Fifth-year seniors Jason Nolf and Bo Nickal have no idea what it’s like for Penn State to lose a dual. In 9 days, they’ll pass the 4-year anniversary of PSU’s last dual loss - at Oklahoma State, Feb 15th, 2015, when they were redshirts, likely home in State College, watching on TV. Since they entered PSU’s lineup the following November, they’ve only ever walked thru the handshake line with satisfaction on their faces. 55 - 0 in dual meets.
To roll the odometer forward one more notch, and “celebrate” that 4-year anniversary, they’ll have to lead PSU past Ohio State this weekend. The Buckeyes will be on their home mat, and they match up as well against PSU as any team in the country - which is to say there’s a non-zero chance they could win.
This sport is individual combat, where anything could happen, and a knockout blow is only one split-second mistake away. Yet for most of the prior 4 years, we fans have only rarely experienced anything more than even the slightest cause for concern. That an opponent has an actual (though slim) chance at winning is the attention grabber - how bizarre is that?
Crazy. Appreciate your thoughts on this strange fandom dynamic in the comments.
To the individual standings.
|B1G Rank||YR||125 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
Here is whom Northwestern’s top-ranked SeaBass Rivera wrestled in his last four Big Ten duals: Wisconsin-Forfeit, Minnesota-Forfeit, Iowa-Backup, Ohio State-Backup.
Injuries happen, and get a deserved exemption from online flogging. Good, fine, great, grand.
Now then, with that disclaimer out of the way, the rules committee would be wise to consider a few qualification rule changes directed at protecting the integrity of the regular season - because it’s been made a mockery time, and time again.
The current post-season qualification process is just about as close to perfect as the NCAA has ever come to perfect on anything. However, it bears a fatal flaw. It works only on an assumption of shared ethics between its constituents.
Heretofore, the shared ethic has been “do the right thing”. If you can wrestle, then you toe the line. Simple - wrestlers wrestle during wrestling season. Unfortunately, our ethic appears to have devolved into “do the right thing for me” - and to heck with my opponent, the other guys at my weight, the good of the sport, and, of course, the fans, who’ve always come in dead last.
What happened to wrestlers wrestling during wrestling season? We’ll leave it at that for now. Pick up the idea-making (like a 20-match minimum, or baseball’s lineup cards) in the comments.
|B1G Rank||YR||133 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
We pulled Tucker Sjomeling out, and inserted true frosh Jevon Parrish. Nebraska pulled Parrish’s redshirt off a couple of weekends ago, and looks like he’ll be Manning’s guy the rest of the way (although Parrish missed the home dual vs Iowa on Sunday).
In other news, Iowa’s DeSanto taunted the Husker crowd after pasting their 3rd string backup, 25-10. DeSanto got dinged for unsportsmanlike conduct - which happens to be the third time in his last four matches that DeSanto’s been dinged for unsportsmanlike. One more and he wins a set of steak knives.
|B1G Rank||YR||141 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
|12||SO||Van Brill (RUT)||51||4-4||0-0||0-0||0|
Joey McKenna did not wrestle against Mikey Carr this weekend, at Illinois. Tom Ryan said Joey is injured. No further comment.
Hey, did yinz see Nick Lee’s counter to Kanen Storr’s ankle pick? He pulled the old 360-spin-into-a-high-crotch-from-one-knee trick. Pretty neat, and made even more spectacular by BTN choosing to switch camera angles mid-move. Gives it a science fiction appeal.
|B1G Rank||YR||149 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
Anthony Ashnault laid a whoopin’ on Princeton’s Matt Kolodzik this Sunday, posting a 10-2 major, featuring 3 takedowns and a couple of swipes. Ashnault’s unbeaten on the season, having already vanquished most of the top foes here at 149 lbs. And if he wrestled for a certain coach, Anthony would probably get to rest the entire month of February.
|B1G Rank||YR||157 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
|7||SR||Van Brill (RUT)||22||15-9||2-5||2-3||1|
We slot Pup Berger at number 2 because of his previous win over Deakin, and despite his early season loss to Parriott. Deakin holds steady at the 3-seed for this week, but gets a serious test upcoming from Pantaleo - who’d be our actual choice for runner-up to Jason Nolf in conference, but remains at the 4-seed thanks to a goofy Midlands (at 149) and a not-so-great loss to Arizona State’s Christian Pagdilao immediately after Midlands. But we have a hunch the standings could change next week.
