If the future Big Ten teams don't start playing better, selling tickets for conference games next season when the six-team league debuts might be a challenge.
Except for the Gophers, nobody is playing too well. Wisconsin especially has had a brutal start.
Based on their overall records, here is how the Big Ten standings would look if the league was operating now:
1. Gophers, 9-2-2 ... ranked No. 3 in country in both major polls, tied for second in WCHA, on six-game unbeaten streak, 4-0-2, has one of the best freshman goalies in country in Adam Wilcox
2. Ohio State, 5-4-3 ... Tied for second in CCHA at 4-2-2. Buckeyes have scored 25 goals, given up 25. Coached by Mark Osiecki, of Burnsville and former Badgers assistant coach in charge of blue-liners for UW. ... Ex-UMD goalie Brady Hjelle, a senior, was just named CCHA goalie of week for second time. Has league-best 1.14 goals-against average
3. Penn State, 6-5-0 ... playing as an independent. In past four games split with Air Force, losing 5-1 and winning by same score, and lost twice to Union, a Frozen Four team last season, 2-0, 4-1. ... Ex-Gophers forward Max Gardiner is team's second-leading scorer (2-7-9)
4. Michigan, 5-7-1 ... Coach Red Berenson's team is tied for seventh in the CCHA at 3-5-1. Wolverines were in Frozen Four at the X just two seasons ago. A.J. Treais has nine goals, four assists and 14 points, but four goals is the next most goals anyone else has. Had big win over Miami, tie with Northern Michigan (Wolverines won shootout). ... Being outscored 45-44 by opponents.
5. Michigan State, 4-6-2. ... The Spartans are tied for ninth in the CCHA with a 2-5-3 mark. ... Last three games mirror up and down season. MSU beat Michigan 5-2, tied Miami 2-2 and lost to Miami 2-0 after getting only 12 shots on goal. ... Goalies have had mixed succes. Freshman Jake Hildebrand has a 1.85 goals against and a .941 save percentage. Junior Will Yanakeff has a 3.71 gaa and a .879 save mark. MSU being outshot by five shots per game. ... Fell to Gophers twice at Mariucci in season-opening series.
6. Wisconsin, 1-7-2. ... The Badgers are 0-4-0 at home and not much better on the road (1-3-2). Top scorer Mark Zengerle has a broken finger; he is a returning 50-points-scorer last season. Top rookie Nic Kerdiles has been out, suspended for 10 games for violating amateur rules. Will be back this weekend ... Badgers have scored a league-low 18 goals and given up 29. ... Gophers recently took three of four points from Badgers on their visit to Mariucci.
This might not be the best season to get everyone fired up for the new Big Ten Conference in hockey in 2013-14.
Chris Peters, who writes the United States of Hockey blog, also wrote about this topic. Have to credit him for giving me the idea. I went and looked at each team a little bit more from a Gophers perspective..