If there’s ever a Husker game you have to miss, go ahead and circle Purdue as a bonus bye week.
The Huskers’ 27-14 win over the Boilermakers started off with a bang thanks the combo of Kieron Williams pulling down an interception game’s opening play that was immediately followed by a 22 yard touchdown run by Tommy Armstrong Jr. on the Huskers’ first offensive snap.
From that moment, the game devolved into a somewhat stressful snooze fest. This is a match up that no one, including the Huskers, seems to care about. Our local watch site, Sycamore Tavern (formerly known as The Happy Ending) was nearly as empty as it was last year when the 3-6 Huskers limped into Ross-Ade Stadium with Ryker Fyfe under center.
The biggest takeaway from the latest chapter of this not-so-storied rivalry that gives national media giggle fits is that these Huskers simultaneously have the ability to find a way to win (somehow) while being able to incite mass hysteria among their fans.
I don’t want to say I was planning on the worst when Purdue went into their locker room with a 14-10 lead at halftime but I did spend the break stress eating an ice cream sandwich the size of a Personal Pan Pizza.
Let’s hope these last two weeks are nothing more than a mid-season lull as the players and coaching staff couldn’t help but be distracted by what looms ahead.
Kudos to OG Fanny Pack Spider-Man. He’s been the only costumed weirdo this season to take enough pride in his work to insist on multiple takes.
NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH
1,680: For the most fleeting of moments yesterday, the Huskers were on pace to hang 1,680 points on Purdue. Then the Boilermakers figured out it’d be better if their quarterback threw the ball.
98: Out the 239 points the Huskers have scored so far this year, 98 have come in the 4th quarter. And it’s probably worth mentioning that Husker opponents have scored a grand total of 13 points in the final period.
7:22: The Huskers’ 4th quarter time-of-possession advantage. Their TOTAL advantage for the game was 6:38. Last week against Indiana, the Huskers held the ball for 11:16 of the final period. If the other team can’t get the ball it’s going to be really hard to score. This is a brilliant strategy.
8: Eight different Huskers caught the ball Saturday afternoon and none of them were named Westerkamp or Carter. Hopefully they’ll both be back soon.
9: With his one carry for one yard performance, Mikale Wilbon has matched his total rushes from last season with nine. So far, he’s gone for 75 total yards at a brisk 8.3 yards-per-carry. (Last season he was good for 35 at 3.9). Maybe by the time he’s a senior he will no longer be a mystery wrapped in an enigma.
The last time the Huskers and Purdue Boilermakers squared off, Nebraska imploded worse than Donald Trump’s campaign. In a decade and a half that has been riddled with soul crushing and mind boggling defeats, losing to a horrible, even by their low standards, Purdue team 55-45 was easily the worst of them all. At least with the 70-10 loss at Texas Tech back in 2004, you can chalk that one up to the perils of Joe Dailey trying to run the West Coast Offense.
Side note: If your head is spinning because Donald was mentioned in a light less glowing than his complexion, feel free to substitute the Los Angeles Dodgers in the above analogy. I went to all three of their NLCS home games and spent two evenings that were far from very pleasant or good watching them play their worst baseball of the year at the absolute worst time. It has not been a good week.
OK. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to Purdue.
As you probably heard, their coach, Darrell Hazel, was kicked to the curb following the Boilermakers’ 49-35 loss against Iowa last weekend. Hazel went 9-33 in three and a half seasons and racked up a grand total of three Big Ten wins His teams took down Illinois (twice) and notched their signature victory at the expense of the Huskers.
Side note #2: The family that has seats next us at Dodger Stadium includes an Iowa alum. (I swear, these people are inescapable.) After she told me about Northwestern ruining her homecoming trip back to Iowa City, she took great joy in the fact that the Hawkeyes were able to regain a shred of dignity by being just bad/good enough to get a coach fired. She was so happy.
Well, apologies in advance to whoever (Gerad Parker, I guess?) is calling the shots for the Boilermakers today. You’re going to be in for a long miserable afternoon that will leave you questioning every life decision you’ve ever made.
