NCAA Football: Illinois at Michigan State

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

I mean, Mark Dantonio has clearly quit coaching football.

Mark Dantonio has thrown in the towel. He doesn’t care about Michigan State football or his players anymore. He should be fired.

Those were all things I thought before I read this Tweet on Tuesday morning. That is not how any of this works! A player doesn’t get to decide if they’re “good” to play. It is literally why there is a concussion protocol.

Remember when Brady Hoke was coach at Michigan and he put Shane Morris back into a game after Morris CLEARLY suffered a concussion?

This is BRUTAL to watch. First of all, Morris should have come out at the beginning of the video after getting his leg rolled up, but Hoke leaves him in. Then Morris gets tattooed by a Minnesota defender and needs help standing from one of his linemen. Finally, a play later, he takes himself out of the game ONLY TO BE PUT BACK IN A FEW PLAYS LATER WHEN BACKUP QB DEVIN GARDNER’S HELMET COMES OFF AND HE HAS TO SIT FOR A PLAY!


So, that was terrible and Hoke was eventually fired after there were protests on Michigan’s campus about this. Dantonio not knowing whether or not his starting QB has a concussion or the fact that he didn’t insist that he get checked for one is concerning to say the least. It is dangerous and negligent and completely abandons everything a football coach that still gave a shit would do, in actuality.

In comments after the game, Dantonio said they checked him, but that does not seem to be the case. Mark Dantonio can kiss my ass and hopefully after his team gets boat-raced by Michigan he never coaches football again.

Indiana Hoosiers

S&P+ rank: Overall 19th, Offense 15th, Defense 35th, Special Teams 9th

Last week’s results: BYE

Biggest strength: The crazy bastards did it. They ranked Indiana.

None of the players on the team were even alive the last time Indiana was ranked. Good for them! #9WINDIANA FOREVER!

Biggest weakness: So, the NBA season is humming right along.

For the sake of my sanity I need Ben Simmons to shoot a three pointer when he returns from his injury. I don’t care if it goes in. I don’t care if it becomes a meme on #NBATwitter. He just needs to shoot one. The fact that he won’t worries me. It worries me that he’ll never even become a below average shooter, which is all he needs to become to unlock the next level of his talent, and teams will continue to erase him from the offense in the playoffs.


This week’s opponent: Saturday at No. 4 Penn State, 11:00 a.m. CST, ABC

Maryland Terrapins

S&P+ rank: Overall 80th, Offense 65th, Defense 71st, Special Teams 128th

Last week’s results: (L) at No. 1 Ohio State, 73-14

Biggest strength: I couldn’t believe that Ohio State just kept scoring in this game. Every time this game came across the bottom line Maryland had given up more points. The Terps threw for 77 yards and ran for 62 yards in the first quarter. ::puts finger to ear:: I’m sorry, what’s that?

Those stats are for the entire game? All four quarters? Well…ok then.

Good for this former Buckeye for being able to be polite after being molly-whopped like that. Antoine Brooks Jr. had 10 tackles and Javon Leake had a 70-yard kickoff return.

Biggest weakness: Commits from Maryland who went to the same high school as Chase Young are now decommitting during a game?!? ::1,000 thinking face emojis::

Probably not for another few decades, I’d imagine.

If Mike Locksley can’t recruit the DMV well, Maryland is in way more trouble than we thought.

This week’s opponent: BYE

Michigan Wolverines

S&P+ rank: Overall 15th, Offense 43rd, Defense 4th, Special Teams 70th

Last week’s results: BYE

Biggest strength: I’ve been told those are Woodman’s price tags and the account says their location is in Madison, so I’m inclined to believe it.


Biggest weakness: I wish every coach was like Coach O.

This week’s opponent: Saturday vs. Michigan State, 11:00 a.m. CST, FOX

Michigan State Spartans

S&P+ rank: Overall 35th, Offense 84th, Defense 11th, Special Teams 108th

Last week’s results: (L) vs. Illinois, 37-34

Biggest strength: Brian Lewerke had a bad game. He threw three picks to one touchdown, but he ran the ball really well, scampering for 96 yards and a score. Elijah Collins ran for 170 yards and two scores.

I hope you do, Dantonio.

Biggest weakness: Keeping leads and putting players into the concussion protocol.

This week’s opponent: Saturday at No. 14 Michigan, 11:00 a.m. CST, FOX

Ohio State Buckeyes

S&P+ rank: Overall 1st, Offense 4th, Defense 1st, Special Teams 16th

Last week’s results: (W) vs. Maryland, 73-14

Biggest strength: Three different quarterbacks combined to go 26-of-38 for 322 yards and four touchdowns. The rushing attacking had 56 carries for 383 yards and six touchdowns. Those numbers are a lot better than Maryland’s numbers, huh?

