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 “Buys,” and three “Holds.” The lower number of “Sells” is indicative of a neutral to bullish trend on the OTE Index.
B1G teams went 12-2 out of conference this week, with the very best and very worst teams doing the losing. In all, there were four wins over FCS schools and four MACrifices. There were five other FBS matchups, with the conference going 3-2 (additionally, Purdue crushed UConn). Ohio State is mortal, it turns out. Iowa’s old-school approach is working distressingly well, while some other teams are not routing their opponents handily enough. Notably, the Eastern Bloc of the conference has improved year-over-year. The teams of the Delaware Triangle have yet to incur a loss.
Iowa Hawkeyes - (Defeated Iowa State, 27-17) Iowa wins ¡El Assico! and retains the CyHawk trophy by defeating their intrastate rival, on the road, in a top-ten matchup. Yes, a team can generate only 173 yards of total offense and win by double digits...IF it wins the turnover battle 4-0 and dominates the kicking game. Behold, the Kings of Iowa. This is how it used to be done, whippersnappers. Next up: Kent State.
Penn State Nittany Lions - (Defeated Ball State, 44-13) The Lions had about 500 yards of offense, scored a defensive touchdown, and won the turnover battle 2-0. The defense allowed only 5.0 yards per pass, and 2.7 yards per rush. That is how you consummate a MACrifice. PSU is positioned well for an intersectional matchup against Auburn. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Auburn.
Michigan Wolverines - (Defeated Washington, 31-10) Judged solely on this last game, Michigan has no discernible passing attack. They can run the ball, and also play tough run defense - both of these are harbingers of success in the Big Ten. The next big test will be in Madison — “Weasels on Parade” is set for October 2. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Northern Illinois.
Michigan State Spartans - (Defeated Youngstown State, 42-14) Mel Tucker’s team is greatly improved over last year. The Spartans ran and passed effectively against an overmatched opponent. The Penguins’ two scores came when the outcome was no longer in doubt. MSU remains a “Buy,” and I will be picking them to defeat the Hurricanes. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: @Miami Flerovium.
Maryland Terrapins - (Defeated Howard, 62-0) This is one game I freely admit I did not watch - the talent differential between Maryland and Howard is just too extreme, and I do not have a rooting interest. Nonetheless, the Terps did what what expected of them, and their skilled players have them sitting pretty through the rest of this month. I like their chances on Friday. (First-Degree Mollywoppin’) Next up: @Illinois (Friday, 9/17).
Rutgers Scarlet Knights - (Defeated Syracuse, 17-7) The Scarlet Knights went on the road and defeated a regional rival by double digits. These guys are not world-beaters, but they are playing a level of football that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. That is not to say this game was pretty, it was U-G-L-Y. Schiano’s crew won the turnover battle 5-0, while also winning the special teams phase. Do you sense a theme this week? Prepare, if you must, to talk to your children about a 3-0 ‘Gers. Next up: Delaware.
Wisconsin Badgers - (Defeated Eastern Michigan, 34-7) I did not watch this game, because I am still clinging to a shred of dignity. Lets review some stats: First Downs 26-3; Total Yards 518-92(!); Time of Possession 40:04-19:56. MACrifice consummated. Slaughtering EMU will not earn you a “Buy” rating — killing an eagle is a crime — but it will get you to “Hold.” Use the off-week wisely, for all of our sakes. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Idle (Notre Dame, 9/25).
Ohio State Buckeyes - (Lost to Oregon, 35-28) The Buckeyes ran up over 600 yards of offense, at home, and managed to lose. How? Ohio State was only able to convert that offensive production into 28 points. They also surrendered over 500 yards, including 269 on the ground. Elite teams only surrender numbers like that to other elite teams. Either Oregon is elite, or Ohio State currently is not. The schedule is very kind for the next month, so the nuts are a low “Hold.” If nothing else, perhaps this result will put the “body clock” debate to rest. Next up: Tulsa.
Purdue Boilermakers - (Defeated UConn, 49-0) Yes, the UConn Huskies are an abomination of a football team, but Brohm’s squad scored a whole bunch of points while allowing none. You cannot ask for much more (except, perhaps, the one additional point that would have made this a First-Degree Mollywhoppin’). I will keep the Boilers as a high “Hold,” but a strong performance — not necessarily a win — against Notre Dame will move them up. (Second-Degree Mollywoppin’) Next up: @Notre Dame.
Minnesota Golden Gophers - (Defeated Miami Hydroxide, 31-26) The Gophers went into the half with a 21-3 lead, but the RedHawks refused to succumb easily. Giving up pass plays to Ohio State receivers is one thing, and I know the Gabbert boys all have good arms, but Minnesota’s pass defense appears suspect. Bring your oxygen masks on the trip to Boulder - that fourth quarter can feel loooong. Next up: @Colorado.
Indiana Hoosiers - (Defeated Idaho, 56-14) Playing the Vandals is a good analgesic, but it does not necessarily resolve any underlying conditions. The Hoosiers met the minimum requirement by destroying Idaho, but they will remain a “Sell” until there is positive result against a team with a pulse. This week presents a sterling opportunity. (Second-Degree Mollywoppin’) Next up: Cincinnati.
Nebraska Cornhuskers - (Defeated Buffalo, 28-3) Nebraska won by 25 points. The Huskers also missed three field goals (allegedly - the last one appeared to go through), had three touchdowns called back due to penalty, and lost possession on a punt return for the third consecutive game. Fordham and Buffalo were not good enough to make Nebraska pay for its mistakes, but Illinois was. Oklahoma is a wee bit better than Illinois. (Third-Degree Mollywoppin’) Next up: @Oklahoma.
Northwestern Wildcats - (Defeated Indiana State, 24-6) A Mollywhoppin’ that should have been, but wasn’t. The Sycamores were held to six points and 169 total yards. The ‘Cats scored only 24 points, producing 275 yards. Fitz needs to conjure some offense. Next up: @Duke.
Illinois Fighting Illini - (Lost to Virginia, 42-14) New regimes seldom travel well. Bad teams never travel well. The Illini averaged 4.9 yards per pass and 4.3 yards per rush against a middling ACC squad. The stat of this game: The Cavaliers had five different players attempt a pass against Illinois. Virginia emptied its bench. (Mollywhopped in the Third-Degree) Next up: Maryland (Friday 9/17).
Feel free to laud my grace, charm, and judgment in the comments.
Which was the least compelling MACrifice?
This poll is closed
Nebraska 28, Buffalo 3
Penn State 44, Ball State 13
Wisconsin 34, EMU 7
Minnesota 31, Miami Hydroxide 26
Which victory over a FCS team was least inspiring?
This poll is closed
MSU 42, YSU 14
Northwestern 24, ISU 6
Purdue 49, UConn (honorary member) 0
Indiana 56, Idaho 14
Maryland 62, Howard 0