Man, did the Big Ten take a beating yesterday. Surprisingly enough, it was not because of its two new teams. Maryland surged in the fourth quarter to dispatch South Florida on the road, and Rutgers held on to the lead as Howard tried to surge back late in the game. Illinois needed a rally to beat the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, and Minnesota held on to beat Middle Tennessee and Iowa came back to beat Ball State.
But we should have known how bad of a day it would be when Nebraska had a dog fight on their hands to unhusk McNeese State. Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State had early season measuring stick games — the games that lets you know where your team stands in the whole scheme of things.
Michigan and Notre Dame was just a bad game for the Wolverines. The Catholics drubbed Michigan 31-0 — if only they were on the road they would have gotten all four points in the Napkin Rankings. I didn’t watch any of this game because, well fuck Notre Dame.
Now Michigan State going into Oregon was interesting, a brave bit of scheduling for the Spartans even when they made that decision several years ago. Maybe they were thinking Oregon and their really stupid uniforms would be dead by now? But they aren’t, and it made for a most thrilling game. It really looked like Sparty’s hitting was going to lead them to the win in the second quarter.
But after halftime the Ducks’ defense seemed to go back to basics, and it worked. Quarterback Marcus Mariota led his team to score the final 28 points of the game for the 46-27 win, and the Ducks showed they’re still a force to be reckoned with. But really, that’s not a loss for Sparty to bemoan. They actually lost to a good team.
I’m still wondering if I can say the same thing for Ohio State. I can’t say what Virginia Tech showed us on offense was all that impressive, but their defense was pretty remarkable. They look like they can at least hang with Florida State for a little while.
But the Buckeye offense looked like garbage. At home. Before over 100,000 folks at the Horseshoe. That was a shocking 35-21 loss, especially when the final seven points they scored were helped by a fumble by Hokie quarterback Michael Brewer on his 15-yard line early in the fourth quarter.
Actually that was the most surprising part of the game. It seemed that from that point when Ohio State tied the game at 21-21, they had finally found their footing, shook off the rust, whatever hackneyed cliche you want to use for this, and they would take control of the game. I figured the Buckeyes would score three more times in the quarter, and we’d look down on the ACC with a bemused smiling shake of the head.
But no. Brewer calmly took his team on a six-play, 65-yard touchdown drive to retake the lead. The Hokies defense kept rushing the passer, and the Buckeyes offensive line broke down. Now, instead of questioning the ACC, we are all questioning the Big Ten. Finally, after years of knowing the truth, the results have come to bear.
THE BIG TEN HAVE FINALLY SHOWED TO THE WORLD THAT THEY ARE GARBAGE. The rankings:
1. BYU (6 points)
2. USC (5 points)
3. NOTRE DAME (4 points)
6. OLE MISS (3.5 points)
7. ARIZONA (3 points)