Pickin' on the Big Ten: Week 3, 2017 Season

By Mark Hasty on September 14, 2017 at 10:00 am
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield eludes an Ohio State defender
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Baker Mayfield stuck an OU flag in the middle of the Ohio Stadium field, a fitting gesture after winning a huge game in a difficult place to win, and wound up apologizing for it. You can write your own hot take and leave it in the comments if you're so inclined. I'll just remind you that college football is great fun if you don't take it too seriously, and a life-ruining albatross if you do. Would you want a national title if it meant every third Hawkeye fan would (a) start acting like what Mayfield did was an insult that demanded an apology and (b) expect another natty no less often than once every three years?

Don't be like that. It's a short step from there to poisoning historic trees.

Right. The games.

Illinois at South Florida

Gotta give props to Lovie Smith for not just beating Western Kentucky last week but doing so decisively. The Illini were dogs by more than a touchdown in their own stadium. I was quite shocked at that result, maybe even more so than the Ohio State-Oklahoma game.

That doesn't mean I think they have a chance against USF, because they don't.

South Florida 34, Illinois 13.

North Texas at Iowa

Fun fact: This will be the second week in a row that two of Hayden Fry's former employers play each other. Last week SMU gave the business to the Mean Green, 54-32. Now UNT comes to face an Iowa squad that might be hung over from beating Iowa State in that Cy-Hawk game for the ages, might be looking ahead to Penn State next week (more about the Nits below) and might actually be prepared to play this game. Still, even a groggy Iowa team ought to be able to make short work of this game. But those are famous last words. UNT can fling the ball. We saw last week that Iowa doesn't automatically lose close, high-scoring games. I don't think this one will be all that close.

Iowa 44, North Texas 20.

Air Force at Michigan

Last week's Cincinnati game exposed a Michigan team that is far from dominant. Sure, the Wolverines started great, but they failed to put away the ...

"Siri, what are Cincinnati's sports teams called?"

[. . .]

... Bearcats and nearly paid the ultimate price: Losing, but not just losing. Losing to a former tOSU assistant.

Air Force is pesky because of its shoved-to-the-curb-with-the-CRT-television offense that nearly no one else uses. It's almost impossible to prepare for, so teams tend to look fairly ridiculous at first when playing the Falcons.

I don't know about you, but it doesn't bother me a bit when Michigan looks ridiculous.

Michigan 43, Air Force 27.

Middle Tennessee at Minnesota

Fun* fact: MTSU's Rick Stockstill is tied with Pat Fitzgerald as the sixth longest-tenured football coach in the FBS. This is his twelfth season in ...

"Siri, does Middle Tennessee State really exist and if so, where is it?"

[. . .]

... Mur-frees-bor-o. I think it's the Waukee of Nashville, I'm not sure.

Can you imagine P.J. Carlesimo Fleck lasting twelve seasons in one job? I'm not sure I can. Anyway, it's far too soon to tell if the Gophers are good. Buffalo and Oregon State aren't quality opponents. MTSU has only had one truly terrible season under Stockstill. They'll give the Gophers more than they want and will possibly be their best test yet.

*: fun not included

Minnesota 34, MTSU 26.

Northern Illinois at Nebraska

I am mad.

Madder than Hans Gruber was at John McClane.

That is not Husker football.

Frank Solich needs to go. Craig Bohl needs to go. We will not accept mediac medoric this.

A proper Nebraska team should have gone in to Autzen like Tom Cruise got lowered from the ceiling around those laser beams.

Doctor Tom must be spinning in his grave.

(is handed a note)

Well, he should have died. Of embarrassment. I can't believe the guy he picked is doing so bad.

(is handed another note) 

Well, no wonder Ohio State lost to Oklahoma if Solich was coaching them. So did Doctor Tom come back?

(is handed another note)

I thought he took the Chargers job. Whatever. RILEY 3:16 SAYS I JUST ... CAN'T REMEMBER IF I WAS SUPPOSED TO BRING THE ORANGE SLICES FOR HALFTIME OR THE JUICE BOXES FOR AFTER THE GAME SO I GUESS I'LL BRING THEM BOTH.

Nebraska 31, Northern Illinois 27.

Bowling Green at Northwestern

If you lose to Duke by four scores, I'm not going to bother writing much about your next game.

jNWU 24, Bowling Green 13.

Army at Ohio State

The last thing Ohio State needs right now is a screwball team like Army showing up in Columbus. The Black Knights can't possibly hang with the Buckeyes for more than a quarter and a half. Or can they? OSU hasn't looked sharp in any game so far. It wasn't just Oklahoma that exposed them, either. This is a team that needs a good, fiery offensive performance.

So maybe Army's undersized, undermanned defense is exactly who Urban Meyer needs to go up against right now.

Ohio State 54, Army 13.

Georgia State at Penn State

A little truth-telling: I don't know how good Penn State is right now, and neither do you. Their victories are over Pitt, who needed overtime to beat Youngstown State, and an Akron team that doesn't win in the MAC. I seriously think not winning in the MAC is harder than winning in the MAC.

I'm not saying Penn State is actually secretly bad. I'm sure the Nits are pretty good. I'm just saying they haven't been tested yet, and they're not going to be this week either. Which means Iowa will get to be the first to push them. I'm actually a little excited about that.

Penn State 34, Georgia State 12.

Our Most Hated Rival Purdue (A Pox Be Upon Their House) at Missouri

'Due: good

'Zoo: not

You: uninterested

Purdue 41, Mizzou 38.

Morgan State at Rutgers

This might be Rutgers' best chance to pick up a win all season. But the dear old Rutgers Knights in scarlet could certainly lose this one too.

Rutgers 30, Morgan State 10.

Know Your Nonconference Tomato Can: Morgan State

Big Ten teams rarely play historically black colleges in football (basketball is quite the different story) so consequently Big Ten fans seldom hear about these schools. It's a pity, because HBCUs are not just a legacy of "separate but equal." Morgan State, located in Baltimore, has nearly 8,000 students. The school has strong programs in science, engineering, and public affairs. Alumni have excelled in many fields but its most prominent alumnus is probably John "Frenchy" Fuqua, the only person on Earth who knows if the Immaculate Reception was a legal play.

Wisconsin at BYU

The Cougars have lost to two good teams, LSU and Utah. They beat Portland State and, unlike Oregon State, beat them decisively. So they could be a pretty good 1-2 team, maybe the best in the country right now.

Next week they'll be a pretty good 1-3 team, because Wisconsin has it together. But you know what's great? The thought of Wisconsin fans tailgating on a dry campus. That's gonna be like when Atlanta gets a half inch of snow and everyone drives directly into the ditch.

Wisconsin 45, BYU 21.

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