Friday Skull Session

By poguemahone on December 31, 2010 at 6:00a

 Well. That sucked. I imagine most of you went to bed thinking there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that Washington would upset Bo Pelini's Nebraska Cornhuskers. You, along with I, and pretty much everyone on the planet outside of Seattle, were sorely mistaken. I'm not sure I can even begin to explain the festering, stinking turd Taylor Martinez and the Husker offense laid in San Diego last night, but I'll give it a shot: after racking up 533 yards of offense in a 56-21 stomping in Seattle in September, the Husker offense totaled 199 yards of offense, 14 first downs and seven points in a head-scratching debacle of a bowl game for the Big Ten's newest addition. Nebraska's offense pretty much cratered over the last few weeks of the season season, so it's not quite Troy Smith et al. in the MNC against Florida, but... it's pretty darn close. Washington came into the game 84th in total defense, had given up 20 or more points in 10 games, and needed three straight wins at the end of the season just to make a bowl game. The only other offense they had held to 7 points? UCLA, dead last in the Pac-10 in total offense and 99th nationally. They won with Jake Locker completing 5 of 16 passes for 56 yards. Nebraska, your offense, WOOF!

It's hard to know exactly what to make of this game. I had personally expected Nebraska to come into the Big Ten in 2011 and compete for a spot in the conference title game right away, and there is still an outside chance of that happening, but given how the Big 12 looks in bowl games (more on that later), it's looking like it'll be much more of an uphill climb for the Cornhuskers in the Big Ten than most had envisioned.

 Hey, here's more stuff you can't sell, Terrelle and Co. "Why so many damn college football awards?", wonders the hopefully-intentionally-obtuse Howard Primer of the News-Herald. It's true that there is an abundance of potential awards that can be handed out to college football players, including but not limited to:

- All-Big Ten (media)

- All-Big Ten (coaches)

- Big Ten postseason awards — the ones announced earlier this month that are each named after two players. There are 17 individual awards available.

- National awards ranging from the Heisman to various positional awards. There are at least 20.

- All-American teams, including Associated Press, coaches, football writers, Walter Camp and The Sporting News

- Ohio State's in-season weekly awards, such as the Jack Tatum hit of the week.

However, not every single one of these awards comes with its own little trinket; many do, but not all. Even so, each award that does come with a trophy of some sort is ripe for the picking by those with sufficient funds seeking college football collectibles, and college football players in need of some extra dough must be hard pressed to not pawn this stuff off at the first opportunity. We've gone over Tat-gate enough, but I will admit that I had yet to consider just how many trophies and awards these players accrue over their time at Ohio State.

 All about the Benjamins Buckeyes. The biggest spenders in college football are your Ohio State Buckeyes, at least up until June 1st of this year. Their nearest competition? None other than the Alabama Crimson Tide, followed by...

...Notre Dame, Auburn and LSU, according to the database.


Broken down on a per-student basis, the Irish spend the most, the database says. Their trip to the Sun Bowl is coming at a price of $3,531 for each of Notre Dame's 8,351 undergraduates -- an overall budget of $29.4 million -- while TCU spends $2,822 per student to run its Rose Bowl-bound football program.

For all the money they fork out, at least the TCUs and LSUs of the world are going somewhere this season. Texas, last year's national runner-up, spent $25.1 million and is sitting home for New Year's after going 5-7.

Gee, I can't help but wonder what Auburn is spending all its money on! All kidding aside, OC Gus Malzahn commands a hefty paycheck, far heftier than anything Cecil Newton was asking for, and that goes along with the usual outsized SEC recruiting budget. The Buckeyes have a pretty sizable recruiting budget themselves, and considering the pittance the AD pays for coordinators, there must be a lot of money flowing elsewhere in the program as well. I'd like to see a breakdown somewhere, but this article lacks it.

 Big Ten good or Big 12 bad? With Iowa's win over Mizzou and Illinois thumping Baylor, the Big Ten is 2-0 headed into a massive Saturday for the conference's credibility. For now, it's looking like Mizzou and Baylor are just part of an ongoing post-season collapse by the Big 12, which is 1-4 thus far in postseason play. The run-down for New Year's Day: Michigan State takes on Alabama in the Cap One, Michigan faces Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl, Penn State goes up against Florida Northwestern squares off against Texas Tech, and Wisconsin will try to put an end to TCU's undefeated season in the Rose Bowl. The Big Ten isn't favored in a single game, but wasn't favored in either Illinois or Iowa's game either. At midnight Saturday, we'll have a far better idea of where the conference stands nationally after a regular season in which seemingly everyone who didn't win a share of the conference went 7-5.

 Quick Hits. The Dispatch offers a recap of the week that was in basketball, a fluff piece on hopefully-outgoing Wisconsin DE JJ Watt, Michigan's loss is Penn State's gain in the form of DL Anthony Zettel, the Dispatch provides a profile of the Arkansas fanbase, which has the Hogs and nothing else, and Ohio State defenders have plenty of praise for Ryan Mallet, though Jermale Hines notably stops short of comparing him to Mark Sanchez and Colt McCoy.