You see, the 2016 Huskers aren’t the same sad sacks of confusion and disarray you played last year. These guys are ranked #8 in the country and are on a mission to roll into Madison undefeated next week. You Boilermakers are just a diversion to kill the time until next week’s main event.
The best case for this game is Mike Riley shows no mercy and gets this one over by halftime. Then, he unleashes Ryker to finish the job.
We’re talking a full 30 minutes of sweeping Boilermaker legs.
I don’t know about y’all but my heart and psyche can’t take the stress of a tense Husker game immediately followed by playoff baseball two Saturdays in a row. Let’s have some laughs and a few hours of fun today. (And don’t even mention what’s still technically possible for next Saturday.)
These days Austen works for a company called Nuvi which is a high powered social media monitoring platform used by a wide range of companies to track how their brand, new product, or movie, for example, is performing in the “social space.”
If you think it’s time to bust out the tinfoil hat, don’t sweat it. This is not NSA level stuff we’re talking about here. Nobody cares about your militia having a bake sale this weekend. However, if you recently tweeted about how much you love a new TV show or are mad at Chipotle for that pesky E. coli outbreak, someone out there knows about it.
So this leads to this Monday’s email when Austen suggested that I check to see how the Huskers’ season is looking through the eyes of Nuvi. He might have just been trolling me in an attempt to get me to wallow in the slop of quantifiable misery but it was good idea either way so I pulled some data from Nuvi and here are some of the highlights.
Or should I say depressing lowlights?
To keep things simple and to keep this site from turning into the social media version of Baseball Prospectus we’ll be comparing week one to last week’s debacle at Purdue. (Note: Click any chart to view full-size.)
Things look good for Husker Nation leading up to the season opener against BYU. Positive (green) and negative (red) sentiment is calculated based on a series of keywords. Chatter that can’t be classified is considered neutral (blue). Based on what we’re looking at, Nuvi indicates optimism is high for the 2015 season.
Here’s a slightly broader look.
Then just a couple days later…
No, Global Thermonuclear War did not break out. This is what the it looks like when your team’s new head coach is sued for allegedly fostering an environment in which a sexual assault was allowed to happen. As you’ll see, the negative sentiment shot way up. Just as a gauge, you’d pretty much have to be the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department to run all the way in the red.
That giant red circle that wiped away most of the East Coast? That was a tweet from Sports Illustrated that came from their NYC headquarters. The bigger the circle, the bigger the reach and impact.
Then, here’s what happened when the wait was finally over and the Huskers got the season started against BYU. The image below covers about an hour and a half of chatter. See if you can pinpoint when the Hail Mary occurred.
And here’s a map of the post game reaction. The fire Mike Riley tweet from Lost Letterman was quite popular.
Below is a list of the day’s big winners as far as Twitter goes. Considering how many Husker fans hung on every moment of Gabrielle Union’s visit, it’s not a shock that her twitter account received nearly twice as much attention as Sports Illustrated. I do say that it warms the cockles of my little heart to see Tunnel Walk of Shame was the most viral.
Now, let’s skip ahead a couple months and five frustrating losses later to examine the current landscape for Husker Nation.
This is what it looked as the Huskers lost to Purdue. 55% negativity is this season’s all-time peak of despair. (So far.) Compared to the season opener, the reach of the chatter is over 10 times higher. Why? Because the big outlets had plenty of time to tweet throughout the game as the Boilermaker beat down reached its inevitable conclusion. Lucky for the Husker brand, not may people shared this news as the “spread” was more than 3 times lower than the jaw dropping ending to the BYU game.
At least the mood quickly dissipated as Husker fans suddenly became too drunk to tweet.
Here’s the day as a whole.
And here’s the build up and fallout of the Huskers’ worst loss since that time they were beaten by Hawaii before Hawaii was even a state.
Darren Rovell dropped some major shade even by his standards. The only thing that kept him from a clean sweep were the thumbs of God.
