I moved to Minnesota almost exactly a year ago this week and in the past 12 months I’ve had a daughter, bought a house, gotten a new job at a great restaurant, totaled my first car, and the Cubs won the World Series. Needless to say, it has been a crazy year full of things I never thought would happen. The most important development, however, has been all of the yard work I’ve had to do and how much it bothers me.
Now, let me get this straight: doing the yard work isn’t what bothers me. I’ve actually found mowing my lawn to be relaxing. I get to throw on some music, be outside, have a beer or two, and basically enjoy being away from my harpy of a wife. What bothers me is how much I c...oh shit, my wife comments on this blog now. MIKE, DELETE THIS WHOLE COLUMN AND DISCONNECT THE INTERNET FROM MY HOUSE! I LOVE YOU, ALYSSA! I WAS JUST KIDDING!
Alright, now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get back to what really matters. What bothers me is how much I care about how my lawn looks. I get anxious if the grass is a bit too long or if there are too many leaves swirling about out there. I do have thoughts on the leaves, though. What if we all just agreed not to bag any of them up? What if we all just had lawns strewn with leaves all fall until the snow comes and covers everything up? PEOPLE OF THE WESTERN SUBURBS OF MINNEAPOLIS! HEED MY CALL! DO NOT RAKE ANYMORE OF YOUR LEAVES UP!
Anyways, I’m turning into the Ultimate Suburban Dad slowly but surely. I have a long way to go, but the groundwork has already been laid in the first year I’ve lived here. Fellow suburban dad Jim Harbaugh had a rough weekend and now he is tied with Rutgers in the B1G standings at the end of October (this fact can not be repeated enough this week). What else happened in our dumb conference this weekend? A lot of stupid crap! Let’s get into it!
S&P+ rank: 52nd overall, 106th offense, 20th defense
Last week’s result: (L) at No. 18 Michigan State 17–9
Biggest strength: Chase Dutra had 14 tackles and Griffin Oakes was perfect on field goals. However, the Ultimate B1G Bridesmaid came up short yet again against a ranked conference foe. The Hoosiers were even winning until there were six minutes left in the game! One of these days, they’ll close out a big win. One of these days...
Biggest weakness: IU’s first four B1G games were against Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State. Losing all four of those games is nothing to be ashamed of ... all of those teams are better than Indiana! The rest of the year is far more manageable, with the only tough game remaining being against Wisconsin. Hopefully the Hoosiers don’t figure out how to beat a ranked team in two weeks.
Indiana hasn’t “beaten” MSU in consecutive years since 1993-94 and the 1994 “win” came because MSU got hit with monster sanctions in 1996 and had to forfeit all of their victories in 1994. Head coach Nick Saban (LOL, remember when he was in East Lansing?) said, “We’re not dwelling on it. This is something we have no control of and can do nothing about.” That’s the most expressive quote I think I’ve ever seen from Saban. 2017 Saban is probably still upset about how much emotion he showed.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: at Maryland
S&P+ rank: 93rd overall, 87th offense, 77th defense
Last week’s result: (L) at No. 5 Wisconsin 38–13
Biggest strength: The Terps never really had a chance against the Wisconsin defense despite getting two early turnovers that gave them excellent field position. Max Wanderlust threw two touchdown passes, however one was to T.J. Edwards, who doesn’t play for Maryland. The Maryland rushing attack gained 143 yards, which is well over the 88 yards per game the Badgers normally allow.
Biggest weakness: Passing the ball downfield. Scoring touchdowns after turnovers give you the ball inside the 10-yard line. Being consistent at all this season. Maryland is not very good this year, but this mostly due to the fact that they can’t keep a quarterback healthy. D.J. Moore didn’t make an impact in the passing game. Their quarterback is an “exactly half-full or maybe empty” glass type of guy. “It wasn’t my best game, it wasn’t my worst,” he said.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: vs. Indiana
S&P+ rank: 27th overall, 85th offense, 14th defense
Last week’s result: (L) at No. 2 Penn State 42–13
Biggest strength: They won the time-of-possession battle, which is totally an important stat when you’re giving up four touchdown drives that last under two minutes and a fifth that lasted 2:05. Michigan got straight steamrolled in a result that you could see coming from a mile away. GameDay was there. It was a Whiteout. The Lions were out for revenge from last season. Michigan can’t finish higher than third in their division by law. It was a perfect storm for a shit-kicking of epic proportions.
