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Sure, East > West, but is East really > than any other conference? POTW, Week 11

There’s really no evidence that it is!

James Franklin mustache pun...James Franklin-related mustache joke...3 questions James Franklin mustache himself after a Week 11 loss...Handlebar mustaches should make a comeback and, Franklin, I don’t care what you think...

Do my job for me: Think of a good pun-related caption for that awesome Franklin photo, post it below, and watch the recs pour in.

It is somehow just TWO WEEKS until the regular season is over! Two weeks until Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio State, and most of the rest of the Big Ten are sitting at home watching a Christmas-y matchup of Green versus Red in Indianapolis. Kenneth Walker III versus Braelon Allen. Peyton Thorne (I may be making his name up entirely, idk) versus Graham Mertz. One of the top 2 defenses nationally versus one of the top 2 defenses in Michigan, probably.

Honestly, I feel about equally as confident in Michigan State making the CCG as I do about Wisconsin making the CCG. Call it Midwestern politeness. Call it Big Ten modesty. Call it Learned Wisconsin Fan Impending Doom. Call it whatever you want, but I’m just getting this growing feeling that Wisconsin will manage to lose to 2021’s version of pre-2020 Indiana (this is Nebraska, FYI. Almost winning every game but actually winning almost none of them) or, even worse, will manage to lose to a thoroughly mediocre and typical Minnesota coach trying to lead his actually pretty bad QB and his 7th string walkon running back to victory and yet another 2nd place finish that he can call a “co-division championship.” Just bad feelings all around, y’all.

Convince me otherwise. Convince me Wisconsin will walk all over Nebraska and Minnesota. Convince me Ohio State will...okay I don’t need convincing on that one. Just sorta hoping that Wisconsin can play a team that they haven’t lost to already in 2021 and that they haven’t lost to in the Conference Championship Game ever before. Wisconsin-Michigan State 2021 Big Ten Conference Championship Game. Let’s OTE article comment this into existence.

OTE’s Player of the Week: Week 11

Garrett Wilson - Wide Receiver - Ohio State Buckeyes

10 receptions, 126 yards, 3 touchdowns; 1 carry, 51 yards, 1 TD

There were a lot of very, very good offensive performances this past weekend (thanks, porous Ohio State Buckeyes and Purdue Boilermakers defenses!), but it’s hard to beat Wilson’s four total TDs and 177 total yards on just 11 total touches. Ohio State has an endless supply of guys who can and will score from 30, 40, 50+ yards away, and this past Saturday it was Wilson’s turn. Wilson wasn’t content with simply three receiving touchdowns from approximately thirty yards away, he wanted to show off a little bit, make sure people knew that TreVeyon Henderson isn’t the only dude who can take a handoff 50+ yards for a score.

Legitimately don’t know how a team that’s in the same division as Wisconsin got so badly fooled on an end around. I’m guessing the “we’ve been torched all game and are mentally and physically exhausted” factor set in on the Purdue defense at some point. Didn’t they have a pretty dang good defense prior to meeting up with the Ohio State Death Machine When We Feel Like It offense?

There has not been a Big Ten defense nearly as dominant as Wisconsin’s in 2021. But I don’t see how, even if Wisconsin can hold it together and make the Conference Championship Game, Wisconsin is going to stop or slow down Wilson. Or if they do, they’ll have to worry about Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Or Chris Olave. Or TreVeyon Henderson. Or...

Honorable Mentions

Aidan Hutchinson - Defensive End - Michigan Wolverines

7 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble

Poor Sean Clifford. My gut tells me he could use an easy week with some good pass protection and maybe a late-3rd/early-4th quarter exit from a blowout win. Instead, he got to face Aidan Hutchinson—and his 2nd-in-conference sack total—and the rest of the Michigan defense (including the guy who leads the conference in sacks, David Ojabo). Hutchinson and the rest of the defense hit Clifford very early and very often, sacking him seven(!) times, pressuring him another four times, knocking away three of his passes, and forcing two fumbles from his probably-callused hands. Hutchinson, accounting for a huge chunk of those stats, was critical in helping his all-defense no-offense-ever-lol team win yet another game that probably didn’t impress many people.

I never really know what to say about defensive guys after that first paragraph. 2021 Michigan is nothing more than a Big Ten East version of basically every iteration of Northwestern that has won the Big Ten West. There, I said it. Tell me I’m wrong, or don’t. I don’t care about your comments unless they praise me.

Braelon Allen - Running Back - Wisconsin Badgers

25 carries, 173 yards, 3 touchdowns, is 17-years old


Wisconsin has lost their first three running backs this season, two to injury one to dismissal, along with another to dismissal and probably something I’m forgetting. Nonetheless, they’re still tearing it up on the ground thanks to This Year’s Guy That’s Gonna Get Compared To Jonathan Taylor And Melvin Gordon: Braelon Allen. A Wisconsin native, Allen was, I think kinda? recruited on the defensive side of the ball but the offense called dibs. And for good reason! He’s been really, really good this season, going over 100 yards for six straight games, and doing all kinds of things that you don’t normally see freshman who aren’t Jonathan Taylor or an Ohio State running back do.

So Northwestern’s tackling wasn’t necessarily “good” at all times on Saturday, including in that clip you probably just didn’t watch, but in their defense, he’s 6’2” and 238 pounds. He is very large and very unafraid of just barreling into guys. He also has no qualms about calling out defenders for “not really trying” to tackle him.

