clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 13

The Darkest Timeline

Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Ten B1G Things

  1. J.J. McCarthy looking like a top-quality quarterback was not on my bingo card (many Michigan fans will now retcon him into a guy they loved all along)
  2. This was exactly what many OSU fans on here had been talking about for weeks—that this OSU team was somehow much less than the sum of its high-performance parts
  3. Turns out Blake Corum didn’t even matter against Jim Knowles’ “Don’t bend just fucking break” defensive scheme
  4. Ryan Day is John Cooper reincarnated—give him Michelin-quality ingredients and he’ll open a Wendy’s when you aren’t looking
  5. The most talented QB recruit of the Meyer/Day era will leave without a B1G title or a win over Michigan
  6. Nebraska’s Trey Palmer became the Huskers’ all-time single-season receiving leader with 1,046 yards
  7. Iowa has one of the few offenses where relying on a backup QB doesn’t notably affect production
  8. Wisconsin held Mo Ibrahim to 70 yards—the first team to keep him under 100 yds all season
  9. 70 yards is enough for the Axe when your defense clamps down to force three 3-and-outs and an INT in the four series following Wisconsin’s go-ahead score
  10. All that fancy Hat and no invitation to the party in Indy
  11. At least only one team has to play Rutgers to end the season
  12. Sparty fans can now enjoy basketball season without distraction
  13. Ask not for whom the Harbor tolls for thee!
  14. Don’t look now, Ryan Day just called another bubble screen as I wrote this

The Rundown

Michigan at Ohio State | The Milkman comes a molly-whoppin’, 45-23

GF3: I take small comfort in two things. First, I never talked shit about this game because I—using expertise and foresight that was forged in the fires of Mount Cooper—saw this coming during the Iowa game and have been dreading this weekend ever since. Secondly, my conviction about this game was so strong that I laid $1000 on Michigan at +285. So, Christmas is paid for and then some. Thank you, offshore Argentinian bookmaker.

Ohio State was soft this year. I’ve enjoyed the many wins, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying few if any felt inspired. Day has taken a team that thrived for years on the likes of Mike Weber, J.K. Dobbins, and Trey Sermon punishing defenses inside while dual-threat QBs but linebackers and free safeties through hell with their arms and legs into a team that just tries to out-athlete opponents in the absence of a cohesive scheme.

I know I’m just some guy on a free website and not a multi-million-dollar head coach, but if I had the greatest throwing QB in the country and Heisman front-runner, I might—stay with me here—throw the damn ball downfield until you’re stopped. Maybe my feeble middle-aged mind isn’t sharp enough to contend with the intricacies of modern football, but to put it in military terms...if you have big cannon, don’t try to knock down the ramparts with hand grenades. Anyway, as I wrote this Ryan Day dialed up three new 1st-down screens to ensure Stroud doesn’t throw the ball farther than the sideline.

Continuing in the vein of “WTF was that?” is the issue of Chip Trayanum. Yes, RB is one of his many positional abilities. But this smacked of an attempt to recapture the Maurice Clarett magic from his first Michigan appearance 20 years ago. Trayanum had one carry coming into this game. Adding a new RB to the mix in the toughest out of the year is a low-percentage move in the best of times. Doing it with a new starter on the OL isn’t a

Jim Knowles said he has been preparing for this game since he got hired. Guess they don’t run off-tackle in the Big XII, since that little wrinkle was worth 160 yards and 14 points in two plays. I shudder to imagine what this game would’ve looked like without Jim’s laser-like focus on giving up 45 points.

Credit goes to Michigan. It only took 8 years but Jimmy Milk Carton has finally built a program that can compete at the highest levels of the Big Ten. Though I’m not joining the chorus calling for his head yet, Ryan Day has a lot of work to do to prove he’s a guy who actually can win big games, rather than a guy who was born on third base in Urban Meyer Stadium and wants us all to believe he hits triples.

Michigan showed up yesterday and Ohio State didn’t. Simple as.

Maximumsam: I was worried that the Buckeyes would give up some big plays in trying to nail down the Michigan run game. I did not think they would only give up big plays. It wasn’t a bad performance and I was pleased with a lot of things they did, but you can’t give up 5 long touchdowns and expect to win.

GF3: “ It wasn’t a bad performance and I was pleased with a lot of things they did...” Sam, blink twice if you wrote this under duress.

