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 [ed note: not this week]. Read the origin story here.
There were nine non-conference games and one league tilt this week. Things did not go very well, with the B1G going 5-4 out of conference. There were two losses to the MAC, a loss to the PAC 12, and a loss to the Big 12. Additionally, league teams barely escaped teams from the Sun Belt and Iowa. Two high achieving, high visibility programs - Wisconsin and Michigan - were idle. Rutgers was idle, too. Here is the state of play: I cannot believe I spent an entire day ingesting a cornucopia of crap football. Indiana cannot get over the hump. Iowa cannot get the Cyclones off their schedule. Purdue cannot stay healthy. Michigan State cannot score. Nebraska cannot kick. Penn State cannot block. Maryland cannot keep their eyes on the prize. Northwestern cannot hold my interest. Illinois simply...cannot.
Hey, the weekend is over. We will burn the film later.
Iowa Hawkeyes - (Defeated Iowa State, 18-17) The Hawkeyes kicked four field goals and scored a touchdown. In a six hour, twice-delayed game, the Hawks won by a single point - thanks in no small part to the ineptitude of the opposition. Well done, Iowa, you are the conference’s biggest upward mover this week. A fine example you are setting. Next up: Idle (MTSU, 9/28).
Ohio State Buckeyes - (Defeated Indiana 51-10) This one was over by halftime. Ohio State was impressive again, as expected. The Buckeyes looked like the best team in the league this week, just like last week. No change. (Second-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Miami Hydroxide.
Wisconsin Badgers - (Idle) Wiscy still has not surrendered a point this year, and they are still averaging 55 points a game. Weasels on Parade will be the game of the week. Next up: Michigan.
Penn State Nittany Lions - (Defeated Pittsburgh, 17-10) I do not think these two teams from Pennsylvania like each other much. Penn State’s offensive line struggled against the Panther defense all afternoon. Pitt may not be “it,” but they took the Nittany Lions to the final play. That might mean something. Next up: Idle (@Maryland, 9/27).
Northwestern Wildcats - (Defeated UNLV, 30-14) Northwestern scored thirty points against UNLV at home. Arkansas State beat the Rebels 43-17, on the road. The Wildcat offense needs some work. They also need a healthy running back. Throw in some imagination, too. In the face of all that, there is still a non-zero chance of a scoring showcase in Evanston this weekend. Fitz’s wizarding hat produces magic at surreal times. Next up: Michigan State.
Nebraska Cornhuskers - (Defeated Northern Illinois, 44-8) Nebraska consummated a MACrifice. The defense kept the Huskies out of the end zone, while the offense was able to generate some big plays and score quickly. On the flip side, the defense spends too much time on the field, and the placekicking game is a clown show. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: @Illinois.
Indiana Hoosiers - (Lost to Ohio State, 51-10) I said that if Indiana put in a competitive performance against OSU they would be upgraded this week. That did not happen, as most probably expected. I cannot downgrade the Hoosiers for what happened to them. They are who the market thinks they are. (Mollywhopped in the Second-Degree) Next up: UConn.
Michigan Wolverines - (Idle) The bye week provided no evidence that the offense has improved. Musk up, you skunk bears, and make your way to Madison. Fortunes can change. Next up: @Wisconsin.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights - (Idle) The Scarlet Knights’ next opponent, BC, got Mollywhopped... by Kansas...at HOME. The pressure is on. If Rutgers cannot take care of business, we may be exploring alternative trading platforms...again. Next up: Boston College.
Minnesota Golden Gophers - (Defeated Georgia Southern, 35-32) Minnesota has been straddling the Hold/Sell line all season. A last-second come-from-behind win - at home against a Sun Belt squad - did not help their cause. Congrats on being undefeated, though. The Gophers are halfway to bowl eligibility after three weeks. Next up: Idle (@Purdue, 9/28).
Purdue Boilermakers - (Lost to TCU, 34-13) Beating a Gary Patterson-coached TCU was always going to be difficult for this team, and then the injury bug hit the Boilers hard. It is time to recuperate over the bye week and try to turn things around with a win over Minnesota. Things are not looking good for Purdue. The season may already be on the line. (Mollywhopped in the Third-Degree) Next up: Idle (Minnesota, 9/28).
Michigan State Spartans - (Lost to Arizona State, 10-7) A Big Ten team should not lose a game when it allows only ten points. My tale of MSU offensive reanimation last week was junk science, and I apologize most humbly. This is a fifth quintile defense paired with a first quintile offense. Sparty can still be dangerous should they find a way to score. Next up: @Northwestern.
Illinois Fighting Illini - (Lost to Eastern Michigan, 34-31) The Illinois offense has been surprisingly capable at times. The Illini defense is a sieve that found a way to surrender a last second score to Directional Michigan at home. Lovie Incorporated is on the road to reorganization. Next up: Nebraska.
Maryland Terrapins - (Lost to Temple, 20-17) There has been palpable excitement from Terps on this site, and others, about their upcoming clash with Penn State. There was talk of an offensive explosion, talk about ticket lotteries, and talk about temporary seating. There was even an exchange I had where a Maryland fan explained how he might want Penn State to beat Pitt - if only to make the game as meaningful as possible. There was little talk of Temple. It appears the coaches and players were thinking ahead, too. For when it came to managing some measure of success, Yertle turtled. Regroup and make a run at dominating the Delaware Triangle in two weeks. It can still be a big game. Next up: Idle (Penn State, 9/27).
Feel free to laud my grace, charm, and judgment in the comments.