Fall weather is the best, and if you disagree, you are wrong. I wore light sweatpants and a vest today, and it was glorious. The epitome of comfort and style. I might just go sit outside and write the rest of this column there!
Gah, there are still a bunch of dumb bugs out there. Outside is the worst. Let’s get right to the worst conference in the land!
S&P+ rank: 45th overall, 84th offense, 19th defense, 67th special teams
Last week’s result: (L) vs. No. 24 Michigan State, 35–21
Biggest strength: IU kept its streak of being the B1G’s “Chaos Team” alive by hanging around and giving MSU trouble before eventually losing by double digits. Marcelino Ball had two sacks and the Hoosiers forced four turnovers (+2 on the day) but that didn’t really seem to matter.
Whop Philyor, who had 13 catches for 148 yards, is fast.
Biggest weakness: Large Adult Son Stevie Scott finally faced some adversity and ran for 18 yards on 11 carries. Woof. Peyton Ramsey ran for 13 yards on 18 carries, so it could’ve been worse, Stevie!
The loss to MSU is in the rearview mirror, though. It’s Rivalry Week now!
[peers over the battlements as at the dust settles and the dawn breaks]— crimson quarry (@crimsonquarry) September 24, 2018
r u t g e r
This week’s opponent: Saturday at Rutgers, 11 a.m. CST
S&P+ rank: 61st overall, 76th offense, 54th defense, 10th special teams
Last week’s result: (W) vs. Minnesota, 42–13
Biggest strength: HOLY CRAP! SO #NICE!
Don't ask why, but I just found out that Maryland and Minnesota played the nicest quarter of all time this weekend. pic.twitter.com/hBikrLFxf5— Thomas Kendziora (@TKendziora37) September 25, 2018
The Terps absolutely clobbered Minnesota on Saturday. Maryland averaged 8.5 yards per carry, led by Anthony “Has To Be Nicknamed Booger” McFarland’s 112 yards on six carries and Ty Johnson’s 123 yards on 11 carries. Tino Ellis had five (!!) passes defended. Maryland had zero turnovers and forced three. They also had 10 penalties, which seems like kind of a lot. Lastly, the Terps benefited from some high-level coaching.
Canada on what worked this week: "The players played really good. I stayed out of the way."— Testudo Times (@testudotimes) September 22, 2018
Biggest weakness: I hope that Jordan McNair’s family is able to find peace.
Investigation finds proper procedure wasn't followed when a University of Maryland football player collapsed after a team workout. He died days later https://t.co/2vgvmbblCX pic.twitter.com/qfZv21D3B6— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 22, 2018
I also hope that D.J. Durkin never works in football or with kids again.
This week’s opponent: BYE
S&P+ rank: 5th overall, 24th offense, 4th defense, 7th special teams
Last week’s result: (W) vs. Nebraska, 56–10 (OMGGGGGGG)
Biggest strength: 39–0. That was the score at halftime. I wish I knew more Nebraska fans in real life. I’ve never seen someone’s face melt before, and I think showing a Huskers fan the highlights of this game just might do it.
::cues Trick Daddy::
Karan Higdon rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown (all in the first half) and FULLBACK BEN MASON HAD THREE TOUCHDOWNS ON SIX CARRIES! The Big Ten has no idea what decade it is and I, for one, love it.
michigan football doing more damage to america's heartland than agricultural & manufacturing tariffs pic.twitter.com/vfRsT4yNlG— Holly Anderson (@HollyAnderson) September 22, 2018
Biggest weakness: Letting Nebraska score 10 points in a half is pretty pathetic.
Michigan football card giveaway: win this John Navarre game-worn jersey card.— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) September 26, 2018
RT + follow to have a chance to win it. pic.twitter.com/PRV6DaR2VV
I ... what? Who could possibly want this? STAY TUNED NEXT AS MIKE LUCAS WILL BE GIVING AWAY A GAME-WORN SHRED OF ANTTAJ HAWTHORNE’S SOCKS!
Khaleke Hudson was ejected for targeting for the second straight game. He only played in half of this game; I shudder to think what will happen when he plays in a full game again.
This week’s opponent: Saturday at Northwestern, 3:30 p.m. CST
Michigan State Spartans
S&P+ rank: 18th overall, 33rd offense, 20th defense, 27th special teams
Last week’s result: (W) at Indiana, 35–21
Biggest strength: Held human battering ram Stevie Scott and his ineffectual teammates to 29 rushing yards all game. Shakur Brown had a #nice pick-six.
Quarterback Brian “I Will Never Be Sure If He Is Good Or Just Average” Lewerke caught a six-yard pass, lost six yards rushing, fumbled twice (losing one), and threw two touchdowns and two picks. SEE?!?! You don’t know either!
Biggest weakness: Turned the ball over four freaking times! That kinda shit won’t fly against, well, probably any other team in the conference not named Rutgers, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebr...OK, maybe it’ll fly against a lot of teams. The B1G has some REALLY BAD teams this year. Outside of Jalen Nailor’s 75-yard run, the Spartans only rushed for 56 yards on 39 carries (1.4 YPC, for all you math majors out there). That is not very good Big Ten-ing, MSU.
College football is fun!
I love MSU. I hate watching MSU.— Warm parking lot Fireball (@Sheehan_Sports) September 23, 2018
This week’s opponent: Saturday vs. Central Michigan, 11 a.m. CST
Ohio State Buckeyes
S&P+ rank: 2nd overall, 2nd offense, 18th defense, 40th special teams
Last week’s result: (W) vs. Tulane, 49–6
Biggest strength: Dwayne Haskins played one half, had three incompletions, and threw five touchdowns. He also threw for 304 yards in that one half.
Dwayne Haskins postgame tee is incredible. pic.twitter.com/DPGqjktJft— Eleven Warriors (@11W) September 22, 2018
Parris Campbell caught eight passes for 147 yards and two TDs.
The only irredeemable thing about LeBron James is the fact that he is an unabashed Buckeyes supporter. I guess he’s on the Lakers now; that’s pretty terrible too. This seems as good a time as any to bring back Drew’s NBA Corner!
Biggest weakness: Did y’all see Shaq ROAST Dwight Howard!
With a secondary roast on Barkley! Shaq is a champion roaster for a reason, little man. In other Big Man Beef (aka BMB), my son Joel Embiid let Deandre Ayton know he, uh, ain’t shit yet.
So Joel Embiid joined me and Stephen Jackson on #TheJump today - when we asked him about Deandre Ayton, he said "he's about to get his ass kicked this year."— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) September 21, 2018
We also chatted about his MVP aspirations, and how many games the Sixers will win this season (65?????) pic.twitter.com/naoV21CwZu
Oh, we’re gonna need to go back and check on the human reactions chip for Kawhi Leonard.
Here’s Kawhi Leonard doing whatever the robotic equivalent of laughing is. pic.twitter.com/2ZzHM0B7nY— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) September 24, 2018
That is NOT a human laugh. That is terrifying. I wonder if Leonard has ever been to a comedy club? Do you think the comedian just walked off stage after Leonard laughed at one of his jokes, thinking there was some sort of Terminator robot there to murder him? Jimmy Butler wants to get traded to, well, anyone, it kind of seems, although the Heat are the new frontrunners.
How far will LeBron take the Lakers in his first year in L.A.?— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 26, 2018
Our experts are discussing all things purple and gold - NOW on NBA TV! pic.twitter.com/LY9A9DOlUP
Doesn’t LeBron just look WEIRD in a Lakers jersey? Why aren’t Kyle Kuzma’s hands behind his back? Only LeBron is allowed to do something different with his hands! I hear there are already locker-room problems in LA!
Oh, I guess Nick “Bad Takes” Bosa is out for a while. He’ll still get drafted pretty high, fret not for him.
Urban Meyer said Nick Bosa has assured him that he wants to return to play this season despite his injury.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) September 24, 2018
This week’s opponent: Saturday at No. 9 Penn State, 6:30 p.m. CST
Penn State Nittany Lions
S&P+ rank: 6th overall, 5th offense, 22nd defense, 96th special teams
Last week’s result: (W) at Illinois, 63–24
Biggest strength: Despite being down 24–21 in the third quarter, PSU’s win expectancy never fell below 69.5 percent on the night. Miles Sanders ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns while backup Ricky Slade (which is just an EXCELLENT name and I’m not really sure why but I just want to hang out with a guy named “Ricky Slade”) ran for 94 yards and two TDs. SPEAKING OF NAMES! A freshman WR named Mac Hippenhammer caught a 44-yard pass at some point. MAC HIPPENHAMMER! Our main man Jan Johnson had a pick.
J. Cole went platinum with no features. What have you ever done, James Franklin?
This week’s opponent: Saturday vs. No. 4 Ohio State, 6:30 p.m. CST
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
S&P+ rank: 118th overall, 125th offense, 83rd defense, 21st special teams
Last week’s result: (L) vs. Buffalo, 42–13
Biggest strength: Come on, I am NOT talking about this game. Are you serious?
I finished watching that Jack Ryan show on Amazon Prime last week and I thought it was really good! It was strange watching Jim from The Office turn into an action hero, and I did keep waiting for him to look at the camera after yelling about how they needed better intelligence on Suleiman, but he acquitted himself nicely.
Ali Suliman, who played the terrorist Suleiman, was a real revelation to me. He is an excellent actor and made me sympathize with his character more than I probably should have. Anyway, check it out. Amazon Prime has a lot of cool stuff to watch if you get bored of Netflix and Hulu.
/takes earpiece out //turns off camera
Alright, Bezos, give me my fucking money.
My compadre @KSargeantNJ makes a compelling argument while picking Rutgers to beat Buffalo. But as I told him earlier this week, if the Bulls win, these words will be weaponized! https://t.co/sswqjOJUwA pic.twitter.com/Tb546W83fY— James Kratch (@JamesKratch) September 21, 2018
Walking behind Buffalo players on the way to the bus after beating Rutgers 42-13.— Matt Sugam (@MattSugam) September 22, 2018
One player: “I thought that was Delaware State out there.”
Second player: “Man, they’d lose to Delaware State.”
If I’m understanding this correctly, and I think I am, Delaware State is a better recruiting team than Rutgers and should replace the Scarlet Knights in the B1G. We need that coveted Rehobeth Beach television market!
This week’s opponent: Saturday vs. Indiana, 11 a.m. CST
Illinois Fighting Illini
S&P+ rank: 102nd overall, 82nd offense, 103rd defense, 23rd special teams
Last week’s result: (L) vs. No. 10 Penn State, 63–24
Biggest strength: Oh boy, Illinois. That was about as brutal a beatdown as you can receive. Beating PSU in the third quarter, then giving up a touchdown but only being down four heading into the fourth, and then BOOM! Penn State scores 35 points in the fourth quarter and you score fucking zero. Illini Super Bowl coming up in two weeks!
it would be illegal to play this game at any other time— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) September 24, 2018
illinutgers returns https://t.co/GGfImcZ4jJ
Biggest weakness: Optimism.
If the Browns can win a game, Illinois can beat Penn State. pic.twitter.com/69iKCKjlrh— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) September 21, 2018
Screw logic. I watch Nebraska, Minnesota and Rutgers and deep down I believe Illinois is a better team than them— Stephen Cohn (@stephen__cohn) September 22, 2018
It’s fine, Illinois just isn’t very good. The Illini had no chance to beat Penn State and the fact that they did so for over a half is a good thing. But, uh, if they lose to Rutgers ... it might be time to shut the whole thing down.
This week’s opponent: BYE
S&P+ rank: 31st overall, 92nd offense, 8th defense, 68th special teams
Last week’s result: (L) vs. No. 18 Wisconsin, 28–17
Biggest strength: Tight end T.J. Hockenson was unguardable in between the 20s and better tight end Noah Fant was unguardable in the red-zone. The defensive line was good, but seemed to wear down in the second half. I hate watching games against Iowa because I feel like Wisconsin is the better team every time they play, but the games are always close and if one or two things went differently, then Iowa would win. I hate that feeling ... and I hate Iowa.
Still love The Wave, Iowa. It’s a great tradition!
fucking special teams— Go Iowa Awesome (@IowaAwesome) September 23, 2018
Last 3 punt returns by Iowa:— Chris Hassel (@Hassel_Chris) September 23, 2018
Fair catch inside 3 yard line
This may be how the Big Ten West was lost.
This week’s opponent: BYE
Minnesota Golden Gophers
S&P+ rank: 65th overall, 113th offense, 16th defense, 8th special teams
Last week’s result: (L) at Maryland, 42–13
Biggest strength: Scheduling tweets.
This is going to be a long game.— The Daily Gopher (@TheDailyGopher) September 22, 2018
And maybe a long season.
They are also very good at starting babies at quarterback.
"He know he's going to fail, but he knows how to learn from that. He's a freshman, he's going to touch the stove, but he won't touch the stove again." -Fleck, on Annexstad's poise.— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) September 18, 2018
“This is how failing is growth,” Fleck said after the game. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!?! WHY MUST YOU SPEAK IN RIDDLES????????? Kicker Emmit Carpenter continued his impressive season.
Biggest weakness: The only exciting and potentially relevant thing about Gophers football this year is now over. First Rodney Smith and now Winfield? I hope the boat they’re all rowing is heavily padded moving forward.
The worst fears of @Gopherfootball fans have occurred as Minnesota announced Antoine Winfield Jr is out for the season after his foot injury yesterday. https://t.co/v1Qd419vwN pic.twitter.com/cBKZevJK1Q— The Daily Gopher (@TheDailyGopher) September 23, 2018
The Gophers gave up 315 yards rushing and turned the ball over thrice. Just imagine what will happen when Jonathan Taylor gets ahold of them!
This week’s opponent: BYE
S&P+ rank: 72nd overall, 67th offense, 79th defense, 92nd special teams
Last week’s result: (L) at No. 19 Michigan, 56-10 (LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL)
Biggest strength: LOL, apparently the reason Michigan took Nebraska to the woodshed was because two years ago Scott Frost said that his UCF team “outhit” Michigan while losing 51-14! The Wolverines were still pissed about that and took it out on poor, poor Nebraska. “Physicality, we got whipped,” Frost acknowledged after the game. Nebraska has given up 50+ points in four straight B1G games (including against Minnesota and Iowa), which I had noted, but The Athletic’s Chris Vannini brings it to the next level by mentioning that the Blackshirts have given up 199+ rushing yards in EIGHT STRAIGHT CONFERENCE GAMES! If you are supposed to “earn” your Blackshirt on defense shouldn’t all Nebraska defenders be playing shirtless? Nebraska is 0-3 for the first time since World War II ended. Two quarterbacks combined to throw for under 100 yards in a game their team lost by 46 points. The rushing attack averaged 1.3 yards per carry.
Dicaprio Bootle had five (the second guy to do this in the B1G this week!!) passes defended. Admittedly, he probably had ample opportunities as Michigan passes were raining down near his head.
Since joining the Big Ten in 2011, Nebraska has given up at least 50 points to 10 different B1G foes. Only Indiana (11) has given up more.— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) September 22, 2018
Northwestern & Michigan have not given up 50 to any B1G teams while OSU, MSU, Wisconsin, Iowa & Minn have allowed 50 to a B1G foe just once.
Biggest weakness: Plz allow Twitter to take it from here.
I forced a bot to watch over 1,000 hours of Nebraska football and then asked it to write an episode of Nebraska football of its own. Here is the first play. pic.twitter.com/lqQZBiI7Xx— The Official Kirk Ferentz Fan Club Account (@PV_GIA) September 22, 2018
Might need a Scott Frosty to ice down the beating Nebraska is taking.#FreshFanReaction— Wendy's (@Wendys) September 22, 2018
Folks, I like to call Nebraska football Arbys, because it isn't very good or fun to look at it and also is owned by Wendys— Matt Brown (@MattSBN) September 22, 2018
Michigan DE Chase Winovich: It just seemed like Nebraska didn’t want to be out there https://t.co/R0aD0b7AdA— Saturday Tradition (@Tradition) September 22, 2018
Boycott Wendy’s— Elga Romano (@johncbarber) September 22, 2018
Close Wendy’s in Nebraska! It’s not about football or ridiculing our new coach, it’s about class!
This last man has had his Twitter account hacked by some sort of sexbot, or maybe he is pretending to be a sexbot, but he’s taking time off from telling you to “sign up now to see pics” to lecture a fast food restaurant about class. @johncbarber is America. Go Big Red!
“We’re really going to find out who loves football and who loves each other and who is going to band together,” Frost said. I hope this season ends with all walk-ons from North Platte starting for Nebraska.
This week’s opponent: Saturday vs. Purdue, 2:30 p.m. CST
S&P+ rank: 60th overall, 97th offense, 27th defense, 115th special teams
Last week’s result: BYE
Biggest strength: My daughter thinks that it is hilarious when my wife or I shout “KOBE!”
She does not know what it’s from, because she’s 1.5 years old, but she laughs nonetheless. I thought maybe she just thought all great basketball player’s names were hilarious so I tried some others out. I shouted “LEBRON” and “JORDAN” and she just stared blankly back at me. I can’t believe I’m raising someone who is going to yell in comment sections about how Kobe is better than both of those guys. Smdh. I’ve failed as a father already.
Biggest weakness: Her other current favorite thing to do is take her play stroller out on our walks to the park. She usually puts a stuffed animal in there, most recently it has been Penny the Penguin, and a snack or her water bottle. When we get to the top of the hill by the park she likes to get a running start and let the stroller go to see if I can catch it while making sure she doesn’t get hit by a car.
I’m raising a Kobe stan Andy Dwyer. Eh, could be worse.
This week’s opponent: Saturday vs. No. 14 Michigan, 3:30 p.m. CST
S&P+ rank: 46th overall, 39th offense, 62nd defense, 95th special teams
Last week’s result: (W) vs. No. 23 Boston College, 30-13
Biggest strength: PURDUE BEAT A RANKED TEAM! HOLY CRAP! Kansas, Illinois and Rutgers are the only teams who had a longer streak of losing to ranked teams than Purdue. Can we talk about Rondale Moore for a minute?
He had eight catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns against BC. He has 33 receptions on the year for 372 yards and four TDs while also rushing for 132 yards and a touchdown. He makes me want to be a better man with how good he is at football while being so, so tiny. David Blough played pretty well too, I guess.
I had every intention of making this into a Gritty Appreciation Blog and held off until almost the end to do so. LOOK AT THIS GUY!
Philadelphia is the greatest city for sports mascots and I will not be hearing arguments at this time. Gritty, The Phillie Phanatic, the St. Joe’s Hawk and the Wawa Hoagie! You just can’t beat them. I’m all in on Gritty and can’t wait to see what hilarious shenanigans he gets up to this season.
friend: "cheesesteaks are overrated"— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) September 24, 2018
This week’s opponent: Saturday at Nebraska, 2:30 p.m. CST
S&P+ rank: 12th overall, 11th offense, 45th defense, 36th special teams
Last week’s result: (W) at Iowa, 28-17
Biggest strength: Resilience. Alex Hornibrook. Taiwan Deal. Jake Ferguson. Olive Sagapolu. Jonathan Taylor. Special Teams. Alec Ingold. T.J. Edwards. Winning the turnover battle. Third down conversions. The offensive line.
Will have a film study piece for Badgers game from last Saturday either tonight or tomorrow. Badgers went jumbo against Iowa.— Owen Riese (@RieseDraft) September 24, 2018
Wanna know why they had success running?
This was a really important win for Wisconsin and a lot of different players stepped up to snatch a win in Iowa City at night. The total yards in this game were 415-404 in Wisconsin’s favor. The first downs were tied at 19. The Badgers forced three turnovers and Iowa forced zero. There is the difference in the game, my friends.
Well that...and also this. I kid you not, I opened my first Wisconsin beer (I had a few beers before this from Minnesota) mere seconds (my wife was shouting at me to hurry up and find the bottle opener) before Garrett Groshek picked up that first down. New Glarus Staghorn was the main key to victory and I think we should all chug one this weekend in honor of the victory over Iowa.
Biggest weakness: Couldn’t cover tight ends. Had a lot of penalties. I don’t know man. I don’t want to be too negative coming off a big win and heading into the bye week.
Look at fucking Birkenstocks’ “W” here. Get it together, man.
This week’s opponent: BYE