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Big Ten Football Review: The One Where The Gnomes Are Mad At Me

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A delayed but still snark filled roundup of the Big Ten.

Couple quick notes:

1) The gnomes are mad at me. So much snarkable behavior in the B1G and here I am in a bad mood or busy with work.

2) Actually, that's the only note they'll...

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Alright, alright...I get the message.

Illinois (2-1)

Last week: Lost at Washington 44-1

Oh Tim Beckman. Gopher fans have long joked that you were Tim Brewster in disguise, Tim Brewster's long lost brother, or the man who taught Timmy B how to do that thing he does. But this was just the Brewster-ist weekend of them all for you wasn't it?

That wasn't all:

"As you look at that second half, we won,"

...

"We're at least moving the right direction," he said. "We need to do that for three more quarters. If you can do the math, I think that's eight wins."

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You just keep doing you Timmy. The rest of us will reap the benefits. In honor of your excellent impersonation, the gnome award you the Golden Brewster 'Stache award:

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Tim only wishes he could drop nuggets like this as a head coach again.


Over to The Champaign Room:

Well, this one hurt.  Big time.  The biggest thing I will say about the coaching staff is that they need to learn how to properly execute an offensive series.  When your offense converts 1 of 11 on 3rd downs, there's a serious coaching problem.  Part of that my be the players on the field, but they're only as prepared as they are coached to be.  The defense kept us in the game, but 3 turnovers were the second part of our struggles in the game.

Next Up? Saturday at 3pm against the Bobcats of Texas State on ESPN News.

Indiana (1-1)

Last week: MACtion defeat at the hands of Bowling Green, 45-42

Poor, misunderstood Indiana. Your bye week only delayed the inevitable. This is what we said last week:

I'm guessing Indiana fans are dreaming of the day where going on the road to Bowling Green doesn't even elicit a single shred of concern.

Keep dreaming Hoosiers. The gnomes would like to mock you further, but the sad words the writers of The Crimson Quarry threw out after the game should be delivered as quickly as possible:

You can't lose to MAC teams. You just can't do it. You can't spend all season touting the steps forward the program has taken and then lose to a MAC team. I don't care if you're playing here, there, wherever. Season goals don't get reached when you lose winnable games. This was the easiest road trip IU was going to get this year and they couldn't cash it in. That's troubling. I'm not advocating for Wilson's sacking, but this looks a whole lot like more of the same 3-5 win quagmire the program has been mired in forever.

There's more:

Every kid growing up has their sporting hero, the one that first introduces them to the joys of triumph, the agony of defeat. When we'd play football growing up, some kids wanted to be Aikman, Rice, Smith, Favre, or Moss. I wanted to be Randle El. I remember telling my mother I'd name my son Antwaan one day. His senior season was coming up and he was moving over to wide receiver for our new star quarterback, Tommy Jones. I was more excited for that Thursday night game against NC State than anything that had happened in my short little life previously.

Surely this would be the season. A bowl game.

Nope.

Southern Illinois? Nope. Central Michigan? Nope. Ball State? Nope. Navy? Nope. This list could continue on in perpetuity.

I woke up this morning in a good mood, excited for the day to come. Planning my trip to Columbia next week, thinking about the season in front of the Hoosiers. Well, if we can just hang with Mizzou and steal one, there's a very real possibility we could be 6-0 heading to Iowa in Week 8. National attention, the sexy offensive team,  could be just like Baylor. Then what? New Year's Day Bowl Game? Just think -- with that momentum....

Nope.

Every time you lament being a Gopher football fan the gnomes want to remind you that it could always be worse.

Next up? At Missouri, 3pm on SEC Network.

Iowa (2-1)

Last Week: THE WORLD CAME TO AN END

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The Ferentz came through!!!!!!!!!!
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Black Heart Gold Pants, we'll just leave it to you. Please note that the gnomes and I really must insist you click on the links and read the full articles. Far too delicious to miss!

Iowa has three kickers and two punters on the team, three of which are on scholarship.  The punters were fine today.  The kickers have been so bad that Iowa wouldn't even allow them to kick a field goal in the first half. When Iowa needed a field goal to tie in the fourth quarter, BOTH KICKERS RAN ONTO THE FIELD.  You are reading this correctly: Iowa momentarily sent out two kickers to kick a field goal like it was a 35-yard free kick in the fucking Premier League.  Marshall Koehn made it, thankfully.  The guy with the scholarship did a nice job on two extra points, and probably shouldn't expect to have to kick any more than that in coming weeks given the offensive coordinator and head coach.  Iowa didn't recruit the local guy who just beat them, by the way.