|B1G Rank||YR||165 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
|6||SR||Campbell (OSU)||16 (at 174)||9-2||2-1||2-0||0|
Tom Ryan pulled Kaleb Romero from the lineup, pushed Te’Shan Campbell down here from 174 (hope you enjoyed drinking water while it lasted, T!), and inserted Ethan Smith at 174. These moves arguably make the Buckeyes a tougher dual team, and probably get them a couple of extra points at Big Tens, but are not likely to make a ‘yuge difference at NCAAs (but hey, it might).
|B1G Rank||YR||174 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
Just when you thought you could count out Dylan Lydy, up the standings he climbs like a mountain goat. Lydy posted a nice overtime victory against Devin Skatzka this weekend, and takes the 4-seed in our rankings.
Sparty’s Drew Hughes appears headed in the opposite direction. No conference matches this weekend for Drew, but he had his doors blown off by Northern Illinois freshman Brit Wilson, which will leave a mark.
|B1G Rank||YR||184 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
There’s Myles Martin at 184lbs, and then there’s dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.
Taylor Venz wrestled an exceptionally strange match this Sunday, losing 5-3 to Iowa’s Cash Wilcke in a match that the Huskers really needed. Set aside that the normally slick Venz didn’t shoot much, and set aside that Venz turned the wrong way in a scramble and gave up a critical takedown, and set aside that Venz’s strategy next appeared to be to ride out Wilcke in the 3rd period - and he was doing it, until he went for a cross wrist tilt, lost the hold, and instead gave up an escape. Forget all of that, because the absolutely weirdest thing was watching Venz - who was in a tie match, 3-3 with 30 seconds remaining, but who appeared to believe he was losing - take a flailing, desperation shot, get stuffed underneath Wilcke’s hips, and then - AND THEN - try some really weird, double-unders, pseudo-bear hug from his own knees, which Wilcke easily countered for the winning takedown. It was amazing to behold, and frankly, so fraught with strange happenings that we were unwilling to shuffle the seeding too much.
But wait, there’s so much more. MyMar dispatched old nemesis Emery Parker comfortably, but Emery’s second conference loss drops him below this week’s seeding-lottery-winner Cash “Money” Wilcke.
And that, friends, is the easy part. Here’s how crazy the bottom half of this weight class gets. Badger Mason Reinhardt just lost to Maryland’s Kyle Jasenski, for Jasenski’s first career B1G scalp (congrats, Kyle). So to make things easier on ourselves, we created a gigantic tie for 8th.
|B1G Rank||YR||197 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
Frightened by the deep waters of 184? Then welcome to the shallow stream of 197.
The bottom half of this field has tallied just 4 conference dual wins. The next worst weight in conference is 149, with 7. But if that’s not enough to tilt your bubble off plumb, consider that only 3 wrestlers in the conference have posted a “quality win” on the year. This weight may bring only 5 bids to the conference tournament, which would be a record low since Jim Delany shrewdly added Rutgers and Maryland.
|B1G Rank||YR||285 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
Sam Stoll and Youssif Hemida have wrestled a grand total of 17 matches, combined, on the season - and this weekend’s results hinted at why, as the returning All-Americans wore a pair of losses to (relative) youngsters. Hemida dropped a 4-2 decision to Wisconsin’s Hillger. And Stoll looked about as bad as you’ve ever seen him look at Nebraska, losing 3-0 to David Jensen. The big fella just couldn’t move.
Like we stated in our mini-rant at 125lbs, wrestlers are supposed to wrestle during wrestling season. But, sheesh - sometimes guts ain’t enough, and discretion is the better part of valor. It’s a tricky thing without a simple answer - but we’re still interested in your idears, so please fill the comments.
Team Standings Based On the Above Garbage, Without Bonus
- Penn State: 134.5
- Ohio State: 110.0
- Michigan: 100.0
- Iowa: 96.5
The Hawkeyes suffer from Stoll’s unhealthy showing, as well as Max Murin’s and Kaleb Young’s descents toward middle of the pack (and Vince Turk wrestled at Nebraska instead of Murin, btw). Consequently, they slip to 4th, just behind Michigan for this week.