Comments Show All Comments

PNW-Buckeye's picture

I'm a Buckeye living in Seattle, word on the local radio all week was that the Cornhuskers (Or Cornpeople as they began to be called) weren't into this game at all. They were having a hard time selling their ticket allotment. Also, this was about Jake Locker auditioning for the NFL. But yeh, Big 12 looks overrated. Why doesn't ESPN do stories on that instead of the Bball Bucks being overrated? But I'm going off on a tangent here..

buckeyedude's picture

I think if I have my history correct, Nebraska was called the "Bugeaters" before anyting else. No lie.



jack's picture

Tressel, "those players wanted to remain a part of the family." <-- Yikes, Sweater Vest Corleone speaks.

iball's picture

Nebraska has big problems. I have a feeling Martinez won't be a member of the B10 next year. When a coach melts down like Pellini did a few weeks ago, it sends a bad message to the team. The last thing a player wants to see is their leader losing all control in a tough game.

Maybe Bo P. should get one of those free copiesa of "The Winners Manual"

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Or anger management classes? Screaming hard-azz coaches are just fine, but the fury must be contained and at least semi-purposeful (or detached). Pelini acts like his players' on-fleld mistakes are personal attacks on his inner child, or something.

tomcollins's picture

"The Big Ten isn't favored in a single game"

Ohio State is still -3.5 against Arkansas.

Big XII is clearly pretty terrible, but the wins by Iowa and Illinois were impressive, not because of the win, but due to who they played (Missouri), and how much they dominated (Illinois over Baylor).

Those wins really helped prove me at least partially wrong when talking about the depth of the Big 10.  Each of those teams lost to some pretty bad teams in the B1G, and did pretty well.  Big XII looked awful again yesterday, so we shouldn't get too ahead of ourselves, but the B1G could easily get to .500 by having only 1 more upset out of 5 games.

We have NU +9.5, PSU +7, MSU +10, Wisconsin +3, and Michigan +4.5.

I think there's a decent chance 1 of those teams win, if not 2.  I'm surprised Northwestern is +9.5 against TTU.  TTU was a pretty awful team in the Big XII, and while NU isn't anything special and will be missing Persa, there seems to be some huge value there.  PSU could show up.  MSU I don't expect anything from.  And if not, Wisconsin and Michigan all have decent chances.  I'm starting to believe in Wisconsin quite a bit with TCU's strength of schedule being so weak that even Illinois can come close to matching their best results.

Then it comes down to the Buckeyes.  I was expecting 2-6 this bowl season.  Hopefully I'm way wrong on this one.  I don't mind eating crow on this one.  There's still a lot of tough games left, though.

Kurt's picture

I was also surprised by the Mizzou-Iowa outcome, however, I think that score was deceiving. Iowa did their damndest to just stay in that game, while Mizzou had critical turnovers deep in Iowa territory.  Mizzou put up 500 yds of offense.  I think that game, at least, was more of a Mizzou give-away. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Yeah, but you could also look at it as Iowa's talented DL took yet another slumber, Stanzi reverted to 2009 form, and the rest of Iowa's defense was again doubting itself for much of the game, and the Hawkeyes still beat a 10-2 team from the B12. Normally, you'd need even more fortunate things to happen than one pick 6 for it to be a "lucky" upset.

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

Unfortunately, since the big ten doesn't get to play a bunch of big east, MWC, sunbelt teams, the conference very well may not win another game, even if they play well.

2-0 is a good start, but there is a long way to go still before we can rest assured the big ten is not blasted in every article and on every show for having a bad bowl season. 

In reading the national media, its like last year didn't happen, or wasn't enough to give us a one year repreive.  Somehow this year "really counts" now as to shaping the reputation of the conference.  

if we get two more wins, I think we will "survive" the ridicule we are so used to now. It seems, for some reason, that needing to perform well only applies to the big ten.  We are held to a different standard by the media and fans.  Just as the Bucks are held to a different standard than every other team in the country. I don't know why, but we are.

  For some reason, any other team (Nebraska, Oklahoma, Florida) get blown out in a MNC game and live it down.  Us, not so much.   I still read articles and know that 41-14 will be brought up to remind everyone.  Why? 

poguemahone's picture

The Big Ten isn't favored in a single game on January 1st. Poor phrasing on my part.

tomcollins's picture

Ah, my bad.  Still surprised how big the spreads are in some of the games, and how small it is for Michigan.

Joe Beale's picture

I'd be very surprised if Wisconsin doesn't roll over TCU. If ever there was a mismatch of overrated vs. underrated, this is it.

