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.
Let us just say that there are a lot of “growth opportunities” on the board this week.
This week there are six “Sells,” and seven “Holds.” The low number of “Buys” is indicative of a distinctly bearish trend on the OTE Index.
B1G teams went 5-3 out of conference this week. There was one victory over a FCS team, three MACrifices, a WACrifice, and one capsized canoe, inter alia. Iowa, Penn State, MIchigan State, and Michigan remained unbeaten, but did not impress. Of the undefeated teams, only Maryland is surpassing expectations. Looking forward, this week promises us “Weasels on Parade,” the “Fight for NU,” and the culture clash between Iowa and Maryland. It will only get weirder from here.
Maryland Terrapins - (Defeated Kent State, 37-16) I tried to watch some of this, but the uniform combinations gave me a headache, while also making me grateful to be colorblind. Maryland’s skill players are very good, and Lia Tagovailoa had a good day - he does that a lot. The defense does need to stiffen up, and is susceptible to the power game. MACrifice consummated. It will be a great contrast of styles on Friday night. The Terps are undefeated and definitely still a “Buy.” (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Iowa (Friday).
Ohio State Buckeyes - (Defeated Akron, 59-7) Somebody did what they were supposed to do. This does not appear to be a vintage Ohio State team, but they can consummate a MACrifice. The schedule has been kind for a while, so the Buckeyes will be a high “Hold” until we see how they handle some of their eastern brethren. (Second-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: @Rutgers.
Iowa Hawkeyes - (Defeated Colorado State, 24-14) The Iowa defense forced a timely turnover near its goal line, and the special teams continue to provide and edge. Petras hit a couple of deep balls. Colorado State did manage to outrush the Hawkeyes, and the Rams are a bad football team. WACrifice consummated, but the Ferentzi better be prepared for crab country. Moved to “Hold.” Next up: @Maryland (Friday).
Penn State Nittany Lions - (Defeated Villanova, 38-17) The Nits won by three touchdowns, but mustered only 80 rushing yards against ‘Nova. Clifford can sling it around alright, but that rushing game needs to improve, ASAP. That level of run production is not going to cut it in conference play. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Indiana.
Michigan Wolverines - (Defeated Rutgers, 20-13) The Wolverines scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, and that was about it for the offense. Coach Harbaugh, one of the chief proponents of MANBALL, was outrushed and outgained by Rutgers at home. The passing game also needs significant improvement. Michigan is moved to “Hold.” Best to musk up before that trip to Madison. Next up: @Wisconsin.
Michigan State Spartans - (Defeated Nebraska, 23-20) Like Blanche Dubois, Michigan State relied on the kindness of strangers. Mel Tucker’s squad won a game in which it had 15 plays for 14 yards — with zero first downs, mind you — in the second half. The previously potent Spartan offense was held to 2.4 yards per rush. Fortunately for them, Nebraska special teams came to their rescue. This close call lands Sparty in “Hold” territory. MSU is undefeated, but there is plenty of room for improvement. Next up: Western Kentucky.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights - (Lost to Michigan, 20-13) The Scarlet Knights went on the road, against a ranked team, and had a chance to win at the end. Schiano has made progress. Mark my words, they are going to win one of these — this season or next. Rutgers is moved from “Buy” to “Hold,” not necessarily based on this performance, but awaiting the injury report after facing the Buckeyes. If they come through relatively unscathed, they have a good chance against Michigan State at home. Next up: Ohio State.
Purdue Boilermakers - (Defeated Illinois, 13-9) This game was putrid, and I loved watching every minute of it. Aidan O’Connell provided an offensive boost in the second half, leading the only touchdown drive of the game. The Boilers have no running game, poor run defense, and the sideline looks like a MASH unit. None of these are good signs going into conference play. They are co-leaders of the West, so they rate a “Hold.” Congrats, or something. Next up: Minnesota.
Wisconsin Badgers - (Lost to Notre Dame, 41-13) Believe it or not, Wisconsin led 13-10 early in the fourth quarter, then everything went south. None of Wisconsin’s traditional elements were present — stout defense, strong run game, game management. It will be a rock fight in Madison this week...with weasels! (Mollywhopped in the Third-Degree) Next up: Michigan.
Indiana Hoosiers - (Defeated Western Kentucky, 33-31) Indiana did not lose, but they came awfully close. Winning by two against Western Kentucky does not demonstrate enough positive movement to take this team out of “Sell” territory. Next up: @Penn State.
Nebraska Cornhuskers - (Lost to Michigan State, 23-20) Over the last two weeks, Nebraska lost close games to good teams, both times on the road. “Moral victories” do not change the fact that the Huskers are still losing, and in stunning ways. It would take a team of psychologists to fully explain what is wrong with this football team. Fear of success, approach/avoid behavior, and self-sabotage would be partial explanations. The special teams and offensive line continue to be liabilities. Next up: Northwestern.
Northwestern Wildcats - (Defeated Ohio, 35-6) Northwestern beat a thoroughly horrid Ohio team at home, running for 373 yards. The ‘Cats managed a measly 4.4 yards per pass attempt, and the quarterback situation going forward is murky, at best. There are no guaranteed wins remaining on the schedule. MACrifice consummated. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: @Nebraska.
Minnesota Golden Gophers - (Lost to Bowling Green, 14-10) It turns out that Colorado win was garbage, and so was the high it produced. Fueled by hubris, Goldie fell on his knife on the way to the MACrifice. Better coach ‘em up, Peejer. Next up: @Purdue.
Illinois Fighting Illini - (Lost to Purdue, 13-9) Like Medusa gazing upon her reflection, Bert destroyed his own team’s chance at victory. Despite having no passing attack, Illinois uglied up this game to such an extent that it had a chance, and really should have won. Bielema opted to punt on fourth and short at the Boiler 34 yard line. Purdue drove for the winning touchdown on the ensuing drive. Decision making, at all levels, is an issue in Chambana. Next up: Charlotte.
Feel free to laud my grace, charm, and judgment in the comments.