We nearly had perfection on New Year's Day for the rest of the Hatin’-Ass Big Ten. WE WERE SO CLOSE.
Miscellaneous Non-Weekend Thoughts
Larry31: Since 2019, Lock's first year as head coach, Maryland has an astounding 14-1 out of conference record with a singualr perplexing loss to Temple. Locks's philosophy for bowl games is tha tit is a movie trialer for the upcoming season. Players seemd to have bought in. Maryland brought it for their bowl game, without Taulia, whereas Auburn looked disinterested.
Mayland raced out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. With 7:32 left in the first half Maryland had outgained Auburn 231 yards to 55 yards. No Taulia, no problem, and Maryland's defense was excellent.
Under Locks, Maryland has won three consecutive bowl games for the first time in their long and [not very] storied, more like sordid, history. Maryland has had three consecutive winning records for the first time in 20 years, 2001-2003. This is more of an indictment of Maryland football than praise for Locks. But any idiot Maryland fans that want to get rid of Locks for losing to Illinois and Northwestern should think again.
MNW: Thanks for all that, Larry, but this is a thread for the looooooooooo-sers. The loo-hoo-hooooooooooo-serrrrrrs.
BRT: I like what Oregon did to Liberty. Duck quacks > religious quacks.
#9 Missouri Tigers 14, #7 Ohio State Buckeyes 3
I'm pretty sure we already laughed at this:
In a game best described as “the Big Ten West, without any of the fun parts,” Ohio State heroically punted from the Mizzou 40 as Devin Brown got injured and gave way to Lincoln Kienholz in three hours of performance art that were offensive to Deacon Hill. The Buckeye quarterbacks finished with 106 yards on 23 attempts and 10 completions—just one more than their number of combined recruiting stars—but thankfully Kienholz’s testicles did not break a sweat the ENTIRE GAME:
We live in a world in which the third-string Ohio State quarterback, from Pierre, South Dakota, is making spon-con for an underwear brand that stops you from bat-winging it. There is nothing untrue or exaggerated about that sentence. Frankly, anything else that happened on the field is irrelevant.
#11 Ole Miss Rebels 38, #10 Penn State Nittany Lions 25
You've all seen the James Franklin vs. ranked opponent stats by now: it's not great!
misdreavus79: Penn State’s three losses can be summed up pretty similarly:
- Offense comes out running the ball pretty well.
- Defense does a good job of containing the other team.
- The other team figures out Penn State doesn’t have any wide receivers.
- Defense tires out and allows one too many scores.
- Offense desperately tries to mount a furious comeback in the last two minutes, but fails.
#13 LSU Tigers 35, Wisconsin Badgers 31
MC ClapYoHandz: Sure, the result wasn't there and the go-ahead drive fell apart in spectacular fashion, but that showing exceeded all expectations for me. The offense lost its starting RB, WR1, and C for the bowl but put out its best performance of the season by far in spite of that attrition. With the offense looking much more in rhythm, Tanner Mordecai was finally able to show why he was so coveted with 378 yards and 3 TDs in his farewell. Receivers are getting open consistently and there was plenty of room in the run game even without Mellusi and Allen around. And ask and you shall receive Trech Kekahuna was healthy and making plays all over the field in his breakout performance. Pencil him in as my vote for next year's fan favorite.
As would be expected from a transition year we still enter the offseason with question marks. The defense was known to be outclassed by LSU’s offensive weapons and that largely held true even without their Heisman QB. The LB room is completely changing going into spring, the DL starters left, and they will try to maintain/build on their offensive production with a brand new QB next season, but for anyone just looking for that one little nugget to get into the offseason ready to cultivate 8 months worth of unfounded optimism, this game was more than sufficient.
#21 Tennessee Volunteers 35, #17 Iowa Hawkeyes 0
Y'know the episode of Community where Britta dates the carnie who can't feel shame?
Kirk Ferentz's double-act with idiot son Brian worked as he bounced around podunk Big Ten West campuses, but when those lights got bright...
