The sequence was all too familiar. Julius Peppers bursting past a helpless offensive tackle, turning the corner with eye-catching athleticism and barreling down on a quarterback who didn't see him coming. When the hit came, the ball popped free.
James Franklin's successful Penn State program arrived a season earlier than most had anticipated. The Nittany Lions weren't supposed to do much until this season, but they won the Big Ten championship last season. They were picked by many to repeat because they returned the bulk of their roster and all of their offensive stars.
The reality has hit across Wolverine land. Michigan's head man, Jim Harbaugh, it turns out, is a football coach, not a savior. Yeah, yeah, yeah, a coach who brought San Francisco to three straight NFC title games and a Super Bowl appearance.
LEADING OFF: Verlander, Astros try to force Game 7 in ALCS; Yanks need road win to reach 41st World Series; Kershaw preps for World Series opener; Seager expected back for Dodgers; Tigers in talks with Gardenhire.
Iowa and Northwestern's underwhelming Big Ten records can be taken with a grain of salt given the quality of the teams they've lost to. The Hawkeyes and Wildcats will get closer to finding out how good they truly are in 2017 when they face off Saturday.