College football is all about inequality:  the best schools get the best players…and get more bowl revenue that they then are able to put back into the school.  The better leagues get the better TV contracts…and thus build the better brands.  But with divisional play now over 20 years old (thank you SEC), it’s common to recognize “have and have nots” in conferences.  The SEC East and ACC Coastal have carved out “red-haired stepchild” status over the years, and it appeared as though the Big Ten West would be the Robin to the Big Ten East’s Batman.  It’s tough to compete with the star power of Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State–even Maryland has a national title to their credit.  But last Saturday the West took a major step to creating a little balance:  Nebraska’s last second touchdown handed Michigan State its first loss…while Northwestern handed Penn State a last-minute defeat as well.  The only two schools that are still winless in the league reside in the East (Indiana & Maryland)…and Iowa and Wisconsin while not appearing to have the most talent seem to possess the most grit in the league.  It’s been widely assumed that whichever team wins the East will walk over the West representative.  I wouldn’t be so sure…

Alma Mater Update– the lost season is almost official as the Orange are now 3-6 entering a home game with #1 Clemson. Added to the mix, my alumni group has scheduled the Holiday Party for the same night that the Maryland Womens’ basketball team–for whom I announce games–hosts Syracuse in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.  Way to maximize your reach.

Maryland (2-7, 0-5 Big Ten) came up short on Homecoming Saturday…falling to Wisconsin, 31-24.  Close losses to Penn State and the Badgers over the last month drop the team from postseason pretenders to out of bowl contention.  But at least the tailgating was fun.  Terrapin Triumphs– they held the Badgers to 94 yards rushing and 0-5 on third down in the first half.  DJ Moore made a spectacular 40-yard touchdown grab on a 3rd and 17.  Adam Greene kicked well in relief of an injured Brad Craddock.  Terrapin Troubles– The defense coughed up 211 yards after halftime, allowing Wisconsin to score on 2 of their first 3 possessions.  Quarterbacks Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe combined to complete 13 of 34 passes with 2 interceptions.  Special teams allowed a kickoff return for a TD and a 57-yard run on a fake punt. Penalties (11 for 79 yards) posed problems again, including an offsides that wiped out an onside-kick recovery. Next–Saturday at noon against #14 Michigan State:  the 8-1 Spartans fell to 4-1 in conference play after losing in the final minute to Nebraska.

Virginia (3-6, 2-3 ACC) wave goodbye to their Coastal Division dreams by losing at Miami 27-21.  Now they need to win out just to qualify for bowl eligibility…and they haven’t beaten Virginia Tech since 2003.  Kippy and Buffy have so moved on to hoops.  Cavalier Congrats–Taquan Mizzell continues to contend for the Sean Singletary Excellence in Lost Causes Award, rushing for 91 yards while tallying 8 catches.  David Dean led the defense with nine tackles.  Ian Frye connects on all four field goal attempts.  Cavalier Concerns– going 4 for 13 on third down led to trading touchdowns for field goals…and in a six point game it made the difference.  The defense allowed 20 completions in 26 attempts and notched just one sack…while allowing the Hurricanes to move the chains on 8 of 13 third downs.  Next–Saturday at 12:30pm against Louisville:  the 5-4 Cardinals improved to 4-2 in the ACC with a 41-24 win over Syracuse.

Navy (7-1, 5-0 AAC) technically may have upset #15 Memphis 45-20, but the Midshipmen have been playing solid football all fall and are only a loss to top-10 Notre Dame away from being unbeaten themselves.  The Military Bowl may have to wait a year or two for this team.  Midshipmen Medals– Chris Swain rushes for 108 yards and 3 touchdowns…and the team gains 374 yards on the ground.  Keenan Reynolds’ 75 yard touchdown pass to DeBrandon Sanders may be just enough to keep future opponents honest.  Lorentez Barbour leads the team with 9 tackles and a forced fumble.  The team is penalized just twice?  For five yards?  Wow.  Midshipmen Miscues– the defense did allow over 300 yards passing…but its tough to find fault in another fantastic 60-minute effort.  Next–Saturday at 3:30pm against SMU:  the 1-8 Mustangs are 0-5 in the conference after Friday’s 60-40 loss to #22 Temple and have coughed up at least 38 points in their last seven games.

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