It’s almost like Ohio State was mad about something and decided to take it out on the next poor, hapless sap that happened to cross their path. If Young isn’t back this week we’re gonna need to send FEMA to the Rutgers/Ohio State game.

Biggest weakness: Giving up that many yards to Maryland is problematic.

I guess the Buckeyes still having seven sacks even while missing their sack-master is pretty good but they never should have given up any yards to Maryland at all.

This week’s opponent: Saturday at Rutgers, 2:30 p.m. CST, BTN

Penn State Nittany Lions

S&P+ rank: Overall 7th, Offense 11th, Defense 8th, Special Teams 14th

Last week’s results: (L) at No. 17 Minnesota, 31-26

Biggest strength: Defensive game plan against the Minnesota passing attack.

I’ve seen some people try and explain away this loss for Penn State by saying the turnover luck was bad or some such, but when you’re leaving dudes this open you’re going to have a bad time. Journey Brown had 124 yards and two touchdowns and probably should’ve gotten more than 14 carries. K.J. Hamler had 119 yards and TE Pat Freiermuth had 101 yards and seemed basically uncoverable for most of the game.

Micah Parsons had 11 tackles and a sack for a PSU defense that got gashed by the Gophers through the air.

Biggest weakness: The passing defense left a lot to be desired as did the play calling on offense.

James Franklin must be a mind-bending coach to have for your favorite football team. Some of his decisions are just beyond explanation. A fade on fourth and goal to Hamler ain’t it, chief. At least he went for it there, I guess. Baby steps!

This week’s opponent: Saturday vs. Indiana, 11:00 a.m. CST, ABC

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

S&P+ rank: Overall 107th, Offense 109th, Defense 86th, Special Teams 67th

Last week’s results: BYE

Biggest strength: Owen had a good take. One that I’ve had for years and one that I’ll defend to the death.

Throw some brandy in there and enjoy a winter Saturday on the couch in the luxury. You can thank me and Owen later.

Biggest weakness: Holy shit that line!

Do you think if they played their starters the whole game that Ohio State could beat Rutgers by 100?

This week’s opponent: Saturday at No. 1 Ohio State, 2:30 p.m. CST, BTN

Illinois Fighting Illini

S&P+ rank: Overall 53rd, Offense 71st, Defense 58th, Special Teams 4th

Last week’s results: (W) at Michigan State, 37-34

Biggest strength: R u serious?


The Illini became bowl eligible after the biggest comeback in school history and I know I should hate Illinois for beating Wisconsin earlier this year but…I just can’t. I’m happy for the Illini and their long-suffering fans.

Brandon Peters threw for 369 yards and three scores (and one pick, but who cares!) and Josh Imatorbhebhe had four catches for an eye-popping 178 yards and two scores.

The defense had four guys record double digit tackles with Dele Harding leading the way with 14. They also forced four turnovers. Sydney Brown had two of the turnovers and ran one back for a touchdown.

Biggest weakness: The running game was awful (27 carries for 36 yards) and everything Bill C. lists below happened.

Again, good for the Illini. I hope Lovie grows his beard forever.

This week’s opponent: BYE

Iowa Hawkeyes

S&P+ rank: Overall 23rd, Offense 68th, Defense 9th, Special Teams 23rd

Last week’s results: (L) at No. 13 Wisconsin, 24-22

Biggest strength: Veteran quarterback leadership.

Pregame confidence.

Tyrone Tracy Jr. had five catches for 130 yards and a 75-yard touchdown. Matt Hankins had eight tackles and a pick. Their kicker made three field goals.

Biggest weakness: WHO, I ASK YOU?!?!

I mean, it’s a Wisconsin tradition too.

I hate playing Iowa. I feel like every game is like this one where I think Wisconsin should win handily and then all of a sudden the Hawkeyes are lining up for a game-tying two point conversion and I’m like…“what the hell?”

Iowa’s rushing game, on both sides of the ball, was awful. So was their third down conversion game, again, on both sides of the ball.

This week’s opponent: Saturday vs. No. 17 Minnesota, 3:00 p.m. CST, FOX

Minnesota Golden Gophers

S&P+ rank: Overall 13th, Offense 7th, Defense 25th, Special Teams 92nd

Last week’s results: (W) vs. No. 4 Penn State, 31-26

Biggest strength: Tanner Morgan had his second game of the season where he completed 90% of his passes. He also threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns. A pretty masterful performance against a stout defense. Rashod Bateman has amazing. He caught seven passes for 203 yards and a score. Tyler Johnson had seven catches as well but only accumulated 104 yards and a score. Smh, Tyler.

Antoine Winfield Jr. had 11 tackles and two picks and will hopefully declare for the draft after this year because he is friggin good.

Hmm, yes, having an upright piano on your offensive line is good.

Biggest weakness: Mini Fleck is pretty cute, but he’s no Baby Mangino.