RMB: Michigan wants to run the ball down your throat. Ohio State wants to light you up through the air. Both teams said “You may not!”. Michigan played 2 high safeties all day, and put one of them over Harrison Jr for most of it. It certainly didn’t stop OSU’s passing game, but it slowed it a bit, forcing them to work their way down the field. Ohio State, on the other hand basically played a 4-5-2 with both safeties in the box playing like linebackers. The thing is, they’re called ‘safeties’ for a reason. Shit happens in football. Guys miss a gap. Guys miss a tackle. Safeties are what make those things be first downs instead of touchdowns. Michigan, one of the least explosive teams in the P5, had touchdowns of 45, 70, 75, 75, and 85 yards. OSU’s defensive game plan was very unsafe. The bigger news to me is Ohio State scored 3 points in the second half. I don’t know how this works. Very seldom does this defense do something that makes you say ‘wow.’ They can’t rush the passer to save their lives. And yet here we are. Michigan is getting spectacular DT play, but still. The best two offensive teams Michigan played this year are Penn State and Ohio State, and those teams scored a combined 6 points in the 2nd halves of their games.

Brian Gillis: I’m not really sure what to say about this one. I’m not sure I saw it coming. But then nobody did. Well, no one other than Dez and Charles, that is.

My girlfriend of a little more than two years has come to embrace Michigan football. She thinks it’s great that Michigan has had the run its had the past two years. She’s right, it is great. She also thinks it’s always been this way. I know better. Much better.

So I’m happy. Happy to see Michigan (finally) on the good side of this ledger. Happy to see the ride continue. And happy that JJ McCarthy and Michigan won’t be the butt of the SCMD countdown intro … for one week, at least.

Purdue at Indiana | Choo choo, motherf***er, 30-16


“Here’s to the Loosiers. Bless them all.”

-Frank Sinatra

-Boilerman 31

BoilerUp89: Winning is fun. Winning in Bloomington. Winning the West division. It’s all fun. It’s been probably the best weekend for Purdue sports since ... 1980? 1967? Either way, before I was born. From the very top of Memorial Stadium, Purdue looked bad in the first half. Really uninspiring. I was wondering why I had made the trip. My fellow boiler bots who watched on TV informed me that the players looked like they were playing tight. From my vantage point in the back row, all I could tell was that the results weren’t good.

If Dexter Williams doesn’t get hurt, there is a good chance Purdue is losing this game. The Boilermakers didn’t know how to stop the option. I’m curious why the Hoosiers weren’t running him in the option all season - because they would have been headed to a bowl game if they had - but that’s for Tom Allen to explain, not me. Hated to see Williams’s injury. It looked bad from the stands and from what I understand it looked even worse on TV. Hoping he fully recovers and sees the field again for IU sometime in the future.

As for my trip to Bloomington, Memorial Stadium marked my third road trip for Purdue (after Notre Dame and Cincinnati) and the first win I’ve gotten to experience at a road game. Indiana fans were surprisingly kind and helpful except for the two college aged students driving away from the stadium as I was walking towards it who leaned out the window of their car to tell me “F*ck Purdue”. But we’ve all made dumb decisions in college (and some of us have made some poor decisions post college), so I won’t hold their actions against what was a pretty decent fanbase. Much better than my Notre Dame experience. Indiana’s tailgating scene was in fact much more impressive than what I expected - but I doubt most of those fans made it into the stands. Since 80% of the tailgating area was pro-IU and 50% of the crowd was pro-Purdue, I guess it’s true that a lot of IU fans just show up to tailgate.

I’d like to thank the following people for helping make this division title happen. The B1G schedule makers. Nebraska - oh and you guys get a two week break from me talking shit about Nebraska football as a reward. Illinois for beating Iowa, wisconsin, and Minnesota. Indiana. Most definitely not Iowa, Minnesota, or wisconsin. I still hate all three of you. Northwestern - you tried, I guess. And most importantly the Purdue football coaches and players. Job well done.

Purdue gets their first back-to-back 8-4 seasons since the 90s. One decade ago, Purdue went 1-11. 6 years ago, Purdue was hiring Jeff Brohm. Quite frankly, when Brohm was hired I never thought a division title would be a possibility. I was hoping for the odd bowl game every few years at that point. I know Purdue benefitted from the easy crossover scheduling (but so did Iowa last year and frankly Minnesota this year), so I don’t want to just waive it off as a fluke or Purdue lucking out against a terrible division. Purdue went 2-0 against ranked teams this season. Their losses in conference play were to team that would go 10-2, a game played in gale force winds, and those pesky Badgers. The Boilermakers will float this armada on down the Wabash and then up the White River to reach Indianapolis armed with their Bucket and their Cannon to take on the CFP spot guaranteed #2 Wolverines as an unranked team (CFP committee if you rank us, I will make it my goal to get you all replaced. I’m talking in depth corruption investigation articles on OTE of every committee member).

