Football was unkind to me last week.
I witnessed firsthand one of Iowa's worst ever losses, Michigan's red zone offense and composure in general turned into a tire fire, and Wazzu -- who I picked to win by double digits even though I never make predictions -- blew a 17 point fourth quarter lead and lost by one. I even lost a bet on the spread of the Alabama game. College fantasy provide reprieve? Please, I lost by two to a guy I was favored to beat by 55 earlier in the week. In the NFL, my Pats lost on a last second field goal, my fantasy teams went 0-4, and I was eliminated from my suicide pool. My current mojo could not be worse.
So this week, we're going to go back to the basics and do what we do best -- absolutely thrashing the Big Ten. No team off limits, here we go.
Illinois: You are bad and you should feel bad. You lost so expectedly to Louisiana Tech last week, their players aren't even calling it an upset. Sports NOLA said you being favored by 2.5 going into the game was simply to "balance the bets". This is not good.
Indiana: I'm actually gonna leave you alone since you lost Roberson, but you are barely in this conference, typically.
Iowa: You. Players and coaches have taken enough grief this week, so I'll call out the fans. Hey, Iowa fans, maybe when your team is on the ropes, you *don't* let the stadium's vibe die and actually cheer and create an enviroment more difficult for a MAC kicker to hit a game winner on you? Maybe? Not willing to do that? Fine. How about *not* booing your team off the field when they lose by one at home to a clearly formidable opponent. They're amateur athletes, idiots. Show some class.
Michigan: I'm not mad at you, I'm disappointed. Offensive coordinator Al Borges, you have to make it work with Denard. This is all of your fault. Media, stop over-ranking Michigan.
Michigan State: You have no offense and will lose so many more games. If you don't, that's more of an indictment of the conference than your actual skill.
Minnesota: Haha, undefeated.
Nebraska: Most likable team in the conference this year. I can handle that.
Northwestern: Haha, undefeated. Even more depressing -- not for them but for the rest of the Big Ten -- is three of their four wins are against BCS teams. I guarantee that's the most in the league.
tOSU: You've fielded your most likable team in years and have been on and off great to watch, but everyone -- including you -- knows you're probably not supposed to be undefeated at this point. Again, probably not your fault, but something's gotta give, here.
Penn State: Pass.
Purdue: Why couldn't you have beaten Notre Dame?! It was there for the taking!!!!!!
Wisconsin: The shittiest, worst, most truly disappointing team in the Big Ten, given pre-season expectations. Monte Ball? Dead. Being ranked? Light years away. QB stability? Unstable. Taking their division? ...I mean, is that even on the table anymore? No one has exemplified the overall step back the Big Ten has taken than (typically) perennial power, Wisconsin. Everything bad that has happened to everyone this year, I blame on you. Why didn't you let me win my Alabama bet?! Why did the Patriots lose? Fix thee e-kawn-a-mee!
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Ugh, let's go.
Selective Hits On The AP Top 25
1) Alabama (59): Even when I try to roll with them, I end up getting screwed. Me and the SEC are just a bad mix. Also, it's one thing to not cover the spread, but to also give up a touchdown? What gives, Alabama's third team defense?
2) Oregon: They're calling it the Siamese touchdown.
Even better, Oregon's two point conversion after the play was one of those weird formations where the center and guard are together, but all the other o-lineman are super far away. The kicker then threw a TD to, like, the punter. They are the coolest.
Unrelated/related: Props to the Old Dominion QB for throwing for 730 yards in a game last week. Though he doesn't play for Oregon, it's as if his spirit does.
3) LSU (1): Real crapfest against Auburn that SEC fans will say was LSU simply showing moxie and eeking it out. Realists will say their offense clearly isn't on track and it will come back to haunt them. Pessimists are just sad -- this LSU thing is going to last a long while. Truly unreal they're ranked third.
4) Florida State: Good news? Great win over Clemson. They had to flash quality offense, comeback, then hold steady after regaining the lead. It was everything you could want and more if you're a Noles fan. Bad news? Their all-world defense sprung a leak or two. Though FSU has a lot of momentum right now, I'm not particularly confident in their national title outlook (winning it, that is). That said, they're immensely likable, so nothin' but the best from me.
5) Georgia: Probably done talking about you for a while.
6) South Carolina: Spurrier with his own autograph on the visor he's wearing? #likeaboss
Also: this punt return didn't net a TD, but it's still one of the more impressive submissions of the 2012 season. More solid cuts than "Cruel Summer".
