J.K. Dobbins scores against Badgers, AP photo

Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins scores a touchdown against Wisconsin during the second half of the Buckeyes' 38-7 win over the Badgers on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. 

For the second straight week, Wisconsin players heard "Jump Around" . at a visiting stadium . to troll them after a loss.

And after Michigan manhandled Notre Dame 45-14, the athletic department's twitter feed delivered this message: "Dear @NDFootball, we need to take a break. We've been doing this for a while now and we need our space. We're glad we could end on good terms, thank you for not being defensive. Let's keep in touch and maybe we'll try again in 14 years if you're still independent."

RIP sportsmanship? Or all in good fun? I'll leave that up to you.

For my part, here are five things we learned about the Big Ten after Week 9.

1. Six can't-miss games remain this Big Ten season.

Breaking: UMass-Northwestern is not one of them.

1. Nov. 9: Penn State at Minnesota

Coach P.J. Fleck is all but begging ESPN's "College GameDay" to come to Minneapolis for the first time in the show's history, promising "a unique experience." Think oars, lots of oars. Both teams will be 8-0 following off weeks. But there's one problem: It's the same day as a little skirmish in Tuscaloosa featuring LSU and Alabama.

2. Nov. 16: Michigan State at Michigan

The Wolverines reclaimed the Paul Bunyan Trophy in a 2018 game marked by a whole lot of nasty on both sides, including linebacker Devin Bush dragging his cleats to deface the Michigan State on-field logo. The Wolverines are feeling super-manly after out-rushing Notre Dame 303-47, and they're eager to put a nail in Mark Dantonio's tenure.

3. Nov. 23: Penn State at Ohio State

The Buckeyes will be 10-0 after beating Maryland and Rutgers. (Bold statement, I know.) Penn State must beat Minnesota and Indiana to remain perfect. This could be a playoff elimination game. And check this out: The combined score of the last three meetings is Penn State 88, Ohio State 87.

4. Nov. 30: Wisconsin at Minnesota

This game could decide a berth in the Big Ten title game. Or Iowa could sneak into the mix. Or the Gophers could clinch the week before. But anyway ...

5. Nov. 30: Ohio State at Michigan

The Buckeyes have won seven straight, as you and Jim Harbaugh might have heard. (Harbs is only responsible for four, of course.)

6. Dec. 7: Big Ten title game, Indianapolis

The winner of this game has not been selected for the College Football Playoff since 2015. Oh, how this rankles the folks in the offices in Rosemont with the giant "B1G" on the side.

2. J.K. Dobbins has a good poker face.

After Ohio State unleashed on Wisconsin, practically every Buckeye spoke of how J.K. Dobbins wanted to prove he was the best tailback in the stadium. Yup, better than All-American Jonathan Taylor.

"We were messing with J.K. the whole week," quarterback Justin Fields said, "talking about how the best Big Ten running back is coming to the Shoe."

Said right guard Wyatt Davis: "We didn't understand why J.K. didn't have as much hype. We said: 'This is your time to prove it.' He definitely wanted to get some revenge."

Final tallies:

Dobbins: 20 carries, 163 yards, 2 TDs

Taylor: 20 carries, 52 yards, 0 TDs

Asked about wanting to top Taylor, Dobbins initially replied: "What?"

And then: "I just wanted to get the win."

A few questions in, Dobbins spoke of "outside sources, people doubting me" before adding: "All the Jonathan Taylor stuff, he's a great player. But I'm here to win games and championships."

3. The Hoosiers are happy dudes.

Indiana has been the most predictable Big Ten program since 2012, losing seven or eight games every season. The Hoosiers have been to only three bowls since 1994 — and did not win any of them.

So you can imagine the scene at Nebraska's Memorial Stadium when the Hoosiers clinched a postseason berth with a 38-31 victory. Some players shouted: "We're going bowling."

Receiver Whop Philyor (great name) said: "You should have seen us in the locker room after the game. We were going crazy. It was chaos."