I dunno, man. Early this year, probably even before the season, I advised everyone to watch out for Jalen Berger—a guy who went from 1st string to 3rd string to dismissed to transfer portal without ever seeing much of the field—so I’m maybe not the guy to listen to on this. But listen: Braelon Allen is going to be a very prolific running back for Wisconsin, especially considering he gets to go up against Big Ten West defenses for several years. Bet on it.*

* But if you do actually bet on it, I take no responsibility for you losing all your money. You really shouldn’t listen to me.

Aidan O’Connell - Quarterback - Purdue Boilermakers

40/52, 390 yards, 4 touchdowns, 0 interceptions

Two Aidans, one column. Not sure this has ever happened before, outside some sort of 2020/2021 “players to keep an eye on in the Big Ten” preview. And let’s be honest: All you did in that column was look to see if your favorite team’s players were listed, see that they weren’t, and scroll to the comment section to complain. You’re probably doing the same now, waiting on a fellow OTE-er to clue you in to something worth reading in this article beyond the poll.

(This is the only Tweet I could find of an O’Connell scoring play from this past week)

Aidan won the OTE POTW award last week, leading Purdue to an upset against...Iowa? and throwing for 500+ yards. He wasn’t QUITE that good this past week, having to throw the ball over 50 times but only getting 7.5 ypa. Sure, that’s still really, really amazing, but the OSU Death Machine Passing Game can and does score at will. O’Connell did everything he could to keep Purdue in the game, but the Purdue defense absolutely refused to play actual defense and O’Connell’s efforts came up short.

Is that bad defense? It seems like bad defense. All I’m saying: Better not give Graham Mertz that kind of time in the conference championship game or you just might see him go 15/27, 225 yards, 1 TDs, 1 rushing TD, 1 interception!

Aidan O’Connell is very, very, very good and/or Jeff Brohm has really figured out how to be one of the only passing offenses in the Big Ten and how to be prolific at it year after year. O’Connell has David Bell, but can you imagine how he might put up giant stats if he had two OTHER NFL-level wide receivers at his disposal? Yikes.

(Wisconsin would still just rush for 390 yards and sneak by Purdue, of course)

Beez’z thing he liked seeing this week

I liked seeing Wisconsin’s fate against Northwestern never really be in doubt. What a refreshing change over the past 30 years. I liked seeing Ohio State and Purdue put up 90+ points combined. I liked seeing Rutgers just absolutely obliterate a Big Ten opponent. I really liked seeing the glorious handlebar mustache of the guy standing behind the James Franklin photo.

Oh, and (because we know he’s 100% totally fine), I liked seeing Jim Harbaugh’s pants catch on fire after the Totally Believable And Not Invented “apology” he claimed to have gotten from the B1G about something involving refs and wrong calls and what a coincidence that it perfectly matches up with what Michigan fans think happened and exactly what they want to hear. Liar, pants on fire, etc. It’s poetry and it’s beautiful. Also he’s fine so get off your high horse.

Does the Big Ten own any currently-top-25 out of conference wins? I’m trying to come up with some off the top of my head and coming up very short. Do you think the other conferences are looking at the Big Ten and giving it the ol’ SEC West treatment? “They haven’t played or beaten anyone out of the conference! The only reason there are so many highly ranked teams is because they beat up on the bad parts of the conference!” I can’t say I disagree.

At this point, the best OOC win has gotta be Penn State over Auburn, right? With the next best being, I dunno, MSU over Miami, then Iowa over Iowa State (lol), then Ohio State only losing to a little bit to Oregon. Right?

I’m worried, y’all. Worried that the Big Ten might just go like 1-8 in bowl season. I’ll gladly watch eight of your teams lose on the biggest stage they’ll get all year, but I really don’t want to see the elite defense and solid running game of Wisconsin just get totally rolled by like Texas A&M in the Nobody Cares December 30th bowl.

I think this is the perfect season to point to as to why a 12-team playoff (or even 8-team!) would be so, so, so much better. You can say Georgia is #1 all by itself, far above the fray, but it is some BULLSHIT that Bama is #2. It’s also bullshit that OSU is as high as it is, same with UM and MSU and Oregon and Oklahoma and...

Wouldn’t things just be so much better if you threw in the top 12 and saw what happens? Sure a lot would come down to injuries/player health, but I think this would be the perfect year for some playoff craziness. I’m not interested in seeing Georgia, OSU, Oregon, and Bama. Again. Even if somebody like Oklahoma State sneak in to one of the non-Georgia spots won’t be all that interesting. We need the “sure #1” Georgia to have several opportunities to totally blow it.

Plus, Wisconsin is never making a playoff that’s fewer than 12 teams. I’d like to see them lose on a bigger stage than CCG/Rose Bowl for once. Make it happen, committee.


Which food you loved as a kid is LEAST likely to be yummy today

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Hot Pockets
    (62 votes)
  • 20%
    Kraft mac & cheese
    (37 votes)
  • 32%
    Any mass produced cookie
    (58 votes)
  • 8%
    Thanksgiving dinner, generally
    (15 votes)
  • 2%
    Somethin’ else (answer below)
    (5 votes)
177 votes total Vote Now