We’re nearly 50% of the way thru the college wrestling dual season. Let’s take a look at this year’s Wrestling BCS* projections.
*What’s that? You didn’t know wrestling had a Bowl Championship Series? Well it does! Click this handy link to read the historical background and mechanics. And here’s something else - your Nittany Lions won it all last year. So you’ve got that going for you, which is nice.
Ro-Tel Queso Dip Bowl (EWL Champ vs. Big Ten 7th)
Edinboro Fighting Scots (6-4, 4-0) vs. #13 Illinois Fighting Illini (4-2, 2-2)
BORO just took out Rider, and will likely be the Eastern Wrestling League champ.
Barbasol Close Shave America Bowl (PAC12 Champ vs. Big Ten 6th)
#18 Stanford (7-2, 3-0) vs. #12 Minnesota (5-3, 4-2)
Nathan Butler and Mike Kroells? I think I’d take Butler, actually.
The NJ Turnpike James Fenimore Cooper Service Plaza Bowl (SoCon Champ vs. Big Ten 5th)
#16 Appalachian State (10-2, 4-0) vs #11 Rutgers (9-2, 3-1)
The Average Officials Bowl (EIWA Champ vs Big Ten 3rd)
#9 Cornell (7-2, 3-0) vs #4 Ohio State (8-0, 4-0)
Cornell got a late, unexpected pin from Brian Realbuto over PreischIsRight to sneak past Lehigh last weekend, 21-20. Otherwise, this would be the Enginerds.
The OmahaSteaks.com Bowl (MAC Champ vs. Big Ten 4th)
#8 Missouri (9-2, 6-0) vs #5 Nebraska (10-1, 4-1)
This woulda been OHST here, but they already wrestled (and beat) Mizzou. So the Tigers get the Huskers instead. Keep things fresh, just like Omaha Steaks.
The Big Boy Pants Bowl (Wild Card vs. Big Ten 8th)
#7 NC State (9-1, 2-0) vs. #14 Michigan (5-4, 2-4)
Last year this was Gwiz vs. Coon - and Gwiz destroyed. Not quite the same matchup this year. But it retains its bowl sponsorship, nonetheless.
The [[Orange]] Bowl (ACC Champ vs. Big Ten 2nd)
#6 VaTECH (13-1, 3-0) vs. #3 Iowa (7-2, 3-1)
Is there anyone on planet Earth - other than Tom Brands - who does NOT want to see this dual happen? No, there is not (other than Tom Brands).
The National Championship (#1 vs. #2)
#1 Oklahoma State (8-0, 3-0) vs. #2 Penn State (8-0, 3-0)
At least, that’s the way this year is shaping up. But there’s a lot of wrestling left.
Let’s get into the individual Big Ten standings, after another crazy weekend of mat action. New to this week’s tables of results - Coaches Rankings. As a reminder, Coaches Rankings are 1/3rd of the equation for earning a bid to NCAAs (for your conference tournament). In other words, we can start to see who will be bringing a qualifying bid to Big Tens, who won’t, and where the line to make the NCAA tournament might fall. Ready? (‘No’) Begin.
|B1G Rank||125 LBS||Coaches (1/20)||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
The big news this weekend was the return of 2x All-American Conor Youtsey to the Michigan lineup. We’re slotting him 4th in the conference, behind ol’ nemesis Tim Lambert.
The number of bids is difficult to guess - Youtsey, Lizak, Jimenez, Oliver, Rodriguez have all missed significant time (or are still missing it, in Oliver’s case). Best guess? 7. The first 4 are pretty much guaranteed already (Gilman, Suriano, Lambert, Lizak). Youtsey, Jimenez, Oliver are all past qualifiers capable of getting the job done in the time remaining. Rodriguez could get the job done too (which would make 8).
|B1G Rank||133 LBS||Coaches (1/20)||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
Getting seeded 1, 2, or 3 - meh, not too much of a difference, really. You’re going to have a tough semi-final match at Big Tens. Anything below that, however - particularly 4 or 5 - and you get a difficult quarterfinal match, in addition to the semi-final grind. As always, it pays to win. Big match towards that end this Friday, as Tomasello locks up with Clark.
NCAA Qualifying Bids: 8 or 9
|B1G Rank||141 LBS||Coaches (1/20)||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
From outhouse to - well, not penthouse, but still pretty high up there. Those 4 third-period takedowns from Jimmy Gulibon over Iowa’s Carton sent Jimmy flying up the conference standings. Big, big win for Jim. With a “W” over Tommy Thorn already in the bank, and a fight with fellow Latrobe / Derry / WPIAL product Luke Pletcher on the horizon, Jim could climb as high as 3rd. And wouldn’t that be the start of a magical senior season.
Guesstimated bids: a whole bunch. Probably 8 or 9.
|B1G Rank||149 LBS||Coaches (1/20)||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
Another big match this Friday, between Iowa’s Sorensen and Ohio State’s Mickey Jordan. Let us know your pick in the comments.