Biggest weakness: Guess who Michigan, the owners of the most wins in college football history as a program, play on Saturday? CONFERENCE RECORD EQUAL, THE PUNISHERS OF PISCATAWAY, THE BONECRUSHERS OF THE B1G, THE VAUNTED NEW YORK MEDIA MARKET’S OWN ... RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS! Michigan sucks so hard that they are now tied with Rutgers in the B1G East and the winner of their Titanic, which I’m clarifying here so you know I’m referencing the ship that sank in one of the greatest disasters in human history and not the divine Greek beings that were one step below the gods, matchup gets sole possession of fourth place (LOLOLOLOLOL) in the division.
Also, I don’t know who Lavert Hill is. I thought he played basketball for them a couple of years ago, but he is now the picture definition of “pissing on a fire to put it out.”
Former Penn State commit Lavert Hill was not a fan of the White Out. pic.twitter.com/WZpx8kQxuw— Onward State (@OnwardState) October 22, 2017
It was a great week for formerly good teams to have players flip off the crowd of a far superior opponent whilst getting their skulls caved in by said opponent.
I strive to be as unbothered as this Alabama fan after he got flicked off by Rashaan Gaulden. pic.twitter.com/1kHPSg3rIK— Devin Walker (@Devin_Walker5) October 23, 2017
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 11 a.m.: vs. Rutgers
S&P+ rank: 20th overall, 90th offense, 3rd defense
Last week’s result: (W) vs. Indiana 17–9
Biggest strength: Continue to win in the most boring, plodding, stupid, annoying, hateable, and contemptable way. Had three players record double-digit tackles and their punter averaged 46.3 yards per kick. LJ Scott ran for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Biggest weakness: SPEAKING OF LJ SCOTT! He missed the Spartans’ first offensive series because he was arrested during the week leading up to the game on his seventh (!!!!!!) driver’s license-related charge in under two years. LJ, my dude, go get a driver’s license that is valid. The only thing I can think of worse than living in East Lansing is going to the DMV there, so I feel your pain. I know it’s annoying; I didn’t have a driver’s license until I was 31 for Christ’s sake, but it’s something you should have if you want to operate a motor vehicle in these here United States of America, where we stand for the national anthem and the government can take my guns out of my cold, dead hands after I stop immigrants from getting married ... or something. “It was just communications between me and the Secretary of State,” Scott said. “I’m just glad to have it all cleared up and make sure nothing like that happens again.” I don’t particularly believe when you say, “nothing like that happens again,” LJ. This guy thinks you shouldn’t care about Scott playing on Saturday, which I don’t because I think all crime should be legal all the time and we should live like a Purge movie every day, because he doesn’t know all the details. He sounds like an excellent reporter.
Here is the opening to the AP’s recap of the game:
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State came prepared with an appropriate symbol for its sixth victory of the season.
“We had a bowling ball in the locker room,” quarterback Brian Lewerke said. “We’re all going to sign it after — on Monday or whatever.”
Lewerke’s attention to detail and ability to stick to a schedule are what makes him such a below-average quarterback ... or whatever.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: at Northwestern
S&P+ rank: 1st overall, 2nd offense, 7th defense
Last week’s result: BYE
Biggest strength: My wife reads my column every week and while she is fairly easy to impress (I mean, for the first year we dated, we basically just got drunk and smooched each other without ever “going out.”) she never felt the urge to comment on the post. Until last week. Under the hiding-in-plain-sight handle of “DefinitleyNotDrew’sWife,” my lovely bride and mother of my child dropped some hot takes in the comments last week. It was the most rec’d comment of the week! When I told her this and said people might expect her to be around more often now, she replied, “Good. I have a lot to say. I don’t sleep anymore, so all I do is have thoughts on topics.” I can’t wait for her rebuttal to my weekly nonsense.
Biggest weakness: Speaking of (Scott Aukerman doing a Borat voice) my wife, she and I had to go buy more Halloween candy because we already ate the first bag that we bought at the beginning of October. I don’t know what we were thinking bringing an ENORMOUS sack of candy into our house a full month before trick-or-treaters would be knocking on our door. Really poor planning on our part. The sack contained Whoppers, which I left in there when I threw the bag out. I then lit our trash can on fire and pushed it off a bridge onto the highway to be run over by an 18-wheeler. Whoppers are gross and whoever invented them should be tried for war crimes.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: vs. No. 2 Penn State
S&P+ rank: 3rd overall, 10th offense, 9th defense
Last week’s result: (W) vs. No. 19 Michigan 42–13
Biggest strength: Just about every gosh-danged thing. Trace McSorley had four touchdowns (three on the ground) and Saquon Barkley had three touchdowns of his own, including one that went for 69 yards. DaeSean Hamilton had 115 receiving yards. The defense had seven sacks and recovered a fumble. Out-gained the anemic Michigan offense by 237 yards. This game was a bludgeoning, but with speedy skill players and an angry defense.
