Ohio State effectively locks up the east, Nebraska effectively gives up on the season, and we effectively don't care about Indiana-Illinois.
INDIANA 24, ILLINOIS 14
If these teams had switched uniforms at halftime, would anyone in the stands or booth have noticed?
Illinois Week 12: at No. 8 Ohio State
Indiana Week 12: vs. Rutgers
MICHIGAN 35, MARYLAND 10
Maryland actually outgained Michigan in this one, though it's hardly the Wolverines' fault that two consecutive second-quarter touchdown drives required all of three plays and 52 yards. Maryland QB Max Bortenschlager was injured and did not play, which severely limits how interested we are in continuing to talk about this game.
Maryland Week 12: at No. 22 Michigan State
Michigan Week 12: at No. 5 Wisconsin
NO. 13 OHIO STATE 48, NO. 12 MICHIGAN STATE 3
If Iowa-Wisconsin was like seeing the Hawkeyes' hopes and dreams crushed in a pneumatic press, slowly and cruelly, the battle for the Big Ten East was a piano falling from the 15th floor. The Buckeyes ripped off 35 points in a 17-minute stretch of the first half and never looked back, atoning for last week's loss and hamblasting their putative Big Ten rivals. RB Mike Weber, who had faded in the depth chart to J.K. Dobbins, rushed for a game-high 162 yards and two scores on just nine carries, which is... [pounds furiously at old-timey accountant calculator for like 15 minutes] ...good to quite good.
Assuming the Buckeyes don't prepare for this week's Illinois game by going on an incredible heroin bender*, they're going to lock up the Big Ten East; looking at the Big Ten tiebreakers, we think these are the only two scenarios in which OSU loses the East:
- Ohio State loses twice and finishes out of a tie for first place;
- Ohio State loses to Michigan AND Michigan State loses to either Maryland or Rutgers AND Penn State loses to Nebraska or Maryland.
Pretty bleak for the pack, especially considering Maryland is on its 8th-string QB, Nebraska has adopted the "WAIT 'TIL 1994" mantra and Rutgers is Rutgers.
*do they still call it a "bender" if it's heroin? I'm not up on my heroin jargon.
Michigan State Week 12: vs. Maryland
Ohio State Week 12: vs. Illinois
MINNESOTA 54, NEBRASKA 21
Mike Riley's Nebraska career is officially on [ahem] Red Alert after this absolute debacle, in which Minnesota's offense — an absolute 4-cylinder engine for most of the season — lit the "Blackshirts" up for 54 points and over 400 yards on the ground. Y'all. Y'all. Look at Minnesota's rushing chart for the game:
It doesn't matter that Nebraska threw for over 300 yards. That defense is miserable, and it doesn't help when its coordinator's head is liable to blast off into space, where it yearns to roam free, at any given moment. Nebraska is now 4-6 (3-4) with only a last-minute TD saving it from a five-games-and-counting losing streak; Lord only knows what's coming next week at Penn State.
Minnesota Week 12: at Northwestern
Nebraska Week 12: at No. 13 Penn State
NO. 25 NORTHWESTERN 23, PURDUE 13
When someone told me that by going to Iowa-Wisconsin, I'd be missing at least part of the Northwestern-Purdue game:
Northwestern Week 12: vs. Minnesota
Purdue Week 12: at Iowa
NO. 14 PENN STATE 35, RUTGERS 6
There weren't many competitive games on display during the Big Ten's slew of 11 a.m. games Saturday. Surprisingly, one of them was PSU-Rutgers, as the suddenly frisky Scarlet Knights recovered the opening kickoff, kicked a field goal, then reached the PSU red zone on a slow, methodical drive. Could Rutgers take the double-digit lead at Happy Valley?
Well, no. You knew the answer was no. You can read. But it was only by a matter of inches that a Giovanni Rescigno pass missed his 3rd down target in the end zone, Penn State took the lead on the ensuing drive, and the beating was on. But the two Rutgers fans in State Street Brats in Madison believed, and for just a few moments, so did most of the rest of the bar. And yes, it's as unsettling to root for Rutgers as you would have expected. In retrospect, we don't recommend it.
Penn State Week 12: vs. Nebraska
Rutgers Week 12: at Indiana