The Dubgate Maps Paths Around Weirdness

By Jason Priestas on October 27, 2012 at 6:00a

Motivation by dubious means

How weird is State College right now? Penn State students are using a compliment from Urban Meyer as a rallying cry.

Left for dead in early September after back-to-back losses to Ohio and Virginia to start the season, Bill O'Brien's Nittany Lions have ridden the arm of former walk-on Matt McGloin to five-straight wins and are playing what some say is the most complete football in the Big Ten right now.

Penn State has announced a sellout—only it isn't—with fans of the program feeling good for the first time in a year.

I can't help but feel happy for them. Sure, their fanbase is prone to the same idiot mix as those of other large, traditionally excellent programs, but I wouldn't wish what they had to endure on anyone. Not even Michigan fans. To see what O'Brien has been able to do on the field and for the psyche of the fanbase, has been fun to watch as a fan of college football, and more importantly, a human being.

Courtesies will stop once the ball is kicked, however, because the winner of this game will be in great shape to claim the Leaders Division. And that's all Ohio State has to play for this year.

Tonight will bring the first stage of Leaders Bloodsport as the Buckeyes, Penn State and Wisconsin—the three teams with any chance to win the division—will all play each other in the next month.

Should Ohio State win, they'll take a one-game lead over Penn State in the standings and they will take a similar lead, or push it to two games, over the Badgers depending on how Wisconsin fares against Michigan State later today (3:30pm - ABC/ESPN2). Vegas likes Wisconsin at home by 5½, but if recent games in that series have taught us anything, it's to expect madness.

Team Rec Conf Div 10/27 11/3 11/10 11/17 11/24
OSU 8-0 4-0 2-0 @ PSU ILL -- @ WISC MICH
PSU 5-2 3-0 1-0 OSU @ PUR @ NEB IND WISC
WISC 6-2 3-1 2-0 MSU -- @ IND OSU @PSU

With Illinois, a bye, a trip to Wisconsin and then Michigan remaining on Ohio State's schedule, you have to be thinking 1-2 as an absolute worst-case finish with great odds of going 2-1 and a decent chance to sweep all three. Mr. Bye Week could not be coming at a better time for a team plagued by injuries and with players learning new positions on the fly.

Penn State's remaining games include trips to Purdue and Nebraska before welcoming Indiana and Wisconsin to end the season. We're going to find out a lot about the Nittany Lions tonight and if my assumption that they have padded their record with wins against conference bottom-feeders is correct, a 2-2 finish would not be surprising. Nor would going 1-3 or even 3-1. That's B1G football in 2012 for you.

And then there's Wisconsin.

After an early road loss to Oregon State—much better than anyone thought and 6-0 for the first time since 1907 Oregon State—Bret Bielema responded by firing offensive line coach Mike Markuson and what do you know, the Badgers have have won five of six with a late home rally out of Nebraska as the only blemish.

Of course, this has everything to do with Bielema's amazing leadership skills and nothing at all to do with the fact that Oregon State is a legitimate top-10 team, but only one town gets to call Bret Bielema their own.

Wisconsin, like Penn State, does not play Michigan, the team currently atop the Legends Division, and their remaining games are more than favorable. After facing Michigan State today, the Badgers will have a week off before traveling to Bloomington, welcoming the Buckeyes and then going to Penn State. Thankfully, Wisconsin already have that loss to the Cornhuskers, which is important because in the Big Ten, conference record is looked at before division record when determining division champions.

Realistically, Ohio State could lose tonight and would still likely have a shot at the division crown thanks to a head-to-head with the Badgers, already with one loss in conference, and the strength of Penn State's remaining schedule.

But why leave anything to chance? This team may not be eligible for the postseason, but it controls its own destiny within the Big Ten and if the Buckeyes can beat Penn State and Wisconsin, they will have the division sewn up ahead of the annual hate match with the Wolverines. All that's left at that point is Urban's coronation as Michigan's new liege lord.

Oh, and if you're curious, here's the Big Ten's football divisional tiebreaker:

a. If two teams are tied, the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the representative
b. If three or more teams are tied, steps 1 through 7 will be followed until a determination is made. If only two teams remain tied after any step, the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the representative.

  1. The records of the three tied teams will be compared against each other
  2. The records of the three tied teams will be compared within their division
  3. The records of the three teams will be compared against the next highest placed teams in their division in order of finish (4, 5, and 6)
  4. The records of the three teams will be compared against all common conference opponents;
  5. The highest ranked team in the first Bowl Championship Series Poll following the completion of Big Ten regular season conference play shall be the representative in the Big Ten Championship Game, unless the two highest ranked tied teams are ranked within one spot of each other in the BCS poll. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the Big Ten Championship
  6. The team with the best overall winning percentage [excluding exempted games] shall be the representative
  7. The representative will be chosen by random draw.

