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 three “Holds.” The high number of “Sells” is indicative of a bearish trend on the OTE Index.
There were three non-conference games and three league tilts this week. Ohio State and Wisconsin are clearly the teams to beat in their respective divisions. Ohio State demolished Miami Hydroxide, and Wisconsin systematically destroyed the Wolverines in Madison. Northwestern versus Michigan State was a bit of a disappointment - I bought into the idea that it would be an ugly game with two garbage offenses, but only Northwestern held up its end of the bargain. In other news, Rutgers embarrassed the conference again, while Illinois and Nebraska engaged in a highly entertaining (or so I am told) pillow fight to close out the day. Five teams were idle this week. Certainly they all spent the bye week diligently preparing, and will deliver highly polished performances. But then again, the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior...so, maybe not.
Wisconsin Badgers - (Defeated Michigan, 35-14) The Badgers were the mustelids with the mostest in this year’s edition of Weasels on Parade. Wisconsin ran out to a 35-0 lead, even with Jonathan Taylor missing action due to cramping. There is one stat that captures Bucky’s total dominance of this contest: Chryst’s squad finished with a TWENTY-TWO MINUTE advantage in time of possession - 41:07-18:53. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Northwestern.
Ohio State Buckeyes - (Defeated Miami Hydroxide, 76-5) It briefly looked like Hydroxide had caught Ohio State napping. That pipe dream lasted less than a quarter, then the Death Star started humming and there was no escape. OSU goes on the road for a prime time match-up in Lincoln. Game Day will be in town. I sure hope the stage isn’t too big for them. (Second-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: @Nebraska.
Michigan State Spartans - (Defeated Northwestern, 31-10) When an immovable object meets a completely resistible force, Michigan State beats Northwestern by three touchdowns. The offense is no thing of beauty, and they do not get much push in the run game, but Lewerke hit some throws. This team is dangerous when the offense is competent and the special teams are not a complete liability. MSU merits a borderline “Buy” rating on the strength of a road Mollywhoppin’. They had best watch out for Indiana this week, though. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Indiana.
Iowa Hawkeyes - (Idle) The Hawkeyes are pretty clearly the second-best team in the West, which is damning with faint praise. Iowa should stay in this position barring an inexplicably poor performance against a no-name non-conference opponent. That never happens. Next up: MTSU.
Indiana Hoosiers - (Defeated UConn, 38-3) Indiana played another complete game against an inferior opponent. All three phases responded well. Indiana has an upgrade opportunity with a strong performance against Michigan State. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: @Michigan State.
Minnesota Golden Gophers - (Idle) Minnesota is the least impressive undefeated team in the country, but they are undefeated. It should be another close one when the Gophers meet the Boilers. Next up: @Purdue.
Penn State Nittany Lions - (Idle) The narrow win against Pittsburgh looks better in retrospect - the Panthers upset UCF this week. All eyes will be on their Delaware Triangle clash with the Terps on Friday. Next up: @Maryland (Friday, 9/27).
Nebraska Cornhuskers - (Defeated Illinois, 42-38) How does a team gain 671 yards, more than doubling its opponent’s output, and only win by four points? How does a team turn the ball over four times, chalk up over 100 yards in penalties, and still find a way to win on the road? That is the Nebraska Cornhuskers, ladies and gents - stretching the bounds of the possible every week. Nebraska is a “Sell” as a reflection of their performance in Chambana, and also in anticipation of what will likely happen in the national spotlight on Saturday. Prove me wrong. Next up: Ohio State.
I understand that Mr. Lang has some thoughts on what the Huskers should expect.
Illinois Fighting Illini - (Lost to Nebraska, 42-38) Illinois scored on a long touchdown run by Reggie Corbin on the game’s second play, had a +3 turnover margin, and played much of the evening with a two score lead. Yet, somehow they lost a close game to a team without a field goal kicker. Some programs are just snakebitten. Next up: Idle (@Minnesota, 10/5).
Maryland Terrapins - (Idle) The Terps are a young team. How they respond to an upset loss - combined with a highly anticipated contest with Penn State - will be interesting. Is there any evidence that they will handle this combination well? Next up: Penn State (Friday, 9/27).
Purdue Boilermakers - (Idle) Purdue is already playing to save its season against Minnesota. Brohm’s squad has the players to beat anyone on a given day, but the injury situation has hit them hard. Maybe it comes together this week. Steam engines can generate great power, but they can also explode spectacularly. How will it play out? Your guess is as good as mine. Next up: Minnesota.
Northwestern Wildcats - (Lost to Michigan State, 31-10) Northwestern encountered one of the best defenses in the country...and floundered feebly. The Wildcats averaged 3.2 yards per rush, and 3.4 yards per passing attempt. The ghost of Woody Hayes thinks NU’s offense lacks imagination. The situation will not get better any time soon, as the Purple Cats travel to Madison this weekend. (Mollywhopped in the Third-Degree) Next up: @Wisconsin.
Michigan Wolverines - (Lost to Wisconsin, 35-14) Whatever the coaching staff is trying to do with the offense is not working. The Wolverines, erstwhile proponents of man-ball, completed 17-42 pass attempts, and were held to 40 rushing yards. The “Champions of the West” went 0-11 on third down. Granted, Wiscy is for real. Michigan? Not so much. They will, of course, bully Rutgers all over the field as payback. (Mollywhopped in the Third-Degree) Next up: Rutgers.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights - (Lost to Boston College, 30-16) Boston College was Mollywhopped by Kansas, at home, last week. The Eagles promptly went on the road and defeated Rutgers by two touchdowns. Not good. Trading has been halted until I can figure out what to do with the Scarlet Knights. Next up: @Michigan.
Feel free to laud my grace, charm, and judgment in the comments.