Good morning, fair citizens of the Empire. It is a pleasure to be with you once again after a wild and woolly weekend of the B1G's finest sporting efforts. And Purdue. We have blessedly survived the last week of the non-conference schedule and its smorgasbord of cupcakes, crum-bums, and cornstarch-based packing peanuts. If nothing else, the non-conference weeks have led to some interesting discoveries about our beloved B1G. In some cases the best answers to our perpetual questions about the strength of the conference have come from the recent performances of our foes. Utah and Oregon both played B1G teams, and the Utes' mauling of Mark Helfrich's Ducks gives us reason to reconsider the quality of wins against both. Suffice it to say, after four weeks of football the B1G looks a bit different than most of us expected.
Unfortunately, your humble "writer" is in the throes of a long and busy work trip. That means my opportunity to watch games has suddenly fallen in line with longstanding OTE writers trope. As such, you may notice that SMCD looks a bit different this week. I can always count on my fellow "writers" to help me pick up the slack, because none of us can watch as few games as all of us.
14 B1G Things
1. When 13 of 14 B1G teams win, you know where to find Purdue.
2. How on earth did Brady Hoke lose so much with that defense?
3. At the current injury rate, Dantonio will soon be showing up outside Home Depot in a pickup truck offering $100 for an afternoon's work.
4. Mike Riley can't bike to work anymore, so he uses the 4th quarter to get his heart rate into the "Cardio Burn" zone.
5. It's a shame the Pope couldn't make it to New Brunswick. There's a team there in need of some faith healing.
6. Inexplicably, Indiana refuses to stop playing good football. New habits die hard too.
7. Does Maryland have a fourth QB they can try out?
8. I've never been so afraid for the Buckeyes to travel to Bloomington.
9. Hackenberg looked good in the downfield passing game, so expect a lot more screen passes.
10. I wonder if anyone knew whether the Kinnick Stadium scoreboard went to 62, oh they just barreled ahead into uncharted territory?
11. Mitch Leidner saved the day. This is a real statement.
12. Illinois' loses that game 9 out of 10 times, but probabilities are for suckers.
13. We're lucky to have so many Northwestern writers on staff, because Fitzgerald is hell-bent on killing his fans with close games.
14. Three games, no touchdowns. Glad to see you back, Wisconsin defense.
Bowling Green at Purdue // BG wins 35-28 "It's a bummer that Purdue doesn't win very many football games. They lost to Bowling Green, their second loss to a non Power 5 team this season. Good news, though: the Boilermakers can't lose to another non Power 5 team again this season. Football sucks." -baboereally Purdue next up: MSU
Central Michigan at Michigant State // MSU wins 30-10. A pyrrhic victory for Sparty. The Chips are no slouch, but beating them shouldn't come at the cost of Jack Conklin's knee. Connor Cook took a page out of the OSU quarterbacking book. It was the page titled "I'm gonna sorta suck today so someone cover for me." 143 yards against a MAC power is pretty abysmal. He and Cardale Jones had plenty of time to compare notes while Shilique Calhoun took over the game himself.
MSU again struggled with a lesser opponent, though a rash of injuries looked like the main culprit as the starting LT, TE, and a safety all went down with as-yet-unspecified injuries. Even accounting for the injuries, MSU probably put forth around a C+ or B- effort. In particular, the offensive play calling was vintage Tresselball, and contributed to leaving the game in doubt much longer than it should have been. Still, when your 3rd tailback comes off the bench ice cold in the 4th quarter and punches in 2 effortless TDs to ice the game, it's fair to see there's still enough talent here to beat most of the teams left on the slate. The problem is, this year, most isn't enough, and unless MSU gets healthy, a shot at a special season is going to be wasted sooner or later. -AK MSU next up: Purdue
Southern Miss at Nebraska // Nebraska wins 36-28 "Nebraska won their game. They have a decent enough offense that refused to score touchdowns for a great portion of the afternoon, and it almost came back to bite them in the ass. Also, this team has absolutely no pass defense, so that's fun. -Jesse Collins Nebby next up: Illinois
BYU at Michigan // Michigan pulverizes mormon dreams of grandeur, 31-0. "Wolverines are back PAWWWWWL. But seriously, physical dominance should be the calling card of this team. And if the downfield throws are hitting? Ohhhh boy." -Graham Filler Note: GF3 supports none of these claims, because Michigan. Michigan next up: Maryland
Kansas at Rutgers // Rutgers wins 27-14. Obligatory 2007 Kansas mention. Seriously, the Knights are lucky this wasn't 2007 Kansas. Or 2014 Kansas. Or even Kansas backed by a stiff breeze. All joking aside, the reality is that this Rutgers program is in the type of tailspin that could lead to prolonged suffering and years of poor recruiting. Digest that at your own pace, and make your jokes. The good news is that Rutgers has a bye week before a friendly October slate featuring OSU, MSU, Wisconsin, and undefeated Indiana. Rutgers next up: Bye.
Indiana at Wake Forest // Indiana wins 31-24 "Despite apparently slacking off in garbage time, IU beat Tobacco Purdue to go 4-0 for the first time since 1990. For you history buffs, this means Unified Germany is seeing a 4-0 IU team for the second time ever. For every IU fan born after October 6th, 1990, this is literally the first time IU has started 4-0 in our lifetime. No matter what happens against Ohio State next week (and chances are it won't be pretty, but who knows), this is probably the best I've felt about IU football ever. Still a long season to go though." -C4B Indiana next up: OSU
Maryland at West Virginia // WVU wins 45-6 "Maryland lost, a lot to a little. HELLO 3-9 (1-7). Glad Rutgers is a burning tire fire inside a dumpster fire to make sure we at least have a really good chance at another win at some point. Edsall's buyout is $2.6M and drops to 500k next year, but I'm thinking he's doing a great job of convincing donors to pony up some money so far." -DJ Carver Maryland next up: Michigan
Western Michigan at Ohio State // OSU wins 38-12. With each passing week, it seems more and more likely that Cardale Jones and JT Barrett were the victims of that red memory-wipe light that the Men in Black used. Cardale underthrows everyone, unless it's a short pass and then he just misses. Barrett bores holes in receivers' heads with his eyes, which explains why his first pass of the day was a pick. Oh, and for those who didn't see the game you can take from that statement that OSU is still playing two QBs. Because fuck history, amirite? OSU next up: Indiana
SDSU at Penn State // PSU wins 37-21 "In the first half, Penn State looked good. Hackenberg threw some nice long balls and running back Saquon Barkley was on fire. He had 67 yards in the first half. Then he got hurt, and starting running back Akeel Lynch got hurt. Those two had 80 yards combined before the half...but somehow Penn State finished the game with 72 net rushing yards. That's kind of the way the second half went. At one point in the 4th quarter, it was 27-21 with the Aztecs driving. And then the best thing happened: giant defense tackle Austin Johnson scooped up a fumble and "ran" 70 yards for a TD. It. Was. Awesome. He also outscored the entire offense in the second half." -87townie PSU next up: Army
North Texas at Iowa // Iowa wins 62-16 "Iowa finished its non-con schedule 4-0 with a rout of North Texas. By the numbers: this is the fourth 4-0 start for Ferentz and the first since 2009. It was Iowa's highest scoring game since 2002 against Northwestern. CJ Beathard started the game 15 for 15. Jordan Canzeri had 4 rushing TDs. The Iowa defense had 2 pick-6's. Cupcake or not, this was a rare dominant win for the post-2009 Hawkeyes. They still have a lot to prove before anyone outside Iowa City takes them seriously, but next week in Madison seems like a good place to start. Maybe we fans are overreacting to winning a few games we're supposed to win. Maybe we're due for a rude awakening. For now, though, things are as good as I could have imagined." -creightonm Iowa next up: Wisconsin
Ohio at Minnesota // Minnesota wins 27-24 "Last weekend the Gopher offense tried to derail an outstanding effort from the defense. Today the offense bailed out the defense and special teams, which tried their damnedest to let Ohio win. Some of the credit is owed to the Bobcats, who seemed more efficient than their 50% on 3rd and 4th down conversions. The Minnesota special teams also had four huge gaffes, which led directly to 7 points for Ohio. However, as everyone predicted, the Gopher offense was able to rack up 468 yards, including 264 on 22/32 from the reliable and dependable Mitch Leidner. All is well here, and injuries aren't continuing at an alarming rate." -whitespeedreceiver Minnesota next up: NU
#hottaek Mitch Leidner and the Gophs are awesome in the 2 min drill. Limegrover is terrified to use the offense for the other 58 minutes -insertname
Middle Tennessee State at Illinois // Illinois wins 27-25 "A bizarre last-gasp drive by MTSU set up a 43-yard field goal from the left hash that hooked wide left. This game continues a disturbing trend in which the Illinois offense looks brilliant on the opening drive and then shuts down. Ultimately the key to this game was a blocked punt for an Illinois TD. The defense stopped a stout MTSU rushing attack all day, but the secondary was picked apart by redshirt freshman coach's son Brent Stockstill to the tune of 29/42 for 330 yards and 3 TD's. After its first drive, the offense had such miscues as receivers running wrong routes, dropped passes, a botched snap on their own goal line for a safety, a disastrous play on 4th and 2 from the MTSU 3 that involved two timeouts and a dropped pass to turn it over on downs, and a few sacks for big losses. In the third quarter, the Illini punched it into the end zone with a 2 back setup providing most of the yardage, but when your quarterback throws 49 passes, you'd like to move the ball through the air as well. The fact that the Illini had a 14-3 lead very early and ended up winning only because of a 51-yard field goal from a notoriously shaky kicking game is cause for concern. This looks more like a Big Ten football team than any of Beckman's because the lines have played well, but this team has made a lot of mistakes." -thumpasaurus
Next up for Illinois: Nebraska
Ball State at Northwestern // NU wins 24-19 "Clayton Thorson did his best to give the game away with interceptions, but Ball State's kicker is probably kicking himself after his misses. Northwestern had 7 injured players, and right now Justin Jackson has rushed for more yards this season than Ezekiel Elliott." -LPW NU next up: Minnesota
Hawaii at Wisconsin // Wisconsin wins 28-0. "So wisconsin's defense is awesome and I'm drunk as shit." -TSpeth Wisconsin next up: Iowa.