It's Wednesday, which means I kept an eye out for the gnomes. They are diligent about their snark, and I was excited to see what they would bring me to work with in a week where Iowa lost. And hearing them share their incredulous reactions to Nebraska getting torched defensively by Wyoming right after handing out Blackshirts forced me to change the header lede. This is indeed the best gnome moderated weekly B1G round-up column ever.
Also, the gnomes wanted me to tell you that they love Duck Dynasty. Moving on.
What do you have to look forward to this week?
- We have a first time WIN! FIGHT! TRY! award winner
- MOAR Duck Dynasty references
- Iowa schadenfreude (though not as much as you might expect)
Let's get to the snark!
Just so you know, I started by typing out 0-1 for the Illini's record. That should say everything you need to know about the Tim Beckman era. When in doubt, assume a loss. In fact, winning is such a rare treat under Beckman that The Champaign Room wasn't sure how to handle it:
Did you know that this is the first Day After column I've written here at The Champaign Room that follows an Illinois win? It is. The Champaign Room didn't make its debut until late October last season when the Illini were already in the midst of their nine-game losing streak to finish the season.
So, here I am, writing my first post-victory football recap, and yet for some reason I still feel as though the Illini are coming off a loss. I guess that sums up life as an Illini football fan pretty well.
I don't blame you Tom. If my team almost coughed up a lead to Southern Illinois I'd be a little out of sorts myself. Heck, 1/4 of the Gnome Bench has been insistent that the UNLV game was a near miss for Minnesota, despite the attempts of his gnome brothers to reason with him.
In any case, a win is a win and Illinois fans aren't going to complain too much about starting the season on the right foot. There were even some reasons for hope:
That said, the Illini did average 6.4 yards per play yesterday. Which isn't an amazing number, but let's remember this offense averaged 4.47 yards per play last season. And most of that damage came through the air, as one of the Big Ten's worst passing offenses in 2012 managed to throw for 415 yards on Saturday, averaging 11.2 yards per attempt and 14.3 yards per completion.
These are good numbers. These are encouraging numbers. It was the best damn game Nathan Scheelhaase has ever had, and odds are he's going to be the Big Ten's Offensive Player Of The Week because of it.
So good on you Illinois! You avoided starting the season with a WIN! FIGHT! TRY! award. The gnomes think that mustachioed Tim Brewster would be proud of you!
Up next? Cincinnati travels to Champbana to feast on another B1G cellar dweller. 11am CST on ESPN2.
Hung 73 points on something called the Indiana State Sycamores. Allowed something called the Indiana State Sycamores to score 35 points. The gnomes would like to give Indiana the Two Face award in recognition of the fact that their offense and defense are clearly not of the same mind.
The Crimson Quarry has chosen to focus on the offensive fireworks:
The Hoosiers had a record setting night offensively last night. Indiana scored 10 touchdowns last night, shattering the previous Memorial Stadium record of 8 touchdowns against Wisconsin in 2001. The only time Indiana has scored higher than what they did in the game last night was in 1901 in a storied rivalry against those bastards down at Franklin College.
Up next? Navy looks to sink Indiana's fast attack offense in Bloomington. Sat, 5pm CST on BTN.
The gnomes want to get something straight right right off the bat. Iowa schadenfreude is always appropriate. But after conferring over some tasty grilled meat products at their Labor Day picnic, the gnomes decided to dial it back a notch this week. Why? Well mostly because Northern Illinois isn't a bad team. And because they don't want to run out of energy before Iowa finds a way to lose to Iowa State (an outcome that would make Northern Iowa the KING OF IOWA FOOTBALL for a whole year). So rather than a massive BWAHAHAHAHAHA! the gnomes think that this is more appropriate.
Black Heart Gold Pants definitely felt some familiar feelings:
For a while, things were different. For a while, the Iowa offense looked not just competent, but dangerous. For a while, the Iowa defense was actually able to shut down Jordan Lynch and the Northern Illinois offense. For a while.Unfortunately, "for a while" is not the entire game and ultimately things weren't different enough in this game for Iowa to get a different result than the result that we saw again and again and again last year.
This is the part where I mention that Ferentz's buyout is currently north of 16 million dollars.
Up next? Missouri State (a school I didn't know existed) comes to Kinnick to be ritually sacrificed before a totem pole of stoic Kirk Ferentz faces. 11am CST on BTN.
DAAAAAAYUMMMM Michigan! Maize n Brew, thoughts?
Central Michigan's Cody Kater completed a 17-yard pass on the first play of the game; from that point forward, it was all Michigan, minus an ultimately inconsequential blip or two here and there.
Or as the gnomes would have put it:
"Central Michigan's Cody Kater completed a 17-yard pass on the first play of the game and..."
Up next? Notre Dame stops by Ann Arbor for the final (as of now) meeting of this regional rivalry. 7pm CST on ESPN.
Michigan State: 1-0
While Michigan did their duty and thrashed a MACrifice, Michigan State decided to flirt with the idea of pulling a Kirk. The Only Colors is understandably concerned about this:
Ever since last year's Central Michigan game, this offense has regressed so much. There's just so much wrong with it. It falls on everyone. Line still struggling to block, receivers can't get open nor catch, the quarterbacks can't throw and refuse to throw downfield, and the gameplan is still confusing. The worst passing performance in the Dantonio era, as Heck backed up with numbers.
The gnomes would like to withdraw their Two Face award from Indiana and give it to MSU. But that's not how they roll. Instead they'd like to award MSU the Wheel Of Fortune award as Mark Dantonio tries to pick a starting QB who doesn't play like the forward pass is illegal.
Up next? South Florida heads to East Lansing. South Florida lost badly to McNeese State. MSU had better win. 11am on ESPNU.
