Every time the Wisconsin Badgers play Iowa, I start to think that I might dislike the Hawkeyes more than I dislike the Gophers, but then Axe Week arrives and I start reading things that Minnesota fans write and my blood starts to boil. Sorry, I've gotten ahead of myself.
This past week of games was a full slate of Big Ten goodness -- all 14 teams played and all played conference opponents! The Badgers gutted out a win in Iowa City, which was nice to see, and I'm sure Northwestern vs. Purdue happened as well. Michigan lost ANOTHER home game and Penn State lost to Illinois in front of a handful of Illini family members. Let's get straight to the games so we can start HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE!
Big Ten East
S&P+ rank: 82nd overall, 72nd offense, 90th defense
Week 13 result: L, Ohio State 42, Indiana 27
Biggest strength: Tevin Coleman. Dude ran for 228 yards and three touchdowns, one of which was a 90-yarder. What do you think Coleman did in a past life that he came back as an Indiana running back? I bet he was a medieval potion salesman that sold bunk potions. Should've used real eye of the newt, Tevin. Interpol's most wanted man Zander Diamont was a first-half strength.
Zander Diamont has more passing and rushing yards than J.T. Barrett. #iufb— Alex McCarthy (@akmccarthy) November 22, 2014
Biggest weakness: The problem with being a first-half strength is there is also a second half.
Zander Diamont, losing #namecontrol and throwing an INT to all but seal game for Ohio State.— Travis Haney (@TravHaneyESPN) November 22, 2014
I bet this is the card Diamont leaves on Kevin Wilson's desk after the game. He is, of course, referring to his scholarship. The Hoosiers were actually in this one for almost the whole game, but Ohio State is a much, much better team so uhhhhhh, analysis?
BONUS HATE WEEK WEAKNESS: Would you leave your children alone for four years with this man?
Remaining schedule: At home against Purdue for the Old Oaken Bucket. A pretty solid trophy, if you ask me. Last chance for IU to win a conference game and maybe (but probably not) save Wilson's job.
S&P+ rank: 56th overall, 68th offense, 45th defense
Week 13 result: W, Maryland 23, Michigan 16
Biggest strength: C.J. Brown had 165 passing yards, 87 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. He now holds the school record for total touchdowns. It's stats like these that make you know Maryland is a basketball school. Brad Craddock continued his ridiculous season kicking the ball. I don't want to jynx him, but you should take a peek at his stats. Will Likely had his sixth pick of the year. Helped out Badger recruiting efforts with Mike Weber.
Maryland is beating Michigan so badly they made a 4-star prospect decommit http://t.co/3sE4LWM3kp— Pete Volk (@Pete_Volk) November 22, 2014
Biggest weakness: Too many guys named Brown running the ball. It's hard to keep track of for a simple man like myself. This may be a controversial opinion, but I'm happy Maryland is in the conference. They had a solid first season of football, their basketball team is on the upswing, Testudo Times is an awesome blog and they have crazy new uniforms that we can make fun of/secretly want every week. I award Maryland one internet bro hug.
BONUS HATE WEEK WEAKNESS: Your state flag is the Affliction t-shirt of state flags. Your entire state should have a barbed wire tattoo around it.
Remaining schedule: Home game against Rutgers in the Welcome to the Conference, But We Kind of Like One of You More Than the Other Bowl. The name is still a work in progress.
S&P+ rank: 54th overall, 73rd offense, 39th defense
Week 13 result: L, Maryland 23, Michigan 16
Biggest strength: The Wolverines ran the ball pretty well, although Maryland's rush defense is pretty bad. I suppose that's a push. Hmmm, they still have a tight end with the last name Butt! That can never be mentioned enough.
Biggest weakness: Not roughing the kicker. Clock management. Throwing the ball. Having the smallest home crowd since 1995. Everything that has happened this entire season. The economy. That snow storm in Buffalo. When you bite into a raisin cookie thinking it's chocolate chip. It's not widely known, but these things are all Michigan football's fault.
BONUS HATE WEEK WEAKNESS: Will Muschamp will be your next head coach.
Remaining schedule: At Ohio State, in a game after which Michigan offensive lineman Jack Miller said, "But I think games like this are what this rivalry is built on, when one team's probably going to be a big underdog going in." PROBABLY GOING TO BE AN UNDERDOG!?!?! I want to gamble on things with Jack Miller. I'll be a millionaire in mere minutes.
S&P+ rank: 13th overall, 13th offense, 13th defense (whoa)
Week 13 result: W, Michigan State 45, Rutgers 3
Biggest strength: I don't know, man. I guess everything? The Spartans looked great in their absolute curb-stomping of Rutgers. Connor Cook, Tony Lippett and Jeremy Langford led the way, and Langford had his 14th consecutive 100-yard rushing game in conference. The defense had three interceptions and 10 guys had rushing attempts on the afternoon. I wonder what the record is for most players to attempt a run in a game? I bet Georgia Tech knows.
Biggest weakness: Fumbled twice. Let Rutgers score. This game was a blowout.