William's picture

Wisconsin is going to drop about 50 points on TCU, this is the most mismatched bowl game of the year, more so than the UCONN vs. Oklahoma game even. TCU will have no idea what hit them.

tomcollins's picture

TCU's defense is way too good to allow 50.  You guys who are so confident on Wisconsin should be able to get rich off of the +3.  Remember Wisconsin is not that great either.  It could be a matchup issue with Wisconsin's size advantage, but TCU will put up a fight at worst.  Oklahoma vs. UCONN I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole after Oklahoma choking so badly.

William's picture

I don't see why anyone shouldn't be so high on Wisconsin, in their last four games White and Ball accounted for over 900 yards rushing and 16 tds. Their O-line made our d-line look like a bunch of schoolgirls, they essentially have a NFL O-line. I don't care how athletic you are, that doesn't matter when you're too small to take down Clay, or get off a block from someone like Carimi or Moffit. It's going to be like a Varsity vs JV pickup game. The same thing happened with Oregon last year, all the Oregon players commented on how much bigger Ohio State was. Besides TCU's defense will of course look good when they play a bunch of patsies. TCU is going to get hit in the mouth by Wisconsin.

tomcollins's picture

One reason:

Arizona State 19, Wisconsin 20.

William's picture

Ok, Notre Dame is beating Miami 27-3, should we discredit Ohio State since they only beat them by 12? 31-18 reminds me of how dominant Wisconsin can be.

NW Buckeye's picture

Miami at this point is a broken team without a head coach.  They played much worse as the season progressed, and they are living up to that statement right now.   Nice choice in schools, Seantrel!!

William's picture

My point is that both OSU and Wisky have progressed since those games, and that Wisky would beat ASU by much more than that. I saw Henderson when they focused on the Miami sidelines, I hope he is content with mediocrity in South Beach.

PNW-Buckeye's picture

LOL! Poor Seantrel. Can a player transfer twice?

741's picture

Give me "kind of boring" over that mess down there every time.

tomcollins's picture

"It's harder to beat a team the second time, particularly if you beat them 56-21 the first time." - Lou Holtz

RedQueenRace's picture

Looked a lot like what happened with the Buckeyes and UCLA back in the 70s.   We crushed them in LA early in the year, then lost to them by 13 in the Rose Bowl.

NW Buckeye's picture

Nebraska made absolutely no adjustments from their first game against UW. The Huskies made enough changes on defense to survive another mediocre effort by their Locker led offense. And, yes, Bo's rants seem to have lost the faith of the players. I really did not have a feeling of doom for the Huskers before the game, but once they played the first series it was obvious that they weren't going to perform like they did in Seattle.

I am a little surprised that there were no comments about the Big 10 zebra shirts in this skull session. While the B1G teams look good on the field the refs are stinking the place up. Would be nice to see a well written expose on the sacred ones sometime. Traditional media outlets have always taken a hands-off approach to these sacred cows. (Yeah, I'm still a little bitter about the crappy calls in the Scum game.) At least yesterday's poorly officiated games show that there was no conspiracy by the refs against the Buckeyes -the refs are just crappy.

TLB's picture

0 - 4 Thursday with my picks......SWEET!

Huskers reminded me of us early in Cooper's reign agains Air Force.  Was such a let down to be playing Washington again and in the same bowl they were in last year. Probably should have seen it coming.

As for the spending, I think the SEC teams will all begin to spend even more heavily on assistants now that eSECpn is paying them billions.  I could be wrong on this, but do assistants in the Big 10 jump from team to team the way they seem to do in the SEC?



Buckeye_Mafia's picture

I was kinda shocked that E-SEC-PN didn't make more of the Tennessee Vs. N.C> game and its finish.  Looked exactly like the Tennessee Vs. LSU game and how it finished.  Only this time, it was the pitiful ACC and not Les Miles w/the incompetence that gave them the win.  Seriously thought, w/their contract w/the SECm Slive would have been on the horn telling them that they should have been blasting the officiating about the poor officiating at the end that caused Tennessee to lose.  It OK if an SEC team in the title hunt (at the time) to get a shat call to go their way, but not an ACC team.  Sorry, its early and I am ranting.

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

TLB's picture

Clemson should be embarrassed with their lack of fan support in a bowl game about an hour from home.

Jeff @ Fox Sports Ohio's picture

Clemson should also be embarrassed for trailing early to a team from the Big east.

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

Wow, no kidding on the lack of attendance.  There were more people at the freaking pinstripe bowl.

NW Buckeye's picture

Jadeveon Clowney take note:  This is the type of support you can anticipate for any team from South Carolina!!

Come to Ohio State (done with my best JoPa immitation). 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

No reason to let those coattail riders off the hook by specifying the eastern division of the SEC. In past years when the B12 north was weak, the necks never said, "To be fair, the B12 south makes up for the north." No, they prattled on with endless 2 or 3 word insults, "B12 LOL!" 

Well, SEC failure is SEC failure. If other conferences don't get to quarantine their losers, neither does the all-powerful SEC.  

Jason Priestas's picture

I like the way you think, sir.