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The Good, Bad and Ugly of College Football Saturday

B1G is back!

NCAA Football: Oregon at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. Think college football benefitted from having Big Ten football start its season this week? I know a couple fan bases in Indiana and New Jersey who couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season. The Land Grant Trophy participants? Not so much. But, like last week, first thing’s first.

The Washington State Cougars held a scrimmage for the second straight week on Saturday, and let’s just say it didn’t quite go the same way as the first one. Given the cloudy skies, cold temperatures and plowed snow that surrounded the practice field, one could be forgiven for thinking this was early December. And where as last week belonged to the offense, Saturday was decidedly in the defense’s favor. As with every other scrimmage that doesn’t involve another team, that can be viewed in myriad ways.

If you were afraid that the defense was miles behind the offense, Saturday was good news. According to the statistics, the three quarterbacks completed just 17 passes on 35 attempts for 119 yards (a paltry 3.4 YPA). Cammon Cooper, the best of the QBs last week, struggled mightily, going 2-7 for 24 yards and two interceptions. Yikes. None of the other guys did much better. The running backs didn’t produce nearly as much either, but still had decent days.

If you believe that the offense needs to perform at a very high level for WSU to have any chance this season (a hand is up over here), Saturday was a tad worrisome. Nick Rolovich was definitely not happy with his offense.

“I think we need to look at ourselves on the offensive side of the ball, in the staff room, and see what we can execute at a high level, and what we can’t we’ve just got to be honest with ourselves,” Rolovich said. “Because I don’t want to spend the next two weeks developing a wildcat offense. We’ve got to go play.”

Tell us what you really think, Nick. A couple other positive indications regarding the defense were the fact that a couple newcomers in the defensive backfield appear to be making an impact already, as Jaylen Watson and Chau Smith-Wade both intercepted passes. Lord knows the Cougs need all the help they can get back there. Another welcome piece of news is the return of linebacker Dillon Sherman. I know he won’t be appearing on any Butkus Award ballots, but he’s a solid player who was dearly, dearly missed in 2019.

One thing we can all be confident in - probably - is the fact that our kicker and punter, Blake Mazza and Oscar Draguicevich III will be rock solid. The Cougs are back on the practice field Sunday.

So, what else went on Saturday? Let’s have a Twitter-infused look.

The Good

  • Welcome back, Big Ten Conference!

The B1G opened things up this week, and aside from the Nebraska Cornhuskers getting their asses kicked, some things weren’t the same as usual. First up are the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who entered East Lansing with a new coach but a well-worn 21-game conference losing streak. Looks like another laugher for the Michigan State Spartans and their new multi-millionaire coach, right? WRONG!

I’m sure Sparty fans took it well.

Next, we look southward to Bloomington, Indiana, where the Indiana Hoosiers took on the Penn State Nittany Lions. The men from Happy Valley entered the game as a touchdown favorite, ranked 8th in the nation. Meanwhile, IU hadn’t beaten a top ten team since the legends known as T’Pau debuted their smash hit “Heart and Soul.” The Hoosiers led comfortably, then the Lions stormed back and had the game sewn up. All they had to do was sit on the ball and fly home with a win. And then...

Indiana came back down, scored, converted the two-pointer and next thing you know, we’re on to overtime. Following a PSU touchdown, it was Indiana’s turn. Having taken the Hoosiers on his back and carried them this far, quarterback Michael Penix Jr. decided to finish the thing. First he tossed a touchdown, and when the Hoosiers went for two and the win, Penix Jr. was not to be denied. Or was he?

Yowza. If you ask me (you didn’t), Penix didn’t get there. But my opinion doesn’t matter, and congratulations to former basketball school / now football school Indiana on the big win. Either way, this picture...

Elsewhere in the upper midwest, Nebraska is still Nebraska, pretending they matter while getting curb-stomped once again.

Oh, and the Iowa Hawkeyes are still the Iowa Hawkeyes. That’s not a good thing. Dammit.

  • Didn’t go looking for lots of great catches, but both of these should suffice.

I still have no idea how DeVonta Smith held on to this ball. Incredible.

Jaxon Smith-Njogba, meet Lynn Swann. Lynn Swann, Jaxon Smith Njogba.

