Not covering a college football game on an October Saturday gave me the rare chance to stay home and watch games.
But there was no way I was going to do that from 11 a.m. until the Washington-Oregon game ended around 1 a.m., Central time.
So I took 15 minutes during one of the afternoon halftimes to pick up some leaves.
1. Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before: Ohio State 63, Nebraska 38. Michigan 44, Purdue 13.
Nebraska played Ohio State well for 1 1/2 quarters. The Cornhuskers led 21-17 midway through the second quarter. But the Blackshirt defense was shredded by Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller and his pals after that.
Purdue was supposed to give Michigan a game. But the Wolverines jumped on the home team early and often.
Were you a betting person, you’d have to be inclined to favor Ohio State and Michigan winning their Big Ten divisions. Even though they play each other on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
“We need to win out,” Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini said after his team’s debacle. “Because that’s the only way we can guarantee ourselves getting to Indianapolis.
“I’m frustrated and I’m disappointed.”
And this is Urban Meyer’s first season as the coach of the 6-0 Buckeyes.
How embarrassing will it be to the Big Ten if Ohio State finishes first in the Leaders Division, gets its trophy, and then pats the runner-up on the head as it goes to Indy to play the Legends champ. Unless the runner-up is Penn State. Then the No. 3 team in the Leaders will go to the league’s title game.
2. Illini Chewed Up: As if its 31-14 loss to Wisconsin for a fourth-straight loss to FBS foes by 17-plus points wasn’t bad enough, Illinois Coach Tim Beckman committed an NCAA violation during the game.
Beckman was seen on the ESPN telecast of the game using smokeless tobacco on the sidelines.
”That’s a bad habit of mine,” Beckman said after the game. ”I apologize for that. I guess it’s the stress, but there’s no excuse for that and that’ll be stopped. It shouldn’t have been done.”
If penalized, Beckman wouldn’t be the first violator of the NCAA rule prohibiting the use of tobacco products for coaches, game officials and student-athletes in all sports, be it in practice or in competition.
3. Diseased Frogs: Here is what TCU Coach Gary Patterson said after his Horned Frogs fell to Iowa State, 37-23:
“You’ve got to give all the credit to coach [Paul] Rhoads and Iowa State,” Patterson said. “They came into our house, and they beat us fair and square. Pushed us around. Losing is a disease. If you don’t do something about it, it just keeps spreading. Losing has got to hurt. I’m not a very good loser.”
Maybe the Horned Frogs just need more experience at it. Their record since the start of the 2005 season is 81-14, and Patterson’s record at TCU is 113-31.
But in the Big 12, the Frogs are just 1-1. And they still play at Baylor, at home against Texas Tech, at Oklahoma State, at West Virginia, at home against Kansas State, at Texas, and at home against Oklahoma.
Good luck containing that disease, Coach. You aren’t in the Mountain West anymore.
4. Big Red-Faced: Back to Nebraska. The school came into the Big Ten not because of its heritage in academics, not because of its fine baseball and volleyball programs, not because of its geographical location or its major media markets.
Nebraska is in the Big Ten for one reason: Its football program.
But that program got slapped 48-17 by Wisconsin and 45-17 by Michigan last year in its first Big Ten go-round. It also lost 30-13 to South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl. Now, 63-38 to Ohio State.
The glory-decades Huskers were built on rock-ribbed offensive lines, and staunch defense. They have had no problem moving the ball and scoring this season. They lead the Big Ten in scoring with 43.7 points per game. But the defense thing, that has been AWOL in its two trips away from Lincoln.
Bo Pelini’s defense yielded 653 yards in a 36-30 loss at UCLA — UCLA, not USC — a month ago, and it surrendered 498 yards and 63 points at Ohio State Saturday. In fairness, 14 of those points came on touchdowns scored by an interception return and a punt return. So, only bill the Blackshirts for 49 of those points.
Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald wrote this:
After Pelini went through the litany of comments we’ve heard before — disappointed, didn’t play well, lousy special teams, missed tackles, didn’t execute — I asked Pelini why these things keep happening.
“I don’t know,” Pelini said. “I wish I knew.”
That comment should shake Husker fans to their core today. Here in the fifth year, with his guys, they said they would fix the holes in the offseason but they’re still leaking oil all over the place.
5. What Didn’t Kill Them Made Them Stronger: On Week 1 of this season, Iowa defeated Northern Illinois, 18-17, and Iowa State topped Tulsa, 38-23.
Those were good wins for both clubs. Northern Illinois is 5-1. Tulsa is 5-1.
Tulsa has averaged 46.4 wins in its five victories and is 12th in the nation in scoring at 42.5 points per game.
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch is eighth in the nation in rushing with 131.5 yards a game, and has nine touchdown passes to just three interceptions.
Lynch rushed for 207 yards and threw for 195 in the Huskies’ 35-23 win at Ball State. The Cardinals gained 563 yards themselves.
On Sept. 29, NIU beat Central Michigan, 55-24. Just sayin’, as they say. Even though no one ever is just sayin’ when they say they’re just sayin’.