How Indiana fared
Penn State 45, Indiana 14
This got out of hand quickly, as Saquon Barkley returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and IU was already down 28-0 in the first quarter, thanks to a fumble and three(!) special teams mistakes, all in the first 15 minutes.
But truth be told, the Hoosier defense actually did a decent job of containing the Nittany Lions, despite falling into a huge hole. The defense played so well that Bill C.’s advanced numbers show a pretty close game on paper (but don’t tell that to Purdue fans).
However, the thing that bothered me most about this game was when down 14-0 in the first quarter, the Hoosiers punted the ball from the Penn State 38. Yes I get that we call this game #PUNTWEEK and that punting inside the opponent’s 40 is quintessential B1G football. But on the road down two scores against a top-5 team, this is unacceptable and indefensible.
Finally, best of luck to Peyton Ramsey, as he takes over the starting role next week in a move that needed to happen. Nice to know that QBs in Indiana named Peyton have a good track record.
Around the B1G
Maryland 31, Minnesota 24
Maryland quarterback has replaced Iowa running back with the position player who is most likely to suffer a freak injury in this conference. No matter to the Terps last Saturday though, as third-stringer Max Bortenschlager led Maryland to a win on the road in Minneapolis. A week after looking dysfunctional against UCF, Maryland looks closer to the team that beat Texas, while Minnesota still needs some time to row the boat under P.J. Fleck.
Wisconsin 33, Northwestern 24
A strange game in which Wisconsin wasn’t ever in jeopardy of losing, even though the Wildcats put decent numbers up in this one and had 7 more first downs than the Badgers. In true B1G fashion, the Badgers clinched a victory by getting a safety in the final minute. Wisconsin’s fine and looks by far to be at the top of the West again this year.
Michigan State 17, Iowa 10
After coming four seconds away from beating Penn State, Iowa suffered a letdown in East Lansing. Two first-quarter touchdowns from the Spartans were the difference in this game, where - stop me if you’ve heard this one before - Iowa couldn’t get their offense rolling all day.
Nebraska 28, Illinois 6
Illinois is in a bad place right now. I don’t think Lovie Smith knew what he was getting into.
Ohio State 56, Rutger 0
The funniest part of this game was that Rutger attempted a field goal late in the game down 56. Spoiler alert: the kick was no good.
Elsewhere in College Football
Washington State 30, USC 27
A fantastic late Friday nighter in which Wazzu won at home, exposing Sam Darnold and a shaky Trojan team that’s already had a few close calls this year. Mike Leach has now produced consistent winners at both Texas Tech and Washington State, proving that the guy can win pretty much anywhere. I’m not sure how well the Cougars will do outside the Palouse (5 of their last 7 are on the road), but right now at 5-0, they’re a Pac-12 contender. Also their best defensive player is named Hercules Mata'afa, which is a tremendous football name.
Clemson 31, Virginia Tech 17
Lane Stadium at night is an intimidating environment, and Justin Fuente’s team has looked very impressive since the second half of last year. Yet the Tigers still ground the Hokies to dust behind what might be the top defense in the nation. Once Bill Synder eventually retires, Clemson DC Brent Venables could be the top candidate to head back to his alma mater and take over Kansas State.
Georgia 41, Tennessee 0
Butch Jones is like Tom Crean if you get rid of all the fun weirdness that exuded from Crean. Whereas Tom Crean was tremendous content, there is literally nothing enjoyable about Butch Jones. I know that Jones has made the Vols respectable again, but his team is bland with no identity, and it’s long past time for a change at Rocky Top.
Meanwhile, UGA looks like the best bet of any SEC team to give Alabama a game. (So of course, they’ll lose by 30.)
IS TEXAS BACK?
Look, this game is only fun when Texas plays a game worth watching and makes the Back-o-Meter swing wildly in multiple directions. Last Thursday, Texas won a cringeworthy 17-7 game at Iowa State that really is not worth discussing, other than the long flowing locks of ISU quarterback Jacob Park. Texas looks to get to “back” status (or fall to “not back”) next weekend at home against Kansas State.
Coaches on the Hottest Seat
Ed Orgeron, LSU
Butch Jones: "I by far had the worst day of any SEC Coach"— Kevin Adler (@kadler44) October 1, 2017
Ed Orgeron: "Hold my Gumbo"
I really wanted the Ed Orgeron experiment to work at LSU. The guy fits the character for the job so well, and you could tell last season during the interim year how much he wanted the fulltime gig. But after a 24-21 home loss to Troy - a good Sun Belt team but one that should not be dominating LSU and limiting them to zero third-down conversions - you have to wonder about Orgeron’s future in Baton Rouge. His team plays undisciplined football, LSU’s longtime offensive woes aren’t fixed (hi there, Matt Canada), and everything is starting to look like a throwback to his terrible years as Ole Miss coach in the mid-2000s.
To make matters worse, Coach O’s buyout is $12 million, a startling amount for a guy who was never going to leave his home state’s flagship program. Three of LSU’s next four games are against Florida, Auburn, and Alabama. This could get ugly real quick.
Way-Too-Early Playoff Rankings
3. Penn State
The top 4 remain the same, but I’m switching the positions around a bit. Regardless, after Alabama’s 66-3 win over Ole Miss, and Clemson pummeling another top-25 opponent, it’s looking like the top two teams in the country are yet again the Crimson Tide and the Tigers. If they were to meet in the title game again, this would be the third straight year, and both college football’s regular season and playoffs might really start to resemble the NBA’s.
Charleston Southern at Indiana, 3:30pm, BTN
A get-well game for IU, as Ramsey’s first start will come against a Charleston Southern team that was a late replacement for the FIU cancellation. The Hoosiers should win, but don’t be surprised if Charleston Southern offers more resistance than Georgia Southern did.
Elsewhere in the B1G, Michigan State plays at Michigan for the first time since the infamous walk-off punt block two years ago. Meanwhile, Saquon Barkley continues his Heisman candidacy for Penn State at Northwestern, Minnesota rows the boat into Purdue, OSU probably makes quick work of Maryland, and Wisconsin travels to Nebraska for a game that doesn’t sound as enticing than it did before the start of the season.
Outside the conference, Louisville travels to NC State for a fun Thursday nighter, while Miami and FSU make up the annual rivalry game that was postponed due to Hurricane Irma, and Gameday heads to TCU for an interesting Big 12 tilt against West Virginia.
Finally, if you like points, then Washington State at Oregon is the game for you, my friend.