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Fall’s Tarts, Week Eight: The Silly, the Stupid, and the Soap Opera-esque in the Big Ten

Real Housewives of the Mitten State

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Michigan State
Look at him, just smiling and laughing.
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since the inception of this feature, neither Rutgers nor the Nebraska Cornhuskers own the spotlight for the week (although we should never forget Pat Fitzgerald and his good adjustments that just didn’t work amidst the sea of entries generated by those two teams.) For this Husker writer, that’s a lovely development!

No, instead this week’s lead tomfoolery is brought to us by a slap fight in the Mitten State. The Hills had Lauren vs. Heidi. The Cardi B vs. Nicki Minaj feud recently entered its 947th chapter. The Great British Bake-Off even had Ian vs. the old lady who took his Baked Alaska out of the freezer without asking.

Not to be outdone, the state of Michigan brings us Mark vs. Jim, two middle-aged men in khakis trading barbs like Drake and Pusha T, or Kanye vs. good sense. Don’t miss today’s hottest diss track, “Straight Outta Third Grade:”

Harbaugh Gets Petulant (Yes, More Than Usual)

Harbaugh won a big game, and one that has bedeviled Michigan more often than not in recent years, but the only thing that will be remembered about this one is the antics of Michigan’s players and its coach, and to a lesser-extent, MSU’s as well.

The kerfuffle began when Michigan State set off across their field arm-in-arm, an apparently standard pre-game ritual for Spartan home games. UM player Devin Bush was on the field and was more or less swept along with the Spartan line, an event he did not find joy-giving. Happily, he responded calmly and rationally and...

...oh. Well, anyway, if this doesn’t become the new go-to touchdown celebration somewhere, I’ll be rather disappointed—but if nothing else, we’ve now got the living embodiment of “getting mad on the internet.” Thanks Devin!

After the game, Jim Harbaugh was not impressed, and he recounted a thrilling tail of woe, whereby Michigan players were clotheslined and headphones were “ripped off” in a “total bush league” move. But worst of all, was that “Coach Dantonio was five yards behind it all, smiling,” presumably like some deranged Cheshire cat.

Harbaugh did begin this story by mentioning that he didn’t see any of it, which is obvious because anyone with a passing knowledge of B1G football knows that Dantonio never smiles.

Dantonio, in his post-game press conference, did not smile. When told by a reporter of Harbaugh’s accusations, Dantonio said “That’s B.S.”

Reporter: What?

Dantonio: You heard me. You guys can get your cameras out.

So there you have it. If you’d forgotten what third grade was like, the Mitten State is here to remind you. There might be more than a few who should be skipping recess this week.

James Franklin Ices an Onside Kick

You know, Franklin is really making a name for himself in this column isn’t he? For the second time, he lands here for some end-of-the-game tomfoolery. I didn’t see this one, so I’ll leave it to my colleague Aaron Yorke:

At the end of the game, PSU recovered the kick, but then it turned out that it didn’t count because Franklin called a time out. Indiana then recovered the real kick, and almost won.

Say what you will about James Franklin, he’s got a unique coaching identity, I’ll give him that.

Maryland’s QB Has Some Problems

Maryland did not have a good day in Iowa City, and this was actually not due entirely to either the fact that they were in Iowa, or that it was an extremely windy day (many people forget). No, some of their problems were of the good old-fashioned terp derp variety:

Minnesota’s No Good, Very Bad Pass

Speaking of it just not being your day, Minnesota had a similarly unpleasant trip to Lincoln. Not only did they lose the game, they also lost quarterback Zach Annexstad late in the first half to an abdominal injury that landed him in a Lincoln hospital. Backup QB Tanner Morgan actually did a pretty good job, and led the Gophers on a solid comeback attempt throughout much of the second half, but then, threatening to score again, disaster struck:

Morgan’s pass to Rashod Bateman was bobbled by Bateman, and unfortunately for him, the ball managed to bounce off his own back and into the waiting arms of Nebraska’s Dedrick Young, eliminating the Gopher threat. If you were asked to guess how an interception between the 2018 Huskers and Gophers looked, you’d probably guess something about this dumb.

THE Ohio State Buckeyes Have Assorted Issues

As you may have heard, then #2 Ohio State had a bad outing on Saturday, getting pounded by Purdue. I only saw the last six minutes or so of the game, but even that was enough to witness three Purdue touchdowns. My colleagues had various nominees for Ohio State’s debut in this article, including:

  • Two Buckeye defenders hitting each other, resulting in one of them doing a flip in mid air
  • A Buckeye returner, in a near-Rutgersian moment, did not field the ball at first, and then almost gave up a safety.

But the tartiest Buckeye moment of them all was when Davon Hamilton made a beautiful leaping somersault—into Purdue punter Joe Schopper. That’ll be a penalty every time, and it was.

It was an uncharacteristic night for the Scarlet and Gray, and unless you’re someone who enjoys wearing those colors together, you enjoyed the heck out of the Boilermakers’ performance in this one.

Rutgers Again Fails at Special Teams

You thought we were going to forget Rutgers??? I admit, I was oddly comforted to find this week’s massive screw-up from them, as I’m not sure how I’d feel about a Fall’s Tarts without the Scarlet Knights. I actually kind of think that Northwestern should be here, just for almost losing to Rutgers, but they avoided that fate, and didn’t make an appearance. Just know that their good adjustments that didn’t work appear to be just dynamite.

Anyway, Rutgers did this:

While it is certainly a step up from last week, when they forgot to field the football entirely, there’s still a lot to work on here for our friends from New Jersey.

What do you think? It was an exceptionally dumb week for our conference, so who wins the prize of being this week’s Tartiest? Vote below!


Who is Week Eight’s Tart Star?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Real Housewives of the Mitten State
    (161 votes)
  • 11%
    James Franklin Ices an Onside Kick
    (50 votes)
  • 8%
    Maryland’s QB Is Blown Away By Iowa
    (36 votes)
  • 23%
    Assorted Buckeyes Being Bad
    (106 votes)
  • 18%
    Rutgers Still Can’t Field The Ball
    (82 votes)
  • 2%
    Minnesota’s Hopes Bounce Off Their Receiver’s Back
    (9 votes)
444 votes total Vote Now