Iowa followed that ridiculous display of sideline execution by -- you guessed it -- botching the clock at the end of the game, letting 15 seconds tick away before calling a crucial timeout during Iowa State's final drive.  Iowa was celebrating the 2004 team today, a group that is best known for throwing a bomb to beat LSU despite Kirk Ferentz not realizing that the clock was running as the ball was snapped.  I guess we just wanted them to feel at home.

Ferentz then tried to ice the kicker, but waited too long and let him actually miss the kick before bringing it back for a mulligan.  For proper kicker icing, we'll need to add another million to that contract.

MOAR? Moar.

- This is Iowa football... and it's not working. I wish I had better things to tell you after a disappointing result like that, but nobody can watch that Iowa offense and conclude that anything's going well. The Greg Davis Experiment is in year three, and it is crashing and burning with stunning aplomb.

Marc Morehouse delivered a withering indictment of everything going wrong in this article from Sunday, and there are several doozies. You can start here:

It was a zone read from Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock to running back Damon Bullock. Rudock rarely keeps the ball on a zone read and defenses know that. So, the one half step gained by the deception was lost long ago.

And then there was Iowa State defensive end Mitchell Meyers. He lined up across from center Austin Blythe. Blythe's aim was clearly the linebacker and he locked up there. It looked as though Mitchell might've been left guard Sean Welsh's block. Either way, no one touched Mitchell.

He nearly took what was an uncomfortable-looking and late handoff. Rudock was spun around and actually tried to throw a block. Four ISU defenders buried Bullock, whose 1.8 yards per carry in Iowa's 20-17 loss to Iowa State was cemented with that play.

It goes downhill from there. But you know that. You saw the game too.

Comment section meltdowns? We've got 'em.

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Next up? Hawkeyes at Pittsburgh. 11am on ESPNU.

Maryland (2-1)

Last week: Lost to West Virginia, 30-27

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The gnomes and I have got nothing. We still aren't paying enough attention to Maryland to have snarky thoughts on this one. We'll let Testudo Times cover it:

Maryland's defense and special teams units made a handful of game-turning plays in the second half, but the Terrapins' offense couldn't sustain drives long enough to beat West Virginia at Byrd Stadium on Saturday.

Josh Lambert hit a 47-yard field goal as time expired, pushing the Mountaineers past the Terps to end a wild afternoon.

Oh yea, this was the game with the funky uniforms which completely distinguished it from every other Maryland game. Wait a minute. SNARK! WE ACHIEVED MORE MARYLAND SNARK!
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via www.reactiongifs.us

Next up? At Syracuse.11am on ESPN3.

Michigan (2-1)

Last week: Beat Miami (OH), 34-10

Well Michigan, at least you were trying to lose for a while. Hat tip for the effort. Compared to Iowa, you elicit a MEH from the gnomes though. Maize n Brew?

Coming off a demoralizing 31-0 loss against rival Notre Dame, Michigan needed to step up and avoid a poor performance at home against an inferior opponent.

It appeared it was heading in that direction... At least for the first half.

The Wolverines (2-1, 2-0 at home) fought off an anemic first half performance to defeat Miami (0-2) 34-10 at Michigan Stadium on Saturday. Michigan's running game was once again the difference-maker in this contest, gaining 276-yards on the ground. Sophomore running back Derrick Green led the way with 137-yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

#HokeHotseatRanking is now at FOREST FIRE.

Next up? Utah comes to the Big House to worry the Wolverine faithful. 2:30pm on ABC/ESPN2.

Michigan State (1-1)

Last week: BYE

Well, you didn't lose to anyone terrible. Good on ya.

Let's see what The Only Colors has to say about this weekend:

Still digesting the lessons learned in the 46-27 loss at No. 3 Oregon on Sept. 6, which saw the Ducks finish the game off by scoring the game's final 28 points to counter an unanswered 20-point run from Michigan State earlier in the game, No. 11 Michigan State returns to action Saturday as a massive favorite, with the spread sitting at just over 45 points.

