MaizenBrew is this week's host of the Big Ten Bloggers Roundtable. And if you think I'm wordy, check out his 80-word questions.
We're up next week, so read up then... or something.
Off we go...
1. We're two weeks in and everyone in the Big Ten, minus the two Michigan schools and Illinois, are 2-0. This week marks the end of your early "tune-up" or serious OOC play. Are you satisfied with the way your team has played against the cupcakes on your schedule, or happy with the way they've competed against serious competition?
Well, it doesn’t mark that for everyone. The Boilers are just 1-0 and have played only Northern Colorado. Sure, the Boilers won 42-10, but it looked to all of us like Purdue was playing as vanilla as possible. Nothing out of the ordinary, certainly no trick plays, not even a wide-open playbook. They didn’t try out anything interesting. Which leads us to believe (or, more accurately, HOPE) that ole Joe Tiller is sandbagging as he has done before in early season games when a larger foe is lurking. That foe is Oregon, who comes to town this weekend for a rare, nationally-televised, early-season test for the Boilers. Normally the only early tests are against Notre Dame – when they’re decent, anyway. So this is a big one in many ways. Not only will we be better able to answer this question after the Oregon game, but it’s a big one for the Big Ten – a good showing against a quality Pac Ten team would mean a lot. Especially after aOSU gets drop-kicked this weekend by USC.
2. You knew this was coming. This week's OMG Game of the Century!!!!1!!1!! until next week's OMG Game of teh Century!!!!1!!1!! is Ohio State versus Southern Cal. Who are you pulling for and why? Further, if you're pulling for one particular team tell me why they'll win, or won't. If you're like me and will be attempting to cure a sunburn from over exposure to the sun during the Michigan Notre Dame game by drinking large quantities of whiskey instead of watching the game, state your excuse.
It doesn’t matter who we’re “pulling for.” As I said, aOSU is going to get shellacked. Write it down and put it in Sharpie. If it were in Ohio, well, then maybe. But in California? The Trojans are going to stick it in the Buckeyes. (Oh yeah, that was a condom joke.) [*High fives, returns to frat house*]
Why they’ll win? Because they’re far better than OSU… the team that almost (and should have) lost at home to Ohio last weekend. Sure, sure, one could say, “But J, you just said your team was holding back – so maybe the Bucks were too, knowing they have USC this week.” And I’d said, “Listen, jackass, the Boilers never trailed or were ever in any danger of losing. OSU trailed for most of the game and only won on a brainfart muff by Ohio on a punt and then an uncalled case of clipping on the next punt return by OSU." And then I'd flick you in the beanbag.
Oh, and as for you, DAVE, good for you going to the UM-UND game. That might be the ugliest matchup of offenses on the college football slate this month. Have fun at that yawnfest as two marginal teams have a rockfight to determine who gets to continue amping up their arrogance meter in a completely unjustified way.
3. Besides the above mentioned Game of the Century, there are actually some decent match ups this week in the Big Ten. Purdue v. Oregon; Wisconsin v. Fresno State; Michigan v. Notre Dame; Michigan State v. Florida Atlantic; or Iowa v. Iowa State. I said decent. I didn't say they were all good. Pick the best game from that group, pick the worst game from that group, and Minnesota and Illinois bloggers must post an apology for scheduling Montana State and Louisiana Lafayette respectively.
I’m biased, but even if I wasn’t I think you can make a case for Purdue-Oregon. Nobody knows if Purdue can be a challenger this year and Oregon IS clearly talented and will come to play. Wisco vs. Fresno is a good one because both schools have their eyes, legitimately, on potential BCS party-crashing. Michigan-Notre Dame is the worst game in that group because there’s nothing exciting to watch. Both offenses are terrible. Only Michigan’s defense is worth watching, and I suppose seeing them swarm Pickles at home and sending the blonde young lady to another home loss in front of the barely-still-believers would be good. But I still think that’ll be a very ugly game. Fat Charlie’s “To hell with Michigan” comments from months ago are still music to my ears because when he loses again at home, the “to hell with Charlie” comments might begin.
