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The Big Ten Has a Non-Conference Win Problem, Again: POTW, Week 4

What’s the best non-con win at this point? Is there a “good” one?

Is the question “which is better?” Cuz if so, it’s a close call right now.

Folks, my wedding is in 17 days, I’m too busy for much of anything beside work and that, and you’re already getting 1600+ mediocre words this week. You really don’t need 1000 more when it’d just be my tired ramblings. Let’s get right down to business!

OTE’s Player of the Week: Week 4

Jayden Reed - Wide Receiver & Punter Returner - Michigan State Spartans

4 receptions, 59 yards, 1 receiving touchdown; 62-yard punt return TD

(but are they actually) Good Michigan State juuuuuust about blew it, again, against a (but are they actually) Bad Nebraska team this past weekend. I did not have the chance to see any of the game, but it sounded like Nebraska fans were left crushed and MSU fans were left feeling as if they’d basically lost. Jayden Reed, along with Xavier Henderson and some other dudes who did good dude things, might be THE reason we’re merely asking whether MSU is actually Good this year. First, in the Olden Days, a punt return touchdown would have put you at or near the top of the POTW rankings

Reed’s punt return TD was absolutely critical, as you can see by the above clip. It tied-ish the game, and more importantly, tied the game at darn near the last possible minute. It’s clear Reed is very, very fast, but also, where the eff was Nebraska’s punt coverage on that play? Did the punter just mis-kick and it went to the wrong side of the field? I know Scott Frost said it was clearly the players’ fault, but which player specifically?!? Name names, Scott.

Reed didn’t just return a TD though, he also caught a touchdown pass earlier in the game, meaning he accounted for nearly 50% of MSU’s points scored. In a game that, based on secondhand disbelief and grumpiness, included very few bright spots, Reed made sure the spotlight shone directly on him. Michigan State is now 4-0, is ranked, and is a problem. Can’t wait to see them lose to Rutgers.

Honorable Mentions

Pretty sure no flag on this play, nor should there have been!

Faion Hicks - Defensive Back - Wisconsin Badgers

5 tackles, 4 passes defended, 1 hurry

If you didn’t get a chance to see the Notre Dame - Wisconsin game this past weekend, it theoretically involved two college football offenses. Neither of them could run even a little, and only Notre Dame could throw the ball. Although even that is a generous summary of what ND was able to do against Wisconsin’s very, very good defense. The limited success Notre Dame had on offense was nearly entirely through the air (239 yards passing versus 9 rushing, lol), and Hicks was a huge reason that Notre Dame couldn’t move the ball.

Hicks broke up four passes all by his lonesome against Notre Dame. The rest of Wisconsin’s D only broke up one pass, and Notre Dame as a team only broke up two of Graham Mertz’s “passes” all day, not counting the four interceptions. Hicks had to play a ton of one-on-one man coverage against Notre Dame’s best wide receivers (I assume, please don’t go look this up), and he was not daunted. On the contrary, he did about as well as a man on an island can do against the high-octane Jack Coan passing attack.

Here’s another Hicks pass breakup that definitely was not pass interference!

Plus, Hicks really makes ya think:

Good point, Faion. What IS going on? Why IS nobody talking about when young women and kids go missing? Please start a substack and elaborate.

Evan Hull - Running Back - Northwestern Wildcats

22 carries, 216 yards (9.8 ypc) 2 TDs

Nearly ten yards per carry, two touchdowns, and over two hundred yards is a great game, even against the ultimate MACrifice. I am loathe to recognize Northwestern as being anything other than garbage—and thankfully that’s the case this year, yet again—but there’s just no way around recognizing what Hull did Saturday. That’s a legitimately good stat line regardless of the non-FCS or non-Iowa State opponent. Can’t wait to watch him run it 33 times against Wisconsin for 90 yards in what’s sure to be a 13-12 game.

Love seeing running backs just get stopped or pushed back, only to power on ahead for long runs and long touchdowns. It’s both hilarious and so demoralizing to the other team.

You DARE me to make this kick?!?

Charles Campbell - Kicker - Indiana Hoosiers

4/4 FGs, long 48; 3/3 XPs

Kicker award!!!! Love to see a kicker account for fifteen points, even if his length is a little bit lacking. Campbell accounted for nearly half of Indiana’s points as they surprisingly (to some!) struggled to beat the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Indiana needed Campbell to be perfect* to beat WKU, and he was! I...don’t have anything else to say about him. He’s a kicker and he kicked well.

POV of Tom Allen congratulating Campbell on his excellent kicking

* Yes he could have missed 1 XP and they’d still have won, shut up.

Jack Campbell - Linebacker - Iowa Hawkeyes

18 tackles, 2 passes defended, 2 fumble recoveries

Iowa remains the best of the B1G West facsimiles, featuring great defense and nigh on zero offense, and the defense was on display again this past weekend against the Colorado State...Rams I wanna say? Jack Campbell had the biggest day for the defense, recording approximately ten billion tackles PLUS breaking up two passes and recovering two fumbles.

Get used to seeing Iowa guys here. That defense looks top notch this season and there’s almost no chance the “Iowa spot” in POTW will be taken by an offensive player.

Beez’z thing he liked seeing this week

This is going to shock you, but I think of myself as a man of consistency and honor and being happier with the correct outcome than the outcome I want. And one who could not be happier to see so much of the West be straight trash. Here’s what I liked this week:

First, that’s a REALLY amazing pass. That receiver was very covered and Coan skillfully accurately blind-squirrel-finding-a-nut-ily dropped that pass perfectly into whatever tiny window he saw. But the pass isn’t what I “liked.”

This pass was immediately reviewed and confirmed as a touchdown. A lot of folks here and on Twitter insisted he needed to “complete the catch” before it counted. As much as I was hoping for the TD to be overturned, I can’t disagree with the call. The guy caught the ball, had total control, ran several steps with it into and through the endzone, and only lost the ball after being tackled in the endzone as his back hit the ground. There is no set of circumstances where that should be anything other than a catch. It was wrong when Jazz Peavy’s TD was overturned years back against Northwestern, and it would have been insanely wrong to overturn it here.

I was very impressed the refs got this call correct, and that feeling only grew stronger as I saw the refs supremely struggle throughout the game with what “pass interference” means.


Last week I put up a trolling poll about which “good” win was going to age best. Or worst, can’t really remember. It was part of a rant about how looking at your resume after three weeks is supremely stupid and how Iowa fans need to chill the eff out. Let’s check back on those “good” wins.

Iowa over Indiana
Indiana needed fifteen points from their kicker to beat a G5 program that, I assume, is well past its Jeff Brohm and post-Brohm glory days. Iowa fans need to repeat after me: “Iowa opened the season with a big win over the THEN-RANKED Indiana Hoosiers.” This win remains looking not great.

Iowa over Iowa State
Lol. Iowa State lost to Baylor this week, giving up 31 points to the now-ranked Bears (who show wins over Texas State, Texas Southern, Kansas, and now Iowa State). The Bears are ranked because, at the time, Iowa State was ranked 14th (and Baylor is 4-0 now). After handing Iowa a “big” win earlier this season, Iowa State has fallen entirely out of the Top 25. Congrats, Iowa, on showing your whole ass over that stellar Week 3 resume.

Iowa fans, repeat after me: “Iowa recorded a HUGE win over the then-10th-ranked Iowa State Cyclones.” This win was enormously overrated at the time, and now we just gotta lol at it.

Penn State over Wisconsin
Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. Do I really need to elaborate? Penn State’s first good win of the season is now over an unranked team with an elite defense. At least this one counts as a conference win, and at least, for PSU’s sake, there’s a good chance Wisconsin goes, like, 8-1 the rest of the way, giving Penn State a boost. This win looks worse by the week.

Michigan State vs. Miami
This win is worth approximately whatever you thought it was before this past weekend. Miami rolled over what I think is FCS Central Connecticut State University. Fairly or unfairly for Michigan State fans, this win was devalued almost immediately just based on the fact that Miami lost its second game after narrowly escaping Sun Belt’s Appalachian State Mountaineers. The silver lining for MSU is that the ACC is trash and it’s entirely possible Miami still wins that conference.

Penn State vs. Auburn
This is still the best-looking win on paper. Auburn struggled mightily with Sun Belt’s Georgia State (check out this week’s Falls Tarts for more information on why this is hilarious), but a win’s a win I guess. zAuburn remains in the top 25. Bad news is they play in a real hard division in a real hard conference, so it’s entirely possible Auburn finishes with a 0.500 record. At least they’ll still be ranked in the top 20!

Okay so it looks like the Big Ten’s formerly seemingly successful nonconference record is weakening. Who has the best non-con win at this point? Lemme know in the comments, because I’m about done updating on Indiana and Wisconsin.


When is it acceptable to start making chili again

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    As soon as Fall technically starts
    (79 votes)
  • 24%
    When CFB conference play is in full swing
    (53 votes)
  • 24%
    Not until the first morning you wake up with frost on the ground
    (54 votes)
  • 14%
    As long as you’re pouring it over spaghetti, make it whenever you want.
    (32 votes)
218 votes total Vote Now