1)The national media is using the Big Ten Conference as a punching bag in 2008 ranking us somewhere between the Big East and the MAC. Based on Ohio State's no-show, Purdue's "APPLE!!!" and Michigan's debacle, it is redemption week in Big Ten Country. However, several teams have very respectable, yet no-name teams (ie. Troy, Central Michigan, Ball State). Tell us how the Big Ten will respond this week in the final week before conference play.
I will argue that the MSM has been using the Big Ten as their punching bag since tOSU lost to Florida in Jan 07.
Also, Michigan is sort of "exempt" from the whole argument. We're in a rebuilding year with a new coach and a ton of freshman. Don't loop us in with how the rest of the Big Ten is laying down.
So how will teams respond this week? No idea. But no matter what, it won't be impressive enough to sway anyone's opinions about the strength of the conference. Maybe if the Big Ten had more than one OOC marquee matchup per year, and it wasn't an over-matched tOSU team, that would be a good start.
2)The conference standings look like someone took the 2007 results and flipped it upside down. Which of the undefeated teams are contenders and which are pretenders (another way of saying which teams have put lipstick on a pig)? Recalibrate your preseason rankings and tell us who the conference favorites are now.
I said it before the season started and I'll say it again. Penn State and Michigan State are the teams to beat this year in the Big Ten. When those two teams meet at the end of the year, that game will bump the UM-OSU game to ESPN2. Wisconsin is a strong team, but not strong enough to make a run this year. Next year they will be something to watch. Minnesota, NW, Iowa, Indiana are all just waiting fall. Things will even out and get somewhere back to "normal" once the Big Ten schedule starts.
3)Javon Ringer has emerged as the early season best-bet Heisman hopeful from the Big Ten. Real deal or non-conference smoke screen? Does anyone from the Big Ten have a prayer for the Heisman, or is it too late?
As soon as Well's went down against Youngstown St., so did the Big Ten's hopes of a Heisman contender.
Could Ringer be a contender? Maybe, but everything always looks rosy in East Lansing in early September. Give it a few weeks (or just until the Michigan game) and we'll see where he is then.
4)After three weeks it is time to give your team a new slogan. What is it and why is it what it is?
No explanation needed.
5)By now, you've likely adopted a favorite non Big Ten team to watch. Flex your football worldliness by convincing your fellow Big Ten kool-aid drinkers to watch your "other" team.
I guess I would go with USC just because I thoroughly enjoyed watching them dismantle tOSU last weekend. If put in the right division, they could make a good run against some pro teams in the NFL. They are a great team to watch if you like to watch a college football team do just about everything right.
Other than that, pretty much every other school pales in comparison.