The Big Ten West is a fight for a knife in the mud and other weekend notes
Nebraska lost to Michigan State but didn't lose much ground in the division. That plus additional football, soccer, volleyball and basketball from the weekend.
Picture your favorite shootout scene from a classic Western. Whether it’s seeing the man shoot Liberty Valance, the cemetery standoff in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Wild Bunch’s bloody ballet or maybe “I’m your Huckleberry,” all shootouts share at least two things—spectacle and clarity.
If the Big Ten West in 2023 was a Western, the final shootout would just be four guys wrestling in the mud of Main Street. It’s still high noon but this is November, so everything’s just gray. The saloonkeeper steps out to watch this showdown, but after a couple of minutes he yawns, pushes back through the swinging doors to get back to polishing glasses. The town undertaker looks at his pocket watch, realizes he has plenty of time for lunch and heads to the saloon. It’s impossible to see what’s going on. The only way to know which man won is to wait until there’s only one man left.
Cinematic? No, but it is the best way—maybe the only way—for the oft-maligned West to go out.
Four teams entered Saturday in a tie for first place with 3-2 conference records. Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota all lost as favorites, to Michigan State, Indiana and Illinois respectively. Iowa beat Northwestern, 10-7, at Wrigley Field on a ninth-inning
home run field goal that jut reached the right field bleachers. That leaves the Hawkeyes, now 4-2 in conference play, with a one-game lead on Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota with three games left to play. Illinois and Northwestern are two games back.
What are we to make of this? Well, it’s good news for Nebraska, which had maybe its most disappointing performance of the season but only lost ground on one opponent. Beyond that, let’s take a look at what’s left for the top four in the division.
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