The Big Ten should have gone undefeated in bowl season this year but didn’t because Michigan sucks. The SEC has both teams in the national title game because life sucks.
But let’s not get stuck on things that suck! Let’s talk about things that don’t suck, like it was Christmas a week ago and New Year’s Eve was a couple of days ago and I’m off of work all week for our restaurant’s winter break.
Alright, that was enough of that. I want to go back to talking about Michigan sucking! TO THE ROAST!
S&P+ rank: 51st overall, 97th offense, 26th defense
Bowl game result: N/A
Biggest strength: My wife and I took our daughter down to Arizona for Christmas to see my parents and sister and let me tell you something: we may not fly again until our daughter is 10. It wasn’t even that she was crying a bunch or bothering other people, it was the fact that there was SO MUCH to look at that she wouldn’t sleep and thus bothered me and my wife the entire flight. Is there a rule about putting babies in pet carriers on planes? She loves dogs, so maybe it would be more fun for her down there? I don’t know, I’m just spitballing ideas here.
Biggest weakness: Otherwise, Arizona is a lovely place to be over Christmas when your home in Minnesota is suffering from negative temperatures. It was low-70s the three days we were there and we went swimming and played golf ... you know, classic white-people stuff. I am ... how do I put this? I am not good at golf, but I did have a couple of good shots and I drank a couple of beers with my dad before lunch, so it was a pretty enjoyable experience. Also, have y’all ever seen a javelina?
These little bastards are EVERYWHERE in Arizona. There were easily a dozen right outside my parents’ backyard, which thankfully has a fence, one night. These devilish pig rodents basically run the entire state and you shouldn’t cross them.
Next year’s opener: Saturday, Sept. 1 at FIU
S&P+ rank: 114th overall, 113th offense, 85th defense
Bowl game result: N/A
Biggest strength: I don’t really care for Maryland as a state, a university, or a motherfucking crew, but I do kind of wish all of their quarterbacks didn’t get hurt this year. This team beat Texas at Texas, which isn’t that impressive anymore, but for Maryland football it is! If Tyrrell Pigrome ever transferred to Arizona he’d have to change his last name to Javelinarome. I don’t make the rules, Tyrrell, I just enforce them.
Biggest weakness: I didn’t work on New Year’s Eve this year for only the second time in the last 11 years (the other time being when the Badgers played TCU in the Rose Bowl) and we had friends over for dinner and it was so pleasant. I made cocktails all day, my one buddy made us Eggs Benedict for breakfast, my brother-in-law did all the dishes, our wives made apps and dinner, and everyone helped watch the two small children.
It was all very lame and adult and I loved it. I don’t know about y’all, but going out on NYE makes me want curl up in a ball and cry. I am #old.
Next year’s schedule: Saturday, Sept. 1, vs. Texas (Landover, MD)
S&P+ rank: 27th overall, 86th offense, 10th defense
Bowl game result: (L) vs. South Carolina 26–19
Biggest strength: Khaleke Hudson had 10 tackles and a sack and Mike McCray had four tackles for loss. John O’Korn was 1-for-1 for 17 yards to get him an almost-perfect QBR of 99. Had zero turnovers in the first half. Quinn Nordin made four field goals, his fourth putting the Wolverines up 19–3 near the end of the third quarter and clinching the Big Ten’s perfect bowl seas...
Biggest weakness: YA DONE FUCKED UP, MICHIGAN! The Wolverines turned the ball over a whopping five times in the second half (six if you include the baffling turnover on downs they had at their own 25-yard line with over three minutes remaining, timeouts left, and a nationally renowned defense) and allowed South Carolina to claw their way back into a game that Michigan had won. Brandon Peters was awful, completing under half of his passes, fumbling once, and tossing two picks, and he better hope what’s-his-name from Ole Miss isn’t granted immediate eligibility next year. The running game averaged a measly 2.2 yards per carry and the passing game, clearly, wasn’t much better. Michigan will enter next season on a three-game losing streak and their coach will be squarely on the hot seat. My grandmother, who is a Syracuse grad (oof), texted my uncle (a Michigan grad) after the game that Harbaugh should be fired. My uncle, who is just as reasonable about Michigan football as every Michigan football fan you’ve ever met, wants his head on a pike outside of Michigan Stadium. I can’t wait for the handwringing if Notre Dame beats the Wolverines. It’ll be magnificent.
Next year’s schedule: Saturday, Sept. 1 at 6:30 pm, at Notre Dame
Michigan State Spartans
S&P+ rank: 19th overall, 91st offense, 4th defense
Bowl game result: (W) vs. No. 18 Washington State 42–17
Biggest strength: Playing against a Luke Falk-less Wazzu, Michigan State walloped the Cougars thanks to Brian Lewerke’s 286 total yards and three passing touchdowns. LJ Scott rushed for 110 yards and two scores, and Felton Davis III had 118 receiving yards and a touchdown catch. It took the Spartans a full quarter to get going, as they were down 3–0 entering the second quarter, but once they did Washington State had less than zero answers. The Spartans converted 10-of-15 third downs, which contributed to their heavy advantage in time of possession and ultimately their dominant win.
