Your Big Ten happenings, week two:
Michigan 38, Notre Dame 34 -- "All In!" was RichRod's rallying cry prior to the season, and now he's officially playing with house money. Want more poker analogies? MGoBlog has 'em:
To really discuss what's wrong with Weis I have to dig into the poker metaphors. If Carr was a weak-tight calling station—a guy who doesn't take many risks and can be easily dissuaded from taking them—Weis is a loose-aggressive donkey—a guy who just bets and bets and bets and rides it. The LAG (loose-aggressive) is a better player, much tougher to win against, but is prone to huge, fatal mistakes. So the problem with that second-and-ten bomb was not that Weis threw, it's the sort of throw he called for. Running or whatever strips Michigan of its timeouts and has relatively little value compared to a first down. A first down just about ends the game. I had a perpetual frustration with Carr's playcalling in similar situations because it was run run run punt almost without fail, or possibly run run third and ten pass punt. So a slant or a hitch or some sort of high-percentage pass that can break for a first down is a great call.
The bomb is going all in with a middle pair after you get a couple overs on the flop. (I was in the World Series of Poker once!!!) It might work. But if it does, it's not because you're a good poker player.
Pretty much. A glorified jump ball is not exactly the smartest play call in that situation, but Charles is a Genius, and I know this because I've only heard it approximately 39,285 times since he was hired in South Bend. The cold reality is that he's a subpar head coach with a penchant for coming up lame in crucial situations and losing to Syracuse. But, Genius.
A few things about that game, which was a complete joy to watch from beginning to end. No, there wasn't a hell of a lot of defense being played -- it felt like Armando Allen ran for 250 yards (it was actually 21 rushes for 139 yards), and Emu threw for 335 yards and 3 TD's. Yes, like it or not, Tate Forcier is pretty good. He looks like he's about 165 pounds, but the kid has a pair of grapefruits and can do most of what Rodriguez's offense requires. It's only two games, but you would not be completely unreasonable to start worrying about Michigan as Penn State's main competition in the conference.
Southern Cal 18, Ohio State 15 -- Based on the almost-certain fact that Tressel v. Paterno will degenerate into one of those defensive, 13-10 type battles, we have to assume that Ohio State remains a tough out in Happy Valley. But really, even if it only lasts one week, how fun is it to see Ohio State fans crying about Terrelle Pryor's lack of progress as a passer and Jim Tressel being a guy who should've stayed in 1-AA?
USC's offense basically scored 11 points on Ohio State, discounting Pryor's mind-blowing interception that was returned to the OSU 2 yard line in the first quarter. They held a freshman quarterback to 14-for-31, picked him off once, and the Big Ten Preseason Offensive Player Of The Year couldn't outscore him. Maybe it's time to stop this ridiculous "LeBron In Cleats" talk about Pryor, hmm?
As for Tressel, it was just about his worst hour as Ohio State's head coach. Awful coaching strategy aside, have you ever seen a coach with such a tiny pair of glass balls? An 18-yard field goal, when USC's offense had been held to ZERO YARDS ON TEN PLAYS to that point? SRSLY?
Central Michigan 29, Michigan State 27 -- Oh, Sparty. Sparty, Sparty, Sparty. You suck so much. How much?
Response to Central Michigan @ Michigan State 9-12-09 (via WatchIFBored)
Iowa 35, Iowa State 3 -- There's nothing about a close call against a FCS team that a step down in competition can't fix. For Iowa, that's a date against the Suckclones. Tyler Sash, who I'm pretty sure never played football before Saturday, picked off three passes and Iowa took home the Cy-Hawk Trophy.
Oregon 38, Purdue 36 -- So, Purdue may not actually be that terrible after all. A blocked extra point in the 4th quarter led to the Boilers' eventual demise, as they couldn't convert a subsequent two-point conversion with one minute left in the game. Purdue turned the ball over three times, but two of them were returned for touchdowns. Still, progress in West Lafayette.
Wisconsin 34, Fresno State 31 (2OT) -- Gritty performance by the Badgers, who had been hit with a team-wide flu outbreak during the week. Wisconsin faced 14-0 and 21-7 deficits in the first half, fought back, and took advantage of a double-overtime interception by safety Chris Maragos. From there, it was five consecutive John Clay carries, 22 yard field goal, please drive home safely.
Northwestern 27, Eastern Michigan 24 -- A near-disaster for the Wildcats, who led 21-0 early, as EMU (led by former Michigan defensive coordinator Ron English) roared back to tie the game at 24 with 2:40 remaining. NU's Stefan Demos nailed a 49 yard field goal on the last play of the game to avoid the upset.
Minnesota 20, Air Force 13 -- Yeah, yeah, Minnesota won, but what in the hell are these things?
There's no use trying to out-ugly Oregon, guys. They'll just add feathers, then wings, then glitter. Just let it go.
Illinois 45, Illinois State 17; Indiana 23, Western Michigan 19 -- Nope. Don't care.