Time for your weekly gnome moderated look at how all of our B1G brethren fared this past week and who/what they face in Week 3. Normally I'd simply go in alphabetical order, but I want to relish the pain of one of our rivals right up top. Wisconsin? You're up.
How to describe what I saw on Saturday? It was...terrible. Like, I had trouble believing that I was watching a Wisconsin offense. They failed to convert a 4th and less than 1. That should be the gimmiest of gimmies for a Wisconsin offensive line and running game. I don't care if they manage to shake this off and perform pretty well the rest of the year (I'm not betting on that btw), the reactions around Madison have been simply fantastic to witness. No one wants to talk about it. I haven't seen folks so sad since the Pack choked in the playoffs this past season. Bucky's 5th Quarter managed to keep some (misplaced?) optimism though:
Obviously there is supreme disappointment in Saturdays result given the current expectations in Madison. That said, a Big Ten title is still well within reach if there is improvement in a number of areas, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
To say I don't buy that as a likely outcome is an understatement. Coach Turkey Neck fired his O-Line coach already. He was saying things like this in his press conference:
"Panic is for the outside world," Bielema said. "Reality is where I live."
Let that doozy sink in for a minute. That's the sort of thing BREWSTER would say. This situation has taken a turn for the weird and fantastic. Even the local Madison scribes are (rightfully) calling Bielema out:
Of the six assistant coaching hires Bielema made during what he called a "chaotic and hectic" offseason, offensive line coach was one of the two most important (along with offensive coordinator). And by firing the battle-tested line coach he hired and replacing him with a coaching novice two games into the season, Bielema is admitting he made a colossal mistake in the first place.
So friends, enjoy this Schadenfreude sugar high for as long as it lasts. Feel free to join the Gopher Gnomes in wishing Brett and his boys good luck on the rest of their season:
Up next? Utah State (who just beat big brother Utah) at home. 7pm on BTN.
Now back to your regular alphabetical roundup...
So...yea. I don't think anyone knows if Illinois' defense is for real or not. In week 1 they shut down a Western Michigan offense that was dominant again in week 2. But they got torched by Arizona State on the road. What does A Lion Eye think?
Tonight, our defense was want-less. Uninspired. On their heels. Shell shocked. Todd Graham’s offense started moving the ball at will, and suddenly we look nothing like the defense of the last 15 games. Players haven’t really changed much, scheme is similar, but the defense didn’t really want it tonight. Poor tackling ruled the day. Arizona State barely had to deal with third down situations. We didn’t seem to want it at all.
Up next? Something called Charleston Southern, 11am on BTN.
Well, Indiana wore white helmets and won a game decisively. Sadly, that is not what people will remember. The Crimson Quarry sums it up thus:
It's obvious and undeniable that the injury to IU's sophmore quarterback, Tre Roberson, who will miss the remainder of the season after breaking his leg in the second quarter, will be the lasting memory from this game. It says something about the snakebitten nature of IU football that IU's first FBS win in nearly two years, the second win of the season after going 1-11 last season (and the first win in white helmets since the 1960s!), simply couldn't stand alone as a good thing.
Up next? Ball State at home. 7pm on BTN.
Iowa is a tire fire right now. Seriously, here is an image of what their offense hath wrought:
The schadenfreude is delicious. A sampling of the reaction over at Black Heart Gold Pants:
This offense. My god, this offense.
The Gopher Gnomes would again like to say:
Up next? Northern Iowa (you know, the team that almost beat Wisconsin?) comes to Kinnick. 2:30pm on BTN.
Michigan State (2-0)
Well, here's the cream of the B1G crop. Michigan State is the clear front runner after easily handling Central Michigan. They're your Rose Bowl representative until someone else steps up (I'm not holding my breath). The Only Colors was pleased:
Hooray for a game that should be a blowout actually being a blowout. MSU wasn't totally sharp at the beginning of the game, but once Andrew Maxwell got rolling, the game was over. And roll he did: 21 of 32 for 287 yards and 2 touchdowns will do quite nicely, thankyouverymuch. More impressively, the defense pitched a shutout, and still hasn't allowed a touchdown on the year. (CMU scored its touchdown via pick-six, courtesy of Connor Cook.)
Up next? Notre Dame comes to Spartan Stadium for what is easily the Game of the Week in the B1G. 7pm on ABC.
Michigan could not put Air Force away. I mean, I know that the triple option is weird. But if they are going to prove that they belong at the top of the B1G then move improvement must be shown on the defensive side of the ball. Denard tried very hard to revive his September Heisman hopes, as he accounted 101% of Michigan's offensive production (apparently such a thing is possible). Maize n Brew's thoughts?
