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 it 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 five “Buys,” and five “Holds.” The lower number of “sells” is indicative of a neutral to bullish trend on the OTE Index.
B1G teams went 5-1 out-of-conference. Intraconference, there were four tilts this week, and a total of five this season. The East is outperforming the West, but it is still very early. Penn State held off Wisconsin, Ohio State accelerated past the Gophers in the home stretch, while Michigan State ran it down Fitz’s throat. Iowa did what it could for the West by shutting down the Hoosiers at home, while Nebraska submitted to the Illini in a nearly futile Week 0 pillow fight.
It is great to have college football back, and it should be a wild year.
Ohio State Buckeyes - (Defeated Minnesota, 45-31) Why are the Buckeyes a “Buy” when they did not beat the spread? They went on the road with a debutante quarterback, faced a well-coached team with an NFL-caliber running back, and won with explosive plays that no other conference team can match. If anything, the gulf between best and second-best may have grown. Next up: Oregon.
Penn State Nittany Lions - (Defeated Wisconsin, 16-10) Winning a season opener on the road at Camp Randall is an accomplishment. Both teams made plenty of mistakes in this game, but the Lions capitalized on the gifts they were given and played gritty defense - holding the Badgers to 174 rushing yards and forcing three turnovers. Not bad. Next up: Ball State.
Iowa Hawkeyes - (Defeated Indiana, 34-6) Iowa held a 14-0 lead a few minutes into the game. At no point did it look like Indiana would win. The Hawkeye defense scored on two pick-sixes while the offense relied on the age-old formula of running the ball, trying to minimize turnovers, and boring television viewers to tears. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: @Iowa State.
Michigan State Spartans - (Defeated Northwestern, 38-21) The Spartans looked much better than expected. A strong running game led the way. Unlike some teams in the conference, it appears MSU actually put preseason camp to good use. Next up: Youngstown State.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights - (Defeated Temple, 61-14) Rutgers was involved in a blowout - but this time they were trouncing, and not the trounced. This would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Something strange may be emerging from Jersey - a fully functional football team? (Second-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: @Syracuse.
Minnesota Golden Gophers - (Lost to Ohio State , 45-31) There was quite a show in Dinkytown. Peejer had his team fired up, and they admirably refused to back down. The Gophers looked every bit up to the challenge until the talent disparity on the outside inevitably did them in. The only thing keeping Minny from being a “Buy” is the injury to Mohamed Ibrahim. We at OTE wish a quick and complete recovery to you, Mo. You are a joy to watch. Next up: Miami Hydroxide.
Michigan Wolverines - (Defeated Western Michigan , 47-14) Defeating Directional Michigan by thirty points should be expected from the Wolverines. We are in a holding pattern for Harbaugh’s crew until the competition ramps up. The UDub Huskies lost to FCS Montana this weekend, but they should still present a sterner test. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Washington.
Maryland Terrapins - (Defeated West Virginia, 30-24) This may have been the most entertaining game from the weekend. Maryland flashed strong skill position play and put away a regional foe. But forgive me, we often see the Terps do something laudable early in the year (Texas BAKK), only to see them wilt as conference play unfolds. Keep it rolling, turtles, and you will move up. Next up: Howard.
Purdue Boilermakers - (Defeated Oregon State, 30-21) Jack Plummer got plenty of production out of receivers David Bell and Payne Durham. The defensive effort was stout enough while the kicking game was solid. Purdue beat a team from Oregon in the rain, and that is something. Next up: @UConn.
Illinois Fighting Illini - (Lost to UTSA, 37-30) Illinois started the season by upending favored Nebraska. The Illini promptly lost a home game to a CUSA team with a cartoon mascot -MEEP MEEP. We get it, Nebraska is not good and Illinois is allergic to success. All in all, 1-1 after two games with both games decided by one score seems in line with Illinois expectations - which are never high. Next up: @Virginia.
Wisconsin Badgers - (Lost to Penn State, 16-10) Wisconsin won time of possession by 25 minutes, but only outgained Penn State by 64 yards. Bucky also lost the turnover battle 3-0. Wiscy scored on only one of four trips to the red zone. The ground attack barely whelmed at 3 YPC. The defense gave up multiple deep passes. The game management by Mertz was poor. This is not a formula for success in Madison. Next up: Eastern Michigan.
Indiana Hoosiers - (Lost to Iowa, 34-6) This game did not go well for the Hoosiers. The offense was moribund. When your opponent scores more than one defensive touchdown, you are not going to win. There may still be hope - maybe they frontloaded all of the offensive disasters this year. It is time to get well, and hosting the Vandals is the perfect prescription. (Mollywhopped in the Third-Degree) Next up: Idaho.
Northwestern Wildcats - (Lost to Michigan State, 38-21) It is an odd-numbered year, so this should have been expected. The ‘Cats, whose head coach has a defensive pedigree, made Kenneth Walker III look like Barry Sanders. Northwestern was thoroughly overmatched on defense, and could not generate enough offense to keep pace. If things do not improve quickly, it could be a long year in Evanston. Next up: Indiana State.
Nebraska Cornhuskers - (Defeated Fordham, 52-7) Nebraska lost to Illinois in a thoroughly putrid performance last week. This week, they dispatched a FCS program from the Bronx. It was a confidence builder, but glaring errors - like another turnover on special teams - still reared their ugly heads. On the plus side, Frost’s squad has maximum potential for growth. On the minus side, there is little room for error. To avoid further embarrassment, Big Red had better buckle up for Buffalo. A convincing win would demonstrate the team is moving in a positive direction. (Second-Degree Mollywoppin’) Next up: Buffalo
Feel free to laud my grace, charm, and judgment in the comments.