What’s most telling about this list is how the volume of chatter about the Huskers has dwindled and what remains shows this latest loss has become a national story.
Or dare I say national laughing stock?
Here’s hoping things turn around tomorrow and beating Michigan State makes Nebraska run green with joy.
As Purdue closed out the third quarter by scoring their third unanswered touchdown to go up 42 – 16 , this Huskers’ season reached a turning point.
If you stuck it out to the end to see the Big Red almost steal a victory with a 29 point fourth quarter, congratulations. You are not afraid to go down with the ship.
Yesterday’s game was 3 hours and 45 minutes of gallows humor at its finest. If there was a scene in Titanic where some rapscallions from steerage said F-it and broke into the liquor storage instead of trying to escape, that would have been the prefect summation of what it was like to watch this game in an empty bar where the staff outnumbered us Husker faithful who showed up for our weekly gut punch. (And no, the scene with the Brandy sipping Guggenheim does not count. He was far too classy.)
Hats off to Ryker Fyke. Dude played his ass off and made up for running game that didn’t make the trip to Indiana by throwing for over 400 yards and leading the Huskers to 45 points but with the Bankshirts getting torched worse than Thích Quảng Đức, his heroic effort was all for naught.
At the rate things have gone so far this season, it honestly won’t be surprising if the Huskers somehow end up rolling Michigan State next Saturday.
On to the assorted random stuff!
Headlines if the New York Post covered Husker football
Huskers step in big pile of Purdue-do
The Huskers’ Season is Pur-done
Purdue or do not. There is no try. (The Huskers did not try.)
Uh… Dirk, not keeping a phone charger in your car is just bad planning. You can get one for $8.99 and extra lightning cables are just $5.99. C’mon, buddy. You’re better than that.
And this leads to…
Important Piece of Life Advice #1: Even though you’ve been invited to a friend’s annual Halloween party for five years running, always take a moment to actually read the Evite to save yourself and your lovely wife the hassle and embarrassment of getting all dressed up, slogging through traffic for an hour, only to arrive in beautiful downtown Burbank to discover that the party happened the night before, on Halloween Eve. Lucky for us, it wasn’t a total surprise to our friends that I would pull such a move and they invited us in help them put a dent in the leftover party fare which included scarfing down a container of Jell-O shots.
Important Piece of Life Advice #2: Don’t skip dinner and hope that whatever nutrients are found in a container of Jell-O shots will be an appropriate substitute.
NUMBERS TO DEPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH
31,351: The announced attendance at Ross-Ade Stadium which holds 62,500. Yeah, right. Check out all the empty seats.
55: This was Purdue’s highest point total since they took down Indiana State 56-35 back in 2012. The last time the Boilermakers hung 60 or more points on a team was when they put up 62 against Indiana in 2008.
50: Back in the 1994 Matt Turman game, the Huskers ran the ball 50 times for 168 yards against Kansas State and three-yard-and-a-cloud-of-dusted their way to a 17-6 win on the road. Yesterday, the Huskers ran 22 times for 78 yards with Andy Janovich accounting for all of 2 yards on a pair goal line carries. This was the first time the Huskers have been held to under 100 yards rushing this season.
10: Purdue’s ten point margin of victory was the largest for any of the Huskers’ opponents this season. The next closest was BYU and a Hail Mary that led to a five point blowout. With Purdue’s win factored in, the Huskers’ average margin of defeat has ballooned to 3.83 points.
Even with the annual blowout or two factored in, the last four seasons under Bo Pelini, the Huskers’ average margin of defeat was 11.75 (2014), 16.25 (2013), 21 (2012), 19.75 (2011).
6: The number of Los Angeles fans who had the courage to step out into public to cheer-on the Huskers at our local watch site. We nearly cracked double digits when a UNL professor in town for a visit arrived with her son and daughter-in-law. She teaches leadership at Husker U. and had some great insights about how much work it really is to change the culture of a team but she still doesn’t like to see the Huskers losing how they are.