Michigan looked to take control in the second half with two straight touchdown drives, but Air Force put together two touchdown drives as well, including one on a short field, in the third quarter to keep pace. In the fourth quarter Michigan's defense clamped down with a stop and a field goal extended the lead to six. Air Force had a couple opportunities to score late, but Michigan's defense stepped up when it needed to -- including Jake Ryan's quarterback pressure on the final Air Force offensive play -- and the Wolverines walked away with a win.
Up next? Massachusetts (who Indiana just demolished) @ The Big House. 2:30pm on BTN.
To crib from Home Alone, "Nebraska, your defense...WOOF!" Just...no. Bad Nebraska defense! Bad! How bad? This is worse than anything did and only 3 yards away from being the worst defensive game in Husker history. Corn Nation had no trouble seeing this for what it was:
I admit it; I was completely wrong about the Blackshirts. I attributed last week's issues to first game jitters and not having anything to base their plan on. I figured that the tackling issues would fix naturally.
The Gopher Gnomes did not find it any easier to watch then CN did:
Up next? Arkansas State comes to Lincoln. 11am on ESPN2.
Well then. A fellow B1G squad who felt like winning. I'd have preferred that they hadn't seemingly improved on defense, but what are you going to do? But that inconsistency has Sippin' On Purple thinking cautiously about the season:
First off, not to be a buzz-kill, but I'm not going nuts over this team yet. Sure, the team looks like it could start off with seven wins and the rest of the Big Ten looks shoddy at best, but I don't think this team is significantly better than I did when I made season previews. Way more crazy fun than I thought? Yeah, but we have to remember that this is still a team that just eked out two wins against teams that aren't world-beaters.
Up next? Boston College comes to Evanston as the 3rd BCS conference team NU has faced this season. 2:30pm on BTN.
Ohio State (2-0)
Well, that was closer than it needed to be for a bit but OSU got their win over UCF. I find it hard to be interested in this team since they can't play in the postseason. So I'll hand it over to Land Grant Holy Land:
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer wasn't lying when he said that UCF would be a venerable increase of the degree of difficulty relative to the Buckeyes' season opener. In a game that never saw the Central Florida Knights lead, Ohio State continued to press through a variety of growing pains en route to a 31-16 win over UCF. With perhaps the first sub-105,000 attendance game since Terrelle Pryor's debut as Ohio State's starting quarterback, the Buckeyes struggled with consistency as their fans struggled to disprove UCF coach George O'Leary's criticism earlier this week that Ohio State wasn't as loud of an environment as Wisconsin and Iowa.
Up next? Cal comes to The Shoe.
1am 1pm on ABC.
Penn State (0-2)
So...yea. Things took a turn didn't they? Am I a horrible person that I don't feel bad for PSU? I mean, I feel bad for their kicker. He's going to take a lot of crap and I wish him nothing but perfect kicks the rest of the season (seriously...he stepped into the breach after their #1 kicker bailed on the team). And I feel bad for the team since it's not their fault all of this is going down. But the university and fanbase...I can't say this bothers me. The Paterno bobblehead and cardboard cutout brigade last weekend plus all the denial has really rubbed me the wrong way. I know that means rational fans are getting lumped in but...well, there it is. Anyway, Black Shoe Diaries had stuff to say about the game:
But this is winning time, and there's no winner like Matt McGloin. The offense ran the two-minute drill with aplomb, getting the ball down to the 25-yard line, giving Sam Ficken one last chance to redeem himself...
And he failed. Miserably. Fantastic.
I'd point out that the coaching staff had a timeout in their pocket and could have tried to get the ball closer rather than a kneel down that made this kick near the kid's career long but, ya know.
Well wishes to Ficken from the Gopher Gnome:
Up next? Navy at Happy Valley. I think 3-0 is a definite possibility here. 2:30pm on ABC/ESPN2.
Supposedly Purdue got screwed a couple of times in this game. Not sure if that's true, but I'm willing to believe it because EFF NOTRE DAME that's why. Still, if there's such a thing as a good loss this is probably it. Well, minus the Angry Purdue ACL Eating God (APACLEG) attack on Robert Marve.
There are still a ton of positives to take from this game. If Purdue learns from this it can still be a special season. As much as this one stings, it was not a conference game. It has no bearing whatsoever on our ability to get to Indianapolis and maybe, in our wildest dreams, Pasadena.
You keep on dreaming Purdue fans. I only half mock. At least for you that dream is remotely plausible. I'm still dreaming of 6-6 over here.
Up next? Eastern Michigan goes to the city that doesn't exist. 11am on BTN.