Entering the weekend before Thanksgiving, the Big 10 Conference was the only college football conference with four unbeaten teams.
More interesting than this fact is that all four teams were matched up against each other on their own sides of the conference to determine who would take control of the path to the conference championship. This made for some great college football on a November Saturday.
The Four Teams with Zero Losses
The Big 10 Conference is split into the East and West with the same number of teams on either side. Prior to the start of the season, the powerhouses on each side would be Ohio State and Wisconsin. While these two schools entered the weekend with zero losses, Indiana and Northwestern also entered the weekend without a blemish on their record, making for an interesting matchup weekend.
The Big 10 East Matchup
Both Ohio State and Indiana are in the Big 10 East. The surprise of the Big 10 this year is Indiana. Entering the game against Ohio State, IU had won four games in a row and was showing something we hadn’t seen out of the Hoosiers in a long time. While Ohio State was certainly the top team on paper, the Hoosiers came to win and the Buckeyes had to step up to the challenge.
Indiana is More than a Basketball School
For several decades, Indiana has been known as a basketball school with a football team that was never a contender. This year, that’s a different story. The Hoosiers come with a defense that can play with anyone and a dynamic offense full of playmakers led by a strong quarterback. They also come with a heart that doesn’t quit when they get down.
Ohio State Outlasted Indiana
Throughout the game, it seemed that Ohio State was in control, but many times, Indiana fought back and was within a score of the Buckeyes. The game came down to a final drive that fell short, but the Hoosiers made this a difficult win for the Buckeyes, forcing interceptions and inflicting their will in many ways. Normally a walk in the park for the Buckeyes, the game against Indiana was full of big plays and great hits that kept viewers on the edge of their seat until the final score of 42-35 in favor of the Buckeyes.
Matching Up in the Big 10 West
The unbeaten teams matching up in the Big 10 West were Wisconsin and Northwestern. While Wisconsin is certainly the powerhouse on this side of the conference, Northwestern has gotten better and progressed farther in recent years. The Wildcats reflect the toughness of their coach and bring hear to the field every week.
Wisconsin had No Answers
Once the first quarter ended with a 7-7 score, Wisconsin couldn’t find a rhythm on offense and never found their way to another score in the game. Regardless of the opportunities, the offense of the Badgers never got going and couldn’t find their way to show the strength as a powerhouse team from this side of the conference that we expect them to be.
Northwestern Does More than Outlast Wisconsin
While the undefeated matchup on this side of the Big 10 wasn’t quite as entertaining as the contest in the East, the game was exactly what the Northwestern team wants to see. This game was a low-scoring slugfest that ended in a 17-7 score. The second half of the game only featured one score by Northwestern and that was a field goal in the fourth quarter. Nothing could have been more satisfying for the Wildcats.
The Top Teams in Control of the Big 10
Even though speculation was abundant only a week before these games were played, the top teams in the Big 10 Conference have emerged. Speculation brought us to a place where the Big 10 Championship could be determined by a game between Indiana and Northwestern because both Wisconsin and Ohio State have had games canceled amid COVID-19 concerns. After this weekend of games, it’s pretty clear the Big 10 will likely be determined by a matchup between Ohio State and Northwestern.
Is this the Right Matchup for the Conference?
Whether or not the game between Ohio State and Northwestern will be competitive isn’t truly the right topic to discuss. While both schools have to finish out their season, it’s pretty clear they both have the path needed to get to the Big 10 Championship Game. Will the Buckeyes come out victorious again or will the Wildcats surprise us with their defense and toughness?