Back when the season was still full of hope, this place was standing room only.
The Blackshirts held Purdue to 14 points the same total the Boilermakers notched against Notre Dame. Don’t forget they hung 31 points on Michigan State.
Two blocked punts.
Bo Pelini got a sideline penalty and it wasn’t due to taking a swing at an official!
When a 21 point victory over Purdue can feel like a loss to Iowa State, you gotta take a step back and admit that’s a good problem to have when moving into November with an 8 – 1 record.
As frustrating as the game was to listen to (for the record, I still haven’t watched a single highlight), it’s hard to get that upset.
Nine games into the season, we still haven’t seen this edition of the Huskers at their best and we certainly haven’t seen them at their worst. The pendulum has swung in both directions all year long without reaching one extreme or the other. If you think they reached a new low against Purdue, congrats on having a very short memory.
Will playing above average with spurts of greatness and stupidity be enough to beat Wisconsin in Madison? Who knows?
November is shaping up to be an entertaining month so sit back and try to enjoy the ride as best you can. There aren’t many teams that can claim to have an equal chance at making the playoff as making the Meineke Car Care Fight Hunger with Pepperoni Pizza Bowl.
**On a completey unrelated note, the Purdue game was the first time I listened to a Huskers’ radio broadcast from pre-game to post-game in its entirety since Ball State was a missed field goal away from an upset in Lincoln.
Video streaming didn’t work so well out in the middle of nowhere but Greg Sharpe and Matt Davison came through crystal clear. (The only trick is using the TuneIn Radio app rather than the unfortunately unreliable official Huskers app.)
This was our view during the game.
Greg and Matt really make a great team. Greg deftly rides a fine line between the legendary Kent Pavelka’s I’m-about-to-have-an-aneuyrsm level of enthusiasm and professional polish, balanced out by Matt’s nuanced observation and appropriate level of dread when needed.
If you’re ever in the mood to kick it like it’s the 20th century, give those guys a listen sometime.
For the second consecutive year, we’re going to be away from the comforting bosom of our neighborhood watch site on Purdue weekend.
In 2013, the Huskers traveled to West Lafayette and rolled an 1 – 11 Boilermaker team 44 – 7 in a game that was decided well before halftime. It was a great, stress free Saturday, especially the part where I was able to venture out of the tiny bubble of free hotel lobby WiFi and spend the rest of the afternoon lounging on the beach.
This year we’ll be in nestled in the mountains in the new age hippie paradise of Ojai (with a requisite side trip to the nearby premium outlet mall).
In a season where the Huskers have been rolling, the Boilermakers come to Lincoln with a semblance of momentum and the proverbial elephant in the proverbial room looming larger than ever.
That elephant would be the Huskers’ seemingly annual crapping of the bed against a lousy team. With that in mind, Purdue’s visit suddenly adds suspense and anxiety to the mix. It’s like Husker Nation is one big traumatized family on pins and needles when they realize it’s been far too long since dad has come home piss drunk. A Husker meltdown is imminent. It has to be.
Or does it?
Confidence: Like any woman who has ever thought she could change her man, the Huskers are wearing their new look and attitude well but have the potential to regress back to their old losing habits in a heartbeat. (Then again, that could be the years of psychological damage talking.) If Nebraska can get through this one with a W, they just might have turned a corner for both the season and the program.
In Unbeaten: The Life of Brook Berringer, distinguished Purdue alum Kyle Orton explained how he wore number 18 as a tribute to Brook. It’s amazing how one little anecdote can instantly make a guy unhateable.
More seriously though, Purdue is a 3 – 5 team the Huskers can’t treat lightly. A week after Nebraska manhandled Illinois, the Boilermakers bumped off the Illini 38 – 27. They followed that up by playing Michigan State to within a touchdown until Boilermaker QB Austin Appleby threw a game sealing pick six with 1:29 to go.
The pessimist could look at that and conclude that the Spartans aren’t that good and Purdue is better than Nebraska. We’ll go out on that fragile limb of optimism and say Michigan State played poorly because they were still rattled from their oh-so-near miss against the Huskers the week before.
