Week 1 - Big Ten East Game Previews

Week 1 - Big Ten East Game Previews

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Week 1 - Big Ten East Game Previews

We’ll take a good look at Michigan State’s season opener, of course, this week. But there’s an interesting slate of games for the rest of the Big Ten East as “Week 0” concludes and the season gets underway,  for real…

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I can’t decide what would be worse –

To be a fan of a college football team that just played a game in what has been labeled “Week 0” by the branding experts….

or….

To be one of the branding expert people who have referred to the few games that have just been played as games played in “Week 0.”

Should we start referring to January as “Month 0?”

How about from here on out we refer to Sunday as “Day 0?”

How about we all recognize 12midnight as “Hour 0?”

This “Week 0” thing has been a head scratcher.

Speaking of head scratching, Kirk Herbstreit was asked about his thoughts on the Ohio State investigative report that chronicles the commission’s findings regarding all of that Urban Meyer/Zach Smith/Ohio State stuff.

Herbstreit said, among a few other fairly benign things, “It’s sort of a head scratcher.”

Yeah.

That’s one way of putting it.

Here’s another “head scratcher:”

The 18-minute gap on Richard Nixon’s audio tapes from the Watergate Era.

Here’s another “head scratcher:”

Bill Clinton’s definition of the word “is.”

Here’s another “head scratcher:”

Leon Durham said that someone spilled Gatorade on his mitt just before he took the field in the bottom of the 6th inning of the final game of the 1984 NLCS and that was why Tim Flannery’s worm-burner slipped underneath his mitt and opened the floodgates that led to the Padres finishing off the ’84 Cubs.

Here’s another “head scratcher:”

Desmond Howard’s – and all UMAAers’ – decades-long refusal to just face the facts: he dropped the ball.

Yeah, that Ohio State report was a bit of a head scratcher.

We have some potential head scratchers in what I’m going to controversially refer to as “Week 1” of the college football slate coming up.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have spent too much time scratching their heads lo these past weeks and months – but we embrace all head scratchers since it’s all about to kick off, for real.

And what will that lead to?

Much, much more head scratching on a daily and weekly basis for the next four months.

Get the Selsun Blue ready, folks.

BIG TEN EAST GAMES

UMAA at Notre Dame

Does UMAA consider Notre Dame a rival?

UMAA’s “rivalry status” seems to be a moving target, depending on wind patterns and elements related to the Farmer’s Almanac (and the pesky won/loss facts related to head-to-head competition).

One might even say that the way UMAA defines a “rival” is a bit of a “head scratcher.”

Notre Dame, on the other hand, makes any sane person scratch his or her head by its very existence.

Are there two teams out there that have a more important opening game than these two programs that cause people to scratch their heads on a regular basis?

Shea Patterson’s time has come.

Or, so we’re told.

Notre Dame is a Top 10ish preseason team because……….it’s Notre Dame.

The two head coaches that will be locking horns in this game give even their schools’ most loyal supporters lots of reason for head scratching.

UMAA has one of the more stout defenses in the nation – and we know this because we’re told it every time we get a slight itch on our head that requires scratching.

However, my dead Uncle Bert had a gut that was so stout it had its own P.O. Box, it’s own zip code, and it’s own traffic officer that made sure passing him by in public and in private didn’t cause injury to persons around him.

The J. Ira and Nikki Harris Family Head Coach is going to have a tough start to the season that’s, apparently, gonna “be the one” when “everything comes together” and when “it all happens” since “it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”

If only someone would get me a fake press pass and let me in the post-game press conference to ask a question or two about UMAA being 1-7 against its rivals and follow that up with a question about how a rival is defined by the UMAAers and follow that up with a question about whether or not UMAA can defend it’s 4th place finish in the Big Ten East by finishing higher than 4th place in the Big Ten East.

UMAA – 20

Notre Dame – 26

Texas at Maryland

At one point, this game looked like a game that would be very exciting and intriguing and revealing and compelling.

Now, this game is like a leper.

Serious question: should Maryland even play football this season?

Maryland’s situation makes the Ohio State situation seem like The Brady Bunch as the Bradys get set to sit down at the dinner table on Thanksgiving right after Alice has finished preparing the most perfect bird and Mike is smiling proudly as he prepares to carve the bird after the boys just defeated the girls 14-7 in the family Turkey Bowl on the astro turf in front of the swing set.

As for Texas – wake me up when Texas matters again.

Texas – 31

Maryland – 10

Texas State at Rutgers

The allure of this Week 1 battle lost a bit of its shine when Rutgers announced that 67 of its players won’t play due to an investigation stemming from what appears to be fraudulent use of credit cards by members of the Rutgers football team.

A report says that “several” football players are under investigation and that the term “several” could mean as many as eight players –

https://www.nj.com/rutgersfootball/index.ssf/2018/07/rutgers_players_under_investigation.html

Last week, Rutgers defensive back K.J. Gray and linebacker Brendan DeVera were dismissed from the team for unspecified violations o f team rules.

I like this part – when K.J. Gray was asked if his dismissal had anything to do with the credit card fraud stuff, Gray said that his lawyer advised him to “keep quiet about the situation.”

Smart.

Maybe people will keep quiet about the sadness of this Week 1 football game.

Texas State – 0

Rutgers – 5

Northwestern at Purdue

A unique Big Ten conference game for these programs – and on a Thursday night, no less.