Iowa against three ranked opponents this year --— Shehan Jeyarajah (@ShehanJeyarajah) January 1, 2024
• Outscored 92-0
• Posted 404 total yards in three games; for comparison, 404 yards would have ranked 49th in offense per *game* this year
• Averaged 134.7 YPG, 1.9 yards per carry and 2.7 yards per play.
Stew: Welp, that sure was something.
It wasn’t a good day for Iowa's defense and was a pretty standard day for when Iowa has the ball (can’t in good conscience call it an offense). The defense looked like they just were going through the motions a one Tennessee had a lead and the offense lost the first turnover.
Deacon Hill was especially bad, but he’s been especially bad most of the season.
Brian did nothing to dissuade anyone that him moving on is a mistake.
#1 Michigan Wolverines 27, #4 Alabama Crimson Tide 20 (OT)
Because one nepo-hire wasn't enough, Michigan special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh certainly shone in this one: Michigan botched a PAT, missed a field goal, fumbled one punt return away, and nearly fumbled another when returner Jake Thaw for some reason tried to field a punt inside his 5.
But Blake Corum bailed out Michigan with two stellar overtime runs and now we have to watch the Jim Harbaugh "redemption" arc for another week. Disgusting.
thumpasaurus: Tommy Rees should never even be allowed to watch football again.
BoilerUp89: Following consultation with the selection committee, the CFP has determined that Alabama is the better team and awarded them a spot in the final.
RockyMtnBlue: I was all set to say here, in this last year of real college football, Michigan returned to its roots: losing the Rose Bowl. I even did 3 full minutes of research and I’m pretty sure Michigan has the most Rose Bowl losses of any program (only five other programs have as many appearances as Michigan has losses). But then a thing happened. We won. We won a bowl game. We won a bowl game with Jim Harbaugh. No really, it happened. I have video proof.
It wasn’t pretty. After a season with very good special teams play, Michigan’s special teams were anything but special, with two muffed punts, a missed FG, and a PAT failure on a bad snap. McCarthy made some nice plays and some awful ones. To my very great surprise, the pass protection was…fine? Not amazing, but actually solid. The pass coverage was pretty good. The defensive line play was excellent.
But they overcame the fuckups. They went on a season-saving drive in the final four minutes, scoring the tying touchdown. Finally, in OT, Corum did his thing. And then the DL did their thing. And just like that, Michigan has a playoff win and a spot in the national title game against Washington.
#2 Washington Huskies 37, #3 Texas Longhorns 31
Watching Michael Penix Jr., it is genuinely hard to remember him as the quarterback at Indiana. My goodness does he throw a nice ball.
Part of me wants to keep naysaying this—actual naysaying, not Rece Davis naysayers—because Washington looked like they’ll struggle to stop the run both against Michigan and in the Big Ten next year. Kalen DeBoer nearly did piss the entire game away because galaxy-brain college football coaches cannot just take a knee to finish the game—paging Mario Cristobal earlier this year and Brian Kelly in 2013 at Notre Dame-Northwestern.
Washington doesn’t always look the part of a national championship contender, but that means absolutely nothing right now—they are the fun story that we could use in a whole lot of “Oh great, those assholes again” narrative in college football.
#1 Michigan Wolverines vs. #2 Washington Huskies
College Football National Championship: NRG Stadium (Houston, TX)
Monday, January 8 | 6:30pm CT | Mich -4.5 | O/U 55.5
GoForThree: Welp, Harbaugh has his national championship locked up.
Brian Gillis: Don’t jinx it.
MaximumSam: All B1G Final with two former Indiana quarterbacks.
Kind of...: Soon-to-be B1G went 9-4 in bowls so far, and is locked in at 10-5 with a natty. Soon-to-be SEC: 5-7.
MNW: The only thing outside of a strained "congratulations to Michigan" that I'll let slip through gritted teeth: No, Nicole Auerbach and The Athletic, this win is not "good for the Big Ten" or for me. It's good for Michigan. Maybe Ohio State or Oregon or USC, who will get the benefit of the doubt in the next playoff calculation. I'm not even sure on the shrinking violets of Penn State anymore. It's good only for Michigan and the bluebloods, and fuck that noise.