Bids: let’s call it 6 for now.
|B1G Rank||157 LBS||Coaches (1/20)||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
|5||Van Brill (RUT)||14||16-7||2-2||2-2||1|
There was an idea floated that Nolf might slow his suicidal attack pace in his match against Kemerer, seeing as how they’re long-time training partners. Maybe even an Muhammad Ali vs Ken Norton thing? Neither proved accurate. Nolf was his usual death-pace self, but Kemerer is a tough kid, too, with good defense.
If you have a heart, it should go out to Michigan’s Brian Murphy. The oft-injured senior is having a really rough go in his last shot. He just lost to Kyle Langenderfer this past weekend, and seems to be about 50% of his former self. Wrestling injuries...nowhere to hide them out there, and they’re not gonna get any better until the season (or career) is over.
Bids: 7 or 8.
|B1G Rank||165 LBS||Coaches (1/20)||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
Folks talk up the I-Mar vs Massa result (a 3-1 decision for I-Mar) as some kind of indication of a vulnerability for I-Mar. You’re welcome to jump on that bandwagon if you like, but I’m not buying any of that crap. I-Mar is quick and explosive and powerful and the lefty high crotch, and yada yada yada. No one ever says smart. But he’s smart, too. Darn smart. Smarts might be his best trait. So let’s start the parade of compliments with “brain” from now on, shall we? Brain, quick, brain, explosive, powerful, brain, lefty high crotch, yada brain yada.
Bids? I dunno. Maybe 7? Let’s go with 7 for now.
|B1G Rank||174 LBS||Coaches (1/20)||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
Dan Gable pulled Lincoln McIlravey’s redshirt late in the 1996/97 season. McIlravey promptly lost his first varsity match. Jordan Burroughs had his redshirt pulled late, too - and dropped his first two varsity matches. Then those guys won 5 national titles, and 5 or 6 world medals (and counting).
In totally unrelated news, Cael pulled junior world gold medalist Mark Hall’s redshirt late - and Hall promptly lost his first match, on the road at Carver Hawkeye, on a last second takedown to a returning All-American who’s been ranked as highly as #2 in the past two years. Just a hunch, but I think Hall’s going to be fine.
Bids? Ehhhhhh. Bo Jordan not wrestling makes things difficult. Maybe 8 or 9? Let’s say 8 for now.
|B1G Rank||184 LBS||Coaches (1/20)||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
Maybe it’s because Bo’s from Texas? Sort of how the Asiatic alphabets / languages are completely different than the Greek / Latin based stuff, because the Himalayan mountains are really high? Whatever it is, Bo routinely hits stuff that you rarely if ever see out of the mid-Atlantic or mid-West. Who hits a spladle off a crack down like that? No one I can remember - and that’s almost certainly true for the Iowa fans in the background of this video, who were calling for a Sammy Brooks “two” even as the ref was slapping the mat. One of them even jumps for joy, thinking Brooks somehow got the pin, instead of Bo. And then, the surrender cobra, when he realizes it was actually Brooks who got decked (and probably mooned Dan Gable in the process). It’s a hoot. Probably my favorite unintentional comedy video of all time. Thanks, FloWrestling.
Bids: a ton of them. Maybe 9. Which is crazy, because this weight is deeeeep nationally, too.
|B1G Rank||197 LBS||Coaches (1/20)||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
It wouldn’t surprise me if we were to learn that Mouse is battling some kind of injury again. The last two matches - both wins - have been cautious, slow-footed, and plodding affairs. Pretty much the opposite of Mouse’s nature, and his specific recipe for success at this weight. We may need a Mr. Miyagi or Benny Hinn miracle healing before March.
In other news, Studebaker took Pfarr to the limit - but lost. I probably need to change my (negative) tune on Studebaker. Kid’s been putting up good results all season. Another guy to keep an eye on is Michigan’s Striggow. After starting the year off horrendously - I mean, really really poorly - Striggow’s caught a bit of fire. His record remains terrible and he probably won’t bring a bid, but it looks like he’s going to be a tough out at Big Tens.
Bids: whew...how about 6? This weight is really down, both in conference and nationally, from last season.
|B1G Rank||285 LBS||Coaches (1/20)||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
Iowa’s Sam Stoll tore his ACL against Okie State, and has to hang up his headgear for this season. That stinks. It probably also signals the end of Iowa’s team title hopes this season. The Hawks still have some impressive top-end firepower - Gilman, Clark, Sorensen - but too many holes in the lineup overall to contend.
Meanwhile, Nick Nevills looks like a good bet to have secured the 3-seed at Big Tens, with an opportunity to improve upon that (he’ll get Medbery and Snyder in coming weeks). Great work from Nick this season.
Bids: let’s call it 6 for now.