It is time to rate things on the internet.
A look at the box score can tell you how a stock price is dancing around its moving average, but the aim here is to evaluate recent performance to estimate future return. I am trying to tell you what the future will hold, and which team is the best bet for your fandom investment. The musings below are how I, the autocrat of this feature, view each team’s performance and potential.
I am an investment committee of one (though I may deign to consider the opinions of others). Whether or not I am being unreasonable is something only I can decide.
Nomenclature Alert: The Mollywhoppin’.
There are three elements to a Mollywhoppin’: Shutout an opponent; Outscore opponent by 20; Score 50 on an opponent.
There are Three Degrees of Mollywhoppin’: Third-Degree — one of the elements above is present; Second-Degree — two of the elements above are present; First-Degree — all three elements are present (the score is 50-0, or worse).
The beauty of the Mollywhoppin’ is that one can be declared just by looking at the scores — one need not watch the games. As a “writer,” this aligns with my interests.
Get used to this system, because I am going to use it. A lot. Read the origin story here.
This week there are four “Buys,” and four “Holds.” The lower number of “Sells” is indicative of a neutral to bullish trend on the OTE Index.
There were six league tilts this week and the mid-season grind is upon us. Penn State held off Michigan, but they still have two tough games ahead of them. Ohio State keeps finding ways to improve. Indiana might have gotten over the hump into bowl eligibility. Illinois! Nice job, Illini! Sparty and Big Red stayed at home nursing their wounds. Northwestern and Rutgers got humiliated, but Wisconsin fell from a greater height. Honestly, we are now entering what might be the most interesting week of the season, so far — where all of the games have a chance to be highly competitive. This will be fun.
Ohio State Buckeyes - (Defeated Northwestern, 52-3) A top ten team was upset on the road this week, but not in Evanston. Given other events this weekend, it is obligatory to state that the Buckeye’s march to Indianapolis (and beyond) is not inexorable. Another part of me is reminded of this:
Ramping up to the long-awaited game against Wisconsin, Ohio State got better — further sharpening their play and plan. The Badgers...did not. Who in this conference can beat the Buckeyes? Only the Buckeyes, it would appear. (Second-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Wisconsin.
Penn State Nittany Lions - (Defeated Michigan, 28-21) The Lions got off to a good start and had just enough to hold of Michigan in the end. Penn State is halfway through a tough stretch of games: Iowa, Michigan, MSU, and Minny. You would think that they would drop one of them. Is this week the one? Next up: @Michigan State.
Indiana Hoosiers - (Defeated Maryland, 34-28) Indiana has to win one more game to become bowl eligible. They have at least three good chances to get there, and they will. If not this week, then soon. Their record, sound offense, and competent defense far outstrip expectations. Thus, the Hoosiers are a “Buy.” Next up: @Nebraska.
Illinois Fighting Illini - (Defeated Wisconsin, 24-23) Great job, Illini! Great job, Lovie! Stay out of hospitals and jails, Thump! I am moving this team up to a “Buy” based on the sheer majesty of their accomplishment against Wisconsin, knowing full well that they might crumble on the road this week. Honestly, Illinois has a real opportunity against a freshman quarterback who is regressing before our eyes. Caveat emptor. Next up: @Purdue.
Minnesota Golden Gophers - (Defeated Rutgers, 42-7) Minnesota did what was expected of them — of any team, really — by disposing of Rutgers. Minny is undefeated. Maryland has the skill players to test the Gopher defense, and Penn State is next on the schedule. Look past the Terps at your peril, Boat Rowers. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Maryland.
Iowa Hawkeyes - (Defeated Purdue, 26-20) For the first time in years, I closely watched an Iowa game that did not involve Nebraska. I find myself transfigured from the experience. I do not know how to adequately convey the lessons learned from watching that offense, but I hope I will be more forgiving of Iowa fans in the future. All of those dyspeptic or snide comments...they have never been your fault, Hawkeye fans. I know that now. This game can be cruel, and some burdens are too much for any person to bear. I am so sorry. Next up: @Northwestern.
Michigan Wolverines - (Lost to Penn State, 28-21) Michigan will remain a “Hold” because I believe they would beat ten teams in this conference. The Wolverines are a “good” team, but by all rights they should be better than they currently are. There is one way they can make OTE look (at least a wee bit) more favorably upon them. —> Next up: Notre Dame.
Purdue Boilermakers - (Lost to Iowa, 26-20) This was real close to a “Sell.” The Iowa defense got in Jack Plummer’s head early, and lived there rent free the rest of the afternoon. Still, Purdue came close to winning. The freshman was backpedaling, throwing off his back foot, and playing outside of the offense on too many occasions. I suspect Brohm will coach him up on fundamentals this week, but Lovie Smith built a career out of harrying quarterbacks. Next up: Illinois.
Northwestern Wildcats - (Lost to Ohio State, 52-3) On the negative side, the ‘Cats got pummeled on Friday. On the positive side, Ohio State had to punt a couple times. That game is now in the rear view mirror. Northwestern has no discernible offense, but a good defense. All signs point to a competitive, if not compelling, rock fight against Iowa. (Mollywhopped in the Second-Degree) Next up: Iowa.
Nebraska Cornhuskers - (Idle) It is litmus test time for the Husker program. Either you can beat Indiana at home, or you cannot (with all the implications associated with that). The last time Indiana came to Lincoln, it was 1977 and Lee Corso was the coach...and I was in the stands. The legend of I.M. Hipp was born when the walk-on ran for a school record 254 yards (and surprisingly, no TDs) in a 31-13 Husker win. Good times. Back to the present. The next two weeks, against both the Indiana schools, will determine if the Big Red goes bowling. As a Nebraska fan, I have hope...but no confidence. Next up: Indiana.
Michigan State Spartans - (Idle) There is a lot of talk about the transfer portal coming out of East Lansing. Not good. Penn State is coming off an emotional home win against the Wolverines. Do the Spartans have the ammunition to spring an ambush at home? Maybe? Do they have the will? I do not know. Next up: Penn State.
Maryland Terrapins - (Lost to Indiana, 34-28) Maryland cannot close the deal, but they can make opponents’ lives miserable. The Terps need to become more consistent in the good things they do, and less consistent at the bad things. They can spoil someone’s season, but going bowling is now out of the picture. Next up: @Minnesota.
Wisconsin Badgers - (Lost to Illinois, 24-23) Is the gambit to lull Ohio State into complacency? You lost to Illinois, and were out-coached in the process. When the bottom falls out, you get a “Sell” rating. A competitive showing against OSU will move you up to “Hold,” and a win will get you a “Buy.” Next up: @Ohio State.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights - (Lost to Minnesota, 42-7) Here is where we are: The Scarlet Knights are now a home underdog to Liberty. Screw Liberty U and the dinosaurs their ancestors rode in on. Reclaim some dignity, Rutgers. (Mollywhopped in the Third-Degree) Next up: Liberty.
Feel free to laud my grace, charm, and judgment in the comments.
Which team had the worst loss this week (besides Wisconsin)?
This poll is closed
Pete Mote Polytechnic
How could it be anyone but Wisconsin? IT’S WISCONSIN.
*********Note: I have a thing to do next weekend (shocking, I know). It is possible that this feature may be delayed next week. Thank you for reading. DR