In need of a cute gameday outfit? Here are three DIY styles. onward.st/2ydgTkbPosted by Onward State on Friday, September 29, 2017
Why even buy a t-shirt if you’re going to do this? Just wear a swimsuit to the game. I can’t FATHOM doing this to a sweatshirt either. They are so comfortable and this just makes me want to puke. College kids are stupid. Especially ones from Pennsylvania ... wait ... yes, this is 100 percent true.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: at No. 6 Ohio State
S&P+ rank: 82nd overall, 117th offense, 33rd defense
Last week’s result: (W) vs. Purdue 14–12 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Biggest strength: Michigan, Maryland, Indiana, Nebraska, Purdue, Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois. What’s that? Oh, nothing ... just listing off the teams that Rutgers has a longer conference winning streak than. Gus Edwards had 94 yards and a touchdown. Trevor Morris had 15 tackles and the defense picked off Purdue’s QB twice. I’m so happy for Rutgers, I won’t even mention that Purdue out-gained them 474–217 and had 25 first downs to their eight. I WON’T EVEN MENTION IT, READERS!
Biggest weakness: Nothing, for the second week in a row. Rutgers is the perfect college football program. Something for the Michigans and Nebraskas of the world to aspire to.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 11 a.m.: at Michigan
S&P+ rank: 106th overall, 118th offense, 76th defense
Last week’s result: (L) at Minnesota 24–17
Biggest strength: “I think we had three takeaways and whenever you can take the ball away it’s a good thing,” Illinois coach Lovie Smith said. How do you not know how many takeaways your team had? They were probably the only three they’d had all season. Each player responsible will probably have their jersey retired at the end of the season. Lovie Smith gives the same soundbite every week. Either something was a “good thing” (rarely) or a “bad thing” (often) and he’s never quite sure exactly what happened the previous three to four hours. Like, he always knows that he just finished coaching a football game, but I’m not convinced that he knows which team he coached or what the outcome was. His answers to reporters’ questions are like mine on a midterm that I didn’t study for.
/looks at question on the importance of the Black Hand, and their assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in the starting of World War I
“The Black Hand, and their assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was important in starting World War I and they did the following bad things.”
Biggest weakness: Did you know that this weekend is Illinois Homecoming? THAT’S BULLETIN-BOARD MATERIAL, WISCONSIN! LOVIE SMITH DOESN’T RESPECT YOU! HOLD THEM TO NEGATIVE YARDS TO PROVE A POINT!
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 11 a.m.: vs. No. 5 Wisconsin
S&P+ rank: 45th overall, 91st offense, 22nd defense
Last week’s result: (L) at Northwestern 17–10 (OT)
Biggest strength: Josey Jewell didn’t suit up for the Hawkeyes and their defense allowed 17 points to Northwestern. You score more than 14 against Iowa and Nathan Stanley actually turns into a puddle and the offense is more impotent than usual.
Biggest weakness: This game was extremely boring and I don’t think you want to read any more about it. Let’s head over to Drew’s NBA Corner! The Sixers have struggled a bit out of the gate, but their first three games were in four nights all against playoff teams, so I don’t really begrudge them being 0–3. They played Detroit on Monday night and they steamrolled the Pistons. Ben Simmons had a triple-double and Joel Embiid repeatedly dropped buckets on Andre Drummond’s dumb head. TRUST THE PROCESS, BABY! The Bucks, on the other hand, have been an absolute JOY to watch so far in every game. I love Giannis a hair less than I love my own daughter. He is the best and I hope he wins three MVP awards this year. If they would just cut Delly, they would be infinitely more likable.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 5:30 p.m.: vs. Minnesota
S&P+ rank: 62nd overall, 107th offense, 25th defense
Last week’s result: (W) vs. Illinois 24–17
Biggest strength: Two tailbacks ran for over 100 yards and the team ran for 292 yards. Pulled within one game of being tied with Rutgers in the B1G overall standings. Pretty good spot to be at the end of October imo. The Gophers are lurking! LOOK BEHIND YOU, RUTGERS! Also, with the Gophers traveling to Iowa City this week, The Quadrangle of Hate really gets going. The only game that has been played so far is Wisconsin’s dismemberment of Nebraska earlier this month.
