Thoughts and Prayers: Big Ten Week 2
AFLUTTER WITH NUTTER BUTTER
Texas and Sark and all of the cowboy-hat-wearers put forth a gallant effort.
Now everyone is aflutter with Sark and Matthew McConaughey being “back.”
Earl Campbell may suit up next week.
David McWilliams was really only a few bad bounces away from having a statue of himself erected.
Any time this sort of thing develops, I can’t help but think back to the wise and personable Charlie Weis.
Notre Damers were similarly aflutter – as Weis enjoyed an extra helping of his Nutter Butter post-game treat – when Weis led the Irish to a gallant shortfall against Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and the rest of Pete Carroll’s USC juggernaut.
If memory serves, Weis was given a 17-year contract extension during Mass the next morning and guaranteed $139M.
The affable Weis is still happily using those earnings on customized hammocks, lots of Nutter Butter, and his own Product & Tech startup business that specializes in snow removal via drone technology.
Yes – Sark and his battlers showed admirable brawn in almost winning the football game.
Ah – that nagging word – “almost.”
Take down Kansas, Sark, and we’ll start to listen to the people.
RON ZOOK ALSO HAD A TOUGH 1-1 START
Speaking of being “back.”
Maybe the folks in Austin should take a look over at the folks in Gainesville.
With the snap of a finger, Florida went from being “back” to being lucky it isn’t 0-2 after two home games.
The Gators aren’t 0-2, they’re 1-1.
Ron Zook got off to a challenging 1-1 start, too, so Bill Napier has a successful roadmap for reference.
BBN’S HEAD COACH REWRITING ITS…….HISTORY
Mark Stoops, with his program’s win at The Swamp, is now Kentucky’s all-time winningest head football coach.
However, when a man becomes a football program’s all-time winningest coach by notching victory #61 (in that man’s 10th season at the helm), I don’t care if the previous all-time winningest coach was Babe Ruth or James Bond or The Fonz, it says much more about the program you lead than it says about anything else.
BIG PUSSY KNEW HE HAD TO GO
Pussy Bonpensiero wasn’t just a good earner.
Tony said it himself countless times – he LOVED Pussy.
Pussy was as much of a respected institution within the organization as Richie Aprile was an admirable maverick within the organization.
But, Pussy had to go.
There wasn’t any choice in the matter.
Scott Frost is, was, and always will be one of the more respected, honorable, accomplished members of one of the prouder programs in the sport.
But, just like Pussy, Frost knew his fate and he probably, not so deep down, is relieved.
Is Frost happy with the situation?
Did Pussy WANT to become dead by assassination?
Scott Frost deserves to take a nap.
He deserves to go see a movie.
He deserves to sleep past 5am for a week or so.
And he will be back.
It says here that he’ll have benefitted from this whole mess and lead some other fortunate football program to greatness just around the time when we ask one another whatever happened to Scott Frost.
The good part for Iowa is that the Hawkeyes have a 14-13 offensive advantage over its opponents in the aggregate through two games.
The Hawkeyes have also demonstrated a diversified approach to putting points on the scoreboard.
LESSONS OF TOM TREBELHORN
Within the onslaught of feedback I get from the proletariat after each of these essential writings, the people of the great state of Maryland have offered so many kind words regarding the lack of THOUGHTS & PRAYERS for the Terps.
Mike Locksley is now two games into his fourth season as head man in College Park.
The Terps are 2-0 this season and a trendy pick to do stuff.
Locksley’s overall record as the leader of this proud program is 15-23 (including the 2-0 start to this season).
His Big Ten record is 7-22.
He’s finished – in order from the start of his reign – 6th, 4th, and 5th in the Big Ten East.
Just before the start of the 1994 season, Cubs manager Tom Trebelhorn was instilling a vibrancy that hadn’t been felt in Wrigleyville since the 1989 NL East Division Championship season.
Yes, the 1994 season was a strike-shortened season so it warrants an asterisk –and the club was coming off an encouraging 84-78 4th place finish in the NL East in 1993.
But Trebelhorn and the Cubs finished that season with a 49-64 record.
One of the more unique moments in Cubs history occurred on April 29 of that season after a heart-breaking 6-5 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the 9th.
Glenallen Hill swung at the first pitch he saw and ground into a game-ending double play.
The loss was the ninth straight home defeat for the Cubs to start the season and dropped the club to 6-15.
In a stoic effort to demonstrate leadership, accountability, and so forth, Trebelhorn vowed to meet fans outside the ballpark if the Cubs lost another home game and was true to his word, walking tall into a crowd of a throng of 200 or so angry fans gathered at a fire station on Waveland Avenue just outside Wrigley’s left-field wall.
The confrontation started ugly, but quickly, Trebelhorn, who was known for his quick humor and good nature, won over most of his detractors.
