I know that this will be posted after the College Football Playoff rankings were announced on Tuesday night, but I want to discuss a couple of things about the Badgers, where they should be ranked, and how you should feel about what happened to Washington last year in regards what is going to happen to us this year. Ok? Ok.
[Ed. note: Indeed, our timing sucks. The playoff rankings came out last night, and Wisconsin is ninth.]
The Badgers are ranked fourth in both major polls. They are ranked sixth in the S&P+ rankings. These are two facts that cannot be disputed. When the playoff rankings come out, Wisconsin will not be ranked this high. I’d imagine they’ll be seventh or eighth ... maybe lower depending on how much the bashing of the Badgers’ schedule has reached the committee. The teams ahead of Wisconsin, for sure, will be: Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and Clemson. Notre Dame and Penn State are probably’s. Oklahoma and Miami are maybes to be ahead of Wisconsin.
[Ed. note: Drew pretty much nailed this.]
That is fine! Wisconsin isn’t the fourth-best team in the country and I think everyone here knows it. However, the Badgers have the chance to prove themselves with their remaining schedule. Michigan should be ranked again by the time they take on Wisconsin, and Iowa and Minnesota are teams that, uh, people have heard of. Then a match-up awaits in the B1G championship game against either Ohio State or Penn State ... or technically Michigan State, I guess.
If the Badgers win all those games, they’ll be in the CFP! Isn’t that exciting? I think it is and I think you should too. Let’s not get hung up on the first CFP ranking that comes out and the guffaws and snide remarks we are sure to get from other fan bases for our weak schedule (it IS weak this year) and our unimpressive wins (just saving all of our good plays for good teams). Let’s wait and see how this all plays out, because Wisconsin doesn’t need anybody’s help to make the playoff.
They just need to go undefeated. Also, Alabama and Wisconsin have both beaten the same number of teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25: zero. Let’s get down to making fun of Minnesota and Nebraska!
S&P+ rank: 55th overall, 102nd offense, 28th defense
Last week’s result: (L) at Maryland 42–39
Biggest strength: Their two quarterbacks combined for 410 yards and five touchdowns in a game where defense was apparently optional. Simmie Cobbs, Jr., had 10 catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns, Whop Philyor had 13 catches for 127 yards and one touchdown, and Luke Timian had 13 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. I think all of those single-game stat lines would have led the Badgers in receiving the one year that Tyler Donovan was quarterback. Thoroughly dominated the Terps in total yards, time of possession, and first downs.
Biggest weakness: But, uh, still lost on the scoreboard. “I’ll be transparent: What they do stresses our athleticism in spots,” head coach Tom Allen said. “Their speed makes it hard on us. I’m just being honest.” Coach ... you weren’t playing Alabama. Get your shit together. Gave up a lot of big special teams plays. GOTTA WIN IN ALL THREE PHASES, INDIANA! Need to win three of their last four to be bowl-eligible. Need to win one of their last four to have one win in conference.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 11 a.m.: vs. No. 4 Wisconsin
S&P+ rank: 92nd overall, 71st offense, 84th defense
Last week’s result: (W) vs. Indiana 42–39
Biggest strength: Got thoroughly dominated by Indiana (see above) and still won! That’s exciting for a team that could literally do anything from week to week and I wouldn’t be surprised. Beat Georgia on the road? Sure, I believe it. Lose to Baylor on the moon? Yeah, I think I watched that game. Blocked a punt for a touchdown, which is always badass. Max von Bismarck threw for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Any time someone mentions Otto von Bismarck, I think of this Simpsons clip.