BONUS HATE WEEK WEAKNESS: Have you ever been to East Lansing? Imagine if you will, Eminem's neighborhood from 8 Mile combined with the industrial rust of a Toledo, Ohio. Mix in some overgrown weeds and a dash of boarded-up windows, and you've got Pure Michigan. Michigan: not even once.
Remaining schedule: At Penn State in a "rivalry" game. I refuse to post the picture of the trophy again. It offends my sensibilities as a guy who makes off-color jokes on the internet, which is saying something.
S&P+ rank: 2nd overall, 1st offense, 8th defense
Week 13 result: W, Ohio State 42, Indiana 27
Biggest strength: I don't know if you guys even look at the S&P+ rankings, because I rarely talk about them, but Ohio State is really good this year. I tweeted at the FBI and asked them to investigate how the Buckeyes lost to Virginia Tech (a team that just participated in a 0-0 regulation college football game) AT HOME, but they haven't gotten back to me. This conspiracy might go all the way to the top. I'll let you know my findings. J.T. Barrett played well, which isn't surprising. Big Ten Freshman of the Week Jalin Marshall had five catches for 95 yards and three touchdowns. He also returned a punt for a touchdown. I wonder if Indiana even scouted for this game at all?
Biggest weakness: Seemed sleepy in the first half. Gave up three turnovers to a team that only forces 1.2 turnovers a game.
BONUS HATE WEEK WEAKNESS: John Calipari forgot on which day his daughter's birthday was (no dangling prepositions for me, thank you very much), but Urban Meyer has him beat. He forgot that he had children.
BONUS BONUS HATE WEEK WEAKNESS: This guy. I HATE THAT GUY!
Remaining schedule: Pretty sure Indiana was Ohio State's last game of the regular season. Now the Bucks just need to sit back and see who they'll play in the conference title game.
S&P+ rank: 34th overall, 88th offense, 14th defense
Week 13 result: L, Illinois 16, Penn State 14
Biggest strength: We need to develop the technology so that Penn State's defense can play with Tevin Coleman. That team would easily win nine games in the Big Ten. Akeel Lynch (137 yards and a touchdown against Illinois) can backup Coleman. Christian Hackenberg can't really cut it in the Big Ten this year. Wait wait wait, I want a do-over on that one!
Biggest weakness: Gained less yards than Illinois did. Also, lost to Illinois. So, my other manager at the bar is an Illinois grad and he didn't realize the Illini had won until about 9 p.m. when he checked his phone. He was pretty pumped. I guess this should be a PSU strength, since the Nittany Lions are spreading joy throughout the Chicagoland area.
BONUS HATE WEEK WEAKNESS: A lot of Penn State fans are also Pittsburgh Steelers fans. That has to be a top-three most obnoxious CFB/NFL football fan combo. I bet they put french fries on their Peachy Paterno ice cream. Heathens. The only ice cream you can dip fries in is a chocolate Frosty from Wendy's.
Remaining schedule: Takes on Michigan State and will try to keep Hackenberg's picks to under four.
S&P+ rank: 62nd overall, 44th offense, 73rd defense
Week 13 result: L, Michigan State 45, Rutgers 3
Biggest strength: Swagger before the game:
"They make videos like the 'No Fly Zone' and things like that," Carroo said. "I guess they have a swagger about them that it's the Michigan State secondary. So I'm very excited for that opportunity. I get a chance to go out there and see what the 'No Fly Zone' is really about."
Biggest weakness: One catch, 6 yards. That was Leonte Carroo's stat line from Saturday. MSU's pass defense isn't even that good this year! Also, everything else was a weakness. Rutgers not only couldn't fly, it wasn't even allowed into the airport. ENJOY NEVER EATING AT A WOLFGANG PUCK EXPRESS AGAIN, RUTGERS!
BONUS HATE WEEK WEAKNESS: I like to think of New Jersey as the Rutgers in the Big Ten of states: no one wants you here and your hair is stupid.
Remaining schedule: Plays Maryland. I don't have any other thoughts on that.
Big Ten West
S&P+ rank: 84th overall, 77th offense, 89th defense
Week 13 result: W, Illinois 16, Penn State 14
Biggest strength: Won its second Big Ten game of the season! The last time the Illini did that was in 2011. Mike Dudek had 11 catches for 115 yards.
Biggest weakness: Wes Lunt. That guys doesn't seem to be very good at quarterback. Supporting Senior Day.
Illinois student section at kickoff. As bad as it gets anywhere. pic.twitter.com/Z71BGg7uOD— Steve Greenberg (@SLGreenberg) November 22, 2014
Now, I'm not one to razz on fans for not showing up when it's cold and two crappy teams are playing, but at least make an effort, Illinois student section. Every one of those kids that was there for kickoff should get lifetime season tickets to Illinois football for $15.
BONUS HATE WEEK WEAKNESS: Your backup quarterback's last name is O'Toole. Your state's drivers are the worst.
Remaining schedule: If the Illini can beat Northwestern for the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk (I guess it's actually the Land of Lincoln Trophy now, but I still remember playing NCAA 08 and winning the Tomahawk as Northwestern) they will be bowl-eligible!