Trebelhorn was, seemingly, in the process of building a culture and an understanding that greatness was right around the corner.
The team went on to lose three more home games before snapping the record streak with a 5-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds on May 4, 1994.
However, by then Trebelhorn’s “Firehouse Chat” was a memorable moment in Cubs’ history.
The season, which ended when MLB players went on strike on August 12, was Trebelhorn’s only as manager of the Cubs.
He was replaced in 1995 by Jim Riggleman.
Is Mike Locksley Tom Treblehorn?
Are the 2022 Maryland Terrapins the 1994 Chicago Cubs?
LESSONS OF TOM TREBELHORN?
Jim Harbaugh might just be showing us that he does, indeed, have a mastery of 3-dimensional chess.
The quarterback situation in Ann Arbor seems to be one of those problems that 1%ers face when trying to choose which boat within their fleet they’ll use for the 4th of July gala for their friends and sophisticates.
J.J. McCarthy barely broke a sweat in going 11 for 12 for 229 yards through the air with 3 touchdown strikes during UMAA’s 56-10 win over Hawaii.
People seem to be saying the right things and the defending Big Ten Champions look like they are ready to walk right through the gauntlet that is their non-conference slate.
Ronnie Bell had another great game for UMAA – after missing most of last season, Bell looks like the Bell that UMAAers expected to see before his injury a year ago.
And Blake Corum looks like he’s poised to crack 1,000 yards to go along with a lot of touchdowns over the course of the season.
If this team can manage to fight its way through a treacherous pre-Big Ten lineup of contests, the question will be whether or not the defense can fill the voids left by the handful of guys who are now in the NFL.
Tests and battles loom whether UMAAers can see them up ahead in the distance or not.
At some point, Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy might wonder if Jim Harbaugh plans to take a page out of Tom Trebelhorn’s book and have firehouse chats with either them, UMAA fans, or a collection thereof.
BREAK UP THE FIGHTING ILLINI
NORTHWESTERN, PAT FITZGERALD, AND THE CHANGERS OF THE WORLD WHO GRACE US BY PLAYING FOOTBALL FOR NORTHWESTERN
Pat Fitzgerald is a good football coach.
He’s better than I am at coaching football.
However, there are times when I expect to see white smoke puffing its way out of the chimney of The Vatican when Fitzgerald works his magic with his group of future world-changers.
I had dinner this past week with a group of people and one of the persons was a former Northwestern football player who will remain anonymous.
This person was a defensive back for Northwestern within the last five years.
I asked him is he liked his defensive coordinator when he played defensive back for Northwestern.
The person could not recall who the defensive coordinator was when the person played football (on defense) for Northwestern.
Maybe – just maybe – some of these young men who Pat Fitzgerald molds into the future of America aren’t on the verge of curing Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome.
And maybe – just maybe – Pat Fitzgerald is a good football coach that doesn’t necessarily need to be fawned over as if he’s invented a new kind of computer machine.
IT’S A HIGH STANDARD
Maybe Jerry Lundegaard is becoming happier with each passing week.
Maybe Norm Son-of-a-Gunderson is thinking that he might have to put off the work he’s in the middle of on his newest stamp creation so he can have his Saturday afternoons free.
Maybe even Shep Proudfoot is bullish.
But, again, Wade Gustafson (and Stan Grossman) are going to demand that the Gophers play to the highest standard.
That’s just the reality of delivering value to Wade (and Stan Grossman).
CLUNKERS SEEM AS STANDARD AS LIMBURGER SANDWICHES
Wisconsin outgained Washington State 401 to 253 in total yards of offense.
Wisconsin, not surprisingly, had 174 yards vs Wazzu’s 53 yards of rushing for the game.
Wisconsin had 22 first downs to the Cougars’ 10.
The Badgers throttled Wazzu in time of possession – 38:02 to 21:58.
Yes, the Badgers turned the ball over three times – but so did Wazzu.
How in the hell did Wisconsin lose this game?
I don’t know – I’m just a basement dwelling typist who has tremendous respect for the way Wade Gustafson (and Stan Grossman) conduct business.
“Many people say” that Wisconsin is among the best programs in college football, is at the top of the list when thinking about the programs that have not made it to the College Football Playoff, and that Paul Chryst is great and Madison is amazing and Camp-Randall Stadium is among the best atmospheres, and so on.
My daughters are having the time of their lives as Badgers and it’s a hell of a great place to go to school.
But the Badgers sure do seem to lay a whole lot of clunkers on a year-in and year-out basis.
GET LONG ON AVGO
The loss to Penn State was a heartbreaker for Purdue.
The Boilers were on the verge of creating yet another victim of Ross-Ade.
A Week 1 loss like that can sometimes ruin a season for a team before the leaves have even begun to change colors.