7) Kansas State: Kansas State, Kansas State, Kansas State. After an entire season of me using this space to talk about anything but you, vowing to only do so when you made the Top 10, the *week* you finally make it -- *this* very week -- you go and do a thing like this.
Victory t-shirts?! VICTORY T-SHIRTS?! Dudes, your credibility is gone.
Fans of Kenny Powers, do you have anything to say to Kansas State? Ah, yes.
8) Stanford: My new hope is you shredding Notre Dame and winning me over forever.
9) West Virginia: Haha, guns.
10) Notre Dame: Did Notre Dame show some promise last week? They did? Then hit 'em with the SI cover!!!
T'eo seems like a great kid and he's a hell of a football player who's obviously had a rough year, losing two people close to him in such a short time span, but ignoring all of that likable stuff, how seriously predictable was this for the university as a whole? The full cover! Drew makes fun of the Redskins for their "RETURN TO GLOREE" fanbase, but is anyone more guilty of this than ND? Good grief. And yes, I realize ND didn't give 'themselves' the cover, but SI ain't helping.
(More negative asides: they choked out Michigan and deserved to win, yes, but even with Michigan's apocalyptic ball control and no touchdowns, the Wolverines still out-gained the Irish; the scoreboard might not reflect that, but this wasn't "LSU not crossing the 50-yard-line" against 'Bama in the title game last year, and any Notre Dame fan who felt a hint of security -- even during the fourth quarter -- is prolly a liar.)
11) Florida: One away.
12) Texas: How has Texas stayed *this* under the radar?
14) Ohio State: The best part about this Urban Meyer quote, comparing Braxton Miller to Tebow, is it's really not offensive.
"Very similar guys," Meyer said. "They're both competitive human beings. They're both very talented people. Braxton has more talent. Tim is probably more of a grinder."
He's basically saying Braxton is more flash and Tebow just looks gross when he succeeds; not a big deal at all. That, of course, didn't stop Yahoo! from the classic "Braxton Miller more talented than Tim Tebow? Urban Meyer says so" headline, which is great because it asks the question like it's insane but then paints Urban as the one person who might think it.
He's 900% right, by the way. Miller is a better pure passer, is by far faster, and doesn't smell bad.
16) Oklahoma: DOWN goes Oklahoma. I'm sorry, boys.
17) Clemson: RIP, Clemson. Man, you put on a show last week. Tajh Boyd is such a joy to watch at QB. If you're going to peep a random college football game, it's great to stumble upon an offense you're watching him command. You just know you're in good hands.
18) Oregon State: This "Oregon State beats UCLA then goes to In-N-Out burger" story is just efficiently good. But seriously, great win for the Beavers, who have quietly started the season at 2-0 and in the Top 20.
20) Michigan State: Find everything you need to know about Mark Dantonio right here.
Man, where we we even start? Here: "Players make plays, plays don't make players" -- haha.
When that's -- by far -- the coolest thing you say in an interview, you're gonna run into problems. Around the 1:15 mark, Dantonio gets into snap mode. Because Coach D is gonna lay it out for you like this: "I don't have a whole lot of time in front of the cameras today -- that's the way it is."
This is, by far, the best exchange.
"Did you come up with any more clarity on the receiving corps?"
"OK, next question."
Anything more generally dismissive you'd like to add?
"I'm just loving all these questions because they're great ones."
Haha. I really, really cannot wait till he's gone.
21) Mississippi State
22) Nebraska: There she is.
24) Boise State: Can we petition to just keep Boise ranked No. 24 for the rest of the season, regardless of wins or losses?
Dropped from rankings:
Michigan: "We're similar teams from the standpoint that we don't quite have a tent over our circus right now."
That quote was Mike Leach describing the Washington State-Colorado game, but I think we can throw Michigan in there, too. Granted, the Wolverines are much further along than the Cougs or Buffs. They have pieces to be successful. As bad as the ND game was, there were encouraging signs. The defense was sturdy, Fitz was on and off, and the o-line's protection wasn't terrible. I said at the beginning of the year that Michigan will finish around No. 18, and I still believe that's very possible. Just gotta give the process time. They were way overvalued before, and they're a bit undervalued now. I'm glad they're unranked now. It will give them something to work towards. Something a lot more realistic than the mega-unrealistic pre-season expectations.
Arizona: RIP, RichRod. Sure, you lost by like 40+, but I watched most of that game -- the first half was competitive and you very well could have gone into halftime with the lead.
