This feature returns after a sabbatical last year, because of...well, everything.
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). As far as degree is concerned, do not look at a Mollywhoppin’ like a burn. Think of one as a crime.
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 six “Sells” and three “Holds.” The low number of “Buys” is indicative of a neutral to bearish trend on the OTE Index.
After all of the narrative twists and turns throughout the season, we are left with Minnesota and Wisconsin in the best positions to win the West. Ohio State and Michigan still might settle the East at The Game, but Michigan State has outperformed all expectations by remaining undefeated. Iowa’s season is starting to slip away, while Nebraska’s program is down the drain — so Black Friday should be fun. Several teams in the mushy middle still have solid chances at bowl berths. We are looking at a compelling month of football.
(Defeated Penn State, 33-24) Penn State gave Ohio State their best shot, but it was not enough to pull off a Halloween weekend upset in the Horseshoe. The Nuts will enter a different kind of house of horrors this week in Lincoln. Next up: @Nebraska
(Defeated Michigan, 37-33) The Spartans won an epic showdown with their in-state rival. Kenneth Walker III secured a place in MSU history, and if there is any justice — a trip to New York in December. This was a fantastic team effort, and Mel Tucker looks like a lock for conference coach of the year. Next up: @Purdue.
(Defeated Northwestern, 41-14) The Gophers recovered from that ridiculous Bowling Green loss by going on a four game winning streak. This is a well-coached team, but they have to be running out of serviceable running backs sooner or later. The boat rowers lead the West, and are definitely a “Buy.” (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Illinois.
(Defeated Iowa, 27-7) Wisconsin stymied the Iowa pre-punt platoon all day. Through much of the second quarter, Hawkeyes had more offensive plays than offensive yards. The Badgers won the turnover battle 3-0, and thus won the game convincingly. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: @Rutgers.
(Defeated Nebraska, 28-23) Purdue used a tried and true formula to win on the road — limit turnovers, run the ball, capitalize on your opponent’s mistakes, and lean on your playmakers. This flawed but frisky team is one win away from bowl eligibility with two very winnable games left on the schedule. Welcome back to “Buy” territory, Trains. Next up: Michigan State.
(Lost to Michigan State, 37-33) The Wolverines lost a heartbreaker to MSU, but they still have only one loss. If there is a year for Harbaugh to beat Ohio State, this might still be it. Indiana can be pesky, so do not let Sparty beat you two weeks in a row. Next up: Indiana.
(Lost to Ohio State, 33-24) Clifford is a gamer and a proficient passer. The Lions have some quality receivers, and the defense is salty. The non-existent running game will continue to be a problem in the Big Ten. Process the loss, lick your wounds for a day or two, then move on — because an upset win to secure bowl eligibility would make the turtles’ year. Next up: @Maryland.
(Defeated Indiana, 38-35) The good news — the Terps are one game away from bowl eligibility with four games remaining. The bad news — three of those remaining games are against ranked teams. Next up: Penn State.
(Lost to Wisconsin, 27-7) The erstwhile second-ranked team is now on a two game losing streak. Iowa has scored a combined 14 points over those two contests. If you do not gift the Hawkeyes turnovers, they cannot negotiate the length of the field. The coming game in Evanston will be utterly gross. (Mollywhopped in the Third-Degree) Next up: @Northwestern.
(Lost to Purdue, 28-23) There is no telling what will happen when the Buckeyes come to Lincoln this week. Could OSU win by seventy? Yep. Could Nebby pull its focus and talent together and actually make it competitive? We’ve seen that happen, several times this season, even — so, maybe. Can the Huskers somehow win, and in so doing guarantee another year for this limping and ineffectual regime? This is the stupidest and most maddening potential outcome — and since this is Frost-era Nebraska, the possibility cannot be ignored. Next up: Ohio State.
(Lost to Maryland, 38-35) Indiana played a competitive game against Maryland. Michigan is coming off a tough loss. This will probably be another week with a valiant upset bid by the Hoosiers...which will collapse in the fourth quarter. Next up: @Michigan.
(Defeated Illinois, 20-14) The Knights reigned at Illinutgers VIII. Congrats, or something. Schiano’s gritty crew is two games from bowl eligibility, and the final game against Maryland could be an elimination game. Next up: Wisconsin.
(Lost to Rutgers, 20-14) The Illini could not come up with enough offense to beat Rutgers at home. These guys will find a way to frighten someone down the stretch. Next up: @Minnesota.
(Lost to Minnesota, 41-14) Your 2021 Northwestern Wildcats: Still worse than Illinois! If history is any guide, they might also have a chance against Iowa. This matchup is putrid. Yes, I will be tuning in. (Mollywhopped in the Third-Degree) Next up: Iowa.
Feel free to laud my grace, charm, and judgment in the comments.
If Nebraska is going to return to winning ways, who is the person to lead it?
This poll is closed
Some other established P5 coach
Some G5 new hotness