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 three “Buys,” and five “Holds.” The high number of “Sells” is indicative of a bearish trend on the OTE Index.
There were six conference tilts and one non-conference game this week. Three of the five afternoon games on Saturday were close, if not necessarily compelling. Northwestern and Wiscy played an aesthetically challenged brand of football, Minnesota held Purdue off at the end, and Indiana did heartbreakingly Hoosier football things and lost to Sparty. Iowa took care of business against Middle Tennessee, making one ponder when their “weird game” will inevitably occur. Wolverines kicked sand in Scarlet Knights’ faces - as victors do. The evening games on Friday and Saturday were straight up slaughters. Penn State and Ohio State ground their opponents into dust. In other news, Purdue has more injuries and Rutgers has a new coach.
Ohio State Buckeyes - (Defeated Nebraska, 48-7) Ohio State looked positively otherworldly against Nebraska. The level of offensive and defensive execution was stunning - quite apart from the talent advantage they held over their opponent. They are the best team in the conference, and they may be the best team in the country. Sparty often plays them tough, so it could be interesting this weekend. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Michigan State.
Penn State Nittany Lions - (Defeated Maryland, 59-0) It seems that Coach Franklin thought the Terps were acting like they were a little too big for their britches, so he sent a message. Message received. This game was almost comically one sided. Delaware belongs to Penn State until further notice. (First-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Purdue.
Iowa Hawkeyes - (Defeated Middle Tennessee, 48-3) Iowa disposed of Middle Tennessee. This year the Hawks have avoided inexplicable losses to non-con opponents, which is nice. Iowa will remain a “Buy” until we get an earnings report from their trip to Ann Arbor - a potential separation game. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: @Michigan.
Wisconsin Badgers - (Defeated Northwestern, 24-15) This game was U-G-L-Y ugly. It was an old time rock fight, and offensive creativity was at a minimum. Credit where it is due, the Badger defense rose to the occasion and made it nearly impossible for Northwestern to move the ball. Wisconsin is in a holding pattern, and thus a “Hold.” They took care of business, and it is unlikely we will learn anything new when they inevitably consummate a MACrifice this Saturday. Next up: Kent State.
Michigan State Spartans - (Defeated Indiana, 40-31) Whenever MSU is involved in a tight contest, all spectators must witness DPI roulette. Will the refs call it tight or “let them play?” So it was again in East Lansing (they called it fairly tight), and Sparty surrendered 45 yards in defensive penalties on Indiana’s game-tying drive. Brian Lewerke pulled the offense together and rallied for a late field goal. Not a great performance, but it was a win. Next up: @Ohio State.
Minnesota Golden Gophers - (Defeated Purdue, 38-31) Tanner Morgan and his company of athletic receivers put on an RPO display in West Lafayette. The passing game was extremely efficient (21-22-396-0-4). However, Minnesota again had to hold off an opponent late in the game. The Gophers are now 4-0 and rate a “Hold.” Take care of business - by actually putting away an opponent - and an upgrade to “Buy” is possible. Next up: Illinois.
Indiana Hoosiers - (Lost to Michigan State, 40-31) Indiana played well, tied the game late, and eventually lost in soul-crushing fashion. Someday Indiana will beat a “name” program, but I write the same thing five times a season. Bless your hearts. I am legitimately sorry this keeps happening. The strong effort maintains this “Hold” rating. Next up: Idle (Rutgers, 9/12).
Michigan Wolverines - (Defeated Rutgers, 52-0) Harbaugh punched down with characteristic vigor. Michigan is moved to a tepid “Hold” in anticipation of an interesting clash with the Hawkeyes. This tilt will tell us something about both programs. (First-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Iowa.
Illinois Fighting Illini - (Idle) This was the best the Illini have looked in weeks. A good showing against the Gophers could move them out of bearish territory...maybe. Next up: @Minnesota.
Northwestern Wildcats - (Lost to Wisconsin, 24-15) Pat Fitzgerald conjured up another game plan to frustrate the opponent - transforming Camp Randall and television screens all over America into desolate hellscapes - but it was not enough. The ‘Cats defense held the Sconnie offense to ten points, which is excellent...but the offense conceded two touchdowns. Going forward, I do not know how Northwestern is going to score points. Then again, look at who they play next. Next up: @Nebraska.
Purdue Boilermakers - (Lost to Minnesota, 38-31) I have given up on trying to track all of the Boilermaker injuries, so let us use an anecdote - Purdue lost Rondale Moore and Elijah Sindelar to substantial injuries on the same play this week. Commendably, the Boilers continued to compete and launched a spirited comeback. They are well coached, but this will not be the season of their dreams. The depleted depth chart compels me to give a “Sell” rating. They will probably knock someone off, though. Next up: @Penn State.
Nebraska Cornhuskers - (Lost to Ohio State, 48-7) A Shucking. Nebby got embarrassed in front of Gabrielle Union and everyone. Game Day was in town. Would this be the weekend that Nebraska turned a corner? Three first half turnovers nipped that idea in the bud. Further, the defense functioned as a screen door does in a hurricane. Hey, at least the Buckeyes punted this year - they did not in their last visit to Lincoln. (Mollywhopped in the Third-Degree) Next up: Northwestern.
Maryland Terrapins - (Lost to Penn State, 59-0) A Turtling. Maryland had an opportunity to change its program for the better this weekend. They cancelled class, brought in temporary seating, and had a student ticket lottery, all to get humiliated on national television. (Mollywhopped in the First-Degree) Next up: @Rutgers.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights - (Lost to Michigan, 52-0) Let’s call the whole thing off. The Big House became a crime scene. There were many victims (mostly spectators), but now all that remains of the Ash era is a chalk outline. Rutgers has addressed the issue internally, so the Scarlet Knights are now available for trading on a probationary basis. This is purely a speculative play. (Mollywhopped in the First-Degree) Next up: Maryland.
Feel free to laud my grace, charm, and judgment in the comments.