Big Ten West: Good news is, a lot of bad teams can win it

Big Ten West: Good news is, a lot of bad teams can win it

Did you catch a whiff of Purdue’s 32-29 loss at Syracuse on Saturday?

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It was noxious.

After scoring a touchdown to take the lead with 51 seconds left, the self-approving Boilermakers taunted their way to having to kick off from their own 10-yard line; it set up Syracuse’s offense at midfield. On third-and-10, the Boilers were flagged as defensive holding. It was pass interference again, a few ticks later. Imploding spectacularly, the Boilers gave up an inevitable touchdown with seven seconds left, then committed multiple personal fouls before the extra point because, hey, they hadn’t yet humiliated themselves to their satisfaction.

This pretty much sums it up. 1-2 Purdue is a great chance at the Big Ten West title.

Then there’s Northwestern, which lost 31-24 to Southern Illinois. It can only be assumed that this was the same Southern Illinois team who had been hammered by Incarnate Word with five touchdowns in their season opener. The Salukis? Really? Indeed, Pat Fitzgerald’s 1-2 Wildcats also are right there in the mix for the division crown.

We mustn’t forget about Nebraska, which — six days after firing coach Scott Frost — barreled out to a 7-0 lead on blue-blood Oklahoma, making Big Red fans deliriously happy. Husker Nation had reached a new rock bottom, scoring 39 points in straight Sooners games. You know what that means: Nebraska is now 0-3.

The planet’s worst division is available for your consumption.

Please, take it. Please.

Preseason favorite Wisconsin might do it, though the Badgers haven’t completed a downfield pass since the Obama administration. Always-competitive Iowa might do it, though the Hawkeyes’ late-1800s offense makes Wisconsin look like the Dan Marino Dolphins. Minnesota actually has played darn good football, which, let’s just be honest, is highly suspicious.

Are we forgetting anyone? Ah, yes: Illinois. Can the 2-1 Illini — who were off Saturday, probably a good thing — win this clunker of a division? That’s an affirmative, friends. There isn’t a West team they can’t beat, that’s for sure. In the spirit of the weird, wooly West, they’re just bad enough to be good.


A tip of the hat to Notre Dame, that managed to beat California 24-17, for its first win, as well to Marcus Freeman who is finally on the board with a “W”As a coach.

And now back to Irish fans’ regularly scheduled complaining. …

According to reports, Nebraska, which is in constant need of a coach half the quality of Tom Osborne’s, has spoken with Urban Meyer. They deserve each other, frankly. …

Three games in, Georgia’s defense — the only question mark about the defending national champs entering the season — has allowed one measly touchdown, and it was a garbage-time touchdown in the final minute of a massive blowout of South Carolina. Get it over with and lock in the Bulldogs as the No. You’re already the No. 1 playoff seed. …

Cracking open the menu this weekend at Micky’s Irish Pub in Iowa City, what did I see? The spicy turkey club sandwich is called the “Grandpa Rossi.”Yes, it was renamed after Cubs manager David Ross who ordered one while he was in town for a meal in 2008.

“I’ve definitely made it now,”Ross cracked via text after seeing the photo of this incredible discovery. …

Tony La Russa, Miguel Cairo? Wrong. The right question is: What can the White Sox do to get Terry Francona, Guardians skipper, to their team? …

Here’s a glimpse into Aaron Rodgers, Packers quarterback and tormentor-in chief of the Bears and their Sunday night opponent. In 2010, I conducted a positive interview in Green Bay for the national magazine’s season preview issue. Everything seemed to go well, but soon after a call came from Rodgers’ apoplectic then-business manager, who warned the young star was so outraged over a question involving predecessor Brett Favre — and by a potential cover pose he didn’t find flattering — that he’d never speak to anyone from the magazine again. It was more that a little strange. …

Aaron Rodgers apparently didn’t approve of this cover.

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Three things Rodgers said in that interview were: (1) He wanted “to be like”Tom Brady (2) was an American football player. “big fan” of Jay Cutler and (3) he’d definitely be done playing by 2020.


“E60: The Survivor” (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., ESPN): Shaul Ladany made it through the bombing of his family’s home during World War II, was saved from a Nazi concentration camp a few years after that and, at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, was part of the Israeli delegation that saw 11 of its athletes and coaches murdered by Palestinian terrorists. Ladany, now aged 86 shares his incredible story.

White Sox Guardians (Tuesday, 7:10 p.m., NBCSCH): It’s sweep the Guardians, starting today, or just fold up the tent and end this season-long circus. You’re up, Dylan Cease.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals

Mitch is Pittsburgh’s man.

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Steelers at Browns (Thursday, 7.15 p.m. Amazon Prime): Mitchell David Trubisky is in charge of the fate of the mighty Black and Gold. What could go wrong!


Geoffrey, a Twitter user:

“Should the Big Ten even hold the title game this year?”

My good man, what a clever, witty and incisive question. Did I mention I made this same joke last week in this exact space? But let’s take it a step further: The Big Ten should cancel the championship game in Indianapolis and chuck the entire West division into the transfer portal.


Northwestern: “What happens in Dublin stays in Dublin” should be the Wildcats’ new slogan.

The Big Ten on TV I can’t remember how much the league is raking in in rights fees, but it should consider paying a bunch of it back to bury the footage.

Meatballs: It’s not the hit-me pitch Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols who keeps chasing historic home runs. I’m talking about the clowns who keep suggesting opponents are teeing Pujols up on purpose.

Bad jokes: Frank Schwindel was assigned by the Cubs. This is my last assignment. “You can’t spell ‘Schwindel’ without the ‘win’ ” reference.

The Minneapolis nine: You can’t spell “Twins” without the … nope. Looks like there’s another Sox rival in need of a name change.

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