Next week: Directional Michigan. No it doesn't matter which one. 11am on BTN.

Nebraska (3-0)

Last week: Beat Fresno State 55-19

The gnomes didn't watch this one. They were sleepy. They assume it went something like this for Nebraska:
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Let's see if Corn Nation agrees:

All white uniforms? Late kickoff? 90's through the whole game? It simply didn't matter.

Behind another 110 yard performance by Ameer Abdullah, 325 total yards by Tommy Armstrong Jr, and a Punt Return Touchdown by Demornay Pierson-El, the Nebraska Cornhuskers got on top early and thoroughly defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs 55-19 in front of a sold out house of 41,031 at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, California Saturday night.

So yea, walk in the park.

Next up? Miami (the real one from Florida) comes to Lincoln. 7pm on ESPN2.

Northwestern (0-2)

Last week: BYE

All together now.

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The gnomes are still laughing. Good on the gnomes. Inside NU breaks down this weekend:

Through two games, Northwestern isn't just losing the game's key battles, but also failing to do the little things. The team needs to improve on both sides of the ball in game three to prove they are ready for conference play. Three big things for Northwestern's match-up with Western Illinois:

1) Don't suck so much.

2) Suck less than you do now.

3) Stop sucking.

Next up? Western Illinois continues it's B1G barnstorming tour with a trip to Evanston. 11am on ESPN News

Ohio State (2-1)

Last week: Kent State is no more.

And just like that...

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Farewell Kent State. The gnomes hope you score some points again one of these days Land Grant Holy Land, break down the merciless destruction.
This one was in the books long before the final whistle. The Buckeyes jumped out to an early lead, and refused to take their feet off the gas during the first half. Going into the break, OSU led 45-0, a margin that only got bigger in the 2nd half.

Probably could have stopped the summary after the first sentence.

Next up? BYE

Penn State (3-0)

Last week: Beat Rutgers thanks to Rutgers QB being a turnover machine, 13-10

The gnomes are proud of you Penn State. But only because you shut down the inevitable guido brag fest that would have followed a win by Rutgers. Everything else last week. You know, the parts where your students chanted for Paterno's statue and whatnot...no. Stop it. Move on and stop making your gnomes look bad. They don't care for it one bit.

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Anywho, the gnomes didn't have to watch this...

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...and for that they are happy. Black Shoe Diaries:

To answer the story title question briefly, Penn State was overwhelmed by a high flying BTPR defense in the first half, but weathered the storm with another strong defensive performance. The offense began to move the ball after halftime, but did not find the end zone until New Jersey native Bill Belton walked in with just over a minute left to rip BTPR's hearts out.

For some reason Penn State and Rutgers have unintelligible acronyms for each other. It's annoying.

Next up? Massachusetts (who are not totally terrible) come to Happy Valley. 3pm on BTN.

Purdue

Last week: Lost to Notre Dame, 30-14.

Played Notre Dame closer than they should have because...no one knows why. It's a thing they do. They still lose those which means...

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The gnomes like it when Purdue loses because TRAIN CRASH GIFS (yes, they played well enough to deserve not getting the GIF, no the gnomes don't care). Hammer and Rails doesn't though:

Purdue made me quit tonight.

After the first two series, when Notre Dame walked down the field for an early score and then Purdue had a pedestrian 3 and out I had enough. I had to walk away and I said as such on Twitter. I went, played with my son for a bit to get some perspective, and came back around the time that Brandon Cottom bulldozed into the end zone. It was the beginning of a pretty solid run for Purdue, but it wasn't enough in the end.

Once again, Purdue was facing an opponent that did not play its best game, but was able to take advantage of the Boilers' mistakes.

Up next? Southern Illinois at Purdue. 11am on BTN.

Rutgers

Last week: LOST TO STUPID ACRONYM IN THE BIGGEST GAME IN RUTGERS IN FOREVER.

If you'd told me this would happen...

...I'd have assumed Rutgers would follow it by keeling over. To their credit, they didn't. Instead they lost a heartbreaker.

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We know you are Rutgers. You can pretend all you want, but you had this one and it hurts. The Scarlet Knights were in great shape until Gary Nova, a QB who is after Brett Favre's title of terrible gunslinging decision maker, decided the way to win was to throw interceptions.

5 Interceptions.

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Oh, and he did this too:

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That's a pass from 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Magical.

