clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Big Ten Power Rankings, Canadian Football-Style: Don’t Watch This; Watch That, Week 7

Zut alors! Could Kirk Ferentz punt his way to a Grey Cup?

NCAA Football: Michigan at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Note: This article is purely to inform you of the time, TV, odds, line, spread, betting, and general vibe of the college football schedule. Any learning you do, entertainment you draw, or commentary you glean from the words that follow is purely coincidental and not the intent of sports blog nation dot com.

When I started doing this column five-ish years ago, Matt Brown—then the college football editor at SBNation—took one look at it and said “That should be two or probably three articles.”

Looking at today’s article: Oops.

Things are heating up north of the border, though, where the Canadian Football League has just three weeks left before the Grey Cup Playoffs begin!

I realize you are not excited about that, but there is an in-depth breakdown of a D-III football game below, so, let’s be honest: you clicked because of my BRILLIANT SEO promising Big Ten power rankings. You’ve probably realized by now that I’m going to talk about which Big Ten teams would thrive in Canadian football. You’re in it for the long haul. Might as well sit back and enjoy.

Canadian football! Why watch, you ask?

A number of points here:

  • Yes, that is former Chicago Bears legend Marc Trestman.
  • In the CFL, any legal kick that (1) goes into the end zone but (2) does not go through the uprights must be advanced out of the end zone, otherwise the kicking team gets a point—called a “single” or, more enjoyably, a “rouge”. [The only time this doesn’t apply is a kickoff.]
  • The reason Montreal—who missed the field goal—scored a touchdown was because they received the Toronto kick-out of the end zone (Toronto had to avoid allowing the single) and punted it back in. The Argonauts (that’s Toronto, keep up) then touched the punt, equivalent to a muffed punt or whatever—it’s a fumble. Montreal recovered, so they got a 6-point touchdown. Had Toronto fallen on it, that’s the equivalent of a safety, except it’s on a kick, so it’d be a single (1 point).

Got all that?


Other key differences:

  • 3 downs to go 10 yards instead of 4
  • The field is 150 yards long—110 yards of the main field (two 50-yard lines), and two 20-yard-deep end zones.
  • Goal posts are at the front of the end zones
  • 12 players on the field per game: on defense, this adds another defensive back , leaving a five-shell in the secondary with one high safety; on offense, this tends to replace a tight end with a pair of slotbacks, all of whom...
  • Motion at the snap! Anyone in the offensive backfield besides the quarterback can be moving toward the line of scrimmage at the snap, while the wide receivers on the line of scrimmage can be moving parallel to the line of scrimmage. Means a lot more fun off the snap, with receivers having a full head of steam.
  • Seem too fast for you? Like risk? That’s good, because in Canada the line of scrimmage requires a full yard of neutral zone, as opposed to the 11 inches in American football—Canadian teams almost always go for it on 3rd-and-1 or 3rd-and-inches.
  • No fair catches, but a “no yards” penalty for any kicking team player within 5 yards of the person catching the kick.

There’s a lot more fun, and you can read all those differences here. But in the meantime...

Big Ten Power Rankings, Canadian Football League Rules

[1] Ohio State Buckeyes

Look, some things never change. Imagine, if you will, Marvin Harrison Jr.—or, in the past, Chris Olave—lined up as a slotback with a full head of steam. Instead of catching the ball with 3-4 yards on opposing defenders, they’d be a full 10 yards down the field. I hate it already, and I regret this whole exercise.

[2] Penn State Nittany Lions

See above, vis-a-vis “athletes”. Imagine the space Parker Washington could get himself into.

[3] Maryland Terrapins

“Didn’t they just lose to Purdue???” you say?

That’s right—only problem was they were limited by the unfair rules of having to wait at the line of scrimmage first. Let the Terps get a head start? Game over.

Plus, here’s where I do give the Terrapins’ special teams some credit—Chad Ryland is born to play on Sundays, probably, but what if he were also born to kick field goals from the opposite 50 on snowy Friday nights in Calgary? What if he could boom singles outta the back of the end zone on random Monday afternoons in Hamilton?