Jeff Brohm woke up the Boilers a bit last season and some people even think that Purdue football is on the verge of rising like a vampire.

Pat Fitzgerald is looking for his fourth 10-win season in Evanston – and his 3rd in four years.

For Northwestern, so much will depend on Clayton Thorson’s ability to return to his pre-injury capabilities.

The word, at this point, is that Thorson will start this Thursday night.

Purdue has its own issues at quarterback since Elijah Sindelar (torn ACL last season), David Blough (ankle injury last season), and newcomer Jack Plummer (doesn’t know where the cafeteria is yet) all have issues to deal with.

Last season, when Purdue converted on at least 36% of its 3rd down conversions, the Boilers went 6-1.

I’m thinking that the Boilers are going to convert on 38% of their 3rd down conversions against Paddy Fisher and the Northwestern defense and Purdue fans might have yet another reminder that their university has a football team.

Northwestern – 21

Purdue – 30

Oregon State at Ohio State

With all of the hubbub regarding who knew what, who did what, how much of a monster Brett McMurphy is, how many times Earl Bruce’s grandson ordered leisure-time contraband and accoutrements to his Ohio State football office, and whether or not Urban Meyer and his wife respond to one another’s text messages, I almost forgot that Ohio State is going to play football this season.

 

I wonder if Buckeye fans long for the romantic era when the biggest problems stemmed from players selling their trinkets, coaches lying about knowing about the players selling their trinkets, star quarterbacks going to jail for bank fraud and lots of things stemming from gambling stuff, coaches punching opposing players after opposing players intercepted passes, and losing to UMAA every year.

The 2018 season for the Buckeyes is bound to be an “it’s us against the world” type of season since the whole world has been carefully and sinisterly orchestrating a systematic takedown of the entire Ohio State machine on account of Earl Bruce’s grandson being a lout.

A guy I sort of know who is really well connected to the inner workings of Ohio State football told me that he has a friend who works with a guy that plays darts with Luke Fickell’s brother and that Ohio State is working right now to get permission from the University of Cincinnati to have Luke Fickell be Ryan Day’s co-head coach for the three weeks that Urban Meyer sits in the corner looking somber and passive-aggressively sending out the vibes that he’s been unfairly victimized.

I’m thinking that Tuesday will be the day when Meyer sends out a Snapchat that features an apology for the way his apology in his tweet where he apologized for not being apologetic enough during the press conference features an apology for not showing enough of an apologetic tone in his twitter apology right after he was put on paid administrative leave.

It’s a good thing for Buckeye fans that the state of Ohio has a professional football team in Columbus with enough athletes to win games while Coach Meyer spends his Saturday in a self-help counseling session.

Oregon State – 14

Ohio State – 51

Appalachian State at Penn State

Penn State fans must be the happiest people on Earth right now about now.

They get to stand and sit way, way over there while all of these other places gobble up all of the oxygen that the Penn State universe was choking on not all that long ago.

James Franklin has gotten Penn State people back to being able to feel sort of/kind of/almost proud of Penn State once again.

I’ll say this: Trace McSorely is a lot of fun to watch and he seems like the kind of guy that would be fun to play football with.

Here’s something else we’ll say about Penn State – and Franklin, in particular.

After Matt Coghlin won that marathon of a game in East Lansing when Penn State and Michigan State had to deal with that 11-hour lightning delay, the cameras caught Franklin sprinting over to the tunnel in what looked like a frantic panic.

Franklin was yelling, waving his arms, grabbing Penn State players, etc.

What was he doing?

He was reprimanding his own players for leaving the field without congratulating the Spartans after what was a truly memorable afternoon between two teams that had to deal with a whole lot of challenges to simply play the game.

We like to refer to Franklin as a Chachi look-alike – and we’ll continue to do so.

But, we do that in fun.

Franklin showed us something in that moment when he told his guys to get back out on to the field and shake the hands of the guys that just won the game.

For the sake of Penn State fans, let’s hope he doesn’t have to do that this Saturday when Appalachian State visits Happy Valley.

I don’t know for sure, but I’d be willing to guess that the guy who was the head coach for UMAA when Appalachian State beat UMAA in dramatic fashion many years ago did not make sure his players shook the hands of the App State kids.  That UMAA head coach likely thought that his team deserved better that afternoon.

Appalachian State – 13

Penn State – 38

Indiana at Florida International

I wish there were things I could write regarding this football game that could make this football game seem interesting.

We like Hoosier head man Tom Allen.

We love the movie “Breaking Away.”

We think The General was/is a flawed genius who was/is, underneath it all, someone who never would have said to a handler, “How do we delete all of the text messages on my phone that are from over a year ago?”

But Indiana football has had one winning season since 1994 (it came in 2007).

Can the Hoosiers make this a winning season and give Hoosier fans something to grab on to while Archie Miller works on getting things back in order over at Assembly Hall?

Indiana has to win this opener if it wants a shot at going to a bowl game.

Butch Davis led the FIU Golden Panthers to eight wins last season – FIU isn’t a team that Indiana can expect to beat by simply showing up.

The Cutters won the race in the movie.

Indiana loses its opener in real life.

Indiana – 17

FIU – 26

**Editors Note

SpartansWire reserves the right to change these predictions prior to the conclusion of the games being played.

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