So you're reading the blog. If you haven't already, take 30 seconds and give us your input on our Reader Satisfaction Survey. All participants will be entered into a drawing to receive a simulated image of the Rose Bowl fourth-quarter scoreboard, as viewed through Joe Pa's +3.00 bifocal prescription eyeglasses. We saw the Lions trailing 14-38 with 7:22 to play. Joe Pa saw the Lions winning 143-8. "Geez, Louise," Paterno exclaimed, "We've got ourselves one of those fancy Big 12 offenses. Have Kevin try a field goal. We don't want to run up the score too bad on old Pete."
On a carefree afternoon in late August, Graham dropped this list of expectations for the young season. Midway through conference play, I sobered things up by revisiting the board -- a two stroke melodrama (read part 1 here, and part 2 here) that raised more questions than it gave answers.
So, we're back. A postseason, postmortem simply wouldn't be complete without dragging these heavy skeletons back out of the closet. Still, if we learned anything from Sunday school it's the Biblical anthem of Lot's wife, who, in the process of escaping from Sodom, took one last look back at the burning metropolis, and instantly turned into a pillar of salt.
With that in mind, let's take one last look at:
11 Things I Want to See This Year in the Big 10.
At midterm, the conference had satisfied just four of Graham's eleven entries. With the season scrapped, did we finish any better? The short answer is yes. The conference came through at over .500, knocking off a modest six of eleven wishes. If only things were so simple. I suspect that if we look long and hard, we'll see that even the greatest of these success stories amounts to little more than a moral victory. Then again, that's kind of what college football is all about.
#11 - If Ohio State Makes it to a Bowl Game, I Would Appreciate if they Showed Up
It's become almost a universal concession, Ohio State didn't just show up in their Tostitos Fiesta Bowl game against Texas, they f-ed up: Colt McCoy and the Big 12 South Offensive dynamo pride parade, that is. In what was unquestionably one of the best games of the 2008 postseason the Buckeyes steered the Longhorns into submission: lassoing their gushing offense in the first half and reining in Texas' 17-6 third quarter lead. The scarlet even went up -- with 2:05 to play -- only to drop to the Burnt Orange on a questionable 4th and 3 spot. Sure, to the victors belong the spoils, but something tells me Bevo won't keep this one on Tivo. Ohio State greets the offseason with something they haven't had in a while: respect.
Moral of the story: Almost counts.
#3- I want Terrelle Pryor to break out in a "Sportscenter Top 10" way.
He threw a pass. He caught a pass. Then he turned 19. Texas' defensive ends are still trying to figure out how this ground gazelle accelerates in slow motion. From his game-winning TD drive in Madison, to his corner-buster skills as a wideout, Terrelle Pryor is better than advertised. Unlike, say, the Texas Longhorns. Okay, I'm over it.
Pryor puts the p in potential.
Moral of the story: Passing is for pansies.
#1 - I want to see someone punch OSU right in the mouth.
This wouldn't be such an OSU slush pile if other members of the conference (sans Iowa) could like, you know, play football.
But there was one team who stepped up to the plate and squared off on the scarlet. Prior to becoming the Big 10's latest Rose Bowl sacrificial lamb Penn State came into the Horseshoe and stuffed the run, stifled the pass, and choked the life and the clock out of the home town crowd on national television.
Moral of the story: Competition is good.
#4 - I want people to stop talking about Joe Paterno retiring.
They did -- about the time the newly minted contender negotiated a 3-year extension to
stay on the sidelines use Binoculars in the press box. Now, if he'd just stop settling for field goals...
Moral of the story: Get your lazy ass down to the locker room to address your team at the half.
#2 -I want Michigan State to live up to expectations.
In October, I quipped that we "won't know for sure about the prowess of these Spartans until they finish what they start." And they did, kind of. The Spartans were 9-2 heading into their regular season finale against No. 8 Penn State, and had reasonable ambitions of pulling off the upset. That was, until, they took the field and preceeded to make every mistake imaginable.
Kudos to the Spartans for playing Georgia tough.
Moral of the story: Dantonio's scowl says it all.
Pour me another one:
#5 - I Want the Midwest to Represent in the 2008 Big 10/Pac 10 Challenge
Moral of the story: It's better than 1-6.
#6 - I Want Ron Zook to Keep the Good Feelings Coming
#10 - I Want Minnesota to Stop Embarrassing the Big 10.
#9 - I Want More Heartwarming Stories.
#8 - I Want to Avoid a Repeat of the Monster 2007 Upsets
Moral of the story: Holy Toledo.
#7 - I Want a Wide Receiver to get his Name in the Headlines.
Actually, I take this one back. Former OSU wide reciever Brian Hartline did recently get his name in the headlines: when he declared he was going pro early and expected to land somewhere in the second to fourth rounds.
Moral of the story: It's not a lie if you believe it's true.