Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ruminations on Week 12

Sorry for the delay in getting this post up, I've been sick with a cold since Sunday. I wish I could say that I saw a bunch of the Big Ten games this weekend, but I really only saw 7/8ths of the Battle for the Axe in Madison. I spent my Saturday at the wine country bus tour of all bus tours, and have been paying the price since. It actually was a ton of fun, but it did cause me to miss most of the Saturday games. I did DVR the Badger game however, and I got to see most of it. But with all the injuries (thank the Lord that Kyle Jefferson is ok) and penalties, my DVR cut off the game with about 5 mins left on the clock. This frustrated me like crazy, because I purposely set the DVR to record for an extra 30 I didn't get to see if Bielema gave a repeat performance of last year. Anyways, here are some ruminations for the Big Ten this week...

1) Great Comeback for the Badgers. WildHawk (remember him?) texted me this while on my Bus Tour, so I knew the Bagers were doing something good on Saturday. Alas, their performance on Saturday was a great comeback, but it also signaled more than that. It solidified their comeback not just from a 21-7 halftime deficit, but from a season that looked lost just 4 weeks ago. The college football season really is a marathon, and it reminds us that all judgements on a season should be withheld until after the season. Four weeks ago, fans throughout the state were calling for Bielema's head. This week, they're feeling great about their Badgers and hoping that there's a way to get to the Alamo Bowl. Thank God I kept my pants on.

2) Penn State is in trouble if Daryll Clark doesn't shape up soon. I know that the Nittany Lions have more playmakers than VH1 does terrible reality shows, but Clark is the one that makes them click...and he hasn't been clicking for a few weeks now. In the beginning of the year, he was limiting mistakes and B'ing his L all over the competition's T's. Now, he's a turnover waiting to happen and taking the term "my own worst critic" to a whole new level in the press. The guy needs to calm down, let his playmakers make plays around him, and assert his leadership positively in the huddle. If he does, MSU is in for a sticky day in Happy Valley. If he doesn't and PSU falls behind, the hook could be quick this weekend.

3) How many times has Terrelle Pryor "established" himself this season? Yes, that is a serious question. I know that he was a crazy-famous recruit and was bound to live in the spotlight for most of his career, but this has really gotten ridiculous. Let me be clear, I think Terrelle Pryor has been great this year, and OSU wouldn't be as dangerous as they are without him. But this media lovefest is out of control. First, he proved that he "wasn't scared" in the USC game that was a blowout. Then, he proved how composed and "big-game" he could be in the comeback at Wisconsin. After his shaky performance against Penn State, he proved that he "can handle adversity" against MSU. This week, he had his "coming out" party against Illinois. Really? It's taken all season for his coming out party? I would argue that the UW game was his coming out party...and the rest has been a typical year for a college freshman quarterback. I think Pryor is ridiculous....but he's trumped by the media coverage that deifies him every week.

4) I'm not ready to say goodbye. Approaching week 13 means one thing...this season is almost over. For fans like me, this is always the hardest time of the year. On one hand, it it usually the most exciting. On the other, it means that my Saturdays will be empty for the next 7-8 months. And this year in the Big Ten, it means saying goodbye to the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Joe Tiller in West Lafayette, and possibly...though I sure as hell hope Joe Pa in Happy Valley. The Metrodome is a shithole that most won't miss, but I had some great times there in college, they still served beer there during games, and my Badgers were crazy successful there. Tiller revolutionized the Big Ten by bringing back mustaches, introducing the Spread offense, and making Purdue relevant. And Joe Pa...well...we all know what he's done at Penn State. And it's not just Penn State, it's what he's done for the Big Ten, and more importantly, for College Football in general. We all can't thank him enough...and that's why I'm not ready to say goodbye. Here's to hoping JoePa gets a new hip and a new contract for 2009.

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