Biggest weakness: Understanding basic English words. “I was really proud of how Kobe put people on his shoulders, literally,” Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said. Oh? Was Kobe McCrary LITERALLY running the ball with a teammate sitting on his shoulders? That seems like a needless obstacle that a team like Minnesota couldn’t overcome easily ... unless they were playing Illinois. Whoever the Gophers shoved onto the field to play quarterback this week had a dismal stat line (5-for-15, 47 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs) and I can’t wait for him to see the Wisconsin defense.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 5:30 p.m.: at Iowa
S&P+ rank: 73rd overall, 73rd offense, 66th defense
Last week’s result: BYE
Biggest strength: We took my daughter to the pumpkin patch on Sunday and it was an extremely pleasant afternoon. We bought three pumpkins, each bigger than the last, and we plan on putting her in one and taking a picture. The one is so big she could probably live in there for another month or two. Her grandmother bought her a pumpkin balloon too and it hasn’t scared me yet when I’ve gotten home from work after midnight ... but it’s coming. I’m gonna walk in one night this week and it’s going to be waiting for me around a corner and I’m gonna pee my pants. Nick Nelson and Derrick Tindal know.
Biggest weakness: As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m a “soup person” now. We eat soup at my house every other day during the fall/winter. AND I LOVE IT AND MYSELF! We had lasagna soup over the weekend and I could probably eat an entire cauldron of that shit. We are having minestrone tonight (author’s note: it doesn’t matter what day you post this, Mike, I’ll be eating minestrone that night) and I’m freaking jacked about it. At my job, I rave about the French onion soup to any guest that sits at the bar and is foolish enough to ask me for a recommendation. Age gracefully ... eat soup a bunch.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 6:30 p.m.: at Purdue
S&P+ rank: 69th overall (NICE!), 92nd offense, 48th defense
Last week’s result: (W) vs. Iowa 17–10 (OT)
Biggest strength: “That was just another piece of the momentum shifting our way,” Clayton Thorson said. “A huge punt.” Northwestern’s punter walloped a punt 80 yards and still had the THIRD-best average punting distance (50.8 per kick) in the game (Iowa’s punters averaged 52.6 and 55 yards per kick). You come at Kirk Ferentz with some punter that can kick one 80 yards, he’s gonna trot his backup punter out there to kick one 55 yards and make you look like a pansy, Pat Fitzgerald.
Biggest weakness: Also, the fact that the momentum of an entire college football game might have swung on a massive punt must’ve made Ferentz’s erection very B1G despite the loss. This conference can eat my whole entire butt. Everyone should have to start playing like the Golden State Warriors in every sport.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: vs. No. 16 Michigan State
S&P+ rank: 48th overall, 69th offense (NICE!!), 34th defense
Last week’s result: (L) vs. Rutgers 14–12 (!!!!)
Biggest strength: I don’t know, man. When you gain 257 more yards than your opponent you should probably win ... right? They should probably still make a bowl because they have no one of consequence remaining on the schedule due to the fact that they play in the pillow-soft B1G West, but what could have been for the Boilermakers this year?
Biggest weakness: Losing to Rutgers is shame enough. But just to be safe, everyone on the football team should probably wear an Adidas track suit, four gold chains, multiple hair products, and talk like a complete dipshit for the rest of the week in deference to their new New Jersey overlords.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 6:30 p.m.: vs. Nebraska
S&P+ rank: 7th overall, 26th offense, 6th defense
Last week’s result: (W) vs. Maryland 38–13
Biggest strength: Jonathan Taylor had 126 yards and a touchdown, which can be considered a below-average day for the star freshman. Troy Fumagalli made his return to the stat sheet with seven catches for 83 yards. T.J. Edwards returned a pick for a touchdown and the defense overall was stout.
Biggest weakness: Penalties by the offensive line need to stop. I won’t abide another false start penalty on David Edwards. Turning the ball over needs to stop. Taylor is the perfect running back but he has now lost a fumble in two straight games. Denzel, we need your help!
Alright, now let’s get down to the good stuff: quarterback play. If there’s one thing that all Wisconsin fans can agree on when it comes to quarterback play, it’s that they’re all terrible (except for you, Russell Wilson) and should be benched for the backup (bats eyelashes at Jack Coan), who is clearly the next Russell Wilson. Alex Hornibrook had what I fear is becoming his normal game on Saturday. He turned the ball over once (could have been twice), he made smart decisions in the red zone leading to two touchdown passes, he made a handful of head-scratching throws, and he threw a bunch of passes behind receivers (even the completed ones). As noted quarterback guru Four Beers Down the Hatch Drew said, “Lead your receivers and you’ll get more yards after the catch, you dummy. Now, where did I put that fifth beer?”
Hornibrook kind of sucks, but he also kind of doesn’t. He is the prototypical Wisconsin quarterback and I think we’re all going to have to live with that. Another thing I think we’re going to have to live with? Being behind a number of one-loss teams in the first College Football Playoff rankings. That is going to be a real rational-conversation starter on message boards around the Badger blogosphere.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 11 a.m.: at Illinois