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Chapman's B1G Five Of The Big Ten: Is Brady Hoke Right About Michigan's Last-Second Blunder?

By Brian Chapman

1. JT Barrett will start at quarterback this week over Cardale Jones. Is this the right decision by Urban Meyer?

Yes -- for now -- but there is still a role for Jones in Meyer's offense.

First of all, while Jones is a much better passer than Barrett -- especially down the field -- Ohio State's strength has been its running game and Barrett is a much better weapon in the rushing attack than Jones.

In Ohio State's last game against Penn State, Jones was credited for -16 yards rushing on four attempts and the Buckeyes offense was stuck in neutral until he left the game. Barrett ran it 11 times for 102 yards and two touchdowns, and was just too fast and too slippery for the Nittany Lions defense.

Second of all, Barrett has been a better offensive threat in the red zone, mostly because of his ability to run. Third of all, Jones has struggled in the passing game against tougher teams. Ohio State's three toughest games so far have been against Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois and Penn State. In those three games, Jones has failed to complete more than 60 percent of his passes, averaged 102.3 passing yards per game and thrown for a total of two touchdowns.

He's seemed like a passing misfit in Meyer's dual threat offense. It's clear that right now Barrett should be the starting quarterback at Ohio State, but there are two other important points. First, it probably doesn't matter if Jones or Barrett is the starting quarterback because I believe Ohio State will be 13-0 going into the College Football Playoff anyway.

Second, it's not like Jones will never see the light of day again at Ohio State. Meyer will continue to use Jones in blowouts and on drives where the Buckeyes need to pass the ball. There may not be many drives where Ohio State's talented team needs to pass the ball down the stretch, but Michigan State has a shaky secondary and Jones is more equipped to shred it with his arm than Barrett.

With Rutgers, Minnesota and Illinois on the schedule, there should be plenty of garbage time to make sure that neither quarterback is completely neglected.

2. Ex-Michigan coach Brady Hoke disagreed with Jim Harbaugh's decision to punt the ball from the Michigan State 47 yard line with 10 seconds to go on 4th and 2. He said he would have handed the ball off to De'Veon Smith to try to pick up the two yards or run a play-action pass to milk a few seconds off of the clock (if they couldn't pick up the first down) because, "if we have the No. 1 defense in the nation, I'm going to test those guys." Is Hoke right?

If Blake O'Neill had just caught the very catchable snap, none of this would most likely be an issue, but he didn't so it is and I agree with Hoke.

Michigan was only averaging 1.9 yards per carry in the game, so the Spartans could have stopped Smith a few inches short had the Wolverines run the ball, but there would have been time for just one Hail Mary play afterward. Jake Rudock could have thrown an incompletion or been sacked had he dropped back to pass, but there still would have been time for just one Hail Mary play by the Spartans against that great Michigan defense.

I told the people who watched the game with me that I thought it was the wrong decision to punt before the play and I didn't even consider Hoke's point about trusting the top-ranked defense. I would have given the ball to Jabrill Peppers and told him to just run around in the backfield for ten seconds and then take a knee when the clock reached zero.

With 53 yards between the line of scrimmage and the goal line behind him, it would have taken Peppers six seconds to get to the end zone in a dead sprint if he took the shortest possible route. That would have left just four seconds on the clock. With ten Wolverines blocking eleven Spartans, odds are he wouldn't have had to drop back 53 yards to milk away all of that clock, but if he did see a Spartan closing in with a couple of seconds to go, he could have just chucked the ball downfield and out of bounds for an incompletion to eat away the rest of the time, as long as he was outside of the pocket.

3. Who has been the most disappointing team in the B1G so far this season?

There are just two contenders in this discussion and I'll take Minnesota as the most disappointing team in the conference over Nebraska.

Nebraska's resume is strong -- their 3-4 record is worse than Minnesota's 4-3 record. They lost to Miami and Illinois who aren't ranked and probably won't be ranked at all this year. With games remaining against Northwestern, Michigan State and Iowa, they're no lock to make a bowl game which is commonplace for Coach Mike Riley, but unheard of for Nebraska.