Biggest weakness: The Spartans won three games a season ago, so this was a great bounce-back year for Mark Dantonio’s crew. Much like the Badgers’ offense, the Spartans have a lot of young, key pieces returning next year and if their defense competes at its usual high level, they could be a dangerous team in the B1G again.
Next year’s schedule: Friday, Aug. 31, vs. Utah State
Ohio State Buckeyes
S&P+ rank: 2nd overall, 7th offense, 8th defense
Bowl game result: (W) vs. No. 8 Southern Cal 24–7
Biggest strength: The Ohio State defense sacked Sam Darnold eight times and had 14 tackles for loss. Those numbers lead me to believe that Southern Cal started five turnstiles at offensive line that hadn’t had the spinning bars installed yet. J.T. Barrett has finally exhausted his eligibility and leaves the B1G as the all-time leader in touchdowns (147) and total offense (12,697). He is one of the five best players to ever play in the conference, right? Someone smarter than I should compile a list of the top-10 players in B1G history. Right now I’m thinking Barrett, Drew Brees, Archie Griffin, Dick Butkus, Ron Dayne, Charles Woodson, Red Grange, and Rafael Gaglianone are on the list, but I don’t know who else should be there. Man, it was funny when people wanted Barrett benched earlier this year. Damon Webb had a pick-six (aOsu’s first of the season), his fifth interception of the year.
Biggest weakness: Can you believe the Buckeyes hadn’t beaten the Trojans in seven straight tries before this game? Also, Ohio State got served by USC’s cheerleaders and didn’t even dance back. Sadly, it was not “on.”
Next year’s schedule: Saturday, Sept. 1, vs. Oregon State
Penn State Nittany Lions
S&P+ rank: 4th overall, 10th offense, 12th defense
Bowl game result: (W) vs. No. 11 Washington 35–28
Biggest strength: Trace McSorley had 402 total yards and two scores. Saquon Barkley ran for 137 yards (including a 92-yard TD scamper), two touchdowns, and added 38 yards receiving. He also signed with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports after declaring for the NFL Draft. I foresee very few scenarios where a college student says “no” to Jay-Z in regards to anything. ::throws up dynasty sign::
Washington went 8-of-15 on third down, which is pretty good until you consider PSU went 13-of-17. Get off the dang field, Huskies. Sheesh.
Biggest weakness: There were only six total penalties called in this game, and when I tune into a major college football game, there are a few things I expect to see: live animal mascots, drunk, chubby guys in the stands yelling, and the referee more than the starting quarterbacks of both teams combined. These CLEARLY weren’t Pac-12 refs.
Next year’s schedule: Saturday, Sept. 1, vs. Appalachian State
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
S&P+ rank: 110th overall, 126th offense, 52nd defense
Bowl game result: N/A
Biggest strength: I went to the library the other day so my daughter could play around and look at a whole shitload of books, and while I was there I went to the cooking section. I ended up checking out a book on the gastronomic history of oysters and a 900-plus-page French cookbook. Sometimes I think people take food and drink too seriously, but then I go back to reading the chapter on the ecological effects that oysters have on various regions of the world.
Biggest weakness: I also saw a cookbook that was some sort of British cooking guide. I’m assuming that book is actually hollowed out for local teens to leave porn in since no one else would ever open a British cookbook unless there was an off chance you’d see a naked person.
Next year’s schedule: Saturday, Sept. 1, vs. Texas State
Illinois Fighting Illini
S&P+ rank: 118th overall, 124th offense, 89th defense
Bowl game result: N/A
Biggest strength: Illinois football makes me sad.
Biggest weakness: Did any of y’all get anything fun for Christmas? I got a book on Cognac, a new Phillies hat, some bourbon, and a BB-8 bobblehead. My daughter would have been happy with simply playing with wrapping paper as her present but she also received a mountain of gifts from her loving relatives. Being a kid is awesome (says the grown man who received a BB-8 bobblehead for Christmas).
Next year’s schedule: Saturday, Sept. 1, vs. Kent State
S&P+ rank: 49th overall, 107th offense, 15th defense
Bowl game result: (W) vs. Boston College 27–20
Biggest strength: Akrum Wadley had 283 total yards and had dozens of his friends and family in the stands, since he is from Newark and the Pinstripe Bowl is played at Madison Square Garden in New York. Will someone fact check that for me? Josey Jewell had 11 tackles to end a masterful season and career in Iowa City. Josh Jackson had the pick to seal the win. The team forced three turnovers and didn’t give up any, which is a big reason they won.
Biggest weakness: Because they only gained 200 yards on offense to BC’s 383. That’s some high-quality B1G football, my friends. Nathan Stanley had 99 yards passing and the team went 2-of-11 on third down. HOWEVAH! Stanley had one punt for 33 yards, which was better than their starting punter’s 32.5 yard average. Most coaches save fun trick plays for the bowl game—not Kirk Ferentz, though! He’s gonna have his starting quarterback punt for some Godforsaken reason.