S&P+ rank: 65th overall, 71st offense, 52nd defense
Week 13 result: L, Wisconsin 26, Iowa 24
Biggest strength: Jake Rudock was mind-bendingly effective in the second half. It still angers me. Jake Duzey had a touchdown reception and Carl Davis was pretty solid in the middle of the defensive line. Bodily fluiding on themselves.
Biggest weakness: Covering Melvin Gordon in the passing game, which is not something I thought I'd be writing this season. Stopping the Badgers on third down. Whatever, Iowa sucks, let's move on.
BONUS HATE WEEK WEAKNESS: Vodka Samm is your most sober alum.
Remaining schedule: Corn and Shattered Dreams Bowl against Nebraska on Friday.
S&P+ rank: 40th overall, 43rd offense, 41st defense
Week 13 result: W, Minnesota 28, Nebraska 24
Biggest strength: Went on the road to Lincoln and knocked off a tough (?) Huskers team by four. Mitch Leidner running the ball, but not Mitch Leidner passing the ball. That guy was really meh. Didn't turn the ball over. Rush defense mostly bottled up Ameer Abdullah. WON THE BITS OF WOODEN CHAIR TROPHY!
Bringing the #BitsOfWoodenChairTrophy back to Dinkytown!!! Amazing win, @GopherFootball... Gophers, it's #AxeWeek now pic.twitter.com/j6O848bV2E— Goldy Gopher (@GoldytheGopher) November 22, 2014
I don't care what you think about the Gophers; for me personally, it isn't much, but this organic trophy is amazing. Long live @FauxPelini and Goldy Gopher for coming up with it.
Biggest weakness: Everything. Now that we've reached this section of the post, it's Hate Week. There is nothing good about the University of Minnesota. Dinkytown is dumb. Your basketball student section dresses like farm animals, instantly making them some of the best-looking people on campus. Your football head coach might actually be half-gopher. Your quarterback can't throw (out of this glass house I'm living in). Everything about the U (which is Miami, by the way, you halfwits) is University of Wisconsin Lite. The last time you had the Axe, Facebook wasn't even a thing. Get bent forever, Minnesota.
BONUS HATE WEEK WEAKNESS: I think "everything" covered it.
Remaining schedule: #DecadeOfDominance
S&P+ rank: 26th overall, 27th offense, 37th defense
Week 13 result: L, Minnesota 28, Nebraska 24
Biggest strength: De'Mornay Pierson-El had a good game, I guess. Abdullah had 98 yards and a TD. Right on schedule to lose four games.
Biggest weakness: Supporting their head coach.
DO YOU EVER HAVE THAT WEIRD FEELING THAT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WANT YOU FIRED— Fake Bo Pelini (@FauxPelini) November 22, 2014
BONUS HATE WEEK WEAKNESS: Your coach looks like Voldemort. Runza is gross.
Remaining schedule: Battle Iowa for corn supremacy or something.
S&P+ rank: 68th overall, 93rd offense, 48th defense
Week 13 result: W, Northwestern 38, Purdue 14
Biggest strength: Justin Jackson had 147 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Got to play Purdue.
Jesus, Purdue.— Sippin' on Purple (@sippinonpurple) November 22, 2014
Biggest weakness: Surprisingly not much. I don't really know. No one watched this game, as far as I can tell.
BONUS HATE WEEK WEAKNESS: Kids from Evanston saying they are from Chicago. If the place you live has ITS OWN GOD DAMNED NAME, YOU ARE NOT FROM A DIFFERENT PLACE! I am a Philadelphia sports fan, I am not from Philadelphia. I am from Wayne, Pa. It has a post office and everything. Get it together, kids from the Chicago suburbs.
Remaining schedule: One game away from bowl eligibility. Winner of the game against Illinois gets to go bowling, maybe!
S&P+ rank: 72nd overall, 79th offense, 62nd defense
Week 13 result: L, Northwestern 38, Purdue 14
Biggest strength: *ERROR*
Biggest weakness: Five turnovers. It might have been a mistake for Purdue to even field a team this year. Just think about what all the players could be doing with all the free time, not playing football would give them? I bet they would engineer the shit out of some other shit.
BONUS HATE WEEK WEAKNESS: You know what other schools call Breakfast Club? Regular, old football tailgating. Any school that needs to make up an excuse to drink before football games is an embarassment. See also: Duke.
Remaining schedule: A chance to save face against Indiana. Purdue won't, though.
S&P+ rank: 12th overall, 15th offense, 12th defense
Week 13 result: W, Wisconsin 26, Iowa 24
Biggest strength: Joel Stave was effective. Tanner McEvoy ran well. The two-QB system that the Badgers have installed is the ultimate "too stupid not to work" idea. Maybe Andy Ludwig is really Kenneth from 30 Rock playing poker. You can't beat him because he's too dumb to have a tell. The defense played just well enough. Rafael Gaglianone made a 50-yard field goal. Keeping trophies.
Biggest weakness: Penalties. Extra points. Holding records for longer than a week.
BONUS HATE WEEK WEAKNESS: No movie theater on campus.
Remaining schedule: Hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate.