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Fall’s Tarts: The Silly, The Stupid, The Six-Win West Division Champions-y in the Big Ten in Week Eleven

In which StewMonkey sets himself on fire, and some Big Ten teams do too.

Not B1G, but too great an image to pass up.

Hi everyone! Did everyone have a great weekend? I suppose not, though I certainly hope your weekend was better than the one had by the liver of one former Buckeye coach Zach Smith. We’ll discuss that little primer for how to not just end your career, but how to pour gasoline over it, light a match, and then salt the smoldering ruins behind you a little later.

First though, our less insane, more football-y Tarts! Hit it, goofballs.

Iowa “Writer” StewMonkey Lights His Pants on Fire

True, there was some concern that the Iowa-Northwestern tilt was going to be a little derpy. Still though, there were few who were so desperate to get out of watching it that they actually set their clothing on fire... but then there was StewMonkey.

Probably the end of the road for that particular pair of Levis.

Says Stew:

I brushed up against a propane heater at our tailgate and caught on fire, burned my jeans and my tights. No real harm, though. But also not going to the game. Definitely a falls tart. It was a small flame, mostly smoldering, but those propane heaters are no joke.

Chili was good though.

And if you’re wondering, like I was, if Stew followed the timeless advice to “stop, drop, and roll,” no, he did not. Instead, he vanquished the flames with “Cheap beer and water, and dropping (his) pants quickly.” That’s probably not a method they’re going to start teaching schoolchildren, but we’re glad it worked.

Next time you want to avoid watching Iowa refuse to score though, Stew, you can just not go to the game instead of going to all this trouble!

(We are all very glad Stew is uninjured and had ready access to an open Bud Light, and thank him for letting us make a little fun of him here. As always, we urge our readership to cold-weather tailgate safely!)

Illinois Has a Hard Time Holding on to the Football

To be honest, there are a LOT of Illini moments to choose from this week, because they had FIVE turnovers and pretty much all of them happened in stunningly stupid ways. Just an embarrassment of riches from a Fall’s Tarts perspective. However, there were some standouts.

First, we have this beauty. For most of the first half, both teams scored at will, replicating quite faithfully a Big XII game in all its scoring and lack of defense. Illinois added one more touchdown to the scoreboard with 1:09 left in the first half, scoring the extra point with :58 seconds left. Nebraska proceeded to spend 11 seconds going three and out. With :40 left, Illinois called a timeout leading up to the Nebraska punt. At which point, this happened:

It’s even more beautiful in slow motion, like some kind of demented ballet.

Nebraska took advantage of this gift on the 8-yard line, and popped in a touchdown to go up 38-21 three seconds before halftime. Whoops. (Also yes—this game had 59 points at halftime).

This next turnover is notable for the way that the Illini player neatly popped it into the arms of the Nebraska defender near him. It was most thoughtful and obliging of him. This particular clip also contrasts this with Devine Ozigbo’s attempt to replicate this feat, only to suddenly remember, as Thump puts it, “he doesn’t play for Illinois.”

Anyway, Illinois had a bad day. That said, unless you’re an Illini fan, it was an insanely fun game to watch, much like the Big Ten version of a circus. The game ended with 89 points, so, a slight contrast to whatever was happening in East Lansing:

During the game thread, an ongoing comparison between OSU-MSU and “The Seventh Seal” broke out, and that is why I love this site.

Michigan State Intentionally Gets a Safety

Speaking of MSU, they earned some tartiness of their own this weekend. Down 7-6 with 42 seconds left in the third quarter, the Spartans found themselves trapped on a 4th and 10 on their own 1-yard line, thanks to yet another truly beautiful punt by OSU’s Drue Chrisman:

The sheer Big Ten-ness of the play was immediately noticed and celebrated, or lamented:

One can understand how Dantonio got to that decision, even if the wisdom of doing so deeply divided Twitter. As with so many things, if it works, he’s a genius—but unfortunately, MSU chose to follow up the intentional safety with some decidedly un-genius things, like kicking the ball out of bounds, and then fumbling in the end zone, and... yeah.


Mike Leach Discusses Gardner Minchew’s Mustache and Wears One

This is beyond the Empire, but I don’t care, because it’s hilarious, and you owe it to yourself to watch this clip. First, because this kid’s name is Gardner Minchew, which should definitely be a character in an Edith Wharton novel, and not a football player. Second, because Mike Leach. Third, because Mike Leach wearing a fake mustache.

“I dunno why everybody only notices his, a lot of these kids have mustaches. Anyway.”

National. Treasure.

Zach Smith Stars as Regina George in Mean Girls 3

Remember former OSU coach Zach Smith? Let’s see how he’s doing these days:

Oh my.

This is also no longer Big Ten, but is still kind of Big Ten adjacent (thanks Urban!) You may remember disgraced shitheel Zach Smith’s highly publicized dismissal from OSU in the wake of disclosures about his alleged spousal abuse and other whacked out stuff. But last night, Smith was not content to go quietly into that good night, and he was determined to take Texas coach Tom Herman and his wife with him. Totally sober*, Smith opened his burn book and unleashed a tweetstorm for the ages:

Hear that guys? JO reason not to be HONEST. iT’S wHerE He FInds SOLICE.

Anyway, this particular hobby horse seemed to center around his claims that Tom Herman had, uh, utilized various other “hobby horses” during their time together as assistant coaches. Notably, Smith demonstrated how much he respects and admires women during this tirade:

Presumably, most people would understand that threatening a woman repeatedly with the phrase “you should be afraid” is not the very best of optics when you’re best known for being accused of domestic assault, but Smith clearly had thrown caution to the wind, even as he was likely three sheets to it.

You can read the whole meltdown many places, including (still) his Twitter account, but I’d like to highlight two things:

  1. His handle is still @coachzachsmith as if he’s EVER going to coach again after this debacle. Sadly enough, he probably could have bounced back from the domestic abuse charge, because that’s the world we live in—but airing your former colleague’s dirty laundry like this? Eh, probably not.
  2. I think Tom Herman may well be awful, but this response is absolute gold:

In seriousness, let’s hope Zach gets the help he clearly, desperately needs. And let’s hope the internet is able to replenish its supply of eating popcorn gifs, as every last one has been exhausted on this affair.


Who really stood out this week?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    StewMonkey Flambe
    (44 votes)
  • 14%
    Illinois (Again)
    (42 votes)
  • 8%
    MSU’s Intentional Safety
    (26 votes)
  • 12%
    Mustache Mike Leach
    (37 votes)
  • 50%
    Zach Smith as Regina George
    (150 votes)
299 votes total Vote Now