Every Sunday after the Big Ten slate of games, I will be bringing you some B1G thoughts on everything that happened! This will include analysis, stats, key players, moments and maybe a joke or two. Be sure to check out the I-70 Football Show in the Land-Grant Holy Land podcast feed for more in-depth analysis and to preview the next week of B1G games.
B1G Thoughts: Week 1
Week 1 is finally over which means we know everything there is to know about every team, player, and coach and nothing will change between now and the end of the season. There is no such thing as a bad opinion, personally I know all I need to know and am ready to predict everything that happens from now on. I will in no way shape or form regret any takes from this article, or any that follow, because its Week 1, nothing changes, and I am all knowing! So, with that said let’s get to my thoughts on Week 1 of CFB in the B1G.
C.J. Stroud will be just fine!
After a sub-par Week 1 performance against Minnesota, many OSU fans were left feeling concerned about the future of the QB position. In the past three years Ohio State has had Dwayne Haskin who threw for a measly 50 touchdowns in his lone season as the Buckeyes’ starter. Haskins was followed up by the greatest QB in OSU history, Justin Fields, who led OSU to back-to-back B1G championships and playoffs appearances culminating in finally beating Clemson before getting beat by Alabama.
Both QBs under Ryan Day end up as first round picks, which left big shoes to fill for redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud, who had never thrown a pass in his college football career before Thursday night.
As an OSU fan, I feel I have the right to say this: other Ohio State fans (but definitely not me) are some of the most spoiled fans in the country, which leads to an annoying sense of entitlement.
This sense of entitlement shows after the first half of the OSU vs. Minnesota game where some fans were calling for Stroud to be replaced after he went 8-for-14 for 58 yards and an interception in the first half. As expected — by rational fans — C.J. settled down in the second half and finished the game 13-for-22 for 294 yards, 4 TDs, and 1 INT. Was it perfect? Not by a long shot, but it was his first game against a really good B1G opponent.
Stroud and his Buckeyes played a nationally televised game on Thursday night, which led to some undue criticism. After watching an almost full slate of games on Saturday and seeing performances by B1G quarterbacks like Michael Penix Jr., Graham Mertz and Sean Clifford, OSU fans should be feeling pretty good about QB1.
That fact is even more emphasized when you consider the play of NFL hopefuls Sam Howell, Spenser Rattler, and D’Eric King. Stroud also outplayed Clemson QB D.J. Uiagaleleli and Georgia QB J.T. Daniels as well.
Unless your team wears crimson and white and is led by a young man named Bryce Young, I think you would do just about anything to have Stroud under center. Sure he struggled in his first game but by seasons ends these same fans will forget all about this game and be championing C.J.’s Heisman campaign.
TreVeyon Henderson is well....... good.
TreVeyon Henderson, the No. 1 running back in his recruiting class got minimal touches in his first game — just three to be exact. However, in terms of hype, the number of touches doesn’t matter as much when you see what he did with them.
I left the game feeling as though Ryan Day should be arrested for the lack of playing time that Trey received. He finished the game with two carries for 15 yards and one catch for 70 yards. Was it as special as J.K. Dobbins’ debut? No, but sometimes you can just tell and with Henderson, three touches was enough to know that he is the future of OSU’s running game, and B1G opponents should be very concerned.
Check out TreVeyon’s first touchdown as a Buckeye below:
Minnesota has found their next NFL WR to complement their NFL RB
Everyone who knows anything about college football knows that Mohamed Ibrahim is a top three running back in the game. No, this is not a slight at the Oregon fan who boldly came in my mentions and accused me of crowning Mo after one game, instead of because his impressive consistency since his freshman campaign in 2018.
Minnesota was 11-2 in 2019, but between losing a bunch of NFL talent and the pandemic, they were unable to capitalize on that momentum in 2020. That left people unsure of what they would be in 2021. Coming into the season, all that we knew for sure is that they had Mo and Daniel Faalele, their 6-foot-9, 380 lb. offensive tackle.
