With our out of conference schedule over, can we now expect an end to our vanilla play calling? By vanilla I mean designed to win the game with talent rather than 'decided schematic advantage'
I want to posit that our offensive line play has been limited by our coaching staff's lack of concern over RPS wins losses in the OOC.
We saw one interesting play - the Morris pitch to Peppers - which was due to the fact Speight was dinged, not a desire to be unique. (When can we expect the return of the full house backfield?)
It will be interesting to see what wrinkles come out against Penn St. / Wisconsin /Rutgers / Illinois
Any time the staff can get MSU to chase their tail in the film room and practice will be determiend by what they see on film in these 4 games.
Maryland / Iowa / Indiana will be the petri dishes for OSU
I believe the line will improve this week signifiacntly due to PSU being back on their heels trying to figure out what we are doing. I believe the coaching staff will get them guessing and that will be the difference in the run game.
Given extensive work commitments and a second “career” within the 80s synth music revival scene, I had decided to forego the annual diary series this year. But with multiple diary series AWOL, I figured I what the heck.
This year I’ll be reviewing the week’s best and worst performances in the conference, using boxing as a metaphor.
All contests fall into one of four categories:
- KOs, TKOs and Unanimous Decisions (i.e. emphatic wins/upset wins)
- Split Decisions (i.e. wobbly wins)
- Moral Victories (i.e. losses you can take heart in)
- Out Cold (i.e. losses that make pandas sad)
Note: this is a week-by-week thing, not a power ranking type thing. Previous performances only come into play when ranking within these categories. I will, however, comment on the team’s overall performance and outlook in the comments.
[Rankings in parentheses.]
KOs, TKOs and Unanimous Decisions
1. OSU (3) beats Oklahoma (14) 45-24 on the road.
Whether OSU is really that good or Oklahoma is just worse than expected is a matter of debate; as far as I’m concerned, it’s both. Oklahoma certainly has not looked like a playoff contender so far, and that probably contributed to the way this game played out. That said, this young OSU team actually looks better than they did a year ago this time, when the roster was heavy with NFL-bound upperclassmen. They may still drop an egg at some point, but this was a big test and the Buckeyes passed it with ease. A potentially/hopefully momentum-killing bye week beckons, after which Rutgers offers itself up for ritual sacrifice.
2. MSU (12) beats Notre Dame (18) 36-28 on the road.
MSU’s anemic victory over Furman led a lot of people to question whether this Spartan team lived up to the standard set by the last three. But even if this Notre Dame team was overrated going into the game, a road victory over a ranked team is no small feat—especially considering ND’s recent success in the series. Simply put, had MSU played like they did against Furman, they would have lost. Instead, MSU’s offense clicked and the defense got just enough plays out of its experienced linebacking corps to hold off a last ditch comeback attempt. We’ll see whether this was a one-off performance or something more sustainable when they play Wisconsin at Camp Randall.
3. Nebraska (NR) beats Oregon (22) 35-32 at home.
Nebraska has a good roster...by Big 10 West standards. They did last year as well, and probably should have won 8-9 games. Unfortunately, they were really, really unlucky, leaving them with a 5-7 record instead. Things seem to be going better in the fortune department now, as evidenced by this close win over a not-quite-what-they-used-to-be-but-still-ranked (barely) Oregon team. 9-3 seems attainable for the Huskers, who get Northwestern, Illinois and Purdue over the next four games.
4. Michigan (4) beats Colorado (NR) 45-28 at home.
By far the wobbliest of the four convincing victories, and a game in which a better-than-expected Colorado spent two quarters looking like they were primed for the upset. Then Colorado’s QB got hurt and Michigan wreaked its horrible vengeance upon the Buffaloes. Fans can either take refuge in the fact that the team has the skill and heart to recover from early adversity, or worry endlessly about the erratic safety, OL and QB play, all of which seemed to confirm preseason anxieties about those positions. Both are legitimate reactions to a victory that never seemed as emphatic as the final score implies. Next up: a mediocre Penn State team with one very scary running back.
