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Fall’s Tarts, Week Five: Shutout City

In which we say goodbye to a series regular :(

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 27 Penn State at Maryland

Well, that was disappointing. I say that not just as a Nebraska fan who watched her team get the snot kicked out of it—that was disappointing, though not hugely surprising. No, I say that as the writer of a weekly feature on hilarious screw-ups around the conference—amazingly, as bad as several teams were this weekend, they weren’t funny bad—just bad. As a result, it’s a pretty light tart week—though that gives us plenty of space to honor an outgoing feature and instant addition to the Fall’s Tarts Hall of Fame.

In Which A Hurdle is Miscalculated

From the look of the final score, this was probably the best defense Maryland put up all day against Penn State. Sure, it doesn’t appear to be extensively well thought-out, but sometimes the happiest accidents are like that. As for Zach Kuntz, the zealous #82, well, he was a 6’7” man who believed he could fly. He couldn’t, but you have to love that kind of self-belief.

In Which Pat Fitzgerald is Too Smart for the 2-Pt. Chart, Except Not Really

Northwestern surprised us all by following up several uninspiring performances with a closer-than-expected 9-point loss against Wolverine-slaying Wisconsin. About that nine points though... it didn’t have to happen that way. Northwestern could have finished the game with a one-score differential, keeping themselves in it until the very end, except that Pat Fitzgerald kept deciding to go for two... for no good reason.

As we learned last week, Pat Fitzgerald #HashtagDoesn’tCare what any of us think about these decisions, but they are nevertheless baffling. I’ll let my talented colleague Thumpasaurus, who knows a thing or fifteen about questionable playcalling, walk us through the affair:

Wisconsin has a 24-3 fourth quarter lead know how sometimes late in the game northwestern’s opponents completely forget how to play football and often lose by doing so? So wisconsin starts doing that. Turnovers, penalties, three and outs, etc. Northwestern scores a TD. 24-9. An extra point makes it a 14-point game. Northwestern goes for two, doesn’t get particularly close. Still a two possession game, but where before you could tie it up with 2TD and 2XP now you need 2TD and a 2 pointer just to TIE.

Wisconsin still can’t remember how to play football so northwestern recovers an onside kick and then goes and scores again. Now it’s 24-15. Kick the extra point and it’s a one possession game. can go for two, and it’s a one-possession game, but you only need an extra point to tie it IF you score again. Never mind what happens if you fail. So...they go for two and fail. The tv crew sends a sideline reporter to see if Northwestern kicker Charlie Kuhbander has fallen down a well because they can’t come up with any other explanation. Their bewildered sideline reporter confirms that he’s fine.

BTN remains baffled as well, for what that’s worth:

“I don’t know what exactly he’s yelling about but I know BTN thinks Pat Fitzgerald’s pronouns are ‘it/its.’” —Thumpasaurus

A day of learning, indeed. And thus closes another chapter of the Strange Wizardry* of Pat Fitzgerald. (“It’s a wizard, Harry!)

*Remember, Neville Longbottom was a wizard too—not everyone can be Hermione.

In Which Peej and Brohm are Two Ships Passing in the Night

The Unsinkable Molly Browns (Minnesota, if you missed my nautical allusions) slopped their way to another win over the weekend, taking down Purdue (though nearly letting them back into it) and also most of their key players while they were at it. It was unquestionably a maddening disaster of a game for Purdue coach Jeff Brohm, who didn’t seem to have much willingness to risk having motivational slogans shouted in his face by the USS Peejus following the debacle:

In Which a Coach Ensures Unemployment, Competes for Zach Smith Twitter Idiocy Honors

Chris Ash was not the only football coach to have a rough week—after starting 0-3, Div. III St. Augustine’s football coach, Tim Chavous, was let go last Monday. He did not take kindly to the news. Exhibiting Smart!, Best, and Very Good Leadership Skills That Everyone Is Talking About!!!, Chavous tweeted the following screed:


Let’s just all take a minute and appreciate “escape goat.” Gifts such as this are not given every day.

Anyway, Chavous deleted the Tweet and his Twitter profile (Sad!) and presumably will not be coaching again any time soon. Unless the search in Piscataway goes horribly, unimaginably awry...

In Which Mike Leach is Mike Leach, and His Players are Fat and Dumb

Mike Leach is one of the most entertaining characters in college football, known for his exciting offenses on the field and his exciting offenses routinely coming from his mouth. The latter was in full force over the weekend after Washington State lost to Utah, and Leach told the media that his players were “fat, dumb, happy, and entitled.” Pouting was also mentioned:

This isn’t the first time the portly pirate aficianado has referenced pudginess related to his players and blamed it for a loss. Following a loss to Texas A&M, his Texas Tech Red Raiders were alleged by their coach to have been led down the primrose path by “their fat little girlfriends,” who distracted them with visions of an easy victory and who knows what else.

In Which Jim Delany Looks Really Dumb

We’ve spilled plenty of proverbial ink on discussion about whether or not the 2014 addition of Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten was justified in any way. On Saturday, the answer to that looked like a resounding no. Both teams were shut out by conference opponents, and the combined score was 111-0. Ouch.

If you add Nebraska in the mix, Delany’s other addition, the math is scarecely better. While the Huskers avoided the shutout, they only barely did so—leaving the combined fate of the three newest Big Ten teams 159-7.


In Which We Say Goodbye to a Dear Friend :(

And that brings us to our saddest moment of the week, a farewell to a man who has done as much for this column as anyone—that illustrious Iowa product, Chris Ash, lately of Piscataway.

During his tenure, Rutgers went from Very Bad to Even Worse, which was something none of us really thought was possible. The jump from coordinator to HC is often a crapshoot, as dozens of other schools have learned, and combined with the special challenges Rutgers faces, it was ultimately a jump that Ash could not make. There are many metrics by which the futility could be measured, but perhaps none speak so loudly as this:

Ignoring Fornelli’s sin of treating “shut out” as one word, it is, alas, less of a sin than getting shut out NINE TIMES.

In full fairness to Ash... one of those was the responsibility of Kyle Flood. But the rest were Ash’s, including four (!!!) in his first season alone. It was not a good trend.

Real sadness baked into every bite.

And so we here at OTE* mourn this moment, the passing of a legend. Against Rutgers have our poison pens and endless wit been mercilessly unloaded, a situation maintained by a nice man who was in over his head. We may not see his equal again (indeed, those of us from non-Rutgers schools pray that we do not), and for that, we are truly sorry. We wish him the best in his future endeavors, and we wish for Rutgers to beat Liberty, but Ash’s departure certainly leaves a hole in our witty little hearts.

And for that, one final beautiful Tart of the Week to your friend and mine, Chris Ash. We light the cannon for you, friend.

*Zuzu and Ray not included


Which Tart led the pack this week?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    PSU Shoots for the Stars
    (22 votes)
  • 5%
    Two Ships Pass in the Night
    (21 votes)
  • 8%
    SAU Coach Auditions for a Cabinet Post
    (34 votes)
  • 8%
    Mike Leach Mike Leaches
    (32 votes)
  • 12%
    Jim Delany’s Mistakes are More than Usually Evident
    (48 votes)
  • 26%
    Pat Fitzgerald Goes for Four
    (99 votes)
  • 32%
    Chris Ash (Lifetime Achievement)
    (124 votes)
380 votes total Vote Now