Michigan State and Iowa will win in blowouts. So if that’s your cup of tea, enjoy.
4. Out of Conference scheduling is always something that draws the ire of journalists and bloggers alike. You all know how weak your OOC really is. Admit it. You're sad. So fix it. Pick two teams out of conference you really wish your school would schedule. Nursing colleges and the Center for Veterinary Sciences are verboten. Pick two major conference middle to heavy weights or two heavy weight non-BCS conference programs to add to the schedule. (Please note you get to keep your two patsies per season).
Well, perhaps you haven’t looked at Purdue’s schedule, but aside from the one warm-up (patsy) against Northern Colorado, the schedule is pretty legit. Game 2, as mentioned, is the first of a home-and-home with Oregon (we go there next year). The next one is another matchup with Central Michigan who, while not a powerhouse, won the MAC last year and challenged the Boilers in the Motor City Bowl. And then we wrap up the non-conference against Notre Dame, whom Kirk Herbstreit sees no excuse for not being a 9-win team (said on College GameDay, 9/6/08).
But if I have to pick more, I pick the following…
Hawaii. Sure they’re no good anymore, without June Jones' system. So I’d like to go back in time and have them come play us the year after we went there (2006). For some reason, Purdue’s athletic dept didn’t insist on a home-and-home series. So Colt Brennan lucks out in holding off the Boilers in that 2006 matchup and his arrogance bubbles to the surface, drawing the hate of all Purdue fans. All we kept saying was that wanted another piece of them, and this time in the chill of West Lafayette in November.
As for another one, why not an SEC team? I think the Big Ten and SEC should start playing each other regularly. So what if our boys lose? Everyone already assumes the Big Ten is inferior and slower, etc. But what if a few Big Ten teams knocked off a few SEC teams? Then what would the bullet journalists (those who do their research only by reading bullets) say? Maybe it would help dispel the crap about how it’s impossible for them to go undefeated because their conference is too tough. Plus, maybe, just maybe, if Big Ten teams win some games or have impressive showings against SEC teams, some recruits might look North of the Mason-Dixon line.
5. All college football fans love to tailgate. Even you, you mothers' basement dwelling bloggers, you. Name your beverage of choice on game days. Alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage, your readers need to these things about you, to judge you. Confirm all their suspicions.
If at home, Ketel One or Svedka vodka, rocks, with a splash of Sprite Zero. No calories, so it must be healthy. If at the game actually tailgating, good old fashioned light beer – preferably Miller Lite. I used to make fun of people who drank light beer – then I got fatter and fatter and now I understand.
6. Rivalry games dot the schedule this week. If your team is playing in a rivalry game, say something nasty about your opponent then predict a lopsided score to infuriate the opposing fanbase. If you're not playing a rival, then start a rivalry by saying something nasty about your opponent and then predict a lopsided score to infuriate the opposing fanbase. Or just give me a non-offensive prediction and a reason to watch.
Oh, you mean rivalries like that white-hot, Iowa-ISU rivalry? Yeah, sizzling.
We’re not playing a rival, but the Oregon Ducks are…well, the freaking DUCKS. How intimidating is that? I know we’re the Boilermakers and that’s not like the “Wild Boars” or something…but the Ducks? Is there a drink named after the Oregon mascot?
The Boilermaker is a man's drink. A midwestern, steel-hammering, muscle-bound man.
Drinks related to the Ducks include Cold Duck Punch (not like a Donkey Punch), which contains champagne, lemonade, ginger ale and rainbow sherbert. That's manly. Why don't you just have a Shirley Temple?
Alternatively, you could go with the Duck Fart, which has Kahlua, Bailey and whiskey in it -- only the whiskey makes it kind of manly, but the kahlua and Baileys sort of hide the whiskey, I'm sure. But let's back up: Who wants to drink a fart?
Oregon fans, that's who.