Comments Show All Comments

Chad Peltier's picture

I keep looking for a hidden message in the bold words: "IU LOUDEST CALM A LITTLE."

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Hidden within the message is an S.O.S. The kid who scrawled it on the chalkboard needs help!
Here's the subtext: "Hey, everyone who is reading this, I (the author) am randomly switching between all caps and lower case letters to signal to psychological professionals that I am going crazy and need medication!"
The author: Snooki, sophomore (class of 2023).  

Abe Froman's picture

Nahhh, you guys have it all wrong.  Block letters intermittently placed in a sentence is how they teach the kids there.  
Thanks Jason, I was curious about the tie breakers.
Let's hope Happy Valley is happy for our team.

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

buckeyefanatic's picture

^ this.
The whole IU start got me thinking but couldn't figure it out.  I'm not much into thinking anyway.

How many batteries does it take to beat Michigan football?   1AA
Want to beat Michigan? There's an App for that.

Mix's picture

I was looking for the same thing, then I came to the conclusion that I was, in fact, the idiot for even trying to get inside the head of a Penn State fan.


TNbuckeye91's picture

Haha yeah I am too. I kept feeling like im still missing something in there. You folks at 11w are pretty sneaky. Either that orbits just over my head ha

I come from a long line high, low, and in-between, the same as you. - TVZ

BME_Buckeye's picture

...hidden message in the bold words: "IU LOUDEST CALM A LITTLE."

I think I get it, if you can do better go ahead.
Since Meyer has only experienced two big ten stadiums outside of the Shoe, Indiana stadium was calm and was only a little loud (most recent stadium). However, Beaver Stadium will be the loudest stadium you will be in all year; even more than Madison. Surely us making noise will be the reason why Ohio State will lose because of the noise of the crowd. 
Seems kinda arrogant to me to say Penn State is louder that Madison (not true) and that Indiana is quiet. Not sure if this is right but they are trying to make a joke about Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio State at the same time. 


Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


LouGroza's picture

As with last year the B1G had to have purposely taken Wisky and PSU off of scUMs schedule so they could improve. To have one taken off just one would differ. Say they skipped Wisky and the Gophers or PSU and IU. But at the height of their better teams to remove those two teams from scUMs schedule in the same year is interesting at best. It helped them to that 11-2 record last year for sure. PSU will not matter in a year or two. They will be Minnesota 2.0.

gwalther's picture

Highball is going to have to wait until this game is over.
Good article to read with my morning coffee. 
One thing: "And that's all Ohio State has to play for this year." #False We're also playing to beat TSUN. Go Bucks.
I feel like we're going to need 35+ to get out of here with a W.

Class of 2008

toad1204's picture

I hope this is where it all comes together after a game that brought everybody together and showed good D play (minus one play) and got the offense (albeit not pretty) a little swag.  I want to see UFM finally put the hammer down on someone.  This could be that game.

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

Renard's picture

Nice education they get up there in Happy Valley...can't even spell huddle.

SPreston2001's picture

Lol I didnt even catch that! Lol morons!

CALPOPPY's picture

Yep, my brain skipped that one until you pointed it out.
Brains are cool. They fix stuff for you.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

TatumRuled's picture

Totally off topic, but everyone knows how Woody went for two after soundly beating TSUN in '68 ("cause I couldn't go for three").
But did anyone else know that he did the exact same thing after soundly beating TSUN in '61? I found that out watching Buckeye Classics on WOSU this AM.

"Hell, Woody didn't recruit me; he recruited my mother!" -Jack Tatum                       

causeicouldntgo43's picture

I love that philosophy, obviously.........

buckeyedude's picture

Can we please not allow a TD run on the opening kickoff or the first PSU play from scrimmage?!
If OSU can do that, I like our chances.



LouGroza's picture

Imagine that. Desmond Howard just picked OSU to lose to PSU and Michigan to win vs Nebraska. Every week the dude does the same thing. Why is he there?

causeicouldntgo43's picture

ESPN likes guys with big knots in their ties.....

741's picture

On a related note, Merrill Hoge's knot is the size of a small Thanksgiving turkey.

jestertcf's picture

The same reason, Lou Holtz picks Notre Dame every week. Now granted it has worked out this year, but I think two years ago he picked them to go undefeated. Then the team promptly imploded so much the coach was fired.

~Because we couldn't go for three~

Abe Froman's picture

Let's not forget that Ron Paulus was supposed to win the Heisman for four years.  Obviously golden domer homer speak.  

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

TatumRuled's picture

But the drummer from Kings of Leon thinks we're gonna blow out PSU.

"Hell, Woody didn't recruit me; he recruited my mother!" -Jack Tatum