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 seven “Sells” and three “Holds.” The low number of “Buys” is indicative of a bearish trend on the OTE Index.
This week saw two glorious upsets, with Illinois taking down Minnesota and Purdue harboring Michigan State. Nebraska did its normal approach/avoid thing — they approached winning a game, then found ways to avoid it. Iowa and Northwestern played a dud for the ages. Not everything was running on all cylinders for some of the conference’s most talented teams. There is still a lot to prove over the next three weeks, including which squads will be playing in Indy.
(Defeated Rutgers, 52-3) This is the type of game is a reason that the term “Mollywhoppin’” was created. Wiscy outgained Rutgers 579-207, and generally pushed the Knights around. The Badgers play nothing but wildcard opponents through the stretch — Northwestern, Nebraska, and at Minnesota. Anything can happen, including a division championship. (Second-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Northwestern.
(Defeated Michigan State, 40-29) Which team defeated two top five teams this year? Purdid. Aidan O’Connell threw for a preposterous 536 yards, with David Bell nabbing 11 catches for 217 and a touchdown. Bell has now had a 200 yard game in each of Purdue’s upsets of top-five teams. This aerial combo can do some damage against the Buckeye secondary. Enjoy another week in “Buy” territory, Trains. Next up: @Ohio State.
(Defeated Indiana, 29-7) Harbaugh is going to continue to run the ball and play defense. The Michigan defense smothered Indiana this week, holding the Hoosiers to 195 yards. The matchup against Penn State should be interesting, which is much more than I can say for the matchup against Indiana. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: @Penn State.
(Defeated Minnesota, 14-6) You do not want to play ugly against Illinois, because the Illini thrive in a rock fight. Penn State and Minnesota tried and failed. Surely, nobody with a strong defense and nonexistent offense will try to beat Bert at his own game. Spoiler alert: Of course they will. Two wins against ranked teams in a month rates this team a “Buy.” Seriously. Next up: Idle (@Iowa, 11/20).
(Defeated Nebraska, 26-17) Ohio State beat Nebraska. That was not surprising. What was surprising were the struggles the Buckeyes had against a 3-6 team. OSU had difficulty converting in the red zone, and their secondary fell victim to some deep patterns by Nebraska receivers. Uh-oh. The Nuts are a “Hold” until we see how they handle the much more polished passing prowess of Purdue. Next up: Purdue.
(Lost to Purdue, 40-29) Sparty had no defensive answer for the Purdue’s flying circus. It seems odd to say someone was “limited” to 142 rushing yards, but that is what happened to Kenneth Walker III. He got his yards, and he got a touchdown, but he also coughed up a costly early turnover. MSU is a high “Hold,” because 8-1 at this juncture far exceeds preseason expectations, and losing to Purdue is not a crime. Take this time to get well against the Terps. Next up: Maryland.
(Defeated Maryland, 31-14) If Clifford and Dotson have good days, the Nits can play with anyone. If they do not, they cannot. The dynamic duo definitely had a good day against Maryland, with Dotson racking up a borderline obscene 11-242-3 stat line. PSU is a “Hold” until we see how it plays out against Harbaugh’s crew. It just might work. Next up: Michigan.
(Lost to Illinois, 14-6) When you play a ball-control style of football, it is vital that you maintain a physical/emotional edge if you wish to dominate. That edge was lacking against Bowling Green, and it was lacking against Illinois. I find it difficult to blame Minny — it is only human to overlook “inferior” opponents — but that is an embarrassing pair of losses for a coach with a fresh contract extension. Next up: @Iowa.
(Defeated Northwestern, 17-12) That this Iowa team could only score 17 points against Northwestern is embarrassing, that they allowed 12 points to the Wildcats is damning. Still a “Sell.” Next up: Minnesota.
(Lost to Penn State, 31-14) The Terps are the kings of empty yardage. They seem to always have a healthy stat sheet, accompanied by an unfavorable score line. How do you throw for 371 yards, yet only score 14 points? Opponents continue to hammer at weaknesses in the defense. This team has a lot of maturing to do before it will be successful in the B1G East. Next up: @Michigan State.
(Lost to Ohio State, 26-17) Nebraska played a close game. They had a surprisingly good chance to win, but lost. The Sun continues to rise in the east. Water remains wet. Next up: Idle (@Wisconsin, 11/20).
(Lost to Michigan, 29-7) At least the Hoosiers did not tease their fans into hopes of victory this time. At no point in this game did Indiana appear to have a chance. Even so, there is a chance for victory this week. (Mollywhopped in the Third-Degree) Next up: Rutgers.
(Lost to Wisconsin, 52-3) Rutgers got creamed, but they need to get it together in time to face the Hoosiers. If there is any shot at going bowling, the Scarlet Knights need to win in Bloomington. (Mollywhopped in the Second-Degree) Next up: @Indiana.
(Lost to Iowa, 17-12) Your 2021 Northwestern Wildcats: Still worse than Illinois! Next up: @Wisconsin.
Feel free to laud my grace, charm, and judgment in the comments.
Nebraska has two games remaining. Which game(s) will they win?
This poll is closed
None of the above