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Before we get to the slate, let's all watch this dope Russell Wilson commercial together, no? He's cool, and I bet it'll pump you up hard. Note: I'd planned on running this *before* he punched Green Bay in the head on Monday Night Football. Aright, I'll shut up, seriously watch this, though. If you can't watch, just audio it up.
Seriously, watch that video. "There's a king in every crowd"? He's the coolest person in the world.
Stanford (8) at Washington: Love this game. Man, have I flipped on Stanford, or what?
Friday Night Lights
Baylor (25) at West Virginia (9): I love when a team gets ranked No. 25 just in time to play another ranked team. The TV networks probably love it more. Regardless of this game's potential quality, it has to be here, because we need to learn more about West Virginia. How will they fare against BSCier competition?
Minnesota at Iowa: I'll be in Iowa City during this game on Saturday, but I don't have a ticket. Earlier in the year, I said I'd go if I could buy one that day for $40 bucks. My buddy P, who is also going on this trip, said he'd go for $20. At this point, though, wouldn't paying $20 almost be us getting ripped off? Iowa loses, and that's three in a row to Minnesota.
Marshall at Purdue: The Big Ten slate kicks off this weekend, yet the Boilermakers play Marshall. Why is this happening? And why is Michigan on bye? Why wouldn't they just play each other?
Ohio State (14) at Michigan State (20): I know there are a lot of people who hate on the Big Ten teams and even more people who probably think tOSU-MSU didn't deserve to get GameDay this week, but this is definitely our Game of the Week. If it's not, what is? And not only that, I do love this game. Though I think tOSU might really stumble after bailing themselves out more than a few times this year (all games at home, so far), does MSU really have enough offensive potency to blow them out? I say 'naw'. I expect a good game, acceptable at worst.
Clemson (17) at Boston College: As long as Clemson Tom keeps writing these great Clemson previews, you best believe they'll be featured in this space. Here's his outlook for this week:
This Saturday Clemson travels to Yankee country, a.k.a. Boston, MA, to take on the Eagles. The weather in Boston is going to be pretty crappy, obviously because it is in Yankee country, and they can't help it.
The weather might play a factor in how many points we score on Boston College, but it will not affect the outcome of Clemson winning at Boston College. I'm still wondering why anyone would want to play at Boston College.
When I think of Boston, I think of Paul Revere, and people weren't building shoes, and possibly drinking Sam Adams' beer. That is something I do like about Boston -- they love their beer. But that is basically all that I like about Boston.
This game should basically be another prepping for Clemson as Boston College lost to Northwestern last week. I expect to see some backup players in the second half as Clemson tries to rest their starters.
Idaho at North Carolina: This game sucks, but I'm not passing up an opportunity to link these patriotic UNC helmets. As someone who generally hates America themed stuff, these just stood out to me for whatever reason.
Tennessee at Georgia (5): If not for Georgia's slight -- but...probably not -- chance of susceptibility, for this Tennessee fan's facial hair. Also maybe worth nothing, this was the note I wrote to myself when I saved that picture: "Holy shit disgusting awesome!!! " ... Space after the exclamation points and everything.
Towson at LSU (3): Ugh, screw you, LSU. How long do we have to keep this charade going?
South Carolina (6) at Kentucky: Meh, maybe if Kentucky didn't lose games all the time. I feel like this game already happened. Or was that South Carolina-Vanderbilt?
Texas (12) at Oklahoma State: You ready to take this, Gundy?
Wisconsin at Nebraska (22): Let's get it goin', Huskers. Man, this outcome -- regardless of close win or blow out on either side -- will be hilarious.
Ole Miss at Alabama (1): Ehhhhhh.
Oregon State (21) at Arizona: The Hybrid's official Cinderella story, the Beavs, take on the late RichRod. Might have to even root for 'em to pull off a road win here.
Oregon (2) at Washington State: /shudder ... /double shudder
Oregon will win by double digits. Surprise!
Crossing off a huge item on my state of Iowa bucket list this weekend and going to the UNI-Dome to watch Northern Iowa play... play... well, come to think of it, I don't know. Hold on.
North Dakota State?!?
Well, whatever. They appear to be undefeated. UNI has two losses, though both were against BCS* teams. Hitting up a casino afterwards. This is probably a good weekend to do this, since the overall slate is kinda meh. Oh well.
(* - Wisconsin and Iowa, so not really)
Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to SBN Chicago. He can be reached at bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy.