Michigan State-Michigan. That is all.
1. Ohio State, 47 points
The Buckeyes may be undefeated, but there’s clearly a quarterback controversy a-brewin’ in Columbus.
Cardale Jones has been Ohio State’s starter since the start of the season, but calls for him to be replaced by J.T. Barrett continue to grow louder with each passing week.
Head coach Urban Meyer had been utilizing Barrett in the red zone in recent weeks to great success, resulting in him being given the opportunity to fully take the reins of the OSU offense during a portion of its 38-10 win over Penn State. He proved to be up for the task, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another pair.
Jones has a cannon arm and taking him down in the open field is akin to trying to tackle a runaway bulldozer for defenders, but Barrett has been finding more success as of late. There’s no telling how Meyer will handle this situation moving forward, but it’s a little frightening to think that the 7-0 Buckeyes could only get better from here on out.
2. Michigan State, 40 points
You could watch football for another 50 years and you still might never see an ending quite as wild as the one that transpired in Ann Arbor last Saturday.
“You couldn’t sell that script in Hollywood” has become a cliché that’s repeated ad nauseam anytime anything remotely interesting happens in sports, but it is 100 percent true in this case.
The Spartans were finished with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Nothing short of an absolute miracle was going to save them. Yet somehow Michigan State snatched victory from the jaws of sure defeat.
Michigan punter Blake O’Neill botched the snap on a punt that would’ve essentially sealed the deal for the Wolverines, but tried in vain to still kick it away as MSU defenders closed in on him. The ball ended up right in the hands of Jalen Watts-Jackson, who brought it back 38 yards to the house as time expired to give the Spartans a 27-23 victory.
The image of Watts-Jackson making his touchdown dash as ESPN play-by-play man Sean McDonough shouted himself hoarse in the background is one that no Michigan State fan (or college football fan, for that matter) will soon forget.
3. Michigan, 31 points
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer Michigan man is decaying, yet our inner Michigan man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
An ending like the one that occurred Saturday could shake the faith of even the most pious Michigan man. Personal tragedy, temptation and Australian punters with their unholy rugby-style kicks can all lead one to stray from a righteous path, but it is in these times of trial that it is most important to take refuge in Khaki Jesus.
Jim Harbaugh works in mysterious ways, and though his plan may not be clear to us now, always remember that it is through him that all things are made possible.
4. Iowa, 22 points
After their 40-10 shellacking of Northwestern last Saturday, the Hawkeyes enter their bye week at 7-0 and ranked No. 12 in the AP poll.
Kirk Ferentz 3.0 has embraced wholesale changes that will not only save his job, but also has his team firmly in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten West. The Hawkeye offense is exciting and dynamic for the first time in what feels like forever and the remainder of their schedule is extremely manageable. Amazingly, a 12-0 finish to the regular season seems like it’s well within reach.
Prior to the season, many Iowa fans were pessimistic and expected nothing more than the usual 8-4 or 7-5 record that had become customary under Ferentz. Instead, the Hawkeye faithful are being treated to a potential dream season that’s providing them with an escape from the fact that they live in a corn-filled hellhole.
It’s 2015 and the Iowa Hawkeyes are legitimate College Football Playoff contenders. What a time to be alive.
5. Northwestern, 6 points
Despite consecutive losses, Northwestern managed to barely edge out Joel Heisman and the Wisconsin Badgers in this week’s power rankings.
Coming off an embarrassing 38-0 loss at the hands of Michigan, the Wildcats hoped to get back on track against Iowa. Instead, the Hawkeyes unleashed a 40-10 beatdown on Northwestern, dropping the Wildcats to 5-2 and essentially leaving them out of the picture in the race for the Big Ten West.
Northwestern was the toast of the conference after its 5-0 start, but the wheels are in danger of completely coming off if it can’t turn things around soon. Up next is a trip to Lincoln, where the Wildcats will square off against a 3-4 Nebraska team that’s coming off a much-needed win over Minnesota.