I hope you all had an enjoyable summer filled with grilling, boating, hammocking, knocking back a couple of cold ones-ing, and falling asleep on the couch watching TV with the windows open...ing. With the pleasantries out of the way, it’s probably time we addressed an issue of utmost importance.
Getting roasted by teens.
I was driving home from work the other day, blasting Run the Jewels with my windows down as I pulled up to a stop light. I was in one of the turn lanes and a car full of youths pulled up next to me in the other turn lane. They had their windows down too and all of them pointed out their window at me. I, like a buffoon, pointed back at them. They proceeded to cackle maniacally and speed off, probably posting the video I’m sure they were recording on Snapchat. I have been owned offline and my life will never be the same.
Some neighborhood teens also overturned a Port-a-Potty and smashed a bunch of watermelons on the ground at my local park. My daughter wanted to eat some of the watermelon. Get bent forever, teens.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the horrific offseason that a number of Big Ten schools have had. Alex Kirshner summarizes everything well here, noting six schools have had a scandal in the past decade that resulted in a coach or administrator being suspended or fired for some really disgusting reasons. That article doesn’t even include our own Wisconsin Badgers and the Quintez Cephus investigation.
I, at one point in the past, wondered what it would take for me to stop caring about the Badger athletic teams and a commenter here mentioned something along the lines of “what happened at Baylor or Penn State” or something (I can’t remember, but that was the gist of it). Shit like that is happening at an increasing number of schools and it is starting to feel like a “when” and not an “if” it will happen at Wisconsin.
There is so much pressure to win in major college football that anything that can be put in the column of “helping the team” will be put there, regardless of who it hurts. Players are being abused; women are being abused; children are being abused; Jordan McNair, a 19-year old lineman, died at Maryland! Oh, but football is a tough sport for tough men and we make military analogies when we are getting hyped up before the game because FOOTBALL IS WAR AND THERE ARE CASUALTIES IN WAR!
Fuck all the way out of here with that.
I’m so sick of the rock-brained dipshits that are involved, at all levels, with coaching and teaching football. You can be a man without treating women like objects. You can be tough without belittling a teenager and making him eat candy while watching his teammates work out. You can be involved with a football team without presiding over the death of someone who isn’t old enough to buy beer.
The NFL has been losing a lot of fans, myself included, over the past couple years with its handling of social justice protests, head injuries, knowing what the hell a catch is, and basically being a play place for old, rich, white, racist plastic surgery accidents. College sports has many of those same problems (and so, so many more!) and a reckoning is near, methinks.
College football has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up watching Wisconsin football and basketball with my dad and that was one of the big reasons I wanted to attend school in Madison. There was a visceral connection I felt to the Badgers, and to Madison, and to the state of Wisconsin despite not having grown up there. I wanted to be a part, however small, of this community. There is nothing, though, that says you have to stay a part of your chosen community forever. The Eagles won the Super Bowl last year, and while I was happy, I wasn’t overcome with joy like I would have been even three years ago if the same thing happened.
These institutions are not sacred and cannot sit there unchanged as everything else changes around them. We need to demand better and we need to be better. I am not always proud of what I used to do or who I used to be, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to try and get better each and every day. I will continue to support the University of Wisconsin and its athletic teams until they give me a reason not to. And then? Well, then I guess we’ll have to come up with a new topic for this column.
S&P+ rank (projected for 2018): 58th overall
Biggest strength: Here is a link to Bill C.’s overall Big Ten preview, which contains links to each team’s preview. His previews are some of the best in the business and it is hilarious to me that the same website allows me and him to write together. Indiana has been branded as the Big Ten’s #CHAOSTEAM, but upon further investigation that ... isn’t exactly true.
Since 2013, Indiana has beaten two ranked teams (Michigan State the year the Spartans won three games and Mizzou the year it won the SEC East) and only one of those wins turned out to be worth a damn. I don’t know, I want a little more actual #CHAOS from my conference’s #CHAOSTEAM. I guess I’m just old-school like that.
Biggest weakness: The last time the Hoosiers were ranked in men’s NCAA FBS college football was 1994. The entire state of Indiana should be contracted from the United States.
Next week’s opponent: Saturday at FIU, 6 p.m. CST
S&P+ rank: 80th overall
Biggest strength: I don’t wish injury on anyone unless you are one of the people who pick apart coasters at the bar and leave them in a pile. Then, I hope you develop carpal tunnel forever.
Maryland’s fourth string quarterback is named Legend Brumbaugh AND HOLY BALLS IS THAT AMAZING! I want him to play every position in every sport.
