Do not confuse my lack of enthusiasm for Week 10 with a willingness to find other plans.We’ll still be parked in front of the television, though more willing to check out programming on CBS and if the tinfoil hat and antenna sync up properly, the ACC Network. Some weeks are thin at the bottom, others thin at the top, and the precious few that are thin all the way around, marathon runner thin, Prefontaine with a nicotine habit thin. The sort of thin that makes one develop leering eyes in favor of a bigger and brighter slate as Rutgers versus Illinois is one game away from being in the top three of the most exciting games to watch. That’s the hand we’re dealt when eight Big Ten teams play and all of them play inter conference games. Thank you Kenny Rogers, we’ll hold ‘em but there will be no anteing of any sorts. 

We will not look past Week 10. We embrace it for its, um, inadequate abruptness. Time to say something nice about a week with little to say nice about. 

Game #3: Northwestern vs. Indiana, 6 pm BTN

There’s a feel-good glimmer of excitement to what Indiana’s accomplished in the 2019 season. Such excitement comes at the expense of what teams like Nebraska failed to accomplish, but there are only so many six win bowl slots available. If Indiana handles a broken Northwestern, one decimated by injury and boring inefficiency on offense, all the Hoosier faithful can book the first megabus out of Bloomington to Orlando. There’s a good chance they’ll be in the right state for the bowl and hey, go visit the Kennedy Space Center. I’ll put you in contact with my friend Bobs to take me off the hook from his dissertations on the venue. 

Watch the game through the prism of what Indiana hopes to accomplish and not what Northwestern failed to accomplish. As we inch closer to the holiday season and you try to take a headcount of Christmas decorations only to realize the empty square footage grows smaller by each trip to Kohl’s, happy stories are more fun to sift through than the offensive drought in Evanston. 

Sports Betting in Big Ten Country

There is big news coming to the upcoming 2022-23 Big Ten football season (and NFL season). Ohio online sports betting and Maryland sports betting are on the way.

21+ and present in OH. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

Game #2: Nebraska vs. Purdue, 11 AM CST, Fox

There’s enough unfulfilled expectations in the Saturday game in West Lafayette to keep Derrick Rose apologists satiated in between viewings of “Blues Brothers 2000.” Between Jeff Brohm’s salary and Scott Frost’s homecoming that generates more stories on the simple delicacy of a Runza and not the former quarterback’s head coaching record in Lincoln, things are grim. Throw in Purdue’s injuries and Adrian Martinez’s underwhelming sophomore year and we’re left with what could be a big and beautiful mess.

Nebraska versus Purdue is best consumed as a stand alone episode, not a serial. If we track the stitch of the season we’ll be disappointed, care little about the game and keep asking ourselves how a motorcycle accident outside of Fayetteville, Arkansas exactly lead to Brohm’s monstrous contract.  

Watch for the offense. Expect little from the defense. 

Game #1: Michigan vs. Maryland, 11:00 AM CST, ABC

We’re in it for the salt between Josh Gattis and Mike Locksley. Even Michigan’s latest offensive effort that produced a big number against Notre Dame seemed a byproduct of bad weather and devotion to running over opponents. At its most aesthetically pleasing running the ball from a power formation does not generate a buzz unless one is a consumer of line dances and a decent color guard.

Maryland’s hire of Locksley sure seems to have been muted on a national level after the table-thumping that came from the 2-0 start for the Terps. A return to normalcy exposed a lot of flaws on the roster and we can officially say things transitioned from a sure-fire hire to “he’ll need some time to get his guys in and run his system.”

The excitement value in the game hinges on how much Jim Harbaugh lets Gattis get exotic and creative, not the sort of words you want associated with the 2019 Michigan offense, in efforts to run up the score against Locksley. 

Expect Locksley and Maryland to gamble. Syrcause cannot stand as the most impressive win in the program in Locksley’s first season and he’ll want to put his offensive knowledge on display especially since he and Gattis, well, it was discussed in yesterday’s piece

A game against Maryland, even on the road, tells little about the season-long success for Michigan, but the rebirth of traditional offense from last week at least opens up the door for some close matchups for the rest of the year.