Long story short, Purdue is finally starting to click. Check out Hail Varsity for all the stats to back up that statement. Then again, they’ve also lost to Central Michigan, Notre Dame, Iowa, and Minnesota.
Ideal Scenario: The Huskers cruise into their bye week ahead of their big showdown with Wisconsin. Ameer, Kenny, Tommy and Randy all do their Ameer, Kenny, Tommy and Randy things. I don’t resort to hiding from my wife by holing up in a premium outlet bathroom stall and faking the worst dump of my life just so I can watch a too-close-for-comfort game in relative peace and agony.
Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: 5 — Don’t expect the ABC/ESPN/SEC Network faction to cut him any slack, especially with Ed Cunningham in the broadcast booth.
A Question That Needs an Answer: Will Imani Cross ever score again? He hasn’t notched a touchdown since the Illinois game a month ago.
What a difference a couple of weeks can make. The second Saturday of the 2014 college football season looked so dismal for the Big Ten that I was forced to eschew my normal conference power ranking in favor of this dubious list of impotence rankings.
Take, for example, this clip from a match two weeks ago.
But now, in week four, things look a little different. The Big Ten posted a 12-1 record for the day while the mighty SEC went 7-4. Now, granted, three of the SEC losses were to other SEC teams. But that doesn’t change the fact that the only Big Ten/SEC match-up for the day resulted in a 31-27 Indiana win over defending SEC EAST Champions, Missouri.
So the Big Ten enjoyed a nice round of redemption in week 4. Enough to earn its first POWER ranking on this blog. But, while there was much to like out of the conference on Saturday, in terms of Big Ten hopes for a playoff berth, I turn to the famous words of Winston the Wolf:
WEEK 4 BIG TEN POWER RANKINGS
#1 Nebraska (4-0)
Now, you might think that defending Big Ten Champs Michigan State would come in at #1 what with its domination of one FCS school and one 1-3 MAC team and one well-fought loss out in Eugene. But, when it comes to picking the cream of the conference so far this year, it’s simple arithmetic.
At Nebraska, the tandem of 4s and number 8 have the Cornhuskers looking like the most complete team in the Big Ten. Say what you will about the last minute heroics against McNeese State, the Cornhuskers are a) undefeated and b) dominating their opposition like no one else in the Big Ten.
For now, the Huskers are the top dogs.
#2 Penn State (4-0)
Now, you might think the defending Big Ten champs would come in at #2. After all , the Spartans just slobber-knocked Eastern Michigan by a 59-point margin. But look, the Nittany Lions are also undefeated — unlike the Spartans — and things have looked quite happy in Happy Valley with the news of PSU’s bowl eligibility reinstated.
Penn State has used a crushing defense (ranked 6th in the country) to roll out to a 4-0 start. But the offense is a little worrisome, mustering just 21 points against Akron and 13 against Rutgers. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg gets a lot of national love. But the dude runs hot and cold.
I get the feeling that once conference play gets into the thick of it, PSU fans are going to see some shit that will turn them white.
#3 Maryland (3-1)
Now, you might think Michigan State would at least get the third spot in the power rankings. Everyone from here on out has at least one loss, just like the Spartans. But the Terps have rolled in their three wins so far this year and they went to the wire in a three point loss to a West Virginia team that has shown a knack for hanging with the big boys (Alabama and Oklahoma).
#4 Illinois (3-1)
Now, you might think that surely, SURELY Michigan State ought to be ranked higher than fucking Illinois. I mean, look at these jack-ass Illini fans for fuck sake.
But Illinois owns one more win than MSU and an equal number of losses. Granted Illinois’ 3-1 record is tenuous at best. For now they should enjoy the view from the top third of the conference because, starting Saturday with a trip to Lincoln, the hot streak is likely about to come crashing down.
#5 Rutgers (3-1)
Now, you might think Sparty ought to at least be Top 5. Right? Not if you ask this guy.
People understandably hate transitive comparisons in college football. Each match-up is uniquely good or bad based on team strengths and weaknesses. BUT, take a look at the Rutgers/Washington State/Oregon/Michigan State equation. The Scarlet Knight’s three point win didn’t look so hot in week one against a program that has averaged three wins per season for the last decade. But did you see the Cougars give Oregon everything it could handle last Saturday? Sure WSU is off to another rough start with a 1-3 record, but Rutgers’ opening week win is looking a little better after Saturday, while MSU’s loss is looking slightly worse.
#6 Minnesota (3-1)
Now, you might think this power ranking has officially jumped the shark. Six teams – and no East Lansing brawlers? The same team that devastated Eastern Michigan to the tune of 49-0 in the first half. The same team that, for a brief moment, made Oregon think they wouldn’t hit their 46 points per game average.
But Minnesota just beat a Spartan team by 17 last week. Coincidence? Probably.
Now, you might think that any ranking that doesn’t have Michigan State at least in the top half of the conference is nothing but garbage. And you’d be right. That’s why, rounding out the top half of Big Red Fury’s Big Ten power rankings is:
#7 Michigan State (2-1)
Michigan State’s one game season (with two scrimmages) is all about one hell of 2nd quarter out in Eugene. If the Spartans can bottle that offensive magic for conference play, then a repeat trip to Indianapolis by season’s end ought to be a forgone conclusion.
#8 Wisconsin (2-1)
The Badgers have hammered a pair of cupcakes in the wake of their epic meltdown versus LSU (something that Mississippi State managed to avoid, by the way). Wisconsin has a fairly easy road ahead all the way to November 15 when Nebraska comes to Madison.
#9 Iowa (3-1)
Nice rebound against a previously unbeaten Pittsburgh. But still, the first three weeks of the Hawkeye season were atrocious.
#10 Indiana (2-1)
Indiana had the win of the week for the Big 10 on a Saturday that saw a full dozen conference victories. Can the Hoosiers ride their upset of Missouri on into a successful league run? History doubts it.
#11 Michigan (2-2)
First, Utah rained down on Michigan with special teams play and forced turnovers en route to a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter. Then the sky rained down on the field with torrential storms and lightning. Then Michigan fans rained down on the parking lot leaving Utah fans free reign to move about the Big House once the two hour delay was over.
Not a good showing for the Wolverines (the only Big Ten team to lose last week). Still, Michigan can take heart that the defense looked stout against an emerging PAC-10 program. And were it not for turnovers, Michigan’s offense (which out-gained the Utes) likely would have had the Wolverines in the game until the end.
Southern Illinois may be the last victory the Boilermakers see this season. Unless Northwestern still stinks in late November.
#14 Northwestern (1-2)
The Wildcats got their first win of the season by hosting the FCS Western Illinois Leathernecks. They’ve got another one lined up in the middle of conference play on October 25. Along with Purdue, those may be the only remaining wins Nortwestern sees this year. Unless Pat Fitzgerald can pull an epic coaching job out of his rear. Which he has shown to do from time to time.
“Dr. Delany. Paging Dr. Delany. You’re needed in the emergency room.”
“What seems to be the problem, nurse?”
“It’s the conference. It’s choking on something.”
“Well let’s have a look. Let me stick my fingers in here a moment… Ah-ha! Here’s the problem.”
“What is it, doctor?”
“Donkey balls. It appears the conference has been sucking on them.”
I originally intended to do a week 2 “power” ranking for the Big 10 Conference, but after seeing how each team looks hell-bent on proving who is the most namby-pamby, I’ve decided to respect their wishes and rank the conference teams according to inadequacy.
So here goes.
WEEK 2 BIG 10 IMPOTENCE RANKINGS
1. Northwestern (0-2)
It’s the Wildcats who have swung the limpest of dicks so far this season. Featuring the nation’s 113th ranked scoring offense and 80th ranked scoring defense, Northwestern has lollygagged out to an 0-2 start to the year. They first headed to Berkeley and got golden-showered on by the Golden Bears — a school that went 1-11 last year — and then came home and lost to Northern Illinois. Granted, the Huskies are used to beating Big 10 teams by now. But still, it’s goddamn Northern Illinois.
