Today I was treated to watching the Minnesota Vikings struggle-bus their way to a 19-13 win over the hapless Chicago Bears, led by a D-II quarterback after Justin Fields went down with injury. It was disgusting, reprehensible football befitting the basement of the NFC North.
But the NFC North, unlike the Big Ten West, will still be here next year.
Behold, the early betting lines for Week 8, courtesy of CircaSports:
College Football— Circa Sports (@CircaSports) October 15, 2023
Week 8 Opening Lines
Opening App Limits: $3k Sides, $1k Totals pic.twitter.com/xBn2otBc27
Yes, you are correct:
- wisconsin (-2) at Illinois, with a 41.5 total,
- Northwestern at Nebraska (-10), with a 44.5 total, and...
- Minnesota at Iowa (-4), with...
A 31.5-point total.
This will, if all goes according to plan, the assiest of the assy—PJ Fleck playing not to lose in Iowa City, with the Ferentzii doing all they can to allow him to stick around. It will feature the Legend of Tory Taylor, he of 500+ punting yards and a 50.6 average against wisconsin:
I can’t wait.
You know the drill: leave us your Big Ten, football, basketball, or life-related Mailbag questions. We’ll compile them by Tuesday night and get you answers, hopefuly, sometime on Thursday.
In the meantime: tell me about the lowest-scoring football game you ever attended or took part in.
Here’s mine: my Twin Cities suburban high school played a conference rival in the fall of 2008 at their field. It was your standard poorly-grassed first-ring suburban field, with a chain-link fence running around the sidelines and, in soccer season, an announcer who, before the second half, would proudly remind you of the neighborhood’s Hispanic heritage and announce the rest of the game mostly in Spanish. [His “goal...keeck!” haunts me to this day.]
We were on our way to a second consecutive conference championship—at the time, the only two in the school’s 48-year history—and this opponent was expected to be little more than a speed bump.
All hell broke loose.
It rained before the game, slicking the field. One of our offensive linemen broke his tibia in the first half. Cue a 20-minute delay.
We couldn’t establish the run, which was surprising because our two running backs were both over 200 pounds and our line was above-average for the conference. So we tried passing, our quarterback better-suited to scrambling but a capable passer.
One attempt, though, saw him lead our best wideout on an out route toward the opposing sideline. The WR dove but couldn’t make the catch and slid when he hit the turf. Propelled further by the DB who attempted to make the tackle, he slid through the opponent’s bench area, hitting the chain-link fence head-first.
In trying to get up or possibly hitting the ground, he hurt his neck. Cue the medical personnel back to the field, with my teammate put on a back-board and ambulanced off the field.
We went into the locker room around 8:45pm after a 7pm start.
Meanwhile, our offense never did get on track outside one drive—we managed a touchdown when our quarterback scrambled, but my friend yanked the extra point wide left. [Head down, Nick. Let the crowd let you know!]
In meant it was a busy day for me, the punter. In total, I came onto the field to punt 9 times.
I’m careful to specify that, though, because only seven attempts counted.
One of those was called back for illegal motion, while the other included the dumbest fake attempt I’ve ever seen: our “go” word (or whatever, it’s been a while) was anything beginning with a “P” (like “Patriot”, in this case), indicated to the snapper that he should snap it to the up-man, who would throw a pass to the tight end in the flat.
The second—and I mean the second—Andrew yelled “Patriot”, the entire receiving team shouted “FAKE!” and dropped into safe coverage. The play went nowhere.
The rest of the day, I would just punt. And that was a disaster, too.
On one of the first attempts, my long-snapper—as was his custom—got a little over-zealous and, for the fourth time in two seasons, managed to put it WELL over my head. Running after the ball toward my own end zone, determined to make something out of it, I picked up the ball and turned...to my right.
I am a right-footed punter.
As I now saw the field, punt-block team chasing after me, I would have to kick it away with my left foot.
So I did!
I got a 45-yard net on the left-footed punt, having kicked it from a good 15-20 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Adrenaline is a hell of a thing.
Later in the game, the snapper again put it over my head. I simply ran back and fell on it, setting up our opponents about 40 yards from the end zone. Upon trotting off, my coach yelled at me and asked why I didn’t try to kick it again. I began to yell back “Why can’t you find a fucking snapp—”, only to be dragged away by my collar by a wiser assistant coach—our coach had played linebacker in the Arena Football League, and I don’t think that was a fight I would’ve won.
We won that game, 6-3. Never again.