Stock Up/Stock Down: Buying Mike Weber, Selling The Big Ten West

By James Grega on November 21, 2017 at 10:10 am
Mike Weber

As the regular season winds to a close, it is time for the second-to-last edition of Stock Up/Stock Down. 

I've hit on a few of these this season, and missed my fair share as well. I think you will find most of my takes pretty mild this week, so bear with me as we look at what to buy and what to sell in for the final week of the regular season. 

Stock Up

Mike Weber – Ohio State sophomore running back

I had maintained all season that Weber was just as important to Ohio State's offense as J.K. Dobbins, and people didn't want to hear that. After the last two weeks, I am pretty confident in my pick here. 

Weber has rattled off back-to-back 100-yard games despite not being the featured back, as Dobbins has started each game this season. Weber has shown improved speed from a year ago, and that added gear has taken Ohio State's offense to an entirely new level. With Weber complimenting Dobbins, the Buckeyes might have the best one-two punch in the country at running back. 

I am buying Weber not only because of his last two performances against Michigan State and Illinois, but because the Detroit native is going home to play Michigan this weekend. In games like this, Urban Meyer has a tendency to roll with his upperclassmen and the fact that Weber is from just down the road will only help him, I think, see more of the field. I think Weber runs like a man possessed in this game, and that is why I am buying his stock. 

Jim Harbaugh 

Before you all jump on me for putting the Michigan head coach who has never beaten Ohio State in here, let me explain. 

In his weekly press conference Monday, Harbaugh – who isn't exactly a wordsmith – opened his presser by sending his condolences to the Terry Glenn family as well as the Ohio State community following the passing of the former Buckeye receiver. Let's be clear: Harbaugh didn't have to do that. Harbaugh never played with Glenn during their time in the NFL and now coaches at Michigan, Ohio State's biggest rival before the biggest game of the year. Yet, he opened his press conference with kind words to the Glenn and Buckeye families. 

To put the rivalry aside, even just for a minute, is commendable for Harbaugh and he deserves a lot of credit for it. His antics have rubbed me the wrong way at times, but he earned a good number of points in my book for his actions this time around. 

Rivalry Week

Outside of the first week of the season and bowl week, this is the best week of the year in college football. Rivalry games galore. The Apple Cup features two top-20 teams and the Iron Bowl still has playoff implications. Add in The Game, and you have a solid dose of college football on your hands for the final week of the regular season. 

I would throw Florida-Florida State in there, but I am not sure you could pay me enough money to watch two 4-6 teams run into each other. I'll pass. If you want a thrilling rivalry to put on next to The Game in your man-cave, may I suggest the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket between Indiana and Purdue. Winner goes to a bowl game, loser stays home. Ahh, Big Ten football. Get fired up!

Stock Down

Iowa Football

What on God's Green Earth happened in Iowa City on Nov. 4? For as long as I live, I am not sure there will ever be a good explanation for how a fringe playoff team got throttled by Kirk Ferentz and Iowa. The Hawkeyes lost by nine at home to PURDUE over the weekend, leaving me even more baffled that Ohio State couldn't even compete with Iowa three weeks ago.

The sad thing about that game, and almost every Buckeyes loss since the start of the 2014 season, has been on Ohio State's coaching staff and trying to do to much. The only exception in my mind is the College Football Playoff semifinal against Clemson. The Tigers were the better team. But Iowa? The Hawkeyes are not better than the Buckeyes in any facet of the game. A loss to Purdue at home only strengthens the thought that Ohio State's misstep in Iowa City is one of the biggest flukes in program history. 

Nebraska Football

Not only did Nebraska lose again on Saturday to Penn State, the rumors out of Central Florida are that Scott Frost, the assumed replacement for Mike Riley, could stay put and coach the Golden Knights in 2018. 

For the record, I like Mike Riley. He is the Big Ten's nicest head coach. But you can't ignore the fact that Nebraska is a program in the college football dumpster right now. It's a proud program with exceptional fan support and it needs a jump-start. If the Huskers can't land Frost, who won a national title with Nebraska in 1997 as a quarterback, then Nebraska might be doomed to mediocrity for another 10 years. 

If you're Frost, Nebraska is a good job. It is your alma mater and you would be welcomed back like a hero. However, Florida has a much better recruiting base, and bigger and better jobs could come open in the near future, so staying at UCF for another year or two wouldn't be a horrible decision. If that is the case, Nebraska might have a hard time climbing out of the Big Ten West cellar. 

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