But if you sleep on the Boilers, you might as well sleep on Broadcom, Inc (AVGO).
Broadcom is a diversified global semiconductor device developer and supplier.
Tech stocks have been hit hard this year but Broadcom isn’t your typical high-growth, low-profit tech stock.
Broadcom generated more than $3 billion in net income in the most recent reporting quarter, it trades at roughly twelve times forward earnings, and pays a nifty 3.3% dividend.
In May, Broadcom announced to The Street a clever $61 billion dollar buyout of VMware Inc (VMW).
Analyst Angelo Zino says that VWware gives Broadcom greater software exposure and could improve overall margins meaningfully and provide greater visibility to weekend warrior.
CFRA has a”buy” rating and a $580 price target for AVGO stock which closed at $503.13 on September 7th.
In terms of the Boilers, need I say more?
FRANCO HARRIS CHOSE TO RUN OUT OF BOUNDS ON 85% OF HIS CARRIES
On the flip side, James Franklin and Penn State seem to be somewhat forgotten, overlooked, underappreciated, etc.
And that’s just in reference to the way Franklin and Penn State are viewed by their own fans.
Sean Clifford’s experience and skill will steadily give this team a shot at competing in the Big Ten East.
This coming Saturday’s trip to Auburn – no matter how much of a dumpster fire Auburn is – presents Franklin, Clifford, and Franco Harris with a real opportunity to set a tone for the season that Penn State needs.
CRANKY – IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME?
When a team beats anyone 52-0 and is cranky about it, that suggests that the team that won 52-0 has a high standard.
Mel Tucker isn’t messing around.
Michigan State is 2-0, ranked 11th in this week’s AP Poll, and has outscored its two opponents 87-13.
The two-headed monster of Jalen Berger and Jarek Broussard continues to fill the void left by Kenneth Walker III’s departure for the NFL.
State has piled up 457 yards of rushing in two games – yes, against Western Michigan and Akron but there were “many people who said” that the Spartans would not be able to replace K9.
I’ll say it again – State doesn’t need to replace HIM – it needs to replace the yards, scores, and overall production.
Payton Thorne is cranky even though he’s 30 of 52 for 445 yards with 4 touchdowns and a QBR of 143.4 through two games.
He’s thrown 3 picks – and his standard is Tucker’s standard which is even higher than Gustofson’s (and Grossman’s).
The defense has been noticeably better – particularly in the back seven where the Spartans were dead last in all of college football a year ago.
State has given up 198 passing yards per game – a drastic improvement from the 324 yards it gave up per game last season.
Traveling to Seattle this week for a real test against a resurgent Washington program feels a lot like last season’s tone-setting trip to Miami where Tucker and his program dragged The U into The Deep End and created a whole new mantra for the program in the process.
It’ll be a surprise to this basement dweller if State doesn’t conduct its business in this final test before the Big Ten gauntlet kicks off.
BLOOM OFF THE ROSE?
Columbus took care of business against Arkansas State– as it should have.
However, did some bloom come off the rose of that slugfest win over Notre Dame after the Irish did a face plant at home against Marshall?
Columbus is still Columbus and the Buckeyes will be unbeaten when they travel to Beast Lansing on October 8th.
Will Ryan Day be picked off 3rd base for taking too much of a lead along the banks of the Red Cedar against the Spartans?
He shouldn’t be.
The Buckeyes still have enough talent to compete with the entire NFC Central.
But, as we start to make our way into the meat of the matter here and as we look around at what’s already happened across the country, we can wonder if Columbus is susceptible to things in the same way the newest flavor of the month was in College Station this weekend?
Speaking of College Station – when that “elite” college football program wins anything at all that matters, wake me up.
B1G POWER RANKINGS
1. Defending champions are still as crisp as a mid-October Braeburn at Knaebe’s Mmmunchy Krunchy Apple Orchard in Rogers City.
3. Tuck Still Comin.
3. Toomer’s Corner will be a lonely place this Saturday.
4. Broadcom, Inc (AVGO)
5. Carl Showalter loves two things – Jose Feliciano and rowing the boat.
6. Break up the Cutters
7/ Limburger sandwiches are still every bit as delicious as they’ve always been.
Crowley Sullivan is a 25+ year sports media veteran who spent ten years as a producer and suit-wearer at ESPN before becoming a digital media person. He built, grew, and led a college sports digital platform called “Campus Insiders” as its EVP/GM just as sports fans were beginning to engage with computers and phones. In addition to being a longtime contributor to CollegeFootballNews, he has written for USA Today Digital Sports, Rivals properties, and the St Bede The Venerable Monthly Parish Newsletter, the St Bede Beat. He now serves as the VP/GM of UFC Fight Pass even though the last time he got into a fight was in 2nd grade when he fought David Koller to a draw.