Woohoo! Thanksgiving! A big week of... well, nothing, but I don’t have to work, and THAT is something! Sorry these are late - the (exceedingly excellent) Power Poll sort of sucked up my writing time earlier this week.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I also want to give a shout to my fellow “writers” who help me with this feature every week. Even though I’m the one compiling it, I rely heavily on my fellow “writers” to submit nominations, tweets, and gifs for inclusion. Thump, Stew, BMan, Beezer, and Creighton are especially reliable in this capacity, and I appreciate it so much!
Have a great and SAFE Thanksgiving, everyone!
In Which We Address the Turkey in the Room
I’m not sure if you heard, but Purdue lost* to Minnesota courtesy of possibly the worst officiating call ever made by a Big Ten crew, and THAT is really saying something, isn’t it? Detractors will go on about how Purdue was losing to Minnesota and thus was asking for it, but that sounds a lot like victim blaming to me. There is honestly not any excuse for what transpired.
With 58 seconds left, Purdue’s Jack Plummer hit Payne Durham with a nice toss that gave Purdue the go-ahead touchdown. Thrilling! Football! Yay! But one ref wasn’t happy with what he saw...
Purdue TE Payne Durham scores the go ahead TD here with under a minute left, but refs flag him for OPI, Purdue then ends up throwing an INT and Minnesota wins the game pic.twitter.com/Fc7RLL1iBh— Bad Sports Refs (@BadSportsRefs) November 21, 2020
Somehow, offensive pass interference was called on Durham, which... no, not in any universe except for this ref’s was that an OPI. Purdue then followed that up by throwing an interception and losing the game.
Now, much ink has been spilled about the fact that Purdue shouldn’t have been in a position where the refs decided the game. Perhaps not. However, they actually did do what they needed to do to win the game... the refs just jobbed them out of it.
While this was an abysmal call that rightly deserves its immediate elevation to the pantheon of terrible calls, it wasn’t the first time this officiating crew had a bad moment in this game. They also made a questionable call on Minnesota—although it wasn’t quite as egregious, and certainly came at a less critical moment of the game:
GIF: Here's a far-away look at the defensive pass interference against #Gophers, which led to a #Boilermakers touchdown on the next play to make it 34-31.— Andy Greder (@andygreder) November 21, 2020
Minnesota's Tyler Nubin, top of screen, makes a little contact, but doesn't really impede Purdue's King Doerue. pic.twitter.com/m7SjTPow2I
When this call was submitted as counter-evidence to the flagrant badness of the game-ending OPI, we had plenty of thoughts about the situation:
“There were plenty of fine calls on both sides, it’s true.”
“Count all the flags”
“All real flags should be thrown”
“Minnesota’s observers had to use BINOCULARS”
“All flags matter”
“If it’s a legitimate flag, the defense has ways to try to shut that whole thing down”
We are salty bitches about this, and none of us involved in this conversation were even Purdue fans. This was a terrible call for the ages, no doubt about it. Go ahead, Boilermakers. You can “BUT REFS!!!!!!!!’ this one to your hearts’ content.
In Which Nebraska Is a Little Less Glad it’s Playing Football this Season
Nebraska not only lost to Illinois last weekend, they got SMOKED. By Illinois. It was never close. It was never in doubt. ILLINOIS!
I don’t have a lot of specificity for this one, because 1) I stopped watching after the first quarter like the Fake Fan that I am, and 2) it was just all really bad football. But a highlight (lowlight?) here has to be the fact that Nebraska had FIVE turnovers. It’s tough to beat anyone when you have five turnovers, especially when the other team has none. FIVE!
While I don’t believe that the majority of Husker fans thought Wisconsin canceled because it was “scared” of Nebraska, I know that a few such idiots did exist, and I’m sure that last Saturday was a tough, tough day for them. Probably even tougher than Luke McCaffrey’s day.
I don’t think Nebraska is quite as bad as they looked on Saturday. But yeah, this ain’t good.