Biggest weakness: Speaking of quarterback injuries, Maryland has used at least three quarterbacks in four of the last six seasons (and the last three in a row)! And we sit here arguing about Joel Stave’s game-manager ability. We could be Maryland, people! Just think about that for one bone-chilling moment.
Next week’s opponent: Saturday vs. Texas (FedEx Field), 11 a.m. CST
S&P+ rank: 10th overall
Biggest strength: It should be noted for the umpteenth time that Michigan was the only thing keeping the Big Ten from a perfect bowl record last year. Now here is a little-known Michigan fact: the Wolverines finished fourth in the Big Ten East last year. Can you believe it? A school like Michigan is supposed to be competing for the top-four in the country with your Alabamas and your Oklahomas, not competing for top-four in its division with ::checks notes:: Rutgers and ::squints after removing glasses:: Maryland? A final fun fact: over the last five years, Michigan has lost twice as many games as it’s won against ranked teams (6–12). Harbaugh In and Wenger Out, IMO.
Biggest weakness: Chicken. Jim Harbaugh is an absolute mad man who thinks chickens, a “nervous bird,” will somehow make his players nervous if they eat some. Harbaugh being a Chicken Truther is perfect. He is a stone-cold loon—a bird that has nerves of steel BTW and should be consumed by all Michigan football players—and I am here for it. I wonder what Harbaugh’s thoughts are on trying human meat? The B5Q commentariat is roughly split.
Can we take a peak at the quotes that Harbaugh has on a whiteboard in his office? How does anyone become successful by delegating nothing and taking everything personally? Although, never finishing above third in your division probably can’t be counted as being successful. Yup, this all checks out! Also, why wouldn’t you want to tap-dance like Fred Astaire? He is one of the best dancers in history! Jim Harbaugh is—and this won’t be the last time I say this—a dumb, stupid, idiot.
Next week’s opponent: Saturday at Notre Dame, 6:30 p.m. CST
Michigan State Spartans
S&P+ rank: 11th overall
Biggest strength: Over the last few weeks, I’ve been taking notes on the various teams in the conference when I see an interesting stat or find a funny article about your team’s head coach believing that his players can absorb the soul of whatever animal he eats. All of the news out of East Lansing is how the entire athletic department is a cesspool of sexual abuse and looking the other way while said abuse happens. I guess Mark Dantonio is a man of his word when it comes to cutting practice short, at least.
Sometimes Coach D doesn't say what he means....but sometimes that also gets you out early on Saturday nightPosted by Michigan State Football on Sunday, August 12, 2018
Biggest weakness: The preseason AP Top 25 came out while I was writing this section, so let’s yell about how Wisconsin is being disrespe ::holds finger up to ear:: well ... it appears Mike is telling me that Wisconsin is ranked fourth preseason, ahead of aOsu and everyone else in the Big Ten. Oh my. This, uh, seems to be the year for the Badgers to do the damn thing, huh?
Next week’s opponent: Friday vs. Utah State, 6 p.m. CST
Ohio State Buckeyes
S&P+ rank: 1st overall
Biggest strength: I’m excited for Robert Landers to EGOT.
A little something to put a smile on faces before camp starts tomorrow... pic.twitter.com/XfwlNYlI74— Robert Landers (@roblanders96) August 2, 2018
On the opposite end of the entertainment spectrum, we have Nick Bosa’s Bad Movie Takes.
Black panther worst marvel movie of all time...— Nick Bosa (@nbsmallerbear) May 13, 2018
I’m also detecting a pretty high Fraud Alert level on aOsu, which has only finished higher than its preseason ranking once in the last five years. Pretty embarrassing, if you ask me.
Biggest weakness: Motivational wall painting reading.
Look, we all know Urban Meyer is a scumbag. That is not what is up for debate with his current suspension/investigation. He ran a state-sanctioned criminal organization while he coached at Florida and he brought some of his cronies north with him to Columbus! Meyer shrouds himself in phony Christianity so that he is seen as a “good man of God” and someone you should like and trust. Get a load of this article from January 2015 after aOsu’s Sugar Bowl game against Alabama. A quote I’d like to pull (italics mine)
All three men (this is referring to Nick Saban, Meyer, and Jimbo Fisher) along with Oregon’s Mark Helfrich, are known for caring for their players and for trying to shape the character as well as the athletic ability of young men.
