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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week “8”

You should’ve just watched Army-Navy

NCAA Football: Navy at Army Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Ten B1G Things

  1. If you don’t think Ohio State should be in the CCG, you’re wrong
  2. If you’re mad about Ohio State being in the CCG, you’re foolish
  3. There is no scenario in which OSU being left out of the CCG makes sense for the B1G
  4. The 6-game rule was an arbitrary number chosen by administrators who clearly thought the B1G would be somewhat competitive top to bottom (well, the B1GE anyway)
  5. The number is obviously reflective of a group who also thought COVID would be well-controlled
  6. People will still cry about how Indiana “should have gone” despite...*checks notes* not actually having the wins to do so
  7. Paul Bunyan’s axe was never up for grabs
  8. OSU and Michigan failed to play for the first time in more than 100 years
  9. Penn State is the new Rutgers
  10. Rutgers is the new Indiana
  11. Boy, did we ever get Mertz wrong
  12. Nebraska is still a mistake, 8 years later
  13. This season is so dumb I can’t believe I’m writing about it still here in week 6/8/15-depending-on-your-conference
  14. Army defeats Navy in only the third shutout in series history, 15-0, at a foggy Michie Stadium

The Rundown

Wisconsin at Iowa | Bagders badgered, 28-7

Boy, did we ever overestimate the hell out of Graham Mertz, whose once accurate arm has become a 50/50 shot, with an INT thrown in for good measure. Spencer Petras nearly doubled Mertz’s ypc with 8.4 enroute to a Ferentzing of the once-formidable Badgers. Sorry, Iowa, you still don’t get to play Ohio State.

Stew: Not sure anyone saw Iowa blowing Wisconsin out, but here we are. Iowa took an early lead and never looked back, cruising to an easy 21 point victory. Iowa even gave Wisconsin every opportunity with two punting gaffes that both gave Wisconsin easy scoring chances. But even with Iowa’s charity Wisconsin couldn’t do a damn thing against the best defense in the league. And now Iowa is in possession of all their rivalry trophies and will be playing the East division champs next weekend.

Penn State at Michigan State | A merciful end to it all, 39-24

700 yards of combined offense, a sub-100 yard rushing average for the offenses, 25% average success on 3rd down, and 400 yards passing apiece. If you know what to make of this game except to wrinkle your nose in confusion and dismay, do let me know.

Amerciful Konclusionski: Michigan State’s season of consistent inconsistency came to an end, as they turned a 21-10 halftime lead into a 24-39 defeat. They continue to show much-improved explosiveness in their own pass game, but at the expense of a defense yielding way more big plays themselves, and a punt return unit that has to be the worst in P5 - they’ve now yielded punt return TDs to three different opponents.

Despite a paltry two wins, it’s not all doom and gloom. MSU was never going to be good, so the whole point of this season was to find building blocks for the future and determine exactly how thorough the tear down needs to be. With QB Payton Thorne, RB Jordon Simmons, and a deep cohort of receivers all looking very promising, MSU is a functional offensive line away from a great offense. Not that that’s going to be an easy task.

Defensively...there’s a lot more to do for a unit that struggles to stop anything other than the straight-ahead run game, and aside from CBs Angelo Grose and Kalon Gervin, I don’t see many difference-makers that will be around next year. This side of the ball is going to look very different, with three underclassman scholarship defenders already in the portal and others likely to follow alongside a large group of seniors.

Illinois at Northwestern | Purple cats in stovepipe hats, 28-10

The only actual story from this game is that apparently Lovie Smith doesn’t like Pat Fitzgerald? Weird flex from a guy who seems to just be collecting a paycheck at a school that has no excuse to not field a halfway decent team, but that’s 2020 for you. Surprising no one, the Wildcats did what they could and the Illini suffered what they had to.

Thump: Whatever, who gives a shit, our coaches didn’t even know where they were today. I put more effort into my job the week of thanksgiving than they’ve put into this one in December.

LPW: Northwestern took care of business against an undermanned Illinois squad, running them out of the stadium behind 411 rushing yards, 7.1 yards per carry! That hasn’t happened in quite some time. This feels good, and now the ’Cats prep for Ohio State in the conference championship game.

MNW: A pretty damning indictment of the Lovie Smith era--run an amazing fake punt with Blake Hayes on 4th and 10, fail to get another first down, then try a 53-yard field goal on 4th and 5 in the Chicago weather. Or when undisciplined play--following a Yakkity Sax dropped INT by NU, a Hayes punt to the 2, a Drake Anderson fumble, and an Illini unsportsmanlike during the recovery--moved Illinois back 15 yards and led to a missed field goal. They are truly fucking terrible.

Illinois doesn't have answers. Lovie Smith isn't the guy to provide them.

I am always happy to win HAT, and I will always hate Illinois. Never let incompetence stop you from hating. Fuck you for not being better, Illinois, and letting me TRULY enjoy this victory.

Cam Porter is a baaaaad man. Big Ten West title. HAT!

Minnesota at Nebraska | Woe Big Red, 24-17

“This was our best week of offensive practice” Scott Frost said, just a day before his team turned 308 yds of total offense into two TDs and a field goal. Minnesota wasn’t much better, adding 79 yds and 7 points against the Huskers’ numbers. Nebraska—a team apparently once prepared to secede from the B1G to be allowed to play this year—fall to 2-5 on the year, cementing last place in the league.

Dead_Read: The Nebraska offense looked rudderless against an erstwhile porous Minnesota defense. At one point, there were three consecutive throws into a stiff north wind. I could detect no particular game plan. I will give the coaches the benefit of the doubt -I am sure they planned to have a plan. I will keep hope alive, but right now the Nebraska Cornhuskers are a very poor football team.

WSR: This was a game that should not have been played if a shred of common sense would have been applied. Logic does not matter when television contracts must be maintained, though, so Minnesota went out there and made Nebraska look ridiculous. 2 missing starting OL and our 2 best blocking TEs were noticeable, but not enough so where we couldn’t gash the Blackshirts when we needed to. And the Huskers passing game is a combination of bad quarterbacking, questionable decision-making (IF YOU HAVE WAN’DALE ROBINSON MATCHED UP WITH MARIANO SORI-MARIN ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS, HOW DO YOU NOT GET MULTIPLE TOUCHDOWNS?!), and the true calling card of Nebraska football this decade: shit offensive line play.

A depleted Gopher defense that was already porous at times should have been no problem, but they only averaged 3.8 yards per pass and and 4.2 yards per rush (if you exclude Robinson’s 47 yard scamper because it’s an outlier). There is no excuse for the Huskers not winning this game, and the biggest reason is that the worst coach in the B1G resides in Lincoln. Scott Frost actually sabotaged his team’s chances to win by taking 3 points off the board, burning two minutes of clock, and then getting their FG back. The world hasn’t seen tactical brilliance like Frost’s since Douglas Haig.

Rutgers at Maryland | Rutgers in OT on a big ol’ shank, 27-24

Snow angels at midfield in a deserted stadium, sans snow? What a ludicrous, fitting end to this. Schiano has Rutgers headed in the right direction. I’m not sure Locksley can say the same at Maryland, store-brand Alabama QB notwithstanding.