One of their three wins was to a currently 4-3 Southern Mississippi team and that win was at home by just a single possession. Cornhusker fans are used to winning those games by three to four possessions. Their four losses are by a combined 11 points which suggests some bad luck, but it also suggests an inability to close teams out.

Either way, having a losing record in Lincoln this time of year is unacceptable, even if it is expected after hiring a coach who had a losing record last year.

Minnesota's resume is stronger and they cemented their status as the most disappointing team this past Saturday by losing to the runner-up Cornhuskers in Minneapolis by a whopping 23 points. While it appears that Nebraska may be turning the corner in a positive direction, the Gophers just keep getting worse. After a moral victory to start the season in a 23-17 loss to TCU, the Golden Gophers went on a disappointing three-game winning streak.

It was disappointing because they played Colorado State, Kent State and Ohio in those three games and won each game by exactly three points. That's extremely underwhelming for a squad that was a dark horse to win the B1G West. They solidified their status as the most disappointing team in the conference with a 27-0 loss to Northwestern in their B1G opener.

One big reason for the disappointment is that, incredibly, the offense looks even worse this year than it did last year. Quarterback Mitch Leidner simply has not progressed, the faster paced offense that was discussed in the preseason has not lit up the scoreboard and they have not adequately replaced running back David Cobb.

Despite needing just two wins to become bowl eligible, I could see them losing all of their final five games to Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin to finish 4-8. Not a good year for Jerry Kill's squad.

4. It looks like Iowa is going to win the B1G West. Are they good enough to take down Ohio State in the B1G Championship Game and go to the College Football Playoff?

This is an easy answer. No.

I've watched Iowa the last couple of weeks and they look pretty good. It's clear that Kirk Ferentz made the right decision to demote quarterback Jake Rudock and replace him with C.J. Beathard. Beathard is mobile, aggressive and he can chuck it down-field for a big play -- unlike Rudock.

Jordan Canzeri is probably the third best running back in the conference behind only Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley. After Canzeri left the Northwestern game with an injury, Akrum Wadley ran for four rushing touchdowns and he did so before the start of the fourth quarter.

I also like Iowa's fullbacks. Not too many teams are using fullbacks anymore, even in the Big Ten and Iowa's Macon Plewa and Adam Cox are good ones. They excellent at reading the offensive line, finding linebackers who could potentially plug the hole and making a solid block to make the job easy for the running backs.

The defense has also given up just 39 points in three conference games so far. Iowa's dominance and quality of competition is what concerns me and makes it difficult for me to believe they could knock off Ohio State at a neutral site (that will most likely feature a 2:1 Buckeye advantage in the crowd).

Iowa has beaten two teams this year that were ranked at the time they played (Wisconsin by four points and Northwestern by 30 points), but neither is currently ranked which suggests that they were overrated. The only team Iowa has played that is currently ranked is No. 25 Pittsburgh. That was a Week 3 home game against a coach in his third game on the job that the Hawkeyes won by just a field goal.

A look at the rest of the wins includes two-possession wins against Illinois and Iowa State. That's not exactly what Alabama, Ohio State or TCU would do to those teams. (TCU played Iowa State this past week and won by 24 points). The remainder of Iowa's schedule is pretty easy against five unranked B1G schools -- Maryland, Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue and Nebraska. Therefore, it will be impossible to garner a signature win between now and the B1G Championship Game by knocking off a tough opponent.

The only way I could see them having a chance against Ohio State would be if the Buckeyes start to struggle -- a lot more than they have so far which has been much to do about nothing -- and if the Hawkeyes can continue to blow out teams like they did this past weekend against Northwestern and like College Football Playoff caliber teams do all season.

5. Who will win this week's B1G games?

Nebraska over Northwestern
Illinois over Wisconsin
Penn State over Maryland
Michigan State over Indiana
Ohio State over Rutgers

Make sure you follow me on Twitter @bchapsports and Tweet at me too.

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