R u kidding me? Now read this. Forty-one of the 121 players listed on the official roster for Florida in 2008 were either arrested in college or after college (sometimes both!), but that team had Tim Tebow and Aaron Hernandez went to Bible study at Meyer’s house, so it’s cool. It’s funny to think that Zach Smith was on Meyer’s staff at Florida too and no one knew that he was allegedly beating up his pregnant wife—on their anniversary, natch.
Urban Meyer may have done everything “by the book” enough, in regard to Zach Smith, for aOsu to keep him as head football coach (because he wins games!) but Meyer hasn’t done enough as a “man of God” or even a “man who has any sense of morality at all.” Fuck Urban Meyer regardless and fuck these goons.
On the other hand, shoutout to Brett McMurphy and his award-winning penis photo reporting.
Everything written above was typed before the maddening press conference that Ohio State hosted featuring a bored, aloof, unrepentant Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith, who despite also being culpable in this came off looking like a champion of decency due to sitting next to Meyer.
The press conference on BTN FUELED BY ROTEL was a masterclass in how to make everyone mad. The knuckle-draggers that think Meyer should’ve gotten off with no punishment were upset because he got suspended. The rest of us were shocked that he wasn’t fired, and this was BEFORE the full report was released and it was clear that Meyer, amongst many others, should lose his job with extreme prejudice.
I don’t understand how there was a middle ground between “Meyer did everything he should’ve and so there is no punishment” and “Meyer did not do what he was supposed to and therefore he is fired for breaking his contract.” Oh wait, I totally understand how there was a middle ground between those two.
Urban Meyer’s absolute refusal to even say Courtney Smith’s name when DIRECTLY ASKED WHAT HE’D LIKE TO SAY TO HER makes me want to punch a hole in the wall like I’m Andy Bernard. His response was, “I’m sorry we’re in this situation” instead. He repeated that two times because he has memory loss, of course. Get fucked with the entire collection of Buckeye Nation’s chain wallets, Urbs.
At least the Big Ten, the paragon of all that is right and good with college athletics, stepped in to correct this grave mistake.
Big Ten statement on Ohio State: "We support the findings of the investigative team led by Mary Jo White, the recommendations of the Board of Trustees & the decision made by President Drake in consultation with the Board.” The B1G had no further comment— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 24, 2018
Next week’s opponent: Saturday vs. Oregon State, 11 a.m. CST
Penn State Nittany Lions
S&P+ rank: 8th overall
Biggest strength: James Franklin sucks at paintball.
Has he lost control of the locker room? It seems like all of PSU’s players are dirty, no-good rule-breakers who don’t respect authority.
Biggest weakness: Being rated properly as a head coach. Franklin was named the most overrated coach in college football by an anonymous coaches poll. I mean, I dislike Franklin and his dumb brand of abrasive mantra shouting. He’s basically the more accomplished P.J. Fleck, but I do NOT think he is overrated. Penn State has been really good with him as head coach and he also made Vanderbilt a team that won games. VANDERBILT! Haters (like me) are gonna hate, coach Franklin.
Next week’s opponent: Saturday vs. Appalachian State, 2:30 p.m. CST
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
S&P+ rank: 84th overall
My sister in law brought up a great point tonight. The conference room in The Office always has a huge table in it but whenever Michael calls an emergency meeting, the table is never there and it’s only the chairs. Where does the table go???— Sam Dekker (@dekker) August 19, 2018
I have a NUMBER of thoughts on this tweet. First, I haven’t stopped thinking about it since my wife showed it to me. It is baffling. Second, I don’t think JJ Watt’s response tells the whole story, although I like where his head is at.
That’s why he always says “everybody in the conference room in 5 minutes”— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) August 20, 2018
gotta clear the table and set up chairs https://t.co/QuxV6quNBk
Five minutes isn’t enough time to move the table, JJ! Not everyone is built like you are. Do you think Michael and, presumably, Dwight are gonna be able to flip the conference room in five minutes? Unlikely. Where do they even put the table? Why is it never seen being moved to or from the conference room? If this was a thing that was happening, surely Jim would have pranked them while doing it, right? Where did they get the stage from that they put the Stamford branch people on when they transferred to Scranton? WHERE THE HELL IS THAT KEPT?!?!
Sam Dekker’s sister-in-law is some sort of TV genius and I hope she has a blog somewhere that uncovers all of these secrets from my favorite shows. Sam, please ask her about 30 Rock next.
Biggest weakness: Using credit cards properly. I don’t even think this has been reported much outside of New Jersey due to the rest of the Big Ten continually trying to one-up each other in how terrible they can be. I wonder what the Rutgers players were buying? I hope it was something cool like a Fortnite Bucks or jewelry for their pet lizards or something.