Biggest weakness: I need Jake Funk to transfer to Wisconsin immediately. He rushed the ball seven times for 14 yards and scored two touchdowns. That is such a Wisconsin stat line that I’m pretty sure Scott Walker just tried to deny it collective bargaining rights. Also, his last name is Funk. I think every team should have a player with that last name on their team, but I demand that my favorite team has a Funk on their roster.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: at Rutgers
S&P+ rank: 26th overall, 73rd offense, 15th defense
Last week’s result: (W) vs. Rutgers 35–14
Biggest strength: Were able to wrest sole control of fourth place in their division from historic rival and equally talented Rutgers. Many pundits were surprised by the lopsided nature of the game since both teams came into the game with identical conference records and the Scarlet Knights had a two-game winning streak. This game will definitely go down as one of the biggest surprises in Big House history. Congrats to the Wolverines on finally taking the next step forward as a football program!
Biggest weakness: John O’Korn, whose picture is in the dictionary next to the word “ineffectual,” was replaced by Brandon Peters and apparently that was all Michigan needed to turn into an offensive juggernaut. Weird. Who would’ve thought that putting an average quarterback in the game to replace a terrible one would make things better? Michigan rushed for 334 yards and Karan Higdon had two touchdowns. They had 40 different people catch passes because Peters is egalitarian like that and 40 different people record tackles for losses because Rutgers eats butt like that. Seriously, their game against the Badgers is going to be downright unwatchable. I hope it’s in primetime!
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 6:30 p.m.: vs. Minnesota
S&P+ rank: 21st overall, 95th offense, 6th defense
Last week’s result: (L) at Northwestern 39–31 (3OT)
Biggest strength: Brian Lewerke had 445 yards passing and four touchdowns. He also led the team in rushing. If this scrub turns out to be the next Kirk Cousins and makes the NFL and takes millions of dollars from Washington I’ll be ... well, I’ll probably be pretty happy since they play in the same division as the Eagles. GO LEWERKE GO! Cody White and Felton Davis III each caught two touchdowns and the Spartans’ defense certainly participated in a game of B1G football.
Biggest weakness: Look, Michigan State isn’t good. They won their previous four conference games by 22 points combined. They got blown out by Notre Dame. Say what you will about Wisconsin’s schedule, and I have said some not nice things, but the Badgers beat Maryland by 25 points alone and have’t lost to anyone. Now MSU gets to play Ohio State and Penn State in back-to-back weekends. Good luck, shitheads.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 11 a.m.: vs. No. 7 Penn State
S&P+ rank: 1st overall, 3rd offense, 12th defense
Last week’s result: (W) vs. No. 2 Penn State 39–38
Biggest strength: Holy balls, what a game! This was everything a college football game should be. Exciting players making unbelievable plays and two heavyweights trading punches until the final bell. Because, you see, talking about football isn’t tough enough, so you have to evoke a boxing match when you become a football writer or else you’re a pansy. Mike Ditka taught me that. Remember when people were calling for J.T. Barrett’s job after the Oklahoma game? I bring this up basically every week because we need to be reminded how stupid college football fans are. That being said, I hear Jack Coan has looked pretty good in prac...
*gets hit in head with 2x4 wielded by Paul Chryst*
Barrett was 33-for-39 (WHAT?!?!) for 328 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for 95 yards. Oh, when it mattered most and the Buckeyes needed someone to step up, Barrett went 13-for-13 for 170 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Are you freaking kidding me? That is so impressive it makes me want to go climb a mountain. J.T. Barrett’s fourth-quarter performance makes me want to be a better man.
Biggest weakness: I don’t know, man. I guess the defense gave up a lot of points, but PSU’s offense is really good and once Ohio State had time to make adjustments, they pretty much shut down Saquon Barkley and the passing game. This team is scary good and I would love to see them play Alabama.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: at Iowa
S&P+ rank: 7th overall, 22nd offense, 14th defense
Last week’s result: (L) at No. 6 Ohio State 39–38
Biggest strength: Jumping out to an early lead on Ohio State, which prompted me to send this text to Hef, my PSU field reporter who broke the “terrible gameday attire” story last week, after the Lions went up 21–3: “Hef, I’m sorry. Penn State is gonna win by 100. I was wrong.” I had spent most of the week predicting a big OSU win and after Saquon Barkley scored his second touchdown, I began to seriously reconsider. How was I to know that J.T. Barrett was going to turn into a mixture of Madden 04 Mike Vick and Joe Montana?
Biggest weakness: Speaking of Barkley ... are his Heisman chances a bit overblown? I know that he scores exciting touchdowns and he leads the nation in all-purpose yards but ... I just can’t help but think he shouldn’t be in the conversation. He is 23rd in the nation in rushing yards behind two running backs in his own conference and four quarterbacks. His kick return yards, which are what allow him to lead the nation in all-purpose yards because most teams’ leading rushers don’t also return kicks, are ranked 39th in the country. He is fourth in the nation in touchdowns (non-QB passing division), which is impressive, but he is overly reliant on big plays and that doesn’t sit well with this ol’ fashioned B1G fan. Three yards and a cloud of dust until I die, baby! I don’t know? Maybe Barkley is fine, but he’s only had three games where he’s rushed for over 100 yards ... four if you include the one game he had over 100 yards receiving. What I’m trying to say is: Vote Bryce Love!
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 11 a.m.: at No. 24 Michigan State
S&P+ rank: 89th overall, 115th offense, 44th defense
Last week’s result: (L) vs. Michigan 35–14
Biggest strength: Well, the impossible dream died as soon as Jim Harbaugh wised up and took out John O’Korn. If Rutgers had beaten Michigan, it would have been more embarrassing than when they lost to App. State. App. State at least had a dynamic playmaker in Armanti Edwards (whose name I did NOT have to look up, because when you record one of the greatest upsets in college football history, you live on forever in our hearts and in our minds) while Rutgers had Chris Christie in attendance. Woof. Janarion Grant had a 65-yard touchdown run, which tied the game in the first quarter and gave all of us hope.
Biggest weakness: Everything basically went wrong for Rutgers in this game. Let’s head on over to Drew’s NBA Corner instead! The Sixers beat the Rockets on Monday night in Houston even though the night before multiple Sixers players were at Minute Maid Park watching the World Series game until all hours of the night!
The young Sixers don’t even need a good night’s sleep to beat that ass, James Harden! Markelle Fultz is out “indefinitely” with a shoulder injury and you might as well just say “see you next year” because the Sixers employ the John O’Korn of medical staffs. My favorite Latvian of all time, Kristaps Porzingis, dropped 38 right on Denver’s melon and has led the Knicks to a couple of wins in a row! My new hometown team, the T-Wolves, are putting it all together while the defending champion Warriors have already lost three games. I can’t wait for the Sixers/Wolves Finals this June!
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: vs. Maryland
S&P+ rank: 109th overall, 123rd offense, 69th defense (nice)
Last week’s result: (L) vs. No. 5 Wisconsin 24–10
Biggest strength: Illinois is bad. This game was a real eyesore and I watched every minute. I take my daughter to a Little Gym every week and this week all the kids were supposed to dress up for Halloween and my little one went as a flamingo. In our class of seven kids, there were two other flamingos and the teacher was one too! I always knew my daughter would be on the edge of hot costume trends. There was also a pirate and a little girl in a homemade Thor costume. Two kids didn’t dress up and I was kinda like, “What the hell?” I want to see your cute kids in silly costumes. Real ripoff imo. The second ripoff was that we didn’t even get any candy. I get that it’s a gym, but at the same time go screw for not giving me a Reese’s while I struggle to get my daughter into her flamingo costume. I wore a Batman mask and not a single other parent/guardian wore anything Halloween-related and I was kinda like, “What the double hell?” Get in the spirit, people!
Biggest weakness: My wife, her sister, her husband, and I are competing in a The Office trivia contest on Wednesday night at some bar in Minneapolis. There are very few topics I feel confident in saying I know more than most people on the planet, but The Office is one of those things. And honestly? I’m probably the fourth-most knowledgeable person on our team. I mean, I answered (without hesitation, mind you) “Rolando” when my wife was quizzing me last night and asked, “What is the name of the receptionist at the Utica branch?” This character is on screen for maybe 30 seconds of the entire show’s run and I remembered his name. We have been preparing our entire lives for Wednesday night. If you live in the Twin Cities and want to get your ass kicked at The Office trivia, you should come out to Last Call MN at 6:30 pm.
[Editor’s note: We really gotta publish these Roasts earlier. Results of Drew’s trivia outing to come.]
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 11 a.m.: at Purdue
S&P+ rank: 43rd overall, 99th offense, 16th defense
Last week’s result: (W) vs. Minnesota 17–10
Biggest strength: Hoo boy, I don’t really want to discuss this game. But I will, for you, fair reader. /opens AP recap of game and reads first sentence
“There wasn't a whole lot to get excited about Saturday evening in Kinnick Stadium.”
Biggest weakness: I’ve been ordering a lot of soccer jerseys from shady websites in China and let me tell you something, buddy. These are high quality kits! I just got a Netherlands shirt from 1988 and, shit, it is fire.
It is even more orange than that picture would have you believe. I’ve also ordered an Iceland jersey because I’m tired of cheering for perennial loser the USMNT and want to support a team that will actually be participating in the World Cup. /Does Viking Clap thing until arms fall off
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: vs. No. 3 Ohio State
S&P+ rank: 66th overall, 116th offense, 23rd defense
Last week’s result: (L) at Iowa 17–10
Biggest strength: LOL, nothing. Minnesota sucks.
Biggest weakness: The Gophers have really adopted P.J. Fleck’s motto, “Row The Boat.” I think that’s great they have something to rally behind and get excited for. It’s too bad that Fleck’s boat is an erg machine. All that damn work rowing and you don’t go fucking anywhere. The Gophers have won four games against teams that have a combined nine wins. While those combined teams would be able to beat Nebraska in the final standings, it is not very impressive when it takes four teams to cobble that many wins together. Their quarterback completed nine passes on 29 attempts and also threw a pick. He is going to be eaten alive by Michigan’s defense this week.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 6:30 p.m.: at Michigan
S&P+ rank: 73rd overall, 64th offense, 72nd defense
Last week’s result: (W) at Purdue 25–24
Biggest strength: Tanner Lee threw for 431 yards and two touchdowns and no picks. Holy cow, that can’t possibly be right. Let me check again. NO PICKS! Tanner Lee is basically J.T. Barrett now. It is really, really funny to me that Nebraska needed a win against Purdue to save their season. There are few sadder sentences to utter in the B1G than, “We need to go out there and stage a miracle fourth-quarter comeback with a bad quarterback against a toothless Purdue defense to save our chance at making the Music City Bowl.”
Biggest weakness: Lil’ Red.
Look at how horrifying this guy is! My wife thinks he’s “cute and funny” but my wife also thought that about me so I don’t think she can be trusted at all here. Any team that has a secondary mascot that isn’t an adorable live animal can go straight back to hell where they belong. Lil’ Red is the scariest Halloween costume I can think of ... besides any sort of clown. Do NOT post clown pictures in the comments or I will bring back my food takes.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: vs. Northwestern
S&P+ rank: 71st overall, 83rd offense, 49th defense
Last week’s result: (W) vs No. 16 Michigan State 39–31 (3OT)
Biggest strength: This is a great win for a program that seems to take its time getting warmed up every season. Overtime games are awesome, especially in college football. Here, let Clayton Thorson sum it up for you: “So proud of our guys. These are the games that—just think back to playing NCAA Football and going to triple-overtime with my brothers—this is something I’ve always wanted to do.” OMG! BRING BACK NCAA FOOTBALL RIGHT THIS DAMN INSTANT, EA SPORTS! JUST THINK OF ALL THE CHILDREN GROWING UP NOW WHO HAVE NEVER GOTTEN SO MAD WHEN A FOUR-STAR RUNNING BACK RECRUIT CHOOSES NORTH TEXAS OVER YOUR BURGEONING POWERHOUSE AT GEORGIA STATE EVEN THOUGH YOU RUN THE BALL ALL THE DAMN TIME AND HAVE ALREADY HAD MULTIPLE PLAYERS DRAFTED UNDER YOUR COACHING REGIME! Not that I’m, uh, speaking from personal experience. I am a 32-year-old man with a child and I get worked up about video games. Thorson also threw for 356 yards and two touchdowns. Paddy Fisher had 17 tackles.
Biggest weakness: Gave up an ass-ton of yards through the air but shut down L.J. “Duke of Hazzard” Scott and the Spartans’ rushing attack.
Maybe we should start calling Pat Fitzgerald “Boss Hogg?” Even in exciting triple-OT games, Northwestern is a boring team to talk about. Can I tell you something weird about NBA League Pass? Whatever, I’m going to tell you no matter what you answer. When picking out the game you want to watch, you are able to pick which broadcast crew you want to listen to, which is awesome. However when the game goes to commercial, your feed doesn’t. Instead, it starts showing whatever the crowd is seeing on the Jumbotron. Alyssa only lets me watch games because she likes to see the various dance-cams around the country and see which arena has the best dancers. We might have to start a ranking system for them. Lastly, I think every mascot should come to All-Star weekend with their respective t-shirt cannons and have a competition to see which one can get to the highest point in the stadium. I’d rather watch that than the Skills Competition.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: at Nebraska
S&P+ rank: 49th overall, 63rd offense, 34th defense
Last week’s result: (L) vs. Nebraska 25–24
Biggest strength: Richie Worship rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown and also leads the conference in praise-based hymns. What a wild last name! Otherwise, not a great day for the Boilermakers, who started the season with such promise and then realized they were Purdue and Boiler’d it up.
Biggest weakness: “We were saying constantly that we didn’t want to be too soft,” Jeff Brohm said. OH, WERE YOU SAYING THAT CONSTANTLY, JEFF?, referring to Nebraska's final drive. Oh, nevermind.
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 11 a.m.: vs. Illinois
S&P+ rank: 6th overall, 33rd offense, 7th defense
Last week’s result: (W) at Illinois 24–10
Biggest strength: Alec James had two sacks and Joe Ferguson and Derrick Tindal each had a pick. Nick Nelson broke up four passes and might HOT TAKE ALERT arguably be as important a transfer as Russell Wilson was. My beautiful, bouncing, burly, Brazilian, baby boy Rafa Gaglianone knocked home a 52-yard field goal. Garrett Groshek filled in admirably for the dinged-up Jonathan Taylor. I feel like something else cool happened, but I can’t quite remember.
Biggest weakness: Alex Hornibrook is really approaching a Joel Stave-esque ability to get the commentariat worked up into a frenzy on whether or not he is “good enough” to do “something something.” Am I happy with Hornibrook’s play? Eh, not really. He hasn’t looked very impressive outside of games against nobodies BYU and Utah State. Maybe Maryland too. Hold up, maybe we just need to start playing more schools from Utah? Has Barry thought of that? This is why I should be AD...
Sorry, back to the matter at hand. Hornibrook can make some good plays. He usually makes just enough so I don’t take a nap during the third quarter. But he also makes some really boneheaded plays! His accuracy beyond six yards is questionable at best, but did you know he leads the conference in yards per attempt?? He’s also second in the conference in QB rating (behind J.T. Barrett, who might be playing a different sport, so let’s say Hornibrook is first). If you just look at the stats for the second halves of games, Hornibrook really is first in QB rating. I’m serious!
Is Alex Hornibrook Russell Wilson? No, he decidedly is not. Is he a pretty good quarterback who is young and is making a few mistakes whilst learning? Yeah, he seems like he is. Try and remember that this weekend when you are screaming at your TV. I’m going to try ... I doubt it will work, though. PUT IN COAN!
This week’s schedule: Saturday, 11 a.m.: at Indiana