Also, Ferentz is now tied with Hayden Fry for career wins at Iowa. I hope the Hawkeyes go 0–12 next year because Ferentz needs to be fired before he becomes the winningest coach in this dumb school’s history. Or maybe it’s fitting? I can’t decide.
Next year’s schedule: Saturday, Sept. 1, vs. Northern Illinois
Minnesota Golden Gophers
S&P+ rank: 97th overall, 120th offense, 45th defense
Bowl game result: LOL
Biggest strength: Look, East Coasters. I get it. You’re about to experience some sort of Bomb Cyclone, which is an AWESOME name for a band, but get over yourselves. It has been below-zero here in Minnesota for weeks and you don’t hear any of us bitching about it.
Send that Bomb Cyclone out our way and we’ll make sure to pacify it with hot dish and bars. (Am I doing this right, people who have lived in Minnesota for longer than 15 months?)
Biggest weakness: I bought reflective sticks (I don’t know what they’re actually called) to put on the edge of my yard so that snow plows know where the road ends and my grass begins. I thought I was being such a conscientious and smart homeowner until I realized that it had gotten too cold and my lawn had frozen and I couldn’t stick them in the grass. I’ve made two snow piles on either end of my driveway and put two sticks there. I’ve only run over one of them once so far. PRETTY GOOD WINTER SO FAR!
Next year’s schedule: Thursday, Aug. 30, vs. New Mexico State
S&P+ rank: 103rd overall, 81st offense, 109th defense
Bowl game result: LOOOOOOOOOOOOL
Biggest strength: They kept showing Nebraska fans in the stands at National Champion UCF’s win over Auburn and all of them were wearing some sort of shirt that said “Frost Warning” or “Frost Advisory” and I just couldn’t stop laughing. Is there any weather event less threatening than a frost warning? Better put some hats on your cactus, ma, there might possibly be frost coming through tonight! Better pick all of our vegetables today, there is potentially a brief, mild cold spell coming! They should have hired a coach with the last name “Bombcyclone.” Now THAT would make for a scary t-shirt.
Biggest weakness: I can’t wait to not think about Nebraska football for a few months after I finish typing this sente
Next year’s schedule: Saturday, September 1st, vs. Akron
S&P+ rank: 46th overall, 82nd offense, 23rd defense
Bowl game result: (W) vs. Kentucky 24–23
Biggest strength: Justin Jackson had 157 yards and a touchdown and finished his NU career as the 10th-leading rusher in NCAA history. Kyle Queiro returned a pick for a touchdown. Matched UK’s ejection total with one. Rushed for 333 yards as a team. Went for it on fourth down five separate times (converting only once), which is usually the mathematically correct call! Good job, Pat Fitzgerald.
Biggest weakness: Clayton Thorson endured a horrific looking leg injury on a pass reception (maybe Kirk Ferentz is right, have your starting QB punt in the bowl game and he won’t get hurt) and hopefully he recovers fully because he is a fun player to watch. The passing game suffered mightily without him and will be happy to have him back next year.
Next year’s schedule: Thursday, Aug. 30, at Purdue (WTF?!?)
S&P+ rank: 41st overall, 60th offense, 35th defense
Bowl game result: (W) vs. Arizona 38–35
Biggest strength: Elijah Sindelar hucked the ball for 396 yards and four touchdowns while Gregory Phillips had 14 catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns and Anthony Mahoungou had six catches and 118 yards and the other two touchdowns. The Boilermakers had 555 total yards in the game, which is a lot! Good for the College Football Hipster’s Official Team and coach Jeff Brohm!!
Biggest weakness: Almost let Arizona come back and win after being up by 17 at halftime. Otherwise, let’s let Purdue have a nice offseason before they go back to winning three games.
Next year’s schedule: Thursday, Aug. 30, vs. Northwestern (seriously WTF???)
S&P+ rank: 6th overall, 41st offense, 3rd defense
Bowl game result: (W) vs. No. 10 Miami 34–24
Biggest strength: Alex Hornibrook was sublime in the Orange Bowl against Miami and I find it hard to believe that some people still have nits to pick with him during that game. With a whole offseason to work with his receivers (all of whom are coming back sans Jazz Peavy and George Rushing, who were not key contributors this year) and Jonathan Taylor (holder of the NCAA freshman rushing record) I’m pretty excited about Wisconsin’s offense next year. Did people throw hats on to the field after Danny Davis caught his third touchdown? They should have.
Biggest weakness: The defense gave up a couple of big plays but they did not prove to be fatal like in the B1G Championship Game. Andrew Van Ginkel had another game-changing interception and T.J. Edwards is coming back next year. There are a number of players to replace, most notably in the secondary where just about everyone is graduating/going to the NFL, but the linebackers should be strong again and Jim Leonhard should still be defensive coordinator by the time this gets posted (/cross fingers).
My beautiful, bulging, bouncing, Brazilian, baby boy knocked through two field goals (long of 47) and all four extra points and is coming back next year to kick field goals from Mars. I love him dearly.
Next year’s schedule: Friday, Aug. 31, vs. Western Kentucky (ugh, Friday games)