10 things I'm absolutely overreacting to after Week 6 in the B1G
This Thanksgiving weekend had some semblance of normalcy in B1G country. There were also some major differences in 2020 than in most years. You’re welcome for pointing out the obvious.
Football was played over the weekend, which was in serious jeopardy just two months ago. Iowa and Nebraska were able to square off on Black Friday just like the good ol’ days and we enjoyed an entertaining slate through most of the day on Saturday.
Nothing goes better together than Thanksgiving leftovers and B1G football, am I right?
But there was no Michigan-Ohio State game this weekend. The battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe was canceled. The Old Oaken Bucket wasn’t on the line. It certainly was a unique year for the conference.
We should all be thankful for the fact that we still did get to enjoy football this weekend. That’s something we can all agree on, at least I think we can.
Even with a slightly different Thanksgiving weekend of B1G football, there was plenty to react, and overreact to, in Week 6. So let’s dive in.
Is there a mute button for Desmond Howard?
Let’s just say that 2020 hasn’t really been the best year for Howard’s soundbites. I mean, the College GameDay analyst traveled the extra mile to piss off the entire state of Nebraska over the summer because the Huskers wanted to play football this season.
While I didn’t agree with Howard’s take, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. And if you want to start a feud with a rabid fanbase over Nebraska’s response to the B1G’s decision to originally postpone the football season, by all means, you do you.
But Howard stretched things a little too far on College GameDay on Saturday. While the rest of the crew spoke in admiration of Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller — a women’s soccer player at the school who joined the team this week as a potential kicker — Howard couldn’t wait to land a joke.
While the popular pregame show was airing clips of Fuller practicing field goal attempts, Howard made the comment that her kicking motion reminded him of Charles Barkley’s golf swing. And remember, this is a women’s soccer player about to play in her first ever college football game and become the first woman in history to participate in a Power 5 football game.
You might be surprised to learned that joke didn’t land. In fact, it missed the runway by a country mile.
It’s 2020, can we get hot mics on all B1G head coaches. Please?!
The hot mic catching Scott Frost nearly calling an official a “mother (bleeper)” during Friday’s Nebraska-Iowa game was enough for me. I want every coach in the B1G mic’d up for every game from now until eternity. And there should be no fear of judgment or penalty for whatever is said on the sidelines.
Seriously, it’s 2020, why do we not have the option to watch B1G football with vulgarities? Just slap a warning label on the channel airing the game and don’t bleep out the swear words. I would upgrade my cable package instantly to get moments like Frost’s tirade captured on live television with sound.
Can you imagine eavesdropping on Jeff Brohm’s tantrum last week against Minnesota? Or what Kirk Ferentz mumbled when P.J. Fleck called a late-game timeout in the battle for Floyd of Rosedale? The possibilities are endless and I’m salivating over this idea more than when my Thanksgiving plate was piled high with turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and macaroni and cheese.
Let’s get the ball rolling on this, Big Ten Network, FOX, ESPN and anyone else listening.
“Everybody clap your hands…”
Ahhh, the Nebraska-Iowa rivalry game adds another petty chapter to the book. And you know what? I can actually understand both sides.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s hilarious that Frost was complaining about Iowa’s players allegedly clapping during Nebraska’s cadence and throwing off center Cam Jurgens. However, if I was 0-3 against Iowa, fell to 1-4 on the year, haven’t had a winning record in Lincoln and lost another one-possession game, I’d probably be pretty frustrated, too. That’s not even sarcasm, that’s real.
Obviously, you can understand why Ferentz was annoyed with those comments. A player clapping on the sideline probably shouldn’t affect a guy on the field. In terms of excuses, that’s fishing at the bottom of the barrel.
Hey, I’m all for pettiness, so let’s keep it going. On both sides.
We just got done talking about how Northwestern was good enough to compete with anyone in the B1G. How it deserved that No. 8 ranking in the College Football Playoff rankings and how Joey Galloway’s comparison to Rece Davis was disrespectful (all love, Rece). Pat Fitzgerald’s bunch followed up the praise and recognition with that performance? Against Michigan State?
At the end of the season, Fitzgerald should file a petition with the College Football Playoff selection committee to never be ranked in the Top 25 again. Whenever the national media decides to say “Hey, you know what, this Northwestern team is actually pretty good,” the Wildcats play like that.
Honestly, we probably should’ve expected this. A Top 10 ranking and a 13.5-point favorite was too much to handle.
Rutgers owns Purdue
There is one team in the B1G that has never defeated Rutgers. Can you guess who that is?
