5 Things We Learned: B1G Week 1

As I type this article our beloved Buckeyes have yet to take the field and strike down their rancorous fury upon the Virginia Tech Dirty Chickens.  As you read these words you will (hopefully) be basking in the glory of our 14th victory in a row.  The other thirteen teams in the Big Ten have completed their games though and much can be said about what we learned after watching our conference foes take the field in week one.  Here are my five takeaways from the week that was in the Big Ten.

#1: Move Down the Bench, Penn State

After a 27-10 beat-down at the hands of Temple – yes, I said TEMPLE – the Nittany Lions are possibly going to have to slide down the bench from their spot as the third best team in the B1G East.  Christian Hackenberg had a hard time proving himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league as he was intercepted once, sacked TEN times and hurried on just about every other snap of the game.  Needless to say the Penn State offensive line was atrocious and the Owls held their opponents to zero points in the final three quarters of the game.  Temple beat PSU for the first time in 40 tries.  To put that into perspective, the last time that Temple was victorious in the meeting of these two schools, it was 1941 and Joe Paterno was fourteen years old.  After Saturday, Penn State is going to have a hard time competing with the other teams atop the Big Ten East.

#2:  Minnesota Isn’t That Bad

The collective expectations for the 2015 Golden Gopher squad were one of a down year, and for good reason.  With the departure of playmakers David Cobb and Maxx Williams from last season’s offense, Minnesota was expected to struggle mightily on the offensive side of the ball.  And when TCU came knocking for the season opener, the assumption for the game’s outcome was an even more impressive win than last year for the Horned Frogs.  But that was not the case.  Minnesota played well against the #2 team in the country and needed only a little onside kick fairy dust at the end of regulation to set themselves up for a chance to topple their opponents.  Unfortunately for Minnesota, the kick was recovered and Trevone Boykin and company were able to run out the clock.  Minnesota impressed me, though.  They made adjustments throughout the game and improved in every quarter.  They held a Heisman hopeful quarterback under 300 yards passing and only lost by six points.  They may be 0-1 but I believe that Jerry Kill can still direct this squad towards a very successful season in the Big Ten.

#3: Tim Beckman is Bad

ESPN called the Illinois victory over lowly Kent State this week “cathartic“.  I’ll admit I had to look that word up, but when I did it made perfect sense.  Illinois has been bad for a long time and coach Tim Beckman was the hire that was supposed to bring them out of their funk.  Instead he lead Illinois to a record of 12-25 in four seasons, amassing a whopping four wins against Big Ten teams in that time frame.  So it was no surprise to see the Fighting Illini put 28 points on the board in the first quarter against a woeful Kent State team.  Interim coach Bill Cubit’s Illinois played like the eleven players on the other side of the line of scrimmage all had Beckman’s face on the side of their helmets.  A 52-3 victory over the Golden Flashes is nowhere near enough for me to dub them the surprise team in the Big Ten.  But it was strikingly obvious that this team was ecstatic to be playing for Cubit – to have a fresh start.

#4: Jim Harbaugh is not Urban Meyer

Yes the defense was dominant at times, but all of Michigan’s problems in their loss to Utah can be tied directly to the head coach.  The play-calling (and the hideous uniforms) came right out of the late 90’s.  The silly mental mistakes and organizational miscues that led to timeouts and penalties were frustrating to watch.  The new quarterback struggled and the offense failed to make adjustments against a staunch Ute defense.  All of these are excusable offenses for a new coach… if the new coach were anyone other than Jim Harbaugh.  National pundits raved about the Harbaugh hire from day one.  Michigan fans have been over the moon about his past dominance and how he would bring the Wolverines back to the upper echelon of the Big Ten and start another Ten Year War with Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.  But Harbaugh is no Meyer.  His team struggled in aspects of the game where he is supposed to be most successful.  He’s a “Quarterback Guru” yet QB Jake Rudock threw three interceptions (he only threw five all last season with Iowa).  He’s a “Player’s Coach” yet his players seemed uninspired and discombobulated, especially on offense.  He’s a “Master Motivator” yet his team could not get up for a revenge game against a program with half the history of the Wolverines.  Urban Meyer went 12-0 in his first season with nothing to play for thanks to NCAA sanctions.  Harbaugh has everything to play for and can’t push his team to a victory in the first week.  Sorry Michigan fans, Harbaugh is not on the same level as Urban Meyer.

#5: Outdoor Summer Weddings… Bad Idea

This is the spot where I will reserve space for some Buckeye tidbit every week.  But as I said before, I’m still hours away from kickoff as I write this thanks to the odd Monday night kickoff.  Instead I’ll let you know where I spent my Saturday.  Mount Orab, Ohio is just east of Cincinnati in the middle of nowhere.  My good friend got married there Saturday on his parent’s farm and asked me to be his DJ/emcee.  He filled this same role for me when I got married so I was happy to oblige, even though I’ve never even attempted to DJ a wedding in my entire life.  It was a fun experience, but I’ve gotta say to all of you Buckeyes reading this and planning to get married in the near future: if you want to have a late summer wedding, have it indoors.  I was pouring sweat and getting annihilated by mosquitoes for the entire evening.  I missed just about every opening football game of the season and no amount of the The Electric Slide or Mambo #5 can get those games back.  Congratulations Dave and Amy – be glad the Buckeyes weren’t playing until Monday because otherwise you would have been looking for a different DJ.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: