10 things I'm absolutely overreacting to after Week 1 in the B1G
The weekend may be over but the excitement is still pulsing through my veins. The B1G is back, and boy did it provide us with plenty of excitement upon its return.
Much like Christmas morning, the first weekend of the B1G season was full of surprises. Rutgers shocked Michigan State, a shorthanded Purdue team defeated Iowa and Indiana had a thrilling win over Penn State.
Seriously, you couldn’t have asked for a better Week 1 for the B1G. Well, unless you’re a fan of one of the seven teams that lost.
Let’s dive into the overreactions from Week 1 in the B1G.
For once, Indiana got the lucky bounce(s)
Let me start by saying this — I’m not convinced Michael Penix Jr. actually got the football to the pylon on that 2-point conversion. I’m not even sure a microchip wouldn’t have malfunctioned in that kind of situation. It was unlike anything we’ve seen in college football in a long time.
BUT, do you know how many times the Hoosiers have been on the wrong side of those games over the last 30 years? There’s probably at least a handful of bald IU fans out there who stopped counting after they pulled all their hair out back in 2008.
It was time tIndiana get the lucky bounces — or bounces — for once. If you’re confused about the plural, Devyn Ford’s touchdown run to put Penn State up 8 and leave the Hoosiers with a chance was absolutely a fortunate “bounce.”
The Brothers Brohm: Brian is a better Week 1 coach than Jeff
How do I know? Jeff is 0-3 in Week 1 games during his time at Purdue, losing to Louisville, Northwestern and Nevada. Brian is 1-0 in season openers, leading the Boilermakers to a victory over an Iowa team that won 10 games last year.
Brian didn’t even have the luxury of Rondale Moore! Maybe it’s time Jeff hand over more play-calling duties to his younger brother.
Lord, have Mertz-y, Wisconsin has a QB
Mertz’s performance against Illinois on Friday night brought about one question: Why wasn’t he the starter a year ago? Seriously, the redshirt freshman looks every bit as good as advertised. Having him run the offense last season with Jonathan Taylor in the backfield and Quintez Cephus catching passes? Good. Ness.
But, I digress. What’s done is done, and that’s on Paul Chryst. The exciting thing for Wisconsin is that it has a quarterback who can stretch the field and is capable of making just about every throw in front of him. You don’t finish a game completing 20-of-21 passes for 248 yards and 5 touchdowns if you’re not able to do that.
Mertz is going to be really fun to watch, especially when the Badgers start to see better defenses. If the QB continues to play this well, the B1G may have to implement a “Mertz-y Rule” for the rest of the season.
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Don’t lie, you know you laughed.
This Mike Locksley thing really isn’t working out
Sometimes you can just tell when something isn’t working. I know it’s just one game into the 2020 season, but Maryland hiring Mike Locksley to be the head coach was clearly the wrong move.
Locksley deserved a pass for his first season in College Park — most coaches do. But with an influx in talent on the recruiting front and landing quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa from Alabama should’ve made Maryland a more competitive team, especially against a Northwestern squad that scored a grand total of 114 points in 9 B1G games last year.
Nope. The Terrapins appeared to be hiding in their shells all night while the Wildcats kicked them all across the field like a hockey puck on ice. Seriously, 43-3? That’s Maryland’s best effort against a team that finished 3-9 a year ago?
I don’t expect Maryland to win a game this season.
Now we know why Jim Harbaugh was so excited to play
Were you skeptical about Michigan in 2020? C’mon, admit it. You were skeptical. Me, on the other hand? I had faith in Harbaugh this entire time. OK, maybe that’s a lie.
Because Michigan was replacing essentially its entire offensive line, ushering in a new quarterback and playing with a brand new wide receiver group offensively, I didn’t expect the product from Ann Arbor to look as good as it did Saturday night in Minneapolis.
Am I willing to say Michigan can compete with Ohio State? Of course not. This is still a really tough schedule for the Wolverines to navigate and there are still plenty of question marks moving forward. I have to admit, though, Michigan has already exceeded my expectations for 2020.
Mark Dantonio really put Mel Tucker and MSU behind the 8-ball
It’s fine to love Dantonio for all the success he brought to Michigan State during his 13-year run in East Lansing. It’s also fair to acknowledge that his decision to resign in February was…well…a (bleep) move.
Yes, we already knew that to be the case when Dantonio stepped down in February, just one day before National Signing Day. He essentially cashed his multi-million dollar retention bonus, peeled out of the Spartan Stadium parking lot and shouted “peace out, suckers!” to the athletic department.
Michigan State’s performance on Saturday against Rutgers was evidence of that. Tucker and his staff had little face-to-face interaction with players before the pandemic hit. The Spartans changed things on both sides of the football and really none of it was working against the Scarlet Knights.
I can’t put this loss on Tucker, though. This has been an unfortunate situation since February. The college football statisticians should be able to hang another tally in Dantonio’s “L” column for this one.
You can’t spell “championship” without CHOP
Speaking of Rutgers — RUTGERS!
Greg Schiano is back on the sidelines for the Scarlet Knights and is already producing similar results to his first run in Piscataway. Rutgers snapped a 21-game B1G losing streak that dates back to the 2017 season. Next challenge? Winning a championship! Or maybe just trying to beat Indiana — yeah, let’s stick with Indiana.
All jokes aside, the CHOP is back at Rutgers, and it took just one week for the program to knock down its first tree. It’s still a pretty dark forest, though, so don’t think this program is out of the woods just yet.
Husker fans may potentially take this as an insult after a 52-17 loss to Ohio State, but there’s no question Nebraska looked better against the Buckeyes on Saturday than last season. A game that was over after just a few minutes last season was competitive at halftime.
Nebraska was hitting harder defensively, found some things that worked on offense and played with plenty of confidence through the first 30 minutes. Those were all issues this team struggled with the past two seasons.
The tough schedule may still be an issue for Nebraska, but this is going to be a fun team to watch this year. It’s also capable of pulling off an upset or two this season.
Nobody is going to catch Ohio State
I mean, never say never, but I’m saying never.
All it took was 30 minutes for Ohio State to knock the rust off and look like a team capable of winning a national championship. Justin Fields still looks like a Heisman-caliber quarterback and the defense, despite all its losses from a year ago, is still awfully good.
The only question I have about the Buckeyes right now? What seed with they get in the College Football Playoff?
The biggest game of the B1G season is already ruined
Speaking of Ohio State, they’re clearly the best team in the B1G. We were all looking forward to this primetime showdown in Happy Valley when the Buckeyes traveled to Penn State on Halloween — a game we all thought could be the one that kept OSU from a perfect season.
Well, that’s been spoiled. Penn State’s loss to Indiana in Week 1 puts a huge damper on the game. It loses a ton of hype and the College Football Playoff implications just aren’t there anymore.
College GameDay is still making the journey to Happy Valley on Saturday, but honestly, why even bother? It’s just salt in a B1G wound.