Big Ten Landmines - The Scary Letdown Games
Wisconsin RB John Clay
What are the dangerous games that every Big Ten team needs to watch out for? These are the ones that might be sandwiched in between two bigger games, they could be the ones late in the season that will be tough to get up for, or they simply could be letdowns.
The Big Ten Landmine Games
The traps to watch out for
- Oct. 17 at Indiana
Landmine Games For Every Team
- 2009 CFN Preview |
Big Ten |
Big 12 |
- Independents |
Mountain West |
Pac 10 |
next to impossible for a team to get
up for every game over the course of
the long season. It's easy to be
jazzed for the big rival or the top
five team, but college kids can't
remain focused enough to play razor
sharp for one game and then
maintain the same high level again the next week for the also-ran.
the very dangerous letdown games for
each team. These might be sandwich games, games a team and
the fans won't take seriously, the game after a big
rivalry, the game before a big game, or just a game that the
team just won't be stoked for and could turn into a painful
loss against a weaker opponent. If you find yourself
arguing that these games will be easy, you're jumping into the
same trap these teams might fall into. At the very least,
these could be tougher tests than your favorite team might
think. Sure, the team might win the game, but it might
be pushed very, very hard.
This is a landmine because ... There isn't a Western
Michigan game on the slate like last year (when the
Illini gagged late in the season), but that's not to
say the team won't blow a game it should win. After
a nasty three game start to the Big Ten season
against Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State,
the Illini can't help but let up a little bit for a
road game that kicks off a run of three road dates
in four weeks.
Indiana - Sept. 19 at Akron
This is a landmine because ... The Zips are more than
good enough to pull off the upset in their new
stadium. The offense should be dangerous, the
defense has just enough athleticism to keep the IU
offense in check, and the Hoosiers have a trip to
Michigan to start the Big Ten season the following
- Oct. 3 vs. Arkansas State.
This is a landmine because ... It's the ultimate
sandwich game. Iowa usually beats non-BCS teams like
a drum at home, but Corey Leonard and the dangerous
Red Wolves have enough offense, and DE Alex
Carrington leads a good enough defensive front, to
make this a game. Iowa will be coming off a trip to
Penn State and will have Michigan, at Wisconsin, and
at Michigan State to follow.
- Sept. 5 vs. Western Michigan
This is a landmine because ... Wolverine fans won't
give Rich Rodriguez much of a break this year, but
he and the program still needs time. The pieces are
in place, but they're young and there's still a lot
of jelling to be done. If Michigan could lose to
Appalachian State and Toledo over the last two
years, this year's team could certainly lose to Tim
Hiller and a WMU team that could be the best in the
MAC. The pressure will be intense for what would
normally be a layup non-conference date.
- Oct. 17 vs. Northwestern
This is a landmine because ... It's not like Michigan
State has had it easy against Northwestern over the
years, but this year's Wildcat team has a nice
defense and a good enough offensive line to keep the
Spartan defensive front in check, and the timing is
dangerous. MSU will be coming off the always
emotional Michigan game and a trip to Illinois, and
it'll be looking ahead to Iowa.
- Nov. 14 vs. South Dakota State
This is a landmine because ... Minnesota should be good
enough to go bowling, but it's not going to be good
enough to overlook anyone. The Gophers lost to North
Dakota State a few years ago and collapsed over the
second half of last year, and this season, they'll
go through the motions after facing Illinois and
with the rivalry date at Iowa the following week.
be able to put up points.
- Sept. 12 vs. Eastern Michigan
This is a landmine because ... The Wildcats are usually
fine once the season gets rolling, but they tend to
struggle to get going (even though they started 5-0
last year; they struggled to get past Duke and
Ohio). After starting out the year against Towson,
NU gets QB Andy Schmitt and the high-powered EMU
offense (at least the Eagles hope they're
high-powered) at home. The Wildcat offense will need
time to find playmakers.
- Sept. 5 vs. Navy
This is a landmine because ... It's Ohio State. It's
going to struggle to put teams away early in the
season, and this could be another one of those games
where the vastly inferior opponents hangs around for
three quarters and then the Buckeyes get one huge
play and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. The
last thing a team with a new linebacking corps needs
is to face the Navy option, and having the USC game
looming the following week will only add to the
- Oct. 31 at Northwestern
This is a landmine because ... Sandwich time. Michigan
might not be Michigan, but it's still a
circle game trip in the middle of a Big Ten season.
Penn State follows that up with the trip to Evanston
and has to keep its focus even though the biggest
game of the Big Ten season is the following week
against Ohio State. Northwestern will be more than
good enough to ruin the dream season on Halloween.
- Sept. 5 vs. Toledo
This is a landmine because ... Purdue isn't going to
be good enough to take anyone lightly, much less a
talented Toledo team that should start to play up to
its skills a bit more under a new coaching staff.
Purdue will need time to get all the key parts in
place on offense, and that could be a problem in
what should be a shootout before the trip to Oregon
the following week.
- Sept. 12 vs. Fresno State
This is a landmine because ... The Badgers won a war
with the Bulldogs in Fresno last season, and this
year they could have even more problems with the
Bulldogs ground game. Wisconsin needed to battle to
beat FSU in Madison in 2002, and lost in 2001. If
last year was any indication, Wisconsin can't take
any non-conference game lightly.