At least FS1 believed in the Huskers:
In Which a Northwestern Player Helps a Butler Out
I’m not actually sure what’s happening here, but it appears that this thoughtful Wildcat is nabbing a few extra towels in order to help his butler meet the linen demands of a fine Evanston household:
Number 5 for Northwestern is stealing towels lmfao pic.twitter.com/2zJrf3aAzB— brock miller (Canes 7-1) (@RS_18_MILLER) November 21, 2020
Or maybe, like MNW, he resides in a brothel, and needs must.
In Which Blake Hayes Jukes Just Because He Can
Illinois did not appear to need a lot of extra help against the Huskers, as previously mentioned, thanks to the Husker determination to give the Illini the ball back on every other possession. But that didn’t stop punter (yes) Blake Hayes from showing that even though he’s a punter, he’s got juke moves you wouldn’t believe:
Even though this was a humiliation to my team, I love this. Here we have a punter in an unfamiliar situation, running for yards and yards. You can almost hear the wheels turning in his head as he performs these unaccustomed duties: “So I just run, and also hang on to the ball? Why is no one tackling me? What are some Football Moves I can do here, maybe a juke? Was that right? I hope that looked good. This is fun!”
Anyway, good job Blake Hayes, I guess.
In Which Things Happen in Virginia
This was a late submission, but certainly worthy of a tart. There’s a whole series of interesting decisions in this game, but the crown jewel has to be this extremely complex safety that Virginia pulled up while up by... 36 with less than a minute in the 4th quarter? It has to be seen to be believed:
In Which Southerners Get Mad about Footbaw
Not sure if you’ve heard or not, but this football season is taking place in unprecedented times what with a highly contagious global pandemic happening, and happening with particular intensity in the United States, thanks to many of our countryfellows’ fundamental misunderstanding of what human rights or civil rights are.
So many football games have gotten cancelled because of outbreaks. This is to be expected by any rational person. But Southerners, for all their charms (I assume they have some) are not always rational when it comes to football, and Clemson’s coaching staff showed us this truth this week.
First, the context: Florida State cancelled their game with Clemson on the day of the game. Now, in fairness to Clemson, this certainly is an annoyance and I get it. For all the bitching done by certain fanbases (hello, Nebraska) about the mid-week cancellations of Big Ten games, those early calls really decrease the likelihood of this sort of snafu from happening. It’s a disappointment, but the call is made before travel happens, and it’s kind of the best case scenario in this strange world we live in now.
But Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was not in a forgiving mood. Instead, he claimed that FSU cancelled the game late on purpose.
Dabo Swinney is really upset: "This game was not canceled because of COVID. COVID was just an excuse to cancel the game." Says FSU administration forfeited the game. If FSU wants to play Clemson, they can home to Death Valley, he says. Or they can pay for Clemson's travel.— Grace Raynor (@gmraynor) November 22, 2020
I mean, maybe. Honestly, the conference probably should have had the foresight to think about what might happen in these cases regarding reimbursements and things like this. And perhaps FSU was scared to play Clemson... but assuming the worst in this season when the US has a million new cases of Covid per week seems a little ungenerous.
FSU coach Mike Norvell made that point on Monday, saying the Seminoles had no intentions of forfeiting the game. He also got a bit catty with Dabo, saying “Football coaches are not doctors. Some of us might think we are, but there’s a reason why those advisors are able to make those decisions from the information that is provided.”
Friends, if your doctor is anything like Dabo Swinney, or is named “Dabo,” please change doctors immediately.
But Clemson wasn’t done yet. Miguel Chavis, a member of Clemson’s defensive staff, huffed:
As many pointed out to Chavis, Pandemic #1 (Covid-19) has killed 262,000 Americans so far, and “Pandemic” #2 (Political Correctness) has killed... zero? so these aren’t really comparable “pandemics.” Also, only one is actually a pandemic. The other one is a call to treat people with basic respect that makes some men really, really angry. As Creighton summed up this ridiculous attitude: “Me being told by the general societal consensus that I have to refer to women I work with by name instead of just saying ‘hey legs’ is exactly as deadly as the virus that’s upended society and killed a quarter million people. Go Tigers.”
Alright, there you have it! Who tarted hardest this week?
Tart of the Week
This poll is closed
Big Ten Refs Lower the Bar Even Further
Just... Nebraska. All of it.
The Great Towel Heist of 2020
World’s Most Complex Safety
Southerners Misunderstand Pandemics