Wyoming? Really Nebraska? I mean, are you just trying to make us laugh at your misfortune? Gnomes, your thoughts?
For something less snarky, we turn to Corn Nation:
Wyoming was supposed to go away late and lose by a large margin, but they wouldn't co-operate with that concept, coming back on two Nebraska turnovers to score 13 points in the fourth quarter and terrify every Husker fan alive.
The Huskers Blackshirt defense gave up a ton of yardage (602 total), allowing Cowboy quarterback Brett Smith to complete 29 passes on 43 attempts for 383 yards and four touchdowns. Dominic Rufran caught caught 11 passes for 120 yards, and running back Shaun Wick rushed for 101.
Up next? Southern Miss travels to the land of corn. 5pm CST on BTN.
Did you stay up and watch this one? You should have. Despite accusations of injury fake outs, Northwestern beat Cal on the road by two scores. The gnomes feel this video summary should help you understand exactly what happened.
Still a little lost? Sippin' On Purple is here to help:
The Northwestern team I saw was probably a bowl team, but they struggled to put away an underwhelming opponent. At the very least, NU needs to get the offensive line and secondary tuned up to host Syracuse next week or risk entering conference play with a loss.
Also, the game produced two quality GIFs:
Up next? Northwestern faces Syracuse (again) at home. 5pm CST on BTN.
Ohio State: 1-0
This one wasn't the dominating win the gnomes were expecting out of Ohio State.
While it wasn't perfect, Land Grant Holy Land found some positives:
Despite the unbelievable high expectations, there are plenty of great takeaways for these Buckeyes. The defense held the Bulls to 3-14 on third down, and only 240 yards on the day, a good portion of that while the injury bug was biting. Jordan Hall could end up being the most important cog in the offense, after his impressive display of between-the-tackles and open-field running. And Miller has certainly improved his arm, and still has an incredibly high ceiling.
Up next? tOSU travels to Berkley to take on the Fighting Hippie Bears. 6pm CST on FOX.
Penn State: 1-0
Frosh phenomgot it done, as Penn State beat Syracuse 23-17 on a "neutral" field. In honor of the baby faced youngster's solid start, the gnomes would like to reward him with elementary school stickers. I mean, he's closer to "stickers for success" age then I am to college age.
Black Shoe Diaries was suitably impressed:
The kid can sling it. And with BOB coaching him, we don't have to worry about Hackenberg getting a big head. Asked to describe the beauty of the deep ball Hack completed to Geno Lewis for 54 yards and a score, BOB beat down the beat reporter. "Let's not waltz him into the College Football Hall of Fame, here. All he did was throw the ball - he's on scholarship for that."
Yes he is, BOB. There will be more learning, and more interceptions, to be sure. But the future sure looks pretty.
Up next? Eastern Michigan brings the FAIL PARADE to Happy Valley. 11am CST on BTN.
Welp, that was quick. Purdue fans bought into new head coach Darrell Hazell and the team's "new culture" hard. I won't fault them for that, as I can recall many of us doing the same with Kill. But watching Purdue fans get cocky about beating Cincy for reasons passing my understanding means that I still got a dose of the giggles from seeing this one get out of hand in the 2nd Half. Being a Cincy fan by marriage didn't help my sympathy levels much.
Hammer and Rails? Well, they're ready for this whole turnaround to take a while but are still looking on the bright side:
We'll know more next week. Indiana State is likely without Shakir Bell and because of that, they lost their best shot of pulling the upset. They also gave up 73 points to Indiana. I don't expect to score 73, but I do expect a comfortable win where Purdue works some things out and executes what did not work this week. From there, we simply get better. This is just the first step and it shows we have a longer way to go than we thought.
Remember: The road to the 2000 Rose Bowl started with an ugly 1997 opening loss at a MAC school.
I hate to rain on the optimism with snark (no I don't, it's kind of the point of this column), but thanks to the giant bucket of FAIL that Rob Henry and company unleashed at Nippert the gnomes have awarded Purdue their very first WIN! FIGHT! TRY! award.
I'm sure Purdue fans are very proud.
Up next? Indiana State looks to avoid getting 73 hung on them at Ross-Aide. 11am CST on BTN.
Wisconsin did Wisconsin things to UMass (no, there were no dead bodies involved). For beating down a terrible team as they should, the gnomes turn to Si for some wisdom:
It's useful advice, perfect for cleaning off any pesky dandruff flakes from your grease stained Teach Me How To Bucky t-shirt.
The running game started the Gary Andersen era off right, gashing the UMass defense to the tune of 393 yards and four touchdowns. The big hogs up front opened up big holes regularly for James White, Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement. The running backs looked as good as advertised, and I couldn't help but notice that White looks like he added some bulk to his upper frame. I don't think the stiff-arm we saw on his 51-yard touchdown run was in his arsenal in previous years.
But the most impressive guy in the running game was Ryan Groy. The Badgers were routinely going left behind big ol' No. 79 and Tyler Marz to start, and then on the two long touchdown runs right, Groy perfectly executed a pull and seal from his left guard position to open up monster holes for White and Gordon.
I'd consider snarking about quality of opponent, but there wasn't anything in this win that makes me doubt Wisconsin's ability to keep running the ball. Y U KNOW SCREW THINGS UP LIKE HAZELL?
Up next? Something called Tennessee Tech comes to Camp Randall to get stomped on. 11am CST on BTN.
More from The Daily Gopher:
- Minnesota Football: Charts and Chalk! - UNLV
- The Monday Perspective: We Won the Game But The Expectations Game Was Lost
- Minnesota Football: GIF Reaction to UNLV Victory Reactions
- Minnesota Hockey: Gophers Host Ohio State in Hockey City Classic
- Minnesota Volleyball: Tori Dixon Named Big Ten Player of the Week