So...yesterday. It's entirely possible that the coming edition of This Week in Schadenfreude features only teams from the Big Ten. Let's review the carnage and vote on which team shamed the conference the most yesterday.
Out of the discussion: Rutgers (had a good enough first half against Howard to hold on), Wisconsin (waited until the second half to put away Western Illinois), Minnesota (got out quick against Middle Tennessee State), Penn State (the offense looked shaky at times against Akron, but the defense was solid), Maryland (needed to come back against a mediocre-at-best South Florida team, but a road win is a road win), Illinois (used a fourth quarter comeback to get the win over Western Kentucky, a team that is more or less on the Illini's level, quality-wise), Indiana (bye week, could possibly win the Big Ten West Division if they had the fortune to be in it).
So let's review the candidates:
Purdue: 38-17 loss at home to Central Michigan
Another year, another loss to a team from the MAC, but at least last year's loss was to Northern Illinois, one of the top teams in the conference (we'll get to them in a bit). However, while some expected the hapless Boilermakers to lose, I don't think many expected CMU to look like the dominant team in West Lafayette. The good news: they should (should?) be able to beat Southern Illinois two weeks from now to double their win total from last season.
Nebraska: 31-24 win at home against McNeese State
Most of us could envision Purdue losing at home to an FCS school. I don't think many of us saw McNeese State, the 9th ranked team in the FCS to start the season, tied with the Cornhuskers 24-24 in the final minute. It took Ameer Abdullah pinballing off of six Cowboy defenders to find the end zone and avoid overtime. The good news: Nebraska did annihilate Florida Atlantic, and is probably still the favorite to win the Big Ten West and make the Big Ten title game, due to performances elsewhere.
Iowa: 17-13 win at home against Ball State
Kirk Ferentz punted from around midfield with Iowa down 10 midway through the fourth quarter. Somehow, Iowa still managed to win this game, thanks to Jake Rudock leading the Hawkeyes on two 50+ yard drives in the final five minutes. Still, y'know, it was Ball State, a game the Hawkeyes were favored in by 17.5 points. The good news: the Hawkeyes' cross-divisional games this season are Indiana and Maryland, two games that looked a heck of a lot easier 48 hours ago than they do now.
Northwestern: 23-15 loss at home against Northern Illinois
One could argue that the Wildcats gave a better performance in this game than in their loss at home against Cal last week, a team that won one game all of last season. Still, a loss to a MAC team is still a loss, even one that's favored to win the MAC West this season. The good news: Northwestern has a bye week before playing Western Illinois, a game that one would think the Wildcats will be favored in to get their first win.
Michigan State: 46-29 loss on the road to Oregon.
The good news: one would think the Spartans will be favored in every game here on out to win the Big Ten title. The bad news: the Big Ten title looks a lot less prestigious in the aftermath of the mass of mediocre B1G performances that happened Saturday.
Michigan: 31-0 loss on the road to Notre Dame
Michigan actually had more yards on offense than the Fighting Irish (289 to ND's 282). They also had four Devin Gardner turnovers, two badly missed field goals, and possible injuries to critical players of the team. The loss marks the first time the Wolverines had been shut out in 30 years, and the first time in the history of the UM-ND rivalry that the Wolverines failed to score a point. The good news: still the leaders and best!
Ohio State: 35-21 loss at home to Virginia Tech
Maybe they deserve a pass for still adjusting to life without Braxton Miller. However, when you recruit as well as the Buckeyes claim to do, one would think they would have a quarterback to step in and give a performance decent enough to win against a team unranked in the AP preseason poll. Nope. The passes J.T. Barrett did complete went for a good number of yards, but he didn't complete many: Barrett win 9-29 for 219 yards, a TD and three interceptions, including one that was run back for a touchdown to seal the game for the Hokies. The good news: If Barrett continues to develop (and isn't broken into pieces sometime during the season - he ran 24 times for 70 yards), the Buckeyes should have a good enough defense to contend for the Big Ten title, even if it gave up 28 points last night.