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The Big Ten’s New “Championship Week”: There are like, 4 games, and none of them are great.

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Indiana-Purdue and Iowa-Michigan have both bitten the dust. What’s left?

Wisconsin v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Update #2, 12/15/20, 1:06pm: No Iowa-Michigan. Starting to think this was all a bad idea, guys.

Update, 12/15/20: No Bucket.

Original “article” follows.


Alright! Bonus football! We like this, right?

The Big Ten has added to the Big Ten Championship weekend landscape—but what was originally supposed to be a power-matched setup (2v2, 3v3, etc.) has become a hastily-matched arrangement of convenience and to preserve rivalries, particularly the Minnesota-wisconsin Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe:

We threw it to the monkeys-at-a-typewriter collective that is OTE and...well, here’s the best game of the bunch, the games we’re looking forward to, and if there were any missed opportunities in the Week “9” slate of Big Ten football action:

A. Minnesota-wisconsin. Cool?

WhiteSpeedReceiver: HELL YEAH WE’RE COOL. LET’S FUCKING GO!

BoilerBettor: Meh, whatever. We were promised 1v1, 2v2, etc.

Creighton: The axe game is the most interesting to me. The CCG is just a 3 hour infomercial to try and get OSU to the playoffs.

beezer: Axe game being back is pretty cool! Of course both teams will have approximately 50 dudes out, but at least one team gets bragging rights and the other can justifiably roll its eyes.

Stew: Getting the Axe and Bucket games back was necessary given the context of the season. Those rivalries mean something no matter the records, and fitting them in is important.

MC ClapYoHandz: Axe game baby! Very happy they reconsidered and preserved this game. Fuck off Covid! Wisconsin isn’t exactly playing anything resembling football anymore, but that’s neither here nor there. Let’s go!

pkloa: Hell yeah it’s cool. Flexibility for the purpose of fan enjoyment is a positive change for the conference.

MNWildcat: Great call on Paul Bunyan’s Axe, as long as both teams are healthy and safe. What I saw from Minnesota at Nebraska looked like a replacement-level Big Ten team, which could be enough against wisconsin if they can keep Tanner Morgan upright, because ooooo-eeeeee are the badgers, uh, yeah.

But it’s a game! Sure! There’s an Axe, and the losers of said game will react poorly, so that’s pretty much a net win for OTE.

Thump: Sure, I guess. The most interesting question to me: what of Rashod Bateman? Will he walk through the tunnel at the first media timeout to the Stone Cold intro music?

Let’s do it.

Poll

Was reshuffling so Minnesota-wisconsin could be played the right call?

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Yes
    (291 votes)
  • 18%
    No
    (64 votes)
355 votes total Vote Now

B. Best Game.

WSR: It’s the Axe game, isn’t it? Either that or Rutbraska.

Creighton: Many of you are coming here to say Nebraska-Buttgers is the worst game, but what I propose is that actually it’s the best.

BB: I’m going with Sparty-Maryland as the best. Who knows what to expect out of either team? Will it be a good game? A bad game? The only way to find out is to watch.

beez: Axe game is going to be such a close good awful game. Best for multiple reasons.

Stew: Depends on what you mean by best. Handing Harbaugh another loss to potentially end his Michigan tenure is pretty great. Nebrutska will be fun because stupid football is fun.

But I think I’ve got to go with the Axe game because it’s going to be two teams who should not be playing, who hate each other, running flopping into themselves like uncoordinated seals fighting over some rotten fish.

MC Clap: Honestly this slate is not great. First instinct is Axe game unless you actually believe in Northwestern for that one or want to see Tom Allen’s final form.

MNW: Ranked...
(1) Axe.
(2) Nebuttska.
(3) Bucket.
(4) B1GCCG.
(5-7) Literally anything else.

Thump: I mean, I don’t like any of these. Axe is probably the best, but it’s still not great. Brandon Peters and Zombie Illinois vs. Dead Man Walking Michigan would have been a hell of a game, but we can’t have fun. Nebrasgers is a pretty interesting matchup as well.

pkloa: Nebraska-Rutger edges out the Axe. Can Schiano’s crew scratch and claw their way to another conference win? I believe they can.

Poll

Best game of the new crossovers:

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    AXE
    (123 votes)
  • 11%
    BUCKET (if it happens)
    (39 votes)
  • 13%
    Iowa-Michigan
    (45 votes)
  • 34%
    Nebuttska
    (115 votes)
  • 4%
    Other (comments!)
    (15 votes)
337 votes total Vote Now

C. Worst Game.

WSR: Probably the B1GCG or Iowa-Michigan. I’m not sure.

BB: Penn State - Illinois. Just no.

Creighton: Of all the possible results, Illinois beating PSU is by far the funniest.

WSR: Yeah, we need E) Funniest outcome. Because Illinois beating PSU, Michigan beating Iowa, and Rutgers salting the fucking Earth are what I’ve got.

BB: The funniest outcome is easily Northwestern finding a way to beat OSU because LOLOLOL FUCK YOU, B1G AND CFP.

beez: Worst game will be the Axe game. Worst to watch will be the CG game, mostly because it will be incessant talking about how good OSU is, partly because it will be talking about how dumb the conference is.

MNW: Yeah, we’re gonna hear “overcoming adversity” so many times for “this Ohio State team,” and I’ll make me want to blow my brains out even more than the impending slaughter will.

Stew: Illinois vs. Penn State just seems sad.

MC Clap: Illinois-Penn State is going to be extra ugly.

MNW: Why did Illinois-Penn State seem like a good idea? I can see how that was probably all that was left if you’re trying to avoid Indiana-Iowa — the Hawkeyes couldn’t play Michigan or Penn State again, and making up MSU-Maryland helped keep the divisional balance. But I fail to see how Penn State beating the brakes off rudderless Illinois is any better than...well, Penn State beating the brakes off anchored-down Illinois, I suppose.

pkloa: Illinois at Penn State should be a noncompetitive snoozer. Please?

Thump: I don’t even know who’s calling the defense for Illinois against Penn State. Oh my god, what if, like, Keynodo Hudson just decides fuck it let’s actually try to stop our opponent with a scheme?

Michigan being humiliated is starting to get a little boring this year, so I don’t know about their Iowa game.

Poll

Worst game?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Illinois-Penn State
    (117 votes)
  • 8%
    Northwestern-Ohio State
    (30 votes)
  • 10%
    Iowa-Michigan
    (39 votes)
  • 12%
    Nebrasgers
    (44 votes)
  • 33%
    Ohio State vs. "adversity"
    (119 votes)
  • 1%
    Other
    (7 votes)
356 votes total Vote Now

D. Missed Opportunities for Scheduling?

WSR: Considering the circumstances, I’m not sure there are any.

BB: Missed opportunity is obvs giving us the true crossovers we were promised.

beez: Giving MSU a shot to beat UM twice in the same season would have been fun for a lot of people

Stew: Maybe if they had found an excuse to hold OSU/Michigan that would have given us some more fun.

Creighton: Now that’s a missed opportunity. Letting Indy play in the CCG and sacrificing Michigan to OSU as they try to score a hundred points to both squash some stupid personal beef and vault them into the playoffs.

MC Clap: Iowa-Indiana would’ve been a great consolation game, the two surging 2nd place teams from each division. I would’ve liked to have seen Ohio State-Minnesota somehow just for personal reasons.

Thump: Kind of already covered this. Also, they robbed us of the true Last Place Game we were promised.

pkloa: Biggest loss is OSU-Michigan. To all the B1G admins reading this, give the teams a weekend in February or March to schedule anyone they want, in or out of conference, result added to the 2020 season.

MNW: Did the Bucket...NEED to be played?

If yes, then I guess we’re probably stuck with what we got. Actually, we’re probably stuck either way because I think that’s Penn State fresh out of other teams from the West — they played Iowa and UNL and didn’t play NU, MN, uw, or PU; all those teams are spoken for. So we were stuck with Illinois-Penn State. I answered my own question.

Great work, everybody!

Poll

Biggest missed opportunity?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Iowa-Indiana
    (176 votes)
  • 26%
    OSU-Michigan
    (91 votes)
  • 4%
    MSU-UM, part two?
    (15 votes)
  • 19%
    Not getting the true crossovers
    (67 votes)
349 votes total Vote Now

BUT WAIT!

More to come this week, as we further fire drill a “Fired Drill” rundown of the hirings and firings of the conference, look at this announcement that Nebraska can FINALLY play Chattanooga, like they’ve always dreamed, and more.