Enjoy the win fellow Boilermakers. Savor the division title. Get to Lucas Oil. And who knows - maybe this team has another surprise left in them.

BuffKomodo: It’s over. It’s finally over. It all ended in Indiana fashion as well. A fantastic start that turned tragic when Dexter Williams left with what can only be described as a horrid non-contact lower leg injury. From there, Connor Bazelak took the helm and led Indiana to a whopping…3 points in 3 quarters. A terribly missed 44 yard field goal. A blocked 36 yard field goal. A kick off almost fumbled into the end zone. Indiana just had no answers after halftime and really after Williams left the game.

Not to spoil my season autopsy, but the last few quarters of Dexter Williams really bring into question what Tom Allen is doing with his recruiting and what Walt Bell and Allen are doing from a talent evaluation standpoint. The offense just worked better with Williams. And to have no Williams like backups who can continue the option playcalling on the roster is just confusing. (I get Bazelak started originally but why have a totally different playbook as opposed to Bazelak. Let McCulley play QB again)

The defense wasn’t bad in the first half and really didn’t play as bad as they have recently. But it’s not a win for the D either. No takeaways from a coach that says he does specialty drills for takeaways. Poor player progression from the corners. Just not good.

This isn’t going to be a fun off-season for the Hoosiers. Tom Allen has a lot of work to do. I assume Williams won’t play until 2024 at the earliest but we still don’t know what the prognosis is at the time of writing. Allen’s seat is certainly warming. 4 losing seasons in 6 years and a 1-4 record against Purdue. That’s not good enough.

Minnesota at Wisconsin | Axe traveled all that way for nothing, 24-16

WSR: Minnesota beating wisconsin is the norm again. It feels kinda good.

Was it perfect? Absolutely not. Mo Ibrahim still doesn’t have the single season and career rushing marks for the Gophers, but he still has a bowl game to take care of that.

And tomorrow morning wisconsin is going to hire a defensive specialist as their new head coach. That defensive coach just gave up 300 yards passing to a backup QB playing for an offense that passes as frequently as a service academy.

Beez: I saw four plays of this game. The long Minnesota TD to go up 23-16, the completion to Guerendo for 4 yards, and the last interception. Graham Mertz y’all

Kind of...(Chris): First time since 2003 UW lost both rivalry games. And needed a near miracle to beat Nebraska. Jim Leonhard is probably getting the job, and he was coach for all three of those games. Gonna be an interesting off-season. Changes are expected. And necessary.

Nebraska at Iowa | Children of the Corn terrorize Pork Town, 24-17

BRT: IOWA!!!! You guys lost!!! To NEBRASKA!!! And it probably kept you from winning the division! You controlled your own destiny, and you failed! To a 3-8 team!

I know, I know... you don’t care. Who cares, right? You didn’t want to go play in Indy anyway. You’re totally happy to finish with seven wins, a bowl berth, and the Ferentzii snugly in place. This affected you not at all. You are untouched. We’re the lame ones for thinking this win was exciting in any way.

No one believes you guys. No one. Nebraska is very, very bad at football, and has been that way for awhile. 2014 was the last time we won! That’s so long ago that Nebraska hasn’t beaten you since Obama was president! In 2014, Trump was just a fat old guy who’d had a cameo in Home Alone 2! We were six years away from knowing what Covid was! Instagram was only a few years old! The iPhone 6 was the newest model available! I was still in grad school, PhD-less! It was several boyfriends ago! I wasn’t even 30 yet! (Holy shit.)

While I understand the level of pathetic that this litany of markers of the passage of time conveys, it also helps demonstrate why this is so dang cathartic for us. Making it even better? It ruined things for you. It did. Even though you would have gotten smashed into a million little yellow and black pieces in Indy, you wanted to win the division. You craved the redemption story of the putrid offense pulling it together just enough in a bad division to rumble its way to the CCG on the back of its all-galaxy (is this adjective up for grabs now since MSU isn’t using it?) defense, that great defense, that amazing defense that those dadgum Ferentzii were just wasting! And you were going to do it too! THINK OF THE ADVERSITY STORYLINES.

