Well, we're not very good. That said, we're not all bad either.
After what looked like a terrible start of the season, at least defensively, I though we were going to be in a lot of trouble at this point in the season. I started wondering if we'd even be bowl eligible. But here we are, 7-2, my preseason prediction for where we'd be at this point. Granted I thought we'd lose to Michigan State, not North Western. Wisconsin beat us more than I thought they would, but 3 interceptions against a good team will do that to anyone.
I have seen the O-line improve, and Taylor is doing better. By that I mean they're calling plays that put him in fewer positions to screw up, and use his abilities. Rex is the heart of the team, but even Superman can be stopped. This offense will get us enough points to win, but can't afford to turn the ball over, not with this defense.
What is the deal with the D? Well, they were recruited to play in the Big 12. They aren't big enough to stop the Big 10 running game, and our backs are too young to allow for us to stack the box. It's going to continue to be a problem until we get some experience and some bruisers up front.
So Northwestern... A game of "IF ONLY"'s
If only we didn't fumble a sure Touch Down. We win the game.
If only we didn't fumble a pass reception that had us in field goal range at the least. We'd be in overtime.
If only we didn't break on 4th down conversions.
If only we held them to 3 on one of the touchdowns.
If only we were that team. But were not. I see at least 1 more loss this year.
We're a team that can't afford turn overs. We're not very good. But hey, we're not all that bad either.
Daemon, I totally agree, the D was recruited to play agianst pocket pure-passers and nimble RB's like in the B12, in stark contrast to the B10 offenses.
I also totally agree that the DB's are too young/inexperienced to allow us to stack the line, and the LB's are split between coverage reads in 2-zone/zone-man plays the Pelini's favor. The safeties are also consistently failing to pick up the deep route recievers across the middle (todays game, the UW game, etc...).
I also agree that the O-line, despite the new names/injuries, etc... has actually been playing decent ball for the majority of the year. Notable exceptions include the first half of the OSU game, and the Wisky game (and maybe today).
T-mart is improving and is making smarter choices, and beck is calling better plays for him. Tmart had a good game today.
The thing is-good teams find a way to win despite all these issues-e.g. 'bama is brilliantly coached-their defense is an efficient system; ditto for penn state's D, or Boise state x 5 years.
The tackling, etc.... these are fundamentals, while I still support the Pelini brothers-I think they are underperforming this year.
Our D-line was bad with crick...and potentially looks miserable w/o him.
There's always next year.
Never underestimate Iowa. Ferentz is an excellent coach. Would not surprise me at all if they beat MSU in Iowa City next week. 2 losses still likely good enough to get at least a share of the Legends.
PS...we have Michigan on the road; but Michigan IS NOT that good.
You're right that Michigan is not that good, but they have the type of team we don't seem to be able to defend. Robinson will likely give us fits.
I think Iowa seems to play down to lesser teams (Minnesota), but will be more than happy to end their season, even crappy ones, with wins against their Nebraska neighbors.
Our offensive line is average at best. Our defensive line is average at best. There in lies ALL of our problems. A football game is won or lost in the trenches. The rest is just the decoration on top the cake.
From this point on, I cannot make any predictions, because I have no idea what is going to happen. Bottom line is NU has to win out, and Michigan has to lose one. PSU might be distracted because one of their longtime coaches is allegedly a pederass and supposedly the administration covered up for him. I'd say that's an embarrassing scandal to say the least.
Michigan and Iowa, again I have no idea. I can better predict what the DJIA will close at on the penny next Thursday than I can predict what will happen in these games.