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.
This week there are seven “Buys” and five “Holds.” The lower number of “Sells” is indicative of a bullish trend on the OTE Index. Hope springs eternal, etc., etc.
Ohio State did the world a favor, while generating its first (and likely last) measure of good will for the season. Early season conference play generated close and watchable games. The MVC descended on the Corn People like a scourge of weevils, while MACrifices accepted their checks and went home politely. Rutgers did themselves proud. Iowa...did not.
Ohio State Buckeyes
(Defeated Notre Dame, 21-10) The Buckeyes took care of business in their top-five opener against the Irish. OSU dominated the stat sheet, and the defense looks saltier than last year. CJ Stroud played well, leading the team on a 95 yard fourth quarter drive to seal the outcome. Next up: Arkansas State.
Penn State Nittany Lions
(Defeated Purdue, 35-31) Sean Clifford overcame a fourth quarter pick-six to rally his team to victory in the closing moments at Purdue. It was a thrilling game with seven lead changes. The Lion defense needs some work, as does the run game, but Penn State earned this one. Next up: Ohio.
(Defeated Colorado State, 51-7) The Wolverines were a fourth quarter consolation touchdown away from a First-Degree Mollywhoppin’. One assumes they were too busy playing with their prey to seal the deal. This game was not competitive, the next game will be even less compelling. Pray for the Rainbows. (Second-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Hawai’i.
(Defeated Illinois State, 38-0) I do not care how much your team outmatches its opponent, if you pitch a shutout, commit an unremarkable number of penalties, and keep turnovers to a minimum, you are doing pretty well in an opener. (Second-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Washington State.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
(Defeated New Mexico State, 38-0) Same score as above, with the same reasoning as above. (Second-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Western Illinois.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
(Defeated Boston College, 22-21) Rutgers went on the road, without its starting quarterback, and rallied to beat a regional rival in the fourth quarter. The winning drive was 12 plays over 96 yards, without a single pass. BEE-ONE-GEE! Excellent job, ‘Gers. Next up: Wagner.
(Idle) Last week, Fitz and his crew upset Nebraska in their season opener in Dublin. I fear that this victory will look less impressive over time. Northwestern can demonstrate true progress by finally solving its Blue Devil puzzle this coming Saturday. Next up: Duke.
Michigan State Spartans
(Defeated Western Michigan 35-13) The Spartans put away the Broncos by three touchdowns, but they had to labor deep into the second half to get it done. It was an opener, and Coach Tucker will find plenty of coachable moments when reviewing the film. MACrifice consummated. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Akron.
(Defeated Illinois, 23-20) The Hoosiers averaged 1.2 yards per carry in a Big Ten Football game...and somehow won. Being +2 in the turnover battle (and playing in front of a home crowd) certainly helped. So did an out-of-nowhere 75 yard drive engineered by Connor Bazelak. Enjoy this win, because there may not be many more. Next up: Idaho.
(Defeated Buffalo, 31-10) Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Maryland has some excellent to elite skilled position players, but it is doubtful that they have what it takes to survive the conference season in the trenches. Enjoy September while it lasts. MACrifice consummated. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Charlotte.
Illinois Fighting Illini
(Lost to Indiana, 23-20) Illinois totally shut down the Indiana rushing game, and Chase Brown ran for 199 yards, but it was not enough. A missed replay review, turnovers, and poor game management (shocking, I know) doomed the Illini. In the end, Indiana just wanted to lose this one less. Next up: Virginia.
(Lost to Penn State, 35-31) This was a heartbreaking loss for Purdue. They held PSU to 98 rushing yards, took a late lead on a pick-six by Chris Jefferson, but could not salt away the win. The inability, or unwillingness, to burn clock late in the game cost them. In positive news, Charlie Jones emerged as the new target man in West Lafayette. Next up: Indiana State.
(Defeated North Dakota, 38-17) The blueprint for a successful Husker season was to bank wins in the early directional portion of the schedule: Northwestern, North Dakota, and Georgia Southern. Last week Northwestern spoiled that, and this week North Dakota pushed the Big Red to the fourth quarter at home. Frost has some good players, but this is not a a well-coached team. No, Nebby fans, you do not get credit for a three touchdown win over the fourth best program in the Dakotas. That was embarrassing. (Third-Degree Mollywhoppin’) Next up: Georgia Southern.
(Defeated South Dakota State, 7-3) And I thought Nebraska should be embarrassed. The less said about this the better. The defense? Stalwart. The punting? Sublime. The offense? An affront to human endeavor. Next up: Iowa State.
Feel free to laud my grace, charm, and judgment in the comments.
Best Conference Opener?
This poll is closed
Illinois at Indiana
Penn State at Purdue
Nebraska at Northwestern (Dublin)
Rutgers at Boston College
Who should be most ashamed?
This poll is closed