Big Ten bloggers Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett will occasionally give their takes on a burning question facing the league. We'll both have strong opinions, but not necessarily the same view. We'll let you decide which blogger is right.
Today's Take Two topic is this: It's been a difficult season already for Minnesota, Indiana and Purdue. Of the three, which one has the best chance of snapping out of its current funk?
Take 1: Adam Rittenberg
Brian, it definitely smells funky in Minneapolis, Bloomington and West Lafayette right now. There haven't been too many signs of optimism. From a scheduling standpoint, Purdue has the best chance to rebound as both Indiana and Minnesota face brutal slates the rest of the season. Purdue also has the most experience of the three teams. That said, the Boilermakers are still making the same major mistakes in Year 3 of the Danny Hope era as they were in Year 1. It's unacceptable and hard to watch. My answer might surprise you, but I think Indiana will feel better about itself at the end of the season and more optimistic about the future. I really liked the way the Hoosiers responded defensively against Penn State last week. While Penn State's offense has its problems, IU made plays in key situations, much like it did in Week 2 against Virginia. I'm confident Kevin Wilson and his staff will get it going on offense, but the defense is always the unit I watch with Indiana. How are the Hoosiers competing on that side of the ball? How's the talent level? It's a work in progress, but I like the attitude co-defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler brings to the defense, and I think we'll see promising signs. Will Indiana win many more games or go bowling? Probably not. But there will be some building blocks in place.
Take 2: Brian Bennett
You did surprise me, Adam. Anyone who picks Indiana to win games usually does surprise me. But you almost had the right answer, since you were in the right state and mentioned the right team in your prelude. None of these three teams is going to a bowl game, and all are probably in for long rebuilding projects. But the team with the best chance of snapping out of the funk is Purdue. That's because the Boilermakers have Minnesota at home this weekend and should win that game. Yes, they got blown out last week by Notre Dame in a dispiriting performance, but some of that I think was because the Irish were simply due to put together a complete game. While it's disturbing how many mistakes this team keeps making, Purdue has more talent and experience than Minnesota or Indiana with players like Ralph Bolden, Akeem Shavers, Kawann Short and Ricardo Allen. This is a team that knocked off Northwestern and was neck and neck against Michigan State a year ago. The Boilers will have a fighting chance this year against Illinois and Iowa at home and possibly Penn State on the road, and they should win at IU. I can see this team salvaging a 5-7 record. Though that won't be enough to keep the heat off Danny Hope, it could be more wins than Minnesota and Indiana have combined.