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, everyone.

[4] Purdue Boilermakers

That’s right—Purdue, with its pass-happy offense and devil-may-care coach, comes in at #4 in this ranking. Only thing I’d be concerned about is the punt game.

[5] Michigan Wolverines

Sure, Blake Corum is good, etc., etc. But “3 yards-and-a-cloud-of-khaki” means a whole lot of 2-and-oots, Jimmy. And if you think the fans at Investors Group Field are going to sit there and take it, well, you’ve got another thing coming.

[6] Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Pro: Tanner Morgan looks like your stereotypical CFL quarterback
  • Con: Is Mo Ibrahim healthy? In this essay I will,,,
  • Pro: Accents similar
  • Con: Tough to row boats in pack ice; risk of PJ Fleck getting Henry Hudson’d
  • Pro: Drew Wolitarsky eligible again

Maybe the Gophers oughta be higher on this list...

[7] Illinois Fighting Illini

Bert is insulated for a Winnipeg winter, and you can’t convince me the Blue Bombers haven’t, in the last decade, started a quarterback named “Tommy DeVito”. It’s almost statistically impossible.

[8] wisconsin badgers

  • Pro: Can pick up 3rd-and-1 in most situations
  • Con: Don’t get to play Northwestern every week
  • Pro: Casual alcoholism helps
  • Con: Labatt Blue

[9] Iowa Hawkeyes

“BUT TORY TAYLOR!” you sputter into your Busch Light.

First, let’s be clear: Kirk Ferentz absolutely would try to win games with nothing but quarterback sneaks on 3rd-and-2 and about 8-9 singles per game.

But that would require Spencer Petras to throw balls in the Calgary wind or Saskatchewan snow. And that would be a goddamn disaster.

Hawkeyes save themselves from the bottom, though, with a 5-1 win over Northwestern on Canadian Thanksgiving.

[10] Nebraska Cornhuskers

Scott Frost would’ve found a way to lose that Montreal-Toronto game.

I don’t think the Huskers offensive line could pick up a 3rd-and-1 if we spotted them two yards.

Their players would be wearing hoodies in July.

[11] Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Pre-firing of Sean Gleeson? The Knights are somewhere up around 8th on this list—if Gleeson resurfaced in the CFL with all the weird and stupid shit Rutgers did on offense, it would not surprise me in the slightest if he was competing for Grey Cups in just a couple years.

[T-12] Indiana Hoosiers, Michigan State Spartans

I genuinely do not know what Tom Allen is doing in Bloomington at this point. It’s kind of like when Johnny Manziel went to Toronto for a spell—you knew it wasn’t going to end well, but damn if it wasn’t compelling TV for a minute.

I am so thoroughly disinterested in this year’s product in East Lansing that maybe Sparty oughta be higher. Who’s to say.

All I know is that someone’s lips are going to freeze to the Old Brass Spittoon.

[14] Northwestern Wildcats

At least that missed 21-yard field goal would’ve been a single.

“And we go into the half at Homecoming, the Northwestern Wildcats trailing wisconsin on Homecoming by a score of 28-1.”

MNW’s Totally Plagiarized* Trivia

*Hey, if Kevin Kruse can do it, so can I.

  1. There are only two “Can” (not Cannon) rivalry trophies in FBS football, and one team plays for both of them. But can you name that team?
  2. What largest seaport in Morocco also lends its name to a citrus fruit?
  3. Boomers know her as the star of Singin’ in the Rain. Gen Xers know her as Carrie Fisher’s mom. Millennials know her as Aggie Cromwell in Halloweentown. But can you name her?
  4. In “Bodak Yellow,” Cardi B raps, “These expensive, these is red bottoms,” meaning she’s wearing what brand of shoes?
  5. In diners, it’s called a “biddy board”. In the UK, it’s called the “poor knights of Windsor”. In France, it’s called “pain perdu” (not to be confused with Pain Purdue, Gophers fans). Name that food!

Thursday Evening

Don’t Watch This

West Virginia State Yellow Jackets at UNC Pembroke Braves [5pm, MEtv]
West Liberty Hilltoppers at Fairmont State Fighting Falcons [6pm, MEtv]
Temple Owls at UCF Citronauts (-23.5, O/U 46) [6pm, ESPN]
Morgan State Bears at NC Central Eagles [6:30pm, ESPN2]

Watch That

Baylor Bears at West Virginia Mountaineers

6pm | FS1 | Baylor -3.5 | O/U 54.5

Honestly, there’s so much below that I’d just encourage you to skip down to that. If you can make it through the lightest part of the weekend right here—oddly, one that is basically centered on the Appalachians, with 3/5 of these games featuring the state of West Virginia—you can make it through anything.


Thursday night! Country roads, take me to...

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Baylor-West Virginia
    (49 votes)
  • 3%
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    Morgan State-NC Central
    (4 votes)
  • 20%
    Amazon Prime
    (27 votes)
  • 12%
    Playoff baseball?
    (16 votes)
  • 21%
    The NHL opener?
    (28 votes)
129 votes total Vote Now

Friday Evening

Don’t Watch This

Brown Bears at Princeton Tigers [6pm, ESPNU]
[RV] Muhlenberg Mules at #8 Johns Hopkins Bluejays [6pm, a stream, probably]
{CFL} Montreal Alouettes at Ottawa REDBLACKS [6pm, ESPN+]
UTSA Roadrunners at FIU Sunblazers [7pm, CBSSN]

Watch That

Navy Midshipmen at SMU Cocaine Ponies

6:30pm | ESPN | SMU -12.5 | O/U 57

Lincoln University Oaklanders at Hilbert College Hawks

6pm | St. Francis High School Livestream

#19 UW-Oshkosh Titans at #3 UW-Whitewater Warhawks

7pm | WIAC Network | The Battle for wisconsin’s Castoffs

There are two things here it’s very important to remind you of:

  1. Florida International University used to be called the Sunblazers, and
  2. We at Don’t Watch This; Watch That are committed to bringing you both the most interesting and competitive in college football as well as the truly disgusting and/or intriguing things you love about this sport. It’s what makes me such an endearing host of this weekly program.

So. Bear with me.

We need to talk about Lincoln University of California and Hilbert College of New York.

This is the first year of varsity competition for the Hilbert Hawks. A small Franciscan teachers college in Hamburg, NY (near Buffalo), why the Hawks needed a football team is beyond me. But they have one! And so far this year, playing as an independent (because the Allegheny Mountain Conference does not sponsor football), uh...

  • They opened with a 63-0 loss to Denison, a D-III school in Ohio,
  • They flew in Willamette University from Salem, OR, to beat them 31-20,
  • They went to Milton, MA, to lose 49-9 to Curry College, and
  • They beat SUNY Brockport’s JV team for their only (unofficial) “win” of the season.
  • Oh, and they play at the local St. Francis High School football field. AND their stream is operated by the high school.

Their opponents for this week, though? The Lincoln University (of California) Oaklanders.

Yes, that’s right.


Would you like to see Lincoln University? OF COURSE YOU WOULD:


You might be thinking, “But MNW, that doesn’t look like a school that can sponsor football.”

And you’re probably right! This private, non-profit school in Oakland, CA, has 573 students enrolled in it, per Wikipedia. But wait, there’s more!

Lincoln University was featured in a March 2011 Chronicle of Higher Education article entitled “Little-Known Colleges Exploit Visa Loopholes to Make Millions Off Foreign Students.”

Or this!

It is on the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) “List of Institutions on Heightened Cash Monitoring as of December 1, 2019.” The U.S. Department of Education may place institutions on a Heightened Cash Monitoring (HCM) payment method to provide additional oversight of cash management. Heightened Cash Monitoring is a step that FSA can take with institutions to provide additional oversight for a number of financial or federal compliance issues, some of which may be serious and others that may be less troublesome. The list notes “severe findings” for Lincoln University.

Also, they don’t have a football schedule on their website. They do not appear to have a home field, playing all their games on the road in 2022. You’ll be stunned to learn, then, that Lincoln’s narrowest margin of defeat came when D-II Western Oregon juuuuuust edged them out, 42-10, back in Week 2. One of their players, though, is playing in the CFL!

So kudos to Lincoln University of California Oaklanders, a Definitely Real School akin to the San Francisco Academy of Art. Can’t wait ‘til our Oaklanders nab their first D-I upset, like the Urban Knights did over UC Davis.

That Lincoln-Hilbert game could be the worst thing I’ve seen since I saw the junior college I teach at practicing punting one day when I drove in. Dear God. I must watch it.


Honest to God, what just happened here?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Dunno, I’ll watch Navy-SMU
    (15 votes)
  • 14%
    You need Jesus, MNW. But so do I: Lincoln-Hilbert it is!
    (18 votes)
  • 9%
    I’ll take the Battle of WI-26, thanks.
    (12 votes)
  • 19%
    Wait, but I want to talk more about the Sunblazer!!!
    (24 votes)
  • 27%
    ...this has been an unpleasant experience
    (34 votes)
  • 16%
    ...I never knew I needed this information as much as I did
    (21 votes)
124 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Morning

Don’t Watch This

#10 Penn State Nittany Lions at #5 Michigan Wolverines (-7, O/U 51.5) [11am, B1G N00D]
Auburn Tigers at #9 Ole Miss Rebels (-14.5, O/U 55.5) [11am, ESPN]
Iowa State Cyclones at #22 Texas Longhorns (-16.5, O/U 49.5) [11am, ABC]
Minnesota Golden Gophers (-6.5, O/U 39) at #24 Illinois Fighting Illini [11am, BTN]
Colgate Dentists at Army West Point Black Knights [11am, CBSSN]
Central Michigan Chippewas (-13, O/U 59) at Akron Zips [11am, ESPN+]
Miami Hydroxide Redhawks (-7, O/U 46) at Bowling Green Falcons [11am, ESPN+]
Old Dominion Monarchs at Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (-12.5, O/U 56) [11am, ESPNU]
Miami Fluoride Hurricanes (-7, O/U 46.5) at Virginia Tech Hokies [11:30am, ESPN3]
Buffalo Bulls (-17, O/U 46.5) at UMass Minutemen [12pm, ESPN3]

Watch That

#19 Kansas Jayhawks at Oklahoma Sooners

11am | ESPN2 | OU -9 | O/U 62.5

Jesus, the whole point of that Sunblazers thing was initially to show you the field FIU has planned for Friday night, as they do their “Ode to Miami Vice” theme required of all Miami sports teams at some point:

That is straight goddamn sex, right there. But two things:

  1. The Sunblazers/Vicecats are 33.5-point dogs (cats?) to UTSA, and
  2. May we offer an alternative for midfield?

Sunblazer Vice, baby.



This poll is closed

  • 18%
    (29 votes)
  • 43%
    My Big Ten team is playing at this time
    (69 votes)
  • 3%
    I’ll look for some soccer, I think.
    (6 votes)
  • 34%
    Seek help, MNW.
    (54 votes)
158 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Afternoon

Don’t Watch This

California Golden Bears (-14.5, O/U 48) at Colorado Buffaloes [1pm, Pac-12]
UConn Huskies at Balls Tate Robotbirds (-9.5, O/U 47.5) [1pm, ESPN3]
Vanderbilt Commodores at #1 Georgia Bulldogs (-38, O/U 58.5) [2:30pm, SECN]
#3 Alabama Crimson Tide (-7.5, O/U 65.5) at #6 Tennessee Volunteers [2:30pm, CBS]
#15 NC State Wolfpack at #18 Syracuse Orange (-3.5, O/U 43) [2:30pm, ACCN]
Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs at Sportswashing, American-Style [2:30pm, ESPN+]
Maryland Terrapins (-11, O/U 61.5) at Indiana Hoosiers [2:30pm, ESPN2]
Kent State Golden Flashes at Toledo Rockets (-9, O/U 61.5) [2:30pm, ESPN+]
Ohio Bobcats (-1.5, O/U 58) at Western Michigan Broncos [2:30pm, CBSSN]
Texas State Bobcats at Troy Trojans (-16, O/U 47) [2:30pm, ESPN3]
Charlotte 49ers at UAB Blazers (-23.5, O/U 63.5) [2:30pm, Stadium]
#25 James Madison Dukes (-11.5, O/U 67) at Georgia Southern Eagles [3pm, ESPN+]
Wisconsin Badgers (-7.5, O/U 49.5) at Michigan State Spartans [3pm, FOX]
Tulane Green Wave (-12, O/U 55) at South Florida Brahman Bulls [3pm, ESPNU]
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at North Texas Mean Green (-6.5, O/U 68) [3pm, ESPN+]
Arizona Wildcats at Washington Huskies (-14, O/U 73) [4:30pm, Pac-12]

Watch That

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

2:30pm | ESPN+ | WKU -8 | O/U 67 | 100 Miles of Hate

#8 Oklahoma State Cowboys at #13 TCU Horned Frogs

2:30pm | ABC | TCU -3.5 | O/U 68.5

Arkansas Razorbacks at BYU Cougars

2:30pm | ESPN | Arkansas -1.5 | O/U 66

Northern Illinois Huskies at Eastern Michigan Eagles

2:30pm | ESPN+ | EMU -2.5 | O/U 66

While the entirety of the Southeast is watching a game between two just absolutely reprehensible sets of people where the reward is, uh, I guess...smoking cigars? ought to turn your eyes to a troika of REAL goddamn games featuring the South:

  • 100 Miles of Hate, which is tied 35-35-1 right now and features two teams who give nary a fig for playing a lick of defense,
  • Oklahoma State-TCU, the equivalent of a Big XII key bump right before a meeting with your priest, or
  • Arkansas-BYU, which I’m calling the Tony Alamo Bowl for...uh...reasons.

Also there’s MACtion all over the dial, and I so want to believe Eastern Michigan keeps a relatively purple patch going against the Huskies. Give us POINTS at the Factory, EMUs!


Pick your poison:

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    (21 votes)
  • 11%
    (15 votes)
  • 1%
    (2 votes)
  • 2%
    (3 votes)
  • 28%
    My Big Ten team is playing at this time.
    (36 votes)
  • 23%
    Alabama-Tennessee (this is so MNW knows how many people to ban)
    (29 votes)
  • 7%
    NC State-Syracuse (this is so MNW knows how many people need more serious help than he does)
    (9 votes)
  • 8%
    James Madison-Georgia Southern (this is so MNW knows how many people are folks of taste and leisure)
    (11 votes)
126 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Evening

Don’t Watch This

OWL BOWL OWL BOWL OWL BOWL: Rice at Florida Atlantic (-4, O/U 55) [5pm, ESPN+]
LSU Tigers at Florida Gators (-2.5, O/U 51.5) [6pm, ESPN]
Utah State Aggies (-10.5, O/U 45.5) at Colorado State Rams [6pm, CBSSN]
UL Monroe Warhawks at South Alabama Jaguars (-17, O/U 51.5) [6pm, NFLN]
Arkansas State Red Wolves at Southern Miss Golden Eagles (-4, O/U 55) [6pm, ESPN+]
#4 Clemson Tigers (-3.5, O/U 51) at Florida State Seminoles [6:30pm, ABC]
#16 Mississippi State Bulldogs (-4, O/U 49) at #22 Kentucky Wildcats [6:30pm, SECN]
Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-17, O/U 53.5) [6:30pm, NBC]
Memphis Tigers at East Carolina Pirates (-5, O/U 58)
North Carolina Tar Heels (-7, O/U 66.5) at Duke Blue Devils [7pm, ACCN]
{CFL} Toronto Argonauts at Edmonton Elks [6pm, ESPN+]

Watch That

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Purdue Boilermakers

6:30pm | BTN | Purdue -14 | O/U 56.5

#7 USC Trojans at #20 Utah Utes

7pm | FOX | Utah -3.5 | O/U 65

New Mexico Lobos at New Mexico State Agiges

7pm | FloSports ($) | UNM -6.5 | O/U 37.5

If you say you know how Purdue-Nebraska is going to end up, you turn in your badge right now, you goddamn lying liar. The series is tied 5-5 and has been a wonderful shitshow ever since Nebraska, under Barney Cotton, won by 21 back in 2014. Since then, defense has trended toward “optional”, and I for one could not be more excited to watch. I’ll set the O/U on penalty yards (@Atinat, this would’ve been great for SPORT this week) at 125.

New Mexico is 2-4. New Mexico State is 1-5. But Jerreh’s READY:

Telling a New Mexican to just “bring whatever they want into the stadium” to make noise can only end well. I’m thinking about making up a little green chili just to watch this one on an illegal stream.



This poll is closed

  • 58%
    (91 votes)
  • 13%
    (21 votes)
  • 6%
    The Green Chile Bowl
    (10 votes)
  • 7%
    OWL BOWL?!
    (11 votes)
  • 14%
    You’re mixing up Gopher coaches intentionally, MNW, but goddamn it still pisses me off
    (22 votes)
155 votes total Vote Now

It’s late and I’m drunk...

Don’t Watch This

Air Force Falcons (-10, O/U 50) at UNLV Rebels [9:30pm, CBSSN]
San Jose State Spartans (-8.5, O/U 47) at Fresno State Bulldogs [9:45pm, FS1]

Watch That

Washington State Cougars at Oregon State Beavers

8pm | Pac-12 | OSU -3.5 | O/U 52.5

Nevada Wolf Pack at Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors

10:59pm | Team1Sports (mobile/tablet only) | Nevada -6.5 | O/U 49.5

{CFL} Winnipeg Blue Bombers at BC Lions

9pm | ESPN+ | BC -2 | O/U 50

In all honesty? For as much Mountain West and Pac-12 action as I’ve watched this year, the only game I feel like I have a good handle on being exciting is Wazzu-Beav. There, both these teams have this one on the calendar as a should-win, but it’s really a tossup. Slight advantage to the Beavs, being at the currently-intimate Reser Stadium, but who knows.

After that? I mean, something to be said for all of them:

  • UNLV put up a whole bunch of points on New Mexico, Utah State, and North Texas, but Air Force has a good defense and the Rebs just got run all over by San Jose State. That one feels like a Falcons win by a couple scores.
  • San Jose State is rolling right now, and Fresno State’s offense hasn’t been the same since its narrow loss to Oregon State a month ago: the Bulldogs have dropped four in a row, including at UConn. But the Spartans are always, for me, on the knife’s edge of “good” and “trainwreck”. Keep an eye on proceedings in the Central Valley.
  • That leaves us with the glorious shitshow that is Hawai’i football and the disaster that was Nevada’s home loss to Colorado State. The Pack, rolling with 6’9” giraffe of a quarterback Nate Cox, should be able to set up its ground game with Toa Taua and just lean on the ‘Bows. Hawai’i appears to have found its answer with QB Brayden Schrager and RB Dedrick Parson, but a three-score loss at NMSU and a 16-14 shitshow loss to San Diego State suggests Timmy Chang’s #BRADDAHOOD isn’t quite there yet.

So I dunno, get drunk and flip some channels. It’s a good time.


It’s late, I’m on my tenth Oktoberfest because I bought too many and my spouse/partner/cat got mad at me, and I’m watching...

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    (26 votes)
  • 5%
    Air Force-UNLV
    (6 votes)
  • 2%
    San Jose State-Fresno State
    (3 votes)
  • 9%
    (11 votes)
  • 9%
    (11 votes)
  • 10%
    Whatever the bar has on
    (12 votes)
  • 40%
    lol i passed out hours ago
    (47 votes)
116 votes total Vote Now

Zut alors! Enjoy the games, everyone.

MNW’s Totally Plagiarized Trivia Answers:

  1. Fresno State plays Boise State for the Milk Can and San Diego State for the Oil Can.
  2. Tangiers gives us the tangerine
  3. Debbie Reynolds
  4. Christian Louboutin(s)
  5. french toast