Maybe this is even a good thing for Iowa, you’ll tell yourself. Maybe this is the shame that is needed in order to provoke change in the management of your team and specifically your offense. Fools! You know this changes nothing. You are Brian’s, and Brian is yours.

The morning of this game, The Gazette published a piece about how Iowa deserves better than 3-8 Nebraska. Ugh. “This is a big, big, big game for Iowa,” it whined, and here the Hawkeyes were, facing off against the hapless Huskers, once again. SO EMBARRASSING. Well, it turns out that the only thing more embarrassing than having to play Nebraska is losing to Nebraska, especially when you’ve got something cool on the line, like a division championship. Whoopsie.

Now, should I, a Nebraska fan, be deriving so much joy from a win when my team has farted its way to a mere four wins this season, and its outstanding achievements so far this year have been losing to Georgia Southern, and also, somehow, Northwestern? Isn’t that sad and pathetic? Yes, and also yes. I accept that Nebraska is terrible, and it makes me sad. I wish they weren’t a punchline, I really do. I wish they were not so extraordinarily gifted at pissing games down their leg in breathtakingly creative ways. I wish they were bowl eligible. But they aren’t, at present, any of those things. So for many years, the most enjoyable part of having to keep tabs on the Huskers/the Big Ten is watching the pure chaos of the West. Sadly, while Nebraska’s games are often extremely chaotic, the outcomes are often anything but (see above, re: pissing games down legs). But today... today the game was predictably chaotic, but so was the outcome. We threw the West into further dumbest timelines! We’ve helped make it so that none of the Quadrangle Teams are likely to go to the CCG! We caused Iowa fans to leave en masse in the early third quarter out of pure shame!

It feels good. And I’m not going to apologize for that.Suck it, Iowa. May the Ferentzii be on your house forever.

Editor’s note: Truly, we have saved the best of SMCD for last. Solid gold from our own 8-foot, 450-lb Nebraskan bard.

deadread: No notes. I have nothing to add.

stewmonkey13: Well, Fuck. Winning is definitely better than losing. Perhaps there are Iowa fans that don’t care, or that are (not so) secretly hoping losing the division and losing to THIS UNL team will be the impetus for change. I just don’t see it. And besides. It’s fucking Nebraska! Ugh. Iowa never deserved the division, but I’d still rather win it than the rest of your shitstain teams. So yeah, that hurt. And nothing is going to change. So fuck it, dude, let’s go bowling.

Michigan State at PSU | Nits win big for 3rd place B1GE finish, 35-16

misdreavus79: Penn State nearly had a dumb game there, but they pulled away late to win. They finish 10-2, the clear third best team in the division, with the potential to win as many games in 2022 as they did in 2020 and 2021 combined. Can’t complain about that kind of performance. They return the bulk of what made this 10-win season happen, so expectations will probably be through the roof next season. But that’s another story for another day!

Andrew Kannowrestski: Finally, the season’s over. Michigan State kept this one closer than they probably had any right to, but needed Penn State to miss a couple of short field goals to do that. MSU was playing a more talented team, so turn to that familiar page in your hymnals:

Verse One, MSU Cannot Run The Ball Even A Little Bit

Verse Two, They Keep Trying Anyway, Leading To Short Possessions And More Pressure On The Defense

Verse Three, MSU Falls Behind And Must Go To The Air

Verse Four, MSU’s Excellent Receivers Make Enough Plays To Close The Gap

Verse Five, They Make A Mistake Which Forecloses Victory

The mistake this time was Jayden Reed’s second lost fumble of the game, which immediately turned into the eventual game-winning touchdown.

Whether MSU crawls into an undeserved bowl at 5-7 or not, this is an off-season of unbelievable importance given how much better the vibes were heading into this year. At least a few assistant coaches need to go - in particular I don’t know how special teams coach Ross Els deserves to keep his job - but there’s a need for reassessment at the top, because just about everything that could have gone wrong this year did. For $95 million, Tucker has to find the answers.

Illinois at Northwestern | Domestic violence, 41-3

thumpasaurus: SMCD is about THIS WEEKEND’S GAMES. I officially mourned the Purdue game, so there’s no room to write about it here. (I’ll never get over it). Many of the Illini came out flat footed and listless, discipline was spotty at best, and uh it did not matter in the slightest because the northwestern offense is so broken. The Illini offense actually did a pretty poor job; in particular, Tommy Devito’s pick was a heartbreaker because of what it meant for the passing efficiency record for Illinois (it was a very bad play by Tommy). but none of that mattered because the leaders kept making heroic plays. chase brown went down and Reggie Love stepped up. Devon Witherspoon nearly housed an intereception after breaking 5 tackles. Sydney Brown scored two defensive touchdowns.

However poorly the Illini offense played, it didn’t even come close to mattering. Not only was the Northwestern offense just too broken, injured and overmatched to make a dent in the lead, but the repeated and dramatic failures demoralized the cats and the illini coaching staff never let off the gas. for the second year in a row, the Illini sent a corner blitz to sack a northwestern quarterback in the dying seconds of a five touchdown blowout. it’s not as disrespectful as Curbelo stealing the last second inbound pass and laying it up at the buzzer, but it’s good enough for me.

This is the greatest Illini season in fifteen years. it wasn’t good enough to win a title i thought the Illini would never in my lifetime win. at the end of the day, the Illinois fighting Illini played twelve games, and in all twelve they had a chance to win or tie at the end of the game. but unlike Nebraska last year, they won eight of them, largely because only one of those wins was by single digits. I’m not gonna say this means we’ll be good going forward, because that is absolutely never a given with Illinois and in fact the opposite should be assumed based on past history. nevertheless, in 2022 they did all that i ever asked of them; they competed in every damn game.

He was a high school QB: Another regular season in the books and I’ve got mixed emotions. If you had told me last August that we would be 8-4 and celebrating back to back mollywhoppings of Nern, I’d have been elated. However, the way we got here was less than perfect. This team reminds me so much of 1994 Illinois. For you youngins, they went 7-5 in the regular season losing 5 games by a combined 22 points. Statistically, that was the best team of the modern era for Illinois. Better than the 1983 and 2001 B1G champions, better than the 2007 Rose Bowl team, but 7-5 gets you a Liberty Bowl against the ECU Pirates (a 30-0 second degree mollywhopping win) This team lost 4 games by 21 points and won 8 games by 178 points. They played their asses off for their coaches, but came up just short in the close games. A couple of those games, they came up short due to circumstances beyond their control and that is going down especially bitter tonight. (edited)

That being said, this is a really good Illinois team that I will be celebrating as we all know Illinois football can’t be trusted and success can be fleeting. Most of the bowl projections I’ve seen have us in the Music City Bowl and the rest in the Pinstripe Bowl. Personally, I’m definitely rooting for Nashville. Iowa losing yesterday could potentially open a spot in the Reliaquest Bowl, but that is a longshot. So, to all the players and coaches who put in the time and effort to turn the battleship that is Illinois football around, Cheers! and many thanks.

MNW: /deep drag of a cigarette. Ah, it’s finally fucking over. Couldn’t watch a second of this one. Well, that’s not true. On the shitty cabin wifi, I tried to stream a play. It was 7-0, I think, and Cole Freeman got picked off. Midway through the return, the stream froze. So I don’t THINK this was one of his turnovers that got housed for a touchdown, but I don’t really care, either. One of the popular refrains among the various NU fans I meet is “I just don’t care about this team,” and today you saw why. They’re so defeated before they even set foot on the field that you wonder what the point of playing the games is.So a huge thank-you to Scott Frost for being the most inept Big Ten coach since Darrell Hazell; you saved me from a 0-12 Northwestern season. And now we wait for the firing(s). If there aren’t any, I’ll see you in 2024.

lincolnparkwildcat: Fuck this shit. If Pat Ryan doesn’t make AD Derrick Gragg force Fitzy to fire a shit ton of his coaches, this program will fade into irrelevance. If there was relegation in college football, NU would be relegated to whatever league the College of DuPage, Triton College, Harper junior college and Oakton Community College are in.

Rutgers at Maryland | Terps win the Misfit Toys Bowl in expected fashion, 37-0

If a game is played and no one cares, did it really happen at all?

A word from your beloved “Writer”...

Thanks for another fun season, gang. This makes my 9th year of doing SMCD. Time flies when you’re having fun.

I hope you all have enjoyed yourselves, football performances notwithstanding. It’s easy to let the athletic failings of a bunch of kids who go to our favored universities make us sour—which is especially ironic a mere two days after we give thanks for all we have. (No one is more guilty of this than I am.)

I hope you all enjoy good fortune and a wealth of happiness elsewhere in your lives. May our teams laying eggs in big games be the worst of our troubles. A belated happy Thanksgiving and a happy holidays to you all, however you keep them. Stay well and come back next year. -Goforthree