, its not a matter of deserves. When it says Big Ten #4 vs SEC #6, that means the Gator Bowl, gets to pick 4th for the Big Ten. Not the #4 team out of the Big Ten. That's right. They will get a list of all the bowl eligible teams out of the Big Ten, minus the 3 already taken, and they get to pick the next team. So despite all the wrongdoings in Columbus, despite the terrible year OSU had, they will get picked for the $2.5 million payout. And of course against Florida. They love the Urban Meyer "will he, won't he" aspect to draw interest. And what you will get is 2 teams that don't deserve to be there, while more deserving teams play lesser bowl games. Its all about the ratings and the amount of money your fans will spend. Its a joke.

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