Rutgers is 2-0 against Purdue all-time, with both meetings coming since the Scarlet Knights joined the B1G. Chris Ash led Rutgers to a win over the Boilermakers in 2017 and Greg Schiano did it on Saturday, overcoming a 10-point deficit multiple times in the second half to get a 37-30 win.
Since Rutgers joined the B1G in 2014, the Scarlet Knights have won just 9 league games, with a pair of those coming against Purdue. I’m just going to say it — Brohm is getting paid way too much for that to happen. Like, way too much.
Kudos to Schiano and the Scarlet Knights, though. This is a team that is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was under Ash.
A new Lee-der for Penn State?
Remember just over a month ago when we were all talking about Penn State’s running back room? Back then, there was a consensus that Keyvone Lee might see some touches, but he wouldn’t see significant reps because of Journey Brown, Noah Cain and Devyn Ford. Well, Lee got his chance earlier than expected and delivered in a big way.
Lee piled up 134 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries against Michigan’s defense in Penn State’s 27-17 win over the Wolverines. Even though it was a bad Wolverines defense — sorry, I’m not sorry, Michigan — Lee looked like a running back capable of carrying a heavy load for the Nittany Lions in the future.
Can he be the No. 1 back for Penn State. There’s actually a good chance we find out more about Lee next week against Rutgers than we did against Michigan. Seriously.
Ohio State’s College Football Playoff hopes are hanging by a thread
Unpopular opinion: the B1G should not change its policy on a six-game threshold to play for the B1G title. Second unpopular opinion: If Ohio State doesn’t play at least 7 games, it shouldn’t get into the College Football Playoff, either.
At some point, the games have to matter, right? Otherwise, what’s the point of having a season at all? You could just take the teams you believe will be the four best, play a quick two-week tournament and be done with it. What’s the fun in that?
Let’s assume the shoe was on the other foot, Ohio State fans. Would you really be OK with a 5-0 Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas or anyone else getting a shot at the national championship if the Buckeyes were playing a 10- or 11-game schedule? Yeah, I can hear you saying, “Yeah, if they’re one of the four best,” but that’s just to make your argument for OSU. I get it. But you really wouldn’t be happy with it.
Ohio State has to play Michigan State next week or it shouldn’t be eligible for either the B1G Championship Game or the College Football Playoff. Sometimes, life just isn’t fair. Feel free to take your anger out on Kevin Warren or the B1G Council of Presidents/Chancellors. They’re really the ones that hurt your national championship aspirations.
Believe it or not, Indiana’s B1G title hopes are very much alive
So, we’ve talked about Ohio State not being eligible if next week’s game against Michigan State is canceled. Indiana is sitting in second place and has wins over Maryland, Michigan State, Michigan and Penn State for any potential tie-breaker situations and the Hoosiers are 5-1, meaning they’ve already hit the 6-game minimum to qualify for the B1G Championship Game.
Despite losing to the Buckeyes, the Hoosiers still have a legitimate chance to win a conference title. Wouldn’t that be something?
Sure, there will probably be an asterisk beside its name in the record books, but knowing Indiana’s football history, who the hell cares? Winning a B1G title is not an easy task, regardless of season. Plus, this would only add to the legend of Tom Allen.
Can you imagine what that locker room would look like if IU does take home the trophy?
Oh, how the mighty have fallen
Let’s have some fun with numbers. This season, teams coached by Harbaugh, Frost and Brohm are a combined 5-11. For those not good at math, that’s not good.
There was once a time when we thought Harbaugh would have Michigan in the B1G Championship Game on a regular basis. Then we thought Brohm would restore Purdue’s tradition of being a competitive team with a fun-to-watch offense. Finally, we all hopped on the Frost bandwagon and expected Nebraska to return to national prominence.
It’s safe to say that all three have been disappointments at this stage in their respective careers. If you pay attention to social media, fanbases for all three programs are getting some ants in the pants and are Googling potential replacements.
That probably doesn’t need to happen after the 2020 season. This is a weird year. But all three might have to start updating their resumes if things don’t start looking a lot better next fall.
Losing Minnesota-Wisconsin was a real kick in the axe
Are you still bummed? I’m still bummed.
Minnesota and Wisconsin have played 129 times, including every year since 1906, play for an awesome trophy and the all-time series is 61-60-8 in favor of the Badgers. Not having this game on Thanksgiving weekend feels…strange.
Maybe this game wouldn’t have been particularly close. Maybe it would’ve come down to a game-winning field goal. We’ll never know. Regardless of what the product looked like or how evenly matched the two teams were, Thanksgiving was definitely missing something without Paul Bunyan’s Axe at stake.