The catch was ok I guess, but even better was the official’s hat flying by in slow motion.

  • A punter? In the “Good” category? A PUNTER IN THE “GOOD” CATEGORY!!!

Now that is called “flipping the field.”

  • Great to see the Mountain West back in action. Even more comforting to know that, despite all of 2020’s upheaval, Brady Hoke is still a moron.

The Bad

  • He throws toward the end zone. Wide open receiver! It’s a touch...WTF??!!
  • We’ve seen all the cool hurdles, such as when Boobie Williams used to do it to hapless defenders. This was not that.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, one more round of applause for Dave Aranda! Take a bow, Dave!

Texas drove 75 yards to kick a field goal and took a lead they would not relinquish.

  • Today in self-aggrandizement, we give you Ryan Day.

Hello, Ryan? Couple things: First, it’s absurd that you think you need to apologize for a young guy who never gets to play taking advantage of a chance to get in the end zone. You’re all big boys out there, and if Nebraska didn’t want you to score, they should have stopped you. Second, don’t pull this BS in a post-game press conference, trying to make yourself look like some paragon of virtue. Maybe just get in touch with Scott Frost on your own without feeling the need to tell everyone else.

  • And now, we enter the “all special teams” portion of the column, back where they belong.

More like all aboard the Lane Handcar:

Did a ball hit the upright or was there a car that crashed into the sidelines?

And the blue turf is back!

Let’s check in on PJ the Huckster and his listing boat.

You hate to see it.

The Ugly

  • I feel like I could reserve this section solely for the Kansas Jayhawks. Avert your eyes.

I guarantee you the quarterback went to the sideline, got on the phone with some coach in the booth and said, “That guy was not there when we practiced against the scout team!”

There’s a fine line between being a competitor and being a (bleeping) asshole. Ryan Day and his young players were still competing. On the other hand, Kalani Sitake is in the latter category, and will get what he deserves one of these days.

Seriously, what a classless SOB.

Finally, I’ve watch thousands of hours of college football over the years, and this is a first.

In case you aren’t aware, the Rice Owls needed that overtime field goal to win the game. Instead, they lost in double OT. That poor kicker.


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This Week in Parenting

Lots of doings this week. Where to begin? Why not with some fashion?!

In case you couldn’t tell, they’re already in the Christmas spirit.

The nine year-old’s teacher has a great habit of emailing us a brief wrap-up after every day in the classroom. Early last week, she let us know that the class was being disruptive and they had to alter their plans during Science. We asked our boy was one of the guilty parties, and he immediately became evasive. We then let him know that parent-teacher conferences were approaching, prompting him to put his head in this hands.

When we asked if he’s been behaving in class, he responded with “ish.” Hoo boy. We continued to press, and he finally boiled over. “It’s Zoe! She’s always micromanaging me!” Zoe is apparently a classmate. 45 minutes later when my lip stopped bleeding, I asked him to provide details. Through the tears, he told us about how she kept insisting that he close his laptop because the teacher hadn’t given them permission to open it yet, and so on. But seriously it was all Mrs. Kendall and I could do to not break out in hysterical laughter when he talked about a girl micromanaging him.

The next day, I asked him if things were getting better with Zoe. “No!” was the answer. Apparently Zoe and another girl insisted that he work with them on a Math assignment. I asked if the teacher mandated that they work together, and he said she did not, and that he preferred to work on his own. And yet, he relented to the young lady. Get used to it, my boy.

School starts an hour late on Thursdays, so I’m relieved of the duty of waking them up and getting them going. For some reason, the nine year-old is up at the normal time anyway. This week, he came down with a pressing question that has baffled scientists for centuries. “Dad, is poop a solid or a liquid?”

Finally, I noticed on Thursday evening that his lunch bag was on the drying rack next to the sink. I asked why it was there, and he responded, “Because the yogurt in my lunch blew up.” Like anyone (I assume), I asked how it was possible for yogurt to blow up in a lunch bag. “It just happened. I don’t know why. Stuff just happens, dad.”

Duly noted.


Best beer I had this week: Having to clear out some space for the next mail order by...drinking from the last mail order. I hadn’t had a good stout in a while, and Grimm’s Salty Nut Roll Imperial Stout was outstanding. It’s been too long since I had a Grimm selection.

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