2. Purdue (1-1)
The Boilermakers have gone one for two in their attempt to pad their win total via a gauntlet of Michigan directional schools. It looked like a brilliant strategy, in week #1 at least. But Central Michigan is no Western Michigan, evidently.
3. Ohio State (1-1)
Week 1 showed that things were definitely amiss in Columbus without Braxton Miller in the driver’s seat. Week 2 proved that Ohio State is nothing more than pellets for a flock of Hokies.
An old Ohio State alum can probably tell you what it’s like to sit through a four-loss season, Buckeyes. Because that looks to be where you are headed.
4. Michigan (1-1)
Notre Dame ended your series like a disinterested ex-lover. Then proceeded to take your house, your car, your dog and your manhood. The clock may be ticking on Brady Hoke’s tenure in Ann Arbor.
5. Indiana (1-0)
The Hoosiers had little problem with in-state nemesis, Indiana State. But being the only game on Indiana’s resume thus far still puts them higher on the impotence scale than a pair of Big 10 losers. Getting stopped by the Sycamores on fourth down twice inside the red zone doesn’t help, either.
But hey, the alternate uniforms sure are dandy!
6. Michigan State (1-1)
Sparty went out to Eugene with one single mission. Show the world that the nation’s top-ranked defense didn’t merely build its resume on the dubious backs of an offensive bush league.
And how did that go?
Well, if surrendering 500 yards and 46 points is your idea of making that statement, then mission accomplished.
7. Wisconsin (1-1)
Does a 34-point win over Western Illinois do anything to lessen the pitiful display of Wisconsin’s wet-noodle-tackling, lame-duck-tossing blown 4th quarter against LSU?
8. Rutgers (2-0)
Not a bad start for the Scarlet Knights. As long as giving up 1,000 yards to winless Washington State and Howard doesn’t worry you. No cause for concern in Piscataway. Right?
9. Minnesota (2-0)
Out-yarded by both cream-puffs so far this season. Good thing the Gopher defense is killing it in the take-away department.
10. Iowa (2-0)
Pair of shitty wins over a pair of shitty opponents.
11. Illinois (2-0)
A guy with the first name of “Wonderful” put a scare into the Illini on Saturday. Western Kentucky was supposed to be an easy win for Illinois, but the Illini needed all of 21 points in the 4th quarter just to get some breathing room.
12. Penn State (2-0)
Within spitting distance of being the League’s best team is a program that isn’t even eligible for the post season.
13. Nebraska (2-0)
Okay, Nebraska narrowly escaping overtime against FCS school McNeese State does come with a few caveats. The Cowboys — a team filled with Power 5 conference transfers — are thought to be contenders for the FCS National Title. They even shellacked South Florida last year, giving McNeese State the distinction of having the largest margin of victory by a FCS school over an FBS team ever. We can also assume that, given a second chance by Armstrong, the 98-yard pick-six would not have happened and Nebraska mostly likely would have taken a 28-7 lead into half time. Even with a shitty 10-10 second half, that’s still a 21-point win. A large enough gap to keep the Huskers from tumbling out of the AP Top 25.
But, alas, the 98-yard pick-six did happen and Nebraska did tumble out of the AP poll. So swallow those caveats like caviar, Huskers. Your performance against McNeese State (particularly in the second half) lands you second fiddle to:
14. Maryland (2-0)
That’s right. These crab-cake-eating, Old-Bay-dipping, Blair-Witch-chasing Johnnie-come-latelies are the froth atop the Big 10 septic well. Just two weeks into the season and the Rust Belt Conference — home to no less than 4 college football Blue Bloods — has been shown up by a team whose sole purpose is to quell the grid-iron lust of Ravens fans one day prior to when REAL Maryland football gets played.