I really want to doubt this Minnesota team and say “Penn State was overrated” and “they had fewer yards and first downs than PSU” and “they won’t average 17 fucking yards per pass again” and “they got lucky with turnovers” but all of that is just sour grapes.

Minnesota is 9-0.

That isn’t something that just happens because you’re lucky. You also have to be good and I now think that Minnesota is good. Their hardest remaining game is this weekend at Kinnick Stadium, aka Where Dreams Go To Die Stadium, and if they make it out of there unscathed they’re probably going undefeated.

Nothing about playing an undefeated Minnesota for the Axe in the last game of the season in Minneapolis (with a top-four ranking on the line?) sounds appealing to me and I see few scenarios where the Badgers come out with win like that.

Will they give Ohio State a game in the conference title matchup? I doubt it, but I’ve doubted basically every single thing about the Gophers this year and here they are in the top-ten proving every idiot like me wrong.

I hate it so much.

This week’s opponent: Saturday at No. 18 Iowa, 3:00 p.m. CST, FOX

Nebraska Cornhuskers

S&P+ rank: Overall 57th, Offense 52nd, Defense 63rd, Special Teams 122nd

Last week’s results: BYE

Biggest strength: I hope that this spawns a whole new series of vulgar signs in foreign languages causing the ESPN censors to have to hire multiple translators.

Biggest weakness: Knowing what leadership is.

After every Nebraska loss this year, and there have been many, some Huskers fan/reporter/both tweets something like this. That isn’t leadership, that’s being accountable to your teammates. Which, to be fair, is a part of leadership but isn’t the whole shebang. Adrian Martinez may be a great leader, I don’t know, but him stating a fact that he played poorly does not make him a “leader of men” like Nebraska so desperately wants him to be.

This week’s opponent: Saturday vs. No. 13 Wisconsin, 11:00 a.m. CST, BTN

Northwestern Wildcats

S&P+ rank: Overall 90th, Offense 126th, Defense 20th, Special Teams 115th

Last week’s results: (L) vs. Purdue, 24-22

Biggest strength: Look, I know Northwestern actually played a game and even scored some points, but I do NOT want to talk about Wildcats football if I don’t have to. And, well, this is my column…so I won’t.

My grandmother is an EXCELLENT crossword puzzler and I’m a little upset she didn’t text me for this answer like she often does when more recent pop culture clues are involved.


Unless this means she KNEW THE ANSWER WITHOUT HAVING TO TEXT ME! I take it back. I hope this is the answer. I want nothing more than for my grandmother to know who Bubba Sparxxx is.

Biggest weakness: This man could steal the Mona Lisa with one hand tied behind his back.

This week’s opponent: Saturday vs. UMass, 11:00 a.m. CST, BTN

Purdue Boilermakers

S&P+ rank: Overall 59th, Offense 59th, Defense 75th, Special Teams 61st

Last week’s results: (W) at Northwestern, 24-22

Biggest strength: Becoming the first ever Aidanbowl Champions!

I love Purdue, man. They are on their 11th string QB and still threw the ball 50 times! Aidan O’Connell had 271 yards, two TDs and two picks (electric stuff!) and lead the Boilermakers to a comeback win (his second game-winning drive in as many weeks) over an atrocious Northwestern team. David Bell had 14 catches for 115 yards and one of those touchdowns.

“It wasn’t a pretty game, and we had some moments where we looked really bad,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. A quote from the winning coach every time a game is played in Evanston.

Biggest weakness: This is a good joke. Stop worrying about spreading the wealth and start worrying about spreading the ball around to the skill positions IMO.

Purdue’s kicker had a great game! He made all three of his extra points and made the game-winning 39-yard field goal. Good work, J.D. Dellinger! I like when college kickers do well.

This week’s opponent: BYE

Wisconsin Badgers

S&P+ rank: Overall 11th, Offense 28th, Defense 6th, Special Teams 103rd

Last week’s results: (W) vs. No. 18 Iowa, 24-22

Biggest strength: Here we are again, my friend.

Jonathan Taylor was amazing. Nobody had even rushed for 100 yards against Iowa’s defense this year and he ran for 250. Really weird that he didn’t get into the end zone, but it was nice of him to allow his teammates to score a few. Quintez Cephus looked good and caught a 52-yard pass. The defense was really stout, for most of the game, and Matt Henningsen got another sack.

Biggest weakness: Shouts to you, Kirk Ferentz!

Letting Iowa get back into the game in the fourth quarter was annoying. The kicking game is REALLY annoying and the punting game wasn’t much better. Jack Coan was…ok. I wish the Badgers would call a couple of pass plays that resulted in a player getting the ball in the middle of the field with, potentially, some space to run after the catch.

This week’s opponent: Saturday at Nebraska, 11:00 a.m. CST, BTN