On The Banks summarizes thusly:

This was a contest that transcended the field of play, as PSU coach James "Hype" Franklin was counting on a win to silence Rutgers fans and to solidify his recruiting in the Garden State.  On the flip side, RU coach Kyle Flood had created a mantra, of sorts, by never referring to PSU by its actual name, preferring to call it "that school from Pennsylvania".

Keep fighting the fight Rutgers. One day it will be a rivalry again. Maybe.

Next up: On the road at Navy. 2:30 pm on CBS Sports Network.

Wisconsin

Last week: BYE

Nice work.

Bucky's 5th Quarter, tell us about this weekend:

Anyways, Wisconsin football is back this weekend with an 11 a.m. kickoff against defending MAC champion Bowling Green. That's about as much football analysis as I can handle for a beer post, so let's get down to the good stuff.

I've got two different beer options for you this weekend: one brewery that will be easy for you to get in Madison and one brewery that you should ask your BGSU friends to bring with them. You have BGSU friends, right? Ones that are coming to the game? Shoot. Maybe just keep the second brewery in mind the next time you swing by Toledo, then.

Ohio is known for a lot of things: the ability to trade wares for tattoos, criminal activity on par with Florida (the Australia to USA's England), astronauts and a burgeoning beer scene. The first craft brewery in Ohio (founded in 1988 by the brothers Conway) and probably still the best is Great Lakes Brewing out of Cleveland. One of the first craft beers I remember trying, and enjoying, was their Burning River Pale Ale. Well-hopped, but not tongue-scorchingly so, and clocking in at 6 percent ABV, Burning River is named for the actual burning of the Cuyahoga River in 1969. I'm proud to say I only had to look up how to spell Cuyahoga twice.

It has won seven gold medals at the World Beer Championships, and they are all deserved. As the weather slowly (or quickly) dips into fall temperatures, a porter is often more desirable to drink in the early-morning hours. The roasty, coffee, chocolate notes are great with a breakfast brat. Luckily, Great Lakes makes an excellent one: the Edmund Fitgerald Porter. At 5.8 percent ABV and lightly hopped, this porter goes well with grilled meats. If you'll indulge me for a moment, as I learned something new the other week, the style of beer known as "porter" gets its name from the English dudes who hauled luggage and goods to open air markets and hotels. They liked to drink this style of beer, and so the style took its name directly from its top consumers.

I will lastly mention the Great Lakes Christmas Ale. You won't be able to buy this until November, but this is my favorite beer they make. It sells out quickly, but is worth the search. They brew it with cinnamon, fresh ginger and honey and they only thing more Christmas-y to drink is eggnog and brandy (because, you know, Wisconsin).

My second brewery that you should check out is Maumee Bay Brewing out of Toledo, a mere 25 miles north of BGSU. They do not distribute much out of northeast Ohio, but do growler fills if you know someone coming into Madison for the weekend. My wife's glamorous job often finds her in Toledo for work. Not only has this gotten me one Toledo Mud Hens t-shirt, it has allowed her to try this fine brewery on a couple of occasions. Her favorite is their double IPA, Amarillo Brillo. It is available at various times throughout the year -- unfortunately not right now according to their website -- and is 8.4 percent ABV with a whopping 101 IBU (international bittering units, or how hoppy the beer is with the higher the number, the hoppier the beer). This beer is also rated a 93 on Beer Advocate, but anything with "double" or "imperial" in the name automatically is rated about a 90 there. It's the law.

After a quick perusal of the rest of Maumee's lineup, the two beers I recommend trying for this weekend if you can are their Oktoberfest and the Buckeye Beer. The Oktoberfest is a classic Märzen-style that you've probably tried at any number of breweries, with roasted Munich malts and a caramel sweetness to it. The Buckeye Beer is a Czech-style pilsener that has a long and storied history in the city of Toledo. I suggest checking out this article from Toledo.com from a few years ago that delves into why this particular name and beer style is so important to the city. While many people compare light, straw-yellow colored beers to the Miller Lites of the world, a good pilsener-style beer is quite different. A solid pilsener will have a brightness and a crispness to it, that macro-lagers can not compete with. I've never tried Buckeye Beer, but if it is similar to the original recipe, I can only assume that it has these qualities.

Next up? Beer. And maybe Bowling Green. 11am on ESPN2.