Next week’s opponent: Saturday vs. Texas State, 11 a.m. CST
Illinois Fighting Illini
S&P+ rank: 99th overall
Biggest strength: They finally get to visit scenic College Park, Md., and play their first-ever game at the University of Maryland! Oh Illinois, you do not know what wonders await you there! One of the worst accents on the entire east coast, the lingering smell of burning upholstery, and people who think wearing purple camo to church is acceptable if the Ravens are playing.
Biggest weakness: Since 2014, the Illini’s win totals have been six, five, three, and two. I think they skipped four out of respect for how many times they’ve lost to Northwestern in the last five seasons. Their win trend also leads me to believe, with 100 percent certainty, that they will only win one game this year. I hope they beat Nebraska while losing to Kent State and Western Illinois.
On a serious note, I hope that Mikey Dudek makes an all-conference team this year. Dudek blew out his ACL in 2016 AND 2017 after being second-team All-Big Ten in 2015. He didn’t look like himself last year, as he was still recovering. Although, that may have had something to do with the quarterback play in Champaign. Godspeed, Mikey Dudek. Godspeed.
Lovie Smith’s beard could win more games in the Big Ten than Lovie Smith could.
Next week’s opponent: Saturday vs. Kent State, 11 a.m. CST
S&P+ rank: 36th overall
Biggest strength: Kirk Ferentz, who was rated below James Franklin on that overrated coaches list from earlier, is the longest-tenured coach in the country. He has been coaching at Iowa since 1999. There are many, many people who have only ever known Ferentz as Iowa’s head coach. Some of these people are already in college! I believe we should rename The Peter Principle to The Punting Principle in honor of Ferentz’s meteoric rise to this high level of incompetence.
Biggest weakness: I can’t believe a team like Iowa doesn’t list a special teams coordinator! How could a team be so stupi...OH. MY. GOD!
Not only is the Seeker the world's first robotic quarterback, it's also the world's first robotic punter and kicker. Tired of wasted reps during Special Teams periods? Take the guesswork out of the equation and make each rep count. #NFL #CFB #Football #Sports #Tech #Punt #Kick pic.twitter.com/yK5Meo3wxK— Monarc (@MonarcSport) July 13, 2018
IOWA HAS INVENTED A PUNTING ROBOT! THE MACHINES ARE COMING FOR US ALL! WHY ARE YOU STANDING THERE???? RUN!!!!! If Ferentz and Iowa are truly weaponizing punting (not like they haven’t already, amirite?) and making it automated, where will all of our nation’s most average punters go to school? Outsourcing jobs to machines is NOT how you make America great again.
Next week’s opponent: Saturday vs. NIU, 2:30 p.m. CST
Minnesota Golden Gophers
S&P+ rank: 67th overall
I don’t know if anyone has been more confused, except for me when Sam Dekker brought up The Office Conference Room Conundrum, than No. 6 is right here. How can anyone work for or be coached by this raving lunatic? At least when he’s out on the recruiting trail he is kind of normal to get kids to come play for him. He would never be overtly intimidating and text a high schooler, say, every 30 minutes ... right?
P.J. Fleck is a huckster jackass and I can’t wait for whatever poor bastard he chooses to play quarterback this year to transfer back to the JuCo he came from to play middle linebacker.
Viramontes was the top-ranked JuCo dual-threat quarterback for 2018 and committed to Minnesota in November. He lasted seven months under Fleck, which is honestly admirable.
Biggest weakness: The Gophers haven’t scored a point in a college football game since their third-to-last game of the season (against the vaunted Blackshirts defense). With patience you have to be impatient indeed, coach Fleck.
Something to be impatient about is starting the career demise of walk-on quarterback Zack Annexstad!
Annexstad should be proud to know that he follows in the footsteps of Minnesota quarterbacks who haven’t been named first team All-Big Ten since 1961 or been drafted since 1972. Row that boat, friend.
Next week’s opponent: Thursday vs. New Mexico State, 6 p.m. CST
S&P+ rank: 60th overall
Biggest strength: While Minnesota has players transferring out of its school to play less desirable positions, Nebraska has players transferring IN to its school to play the Big Ten’s most desirable position. A former South Dakota State third-string quarterback has transferred to Nebraska to be a walk-on punter. That sentence so perfectly encapsulates the conference that you’d think it was fake. It is, decidedly, not.
Check out the title of this post! While I agree that Nebraska football does need to “fix everything,” there may be one thing that is still operating at peak performance: its sanctimonious ability to out-grit every other state in the dang country!