In a scene captured by the school's social media crew, coach Tom Allen high-fived fans like Hale Irwin at Medinah in 1990.

"Still a lot left to do," offensive lineman Davondre Love said as he walked to the tunnel.

Indiana, which has the Big Ten's most prolific passing attack (312.8 yards per game), can boost their 6-2 record by beating Northwestern on Saturday. The Hoosiers' final stretch features dates with Penn State, Michigan and Purdue. How far can Allen take this team?

4. The Huskers are unhappy dudes.

Unlike Indiana, Nebraska is supposed to be great in football. Yet the Huskers haven't finished with a top-10 ranking since 2001, and now they're 4-4 and appropriately miserable thanks to a rotten stew of injuries, suspensions and unfulfilled expectations.

This Athletic piece paints a scene of coach Scott Frost essentially dividing the roster into those who have and have not bought in.

"I want guys that care and (have) a deep desire to be great. I think we've got some old guys like that. I think we've got a lot of young guys like that. But that's the culture we're building. You can't be part way in on that."

"It's frustrating. We've got a lot of guys on this team that really care. We've got some guys on this team that are tough and dedicated enough. We just don't have enough of them yet."

At least they have a promising freshman quarterback in Luke McCaffrey. He relieved the injured Noah Vedral, who started for the injured Adrian Martinez. McCaffrey, the youngest of the Max/Christian/Dylan fraternity, completed 5 of 6 passes and rushed for 76 yards.

But the Huskers' pass defense was all but helpless against the Hoosiers.

"You've got to look at yourself first," senior linebacker Mohamed Barry said, "and then look at everyone around you."

5. Ryan Day is talking like a basketball coach.

His Buckeyes have been phenomenal, winning all eight games by 24 points or more. But one slip-up and Ohio State could be pushed out of the College Football Playoff. The 2018 Buckeyes went 12-1 with a Big Ten crown and finished with a ranking of No. 6.

"It's like March Madness," Ryan Day said. "You can't lose a game."

Week 9 power rankings

Here are the Tribune's latest Big Ten football power rankings, with last week's ranking in parentheses.

1. Ohio State (1)

Will any Bucknut fill out an all-Buckeye Heisman ballot of Chase Young, Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins?

2. Penn State (2)

Would be cool to see the refs swallow their whistles on every electric KJ Hamler return.

3. Minnesota (3)

Minnesota has the nation's fourth-longest winning streak at 10, trailing Clemson, Ohio State — and mighty Appalachian State.

4. Wisconsin (4)

The Badgers get two weeks to think about the two losses that derailed their season.

5. Michigan (5)

The Wolverines have bragging rights over Notre Dame until at least 2033.

6. Iowa (6)

Guess who is not a slave to analytics? Kirk Ferentz. Twice he opted to punt on fourth-and-1 inside Northwestern's 45-yard line.

7. Indiana (8)

A beaming Tom Allen after IU's solid victory over Nebraska: "It feels pretty stinking good to stand here and answer your questions after a big-time road win."

8. Illinois (10)

From on the verge of getting canned to, dare we suggest, a lifetime contract? What a wild two weeks for Lovie Smith.

9. Michigan State (8)

Rank these in order of most dismal: The weather at Spartan Stadium, Michigan State's offense, Mark Dantonio's mojo.

10. Nebraska (9)

Scott Frost's homecoming is not going as planned. His comment to Husker Sports Radio at halftime: "We can't be so dumb-ass stupid."

11. Purdue (11)

You know it's bad when the starting quarterback gets pulled twice in the same game.

12. Maryland (12)

How come Maryland quarterbacks are always getting hurt?

13. Northwestern (13)

Note to Pat Fitzgerald: A hater is someone who obsesses over the three losses of a 9-3 team, not someone who points out a one-win team is terrible.

14. Rutgers (14)

How about scheduling Liberty every year? Or every week?


Photos: Ohio State Buckeyes roll over Wisconsin Badgers in Big Ten showdown

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