Call it the curse of dubious division names.  The Big Ten is all but an afterthought six weeks into the college football season with minimal buildup towards the season-defining November matchups.  Instead, an unbeaten but ineligible Ohio State (fresh off surviving the likes of UAB) has the best record while the hottest team is a Penn  State that’s effectively in carbon-freeze for the next four seasons.  And this year, they’re both in the same division– meaning Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana or Illinois could potentially get to the Conference title game with a .500 league record.  That smacks of the “Legendary” moniker that division was christened with last year.  Obviously there’s bad karma in the Big Ten– here’s how to fix it:

1– Leaders and Legends is laughable.  Can’t we use East-West like the SEC?  They do know what they’re doing, by the way.

2– Divide the schools geographically. (MN, WI, NE, IA, IL and Northwestern in the west, MSU, OSU, PSU, UM, IU and Purdue in the east).  Makes sense for travel– and we will ignore that Missouri is in the SEC East at this moment– or at least until they powers that be wake up and shuffle Auburn over.  It’s okay for Ohio State and Michigan not to be meeting up for the conference title- if both schools are good then their game becomes a defacto semi.  One can even sneak into the National Title picture ala Alabama last year. And just think– the ACC put Miami and Florida State so those two schools could hook up in the ACC Championship game.  Something that has yet to happen.

This won’t occur.  The Big Ten continues to bury its head in the sand and watch other leagues fly by.  Just think– it took until last year for there to be a night game at the Big House.  I understand they’ve been playing night football games for some time…

Alma Mater Update– Syracuse begins its march towards a potential postseason with a game against the first of three remaining unbeatens in the Big East.  I’m not optimistic about SU’s tilt with Rutgers… and I’m less excited about the fact that there remains no “44 Wing Salute” on the Sign of the Whale Menu.

Maryland at Virginia-– the Potomac River Rivalry returns with the Terps scraping its way to a 3-2 start (already more wins than last year) while the Cavaliers are in a freefall at 2-4.  One win is against an FCS school (Richmond) and the other victory came thanks to four missed field goals and a blocked extra point.  While UM boasts the #2 defense in the conference… UVa allows the second most points in the conference (Georgia Tech is 9th in yards and points allowed– and fired coordinator Al Groh this week).  Can the Terps get their ground game out of first gear (they’re the only school averaging under 100 yards a game)?  Previously I’ve referred to the Cavalier tailback tandem of Perry Jones and Kevin Parks the “thunder and lightning backfield”– they’re both 5-8 and weigh roughly the same.  Lightning and Lightning doesn’t have the same ring to it– and can UVa’s QB roulette wheel hit a winner?  Sadly, Phillip Simms is no Phil Simms… and Michael Rocco is no Rocco Mediate.  I have a feeling that Kippy and Buffy aren’t even really the given names of my UVa tailgating buddies– although they will be pouring Trapiche Broquel Malbec to go with prosciutto wrapped tomatoes and provolone.  Terps triumph, 18-16.

Virginia Tech vs Duke– sadly this is not a tuneup for Frank Beamer’s bunch but the beginning of a four game gauntlet where VT’s opponents are a combined 19-5.  It’s amazing to even think that the Hokies could be 4-6 or 3-7 one month from now… but an ineffective passing game (11th in the ACC in passing efficiency) has set a ceiling on this club– and BEAMERBALL!, usually excellent– ranges from good (2nd in punt returns, 3rd in kickoff returns) to bad (8th in net punting, 10th in kickoff coverage).  That said, this is DUKE.  And this is Blacksburg.  And there are smoked turkey legs to be had.  Hokies block a fourth quarter punt and hold on, 29-27.

Navy beats Central Michigan, Howard tops North Carolina A & T, Georgetown loses to Lehigh, James Madison tops William & Mary, Richmond loses at New Hampshire, Towson tops Maine.

Last Week: 4-5.  But I won’t fire any coordinators– just yet.

Overall: 31-17.

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