“[Former Nebraska coach Tom] Osborne had the formula figured out,” Frost said. “Nebraska stood for a lot of things when it was great. It was an organization of integrity and character and unity across the whole state. ... The program used to reflect the people of the state. Nebraska’s best asset is its people. They’re hard-working, blue-collar people that depend on each other. That’s the way that we’re going to build it to try to make it have sustained success.”
If Nebraska’s best asset is its people, no wonder everyone drives 95 miles per hour through the state.
A projected starting cornerback’s name is Dicaprio Bootle. I needed more people to know this information.
Biggest weakness: Defense. Can’t even protect your coach’s house! Also, is Scott Frost a liar? He initially reported that a bunch of championship rings were stolen but he “later” “found” “them” “in boxes” lying around “his home?” I don’t know ... those scare quotes make it seem like you shouldn’t trust Frost ever again. At least there is starting to be some closure in the case of Who Stole What From Liar Scott Frost.
The top two passers in Nebraska history are Tommy Armstrong and Taylor Martinez. I am physically sick.
Next week’s opponent: Saturday vs. Akron, 7 p.m. CST
S&P+ rank: 38th overall
Biggest strength: Do you know who has the longest active winning streak in the country at eight games? If you guessed Northwestern, then you are really good at reading context clues! The reason for this is because all three kickers on the team have last names that number nine letters or more. ESPN won’t do this research for you, folks.
Biggest weakness: Clayton Thorson is good, but hurt often. Talking about Northwestern football makes my eyes bleed. Did y’all like the end of Avengers: Infinity War? I thought it was pretty good. I’m excited for the next one and to see what happens in Captain Marvel next summer. Brie Larson is a good actress. #hotMarveltakes
This never happened in Wisconsin because Bret Bielema chose to leave us, not the other way around. Be careful, Arkansas. That statue looks like it’ll move ever so slightly when you aren’t looking.
Next week’s opponent: Thursday at Purdue, 7 p.m. CST
S&P+ rank: 54th overall
Biggest strength: They have train tracks on their helmets that show ball carriers where to run over their defenders. I want to make this Florida Man the President of Florida.
For every 11 a.m. kickoff the Badgers have this year, I will be blasting this song at 8 a.m., and shouting, “No hocus pocus, you simple suckers been served a notice; Top of the morning, my fist to your face is fucking Folgers.”
Biggest weakness: Can I give a quick internet high five to the readers of Bucky’s 5th Quarter? Y’all seriously rule. Multiple times this summer, I’ve had readers approach me in public and say how much they like the reporting on the site and skimming the stuff that I write. I was called over to a table, while I was bartending, because two guests had asked their server if I was working. I played my first softball game of the summer this week (due to a shifting work schedule, I couldn’t play the rest of the time) and one of the guys who didn’t play last year is a big fan of the site and was actually pumped to meet me! He teaches English all over the world, so that’s the reason we probably get weird traffic numbers from Saudi Arabia and Costa Rica, Mike.
Anyway, keep being awesome, and if you ever meet Jake in public, make sure you tell him you hate Spotted Cow.
Next week’s opponent: Thursday vs. Northwestern, 7 p.m. CST
S&P+ rank: 12th overall
Biggest strength: I have four tickets available for the home opener against Western Kentucky if any of you want them. Price is $25/ticket. Slide into my DMs or, uh, just comment below and we’ll figure it out. ::looks around:: Is this not Craigslist?
So! The Badgers have a number of players on preseason All-American lists. Jonathan Taylor, Beau Benzschawel, and T.J. Edwards all made the AP’s first team while David Edwards and Michael Deiter made the second team. My main man, Rafael Gaglianone, made USA Today’s second team and I literally squealed with joy when I read that on my phone.
Alex Hornibrook did not make any preseason All-American teams, but that’s OK because according to a meme on /r/CFB, he’s pretty much assured to win the Heisman Trophy this year. #heismanbrook
If your Heisman Trophy acceptance speech lasts longer than four hours, you should consult a doctor.
Biggest weakness: Quintez Cephus is charged with multiple counts of felony sexual assault. Danny Davis, his roommate, may have been involved in taking pictures of the women that Cephus allegedly sexually assaulted. Cephus remains suspended from the team, while Davis is suspended for the first two games of the season.
If you are thinking about how this affects the football team’s chances this fall, I need you to seriously reconsider your values.
Alright, college football is back, baby! Let’s go out there and have some fun?
Next week’s opponent: Friday vs. Western Kentucky, 8 p.m. CST