Split Decision Wins
5. Maryland (NR) beats UCF 30-24 on the road.
Not a great win by any stretch of the imagination, but UCF is at least okay and Maryland were playing on the road. So that’s something I guess. Next up: a game.
6. Penn State (NR) beats Temple 34-27 at home.
Penn State decided to memorialize the man who allegedly kept quiet for decades about a serial child molester by eking out a home win against Temple. Can’t we just trade them to the ACC already?
7. Northwestern (NR) beats Duke (NR) 24-13 at home.
Northwestern finally gets a win—over a bad Duke team, sure, but hey—a win is better than another loss, I guess.
10. Wisconsin (9) beats Georgia State (NR) 23-17 at home.
It’s getting hard to remember that Wisconsin beat a top 5 SEC West team just two weeks ago. The Badgers looked downright bad as they barely scraped by winless Georgia State, and the murderers’ row portion of their schedule looms large. Will fans remember the opener if they go 6-6?
9. Rutgers (NR) beats New Mexico (NR) 37-28 at home.
Another week, another bad performance by Rutgers, who may not win another game all year.
10. Iowa (13) loses to North Dakota (NR) 23-31 at home.
Uninspired and uninspiring performance by the presumptive Big 10 West favorites. Iowa still has plenty of time to recover, but expectations for the season have officially been tempered. Iowa’s next two opponents—Rutgers and Northwestern—offer Kirk Ferentz a great pair of opportunities to right the ship and start earning that $48m extension.
11. Illinois (NR) loses to Western Michigan (NR) 34-10 at home.
Granted, WMU is a good MAC team, but they are still a MAC team, and any game in which you get steamrolled—at home—by a MAC team is a bad, bad game. Illinois is bad and should feel bad.
BYES: Minnesota, Indiana, Purdue
We all have our gameday routines, right, but what do you do when you're already on your way to the Big House and you feel a sudden urge for great barbeque or a cold pint? Head to the south end of Elbel Field and visit Detroit's own Slows Bar BQ food truck and a Charity Beer Garden hosted by the local Cancer Support Community (100% of beer revenue goes to the CSC).
Closest beer to the Big House...and for a great cause!
Find it at 327 E. Hoover Ave., adjacent to Elbel Field and immediately east of the railroad tracks.
What to expect when you arrive:
- Slows Bar BQ, a Detroit destination, parked a block from the Big House
- 10 taps flowing with local craft beers (bottled water if you need a non-alcoholic thirst quencher)
- indoor seating in a warehouse converted into a yard bar: LED string lights, ceiling fans, community tables...you know the deal
- two big screen TV's showing College GameDay, the early game, the Michigan game, and the late game
- an atmosphere welcoming to home and visiting fans
- family-friendly--yes you can bring your kids
- don't want to carry too much cash--yes, you can use credit cards
- open before, during and after the game
- and yes...bathrooms
Eat and drink for charity!
With as much as this blog and fan-base detests to our dying day the horror that Joepa knowingly allowed for decades under his watch, maybe we really can make a statement about it. There are multiple mgobloggers in every section of that stadium come Saturday, and it just doesn't seem that difficult if a few per section took literally a few minutes before the game to relay a simple message: When PSU comes out don't boo, don't make a sound, simply turn your back like Joepa did to the child molestor!
Even drunks would understand that. It would be rather newsworthy and draw the proper attention - silence and backs turned by 100,000+ fans. Shame the child molestors and their sex-offender-loving fan base.
It might be pie in the sky, but heck, if WD can take Brandon down, why not let our voices be heard in the silence. A few signs, a few encouragements to the crowd as they file in to get their tickets scanned, a bit of yelling in the stands between the rawk music selections during warm ups, and you just might get it done.
What do you think?