Oct 21

Big East - Big Ten Midseason Report Cards

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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Now we move to the Big East and the Big Ten and take a look at how the teams in those two conferences have fared over the first seven weekends of the 2009 season. Cincinnati and Iowa are the two top teams, respectively, in these two leagues.

Big East
 
Cincinnati - I am very impressed with how the Bearcats have handled the first half of their season. At 6-0, including road wins at Oregon State and South Florida, Cincy has reached number four in the AP poll. They are being led by senior quarterback Tony Pike, who has 15 scores (35 career) through the air, and over 1,600 yards. The second half key games are West Virginia and Pitt (away). A+
 
Connecticut - UConn (4-2) has but one Big East loss, so they are still very much a factor in the conference race. None of the wins, however, are that impressive. Losses were to UNC and Pittsburgh - decent enough squads. Still, a big season is possible, especially if they get inspired by the recent tragedy. B
 
Louisville - This program has really fallen off with the exit of Bobby Petrino a couple of years ago. The Cardinals sit at 2-4, and are all but eliminated from Big East contention with two conference losses already and a several tough teams ahead on the schedule. Louisville needs a fix. D
 
Pittsburgh - This team has flirted with the top-25 throughout the first half of the season. They won their first three, los to NC State, and now have won three straight again. The loss to NC State aside, this team has played well each game. The 6-1 Panthers now face South Florida at home. A-
 
Rutgers - Rutgers has torn it up out of conference going 4-0. But in BIg East play they dropped their first two contests to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh - both at home. They have done well carrying the Big East flag, but will not be carrying it into the BCS. C+
 
South Florida - The Bulls go off to a 5-0 start, but the beat down of Florida State in Tallahassee was what caught people's attention and sent them into the top-25. But then folks started realizing that FSU was pitiful anyway, and the Bulls lost on top of that at home to Cincinnati. A good first half to the season regardless. A-
 
Syracuse - In recent years, Syracuse has become one of the weakest programs in major college football. The first half of 2009 did little to change that perception of the Orange. At 2-4, with wins over just Northwestern and Maine, the 'Cuse can be accused of being bad once again. D
 
West Virginia - With the departure of Pat White, many in Morgantown thought the sky was falling. But his successor, Jarret Brown, has done pretty well. He has eight scores passing and over 1,200 yards. Noel Devine has also carried the load with 734 yards and nine rushing touchdowns. The Mountaineers are 6-1 and in the top-25 at number 22. B+
 
 
Big 10 
 
Illinois - The Fighting Illini very well may be the worst team in major college football right now. You can bet that if Ron Zook (5th year, 20-38) isn't fired, he better perform magic in 2010. This team may not win another game, and are 1-5 right now. D-
 
Indiana - A decent season is going down for Indiana. They are 4-3 and dang near won that Michigan game (I think Head Coach Bill Lynch is still mad at the refs!). Their four wins aren't much to write home about, though (E. Kentucky, W. Michigan, Akron and Illinois). C+ 
 
Iowa - It is still a few weeks too early to tell, but at this point it looks as if Iowa may be the class of the Big 10 in 2009. At 7-0, and with wins over Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin already, this very well could be the big year Iowa fans have waited on. National title contenders? Maybe. A+
 
Michigan - Year two of the Rich Rod era has gone better than year one of the Rich Rod era, but there is still work to do for sure. The Wolverines won two close games (Notre Dame and Indiana) and also lost two close games (Michigan State and Iowa) on the way to a 5-2 mark. Freshman quarterback Tate Forcier (1.027 yards and nine scores) is one of the best around talentwise, but has some learning to do. B
 
Michigan State - The Spartans sit at 4-3 and 3-1 in the Big Ten. They are very much alive in the Big Ten title race, so they must stay focused. Props to MSU for showing heart. They started 1-3, but have since won three straight, triggered by a 26-22 OT win over Michigan. B
 
Minnesota - In their brand new stadium, the Gophers have gone 2-2 as part of a 4-3 overall mark. They lost to a pretty good Cal team, and their four wins do not include what I would call a good team. Not super impressed. C
 
Northwestern - They lost to Syracuse, OK? That should tell you enough right there. They also lost to Minnesota and Michigan State. The wins are nothing special, Towson among them. Towson? Who is that??? They have but two Big Ten losses, but they are no real threat to win it. C
 
Ohio State - Terrell Pryor has proven to be a somewhat average college football player, but it may not be his fault - it could be the offense they are making him try to run. The Buckeyes have tried a little bit of everything, and it has resulted in poor production and two losses. The Bucks are 5-2 and number 18 in the AP poll. C
 
Penn State - The Lions wrapped up the first half of 2009 with arecord of 6-1, the lone loss coming at home to Iowa. They check in at number 13 in the AP poll, and are being led by senior quarterback Darryll Clark, who has 13 touchdown passes and nearly 1,700 yards already. B+
 
Purdue - Crazy how a team this bad can beat a team like Ohio State, but so it happened. After a five game losing streak, the Boilermakers (2-5) beat the Buckeyes at home. Not saying OSU is a top-caliber team, but they are solid and Purdue sucks. I'll be surprised if they win more than three more games. C-
 
Wisconsin - The Badgers got off to a 5-0 start, and many thought that maybe this team was going to be a force to be reckoned with. Wins over Michigan State and Minnesota were strong. But then they ran into a couple of decent teams in Ohio State and Iowa, and have since lost twice. At 5-2, they are still in good shape for a decent season, but the Big Ten title is probably gone. B-



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