In the past two years the Gophers have put wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson in the NFL. For most schools not named Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, or Georgia, it is hard to consistently put out NFL talent in one position.
Well, I’m here to tell you that Minnesota has another NFL WR in Dylan Wright. Wright is a 6-foot-3, 215 lb. receiver who showed really strong hands and strong route running against OSU. Sure, you could argue that OSU DBs aren’t great, but he might get drafted on size alone.
While we still don’t have an official updated on Mo’s potentially season-ending injury, if he’s out for an extended period of time, Wright will quickly introduce himself to the rest of CFB and to draft scouts.
Check out Mo being Mo and Wright TD catch in the video below:
Michigan State may be ahead of schedule
Michigan State is not supposed to be good right now; that’s a fact. When a coach leaves the cupboard bare and shows little interest in his job for the last two or three years of his tenure, then proceeds to “retire” in the middle of spring practice after the coaching carousel is already closed, it’s expected that you’ll take some time to recover.
Couple that with a pandemic and your conference prematurely cancelling football, then bringing it back, it’s totally acceptable to struggle for a year or two before showing promise
But don’t tell MSU head coach Mel Tucker I said that. He immediately showed promise last year (despite a poor record) and in the first game of the 2021 season, his squad imposed their will on reigning B1G West champions Northwestern.
Buoyed by transfer Kenneth Walker, Michigan State made a statement in a 38-21 win. Tucker has a type, and he has hit the transfer portal hard, I’m not saying they’ll be amazing this year, but with their Week 1 showing, a bowl game is certainly in play — which is a major win considering the condition the program was in when Mel inherited it.
Kenneth Walker is a problem
Kenneth (can I call you Kenny?) Walker is a PROBLEM. Northwestern always has an amazing defense, but Kenny cut through it like butter left on the counter for a week. Okay, I admit that may be a corny analogy, but tell me I’m wrong? He had 10 carries for 137 yards and 2 TDs... AT HALFTIME.
He finished the game with 23 carries for 264 yards and 4 touchdowns, that is 11.5 yards per carry. Walker became the first Michigan State running back to top 200 yards since LeVeon Bell....... ya know the RB who was arguably the best in the NFL for two to three years. I don’t know about you, but that that sounds like good company to me.
Check out Kenny Walkers first carry as a Michigan State Spartan:
Northwestern can’t escape the cycle, win the B1G West then miss a bowl game.
Since 2012, NU has been 10-3, 5-7, 5-7, 10-3, 7-6, 10-3, 9-5, 3-9, and 7-2. They’ve won the B1G West two times in the last three years. It seems like almost every other year, NU is really good, followed by a year of them being really bad.
It’s too early to claim to know how this season will end, but after losing a litany of draft picks and being manhandled by Michigan State, it seems like they’re on their way to another rough season. Let’s see if Pat Fitzgerald can right the ship before it’s too late.
Michigan looks... really good(?) in their season opener
Don’t get me wrong, I will never ever ever believe in a Michigan team, especially if you’re expecting them to beat Ohio State or even look like they play the same sport as the Buckeyes at the end of November.
Having said that, if I’m a Michigan fan, I am encouraged after yesterday’s performance. I’m not a fan of rewarding a fish for swimming, but if Michigan was a fish, it would’ve drowned thus far during Jim Harbaugh’s tenure, so swimming is an improvement.
On Saturday Michigan — led by star defensive end Aidan Hutchinson — did what you expect a team with their talent to do against a MAC team in Western Michigan. They dominated in every aspect of the game, got the starters our early to avoid injury, and left the game with promise for the new season.
So, if Michigan did what it was supposed to do, then why am I bringing this up? Well, because as I’m sure you all know, Michigan almost never does what it’s supposed to do, and — even in wins — they are typically a painful experience to watch.
This game was different, Michigan played like the better team, they were stronger, faster, better coached (did I just say that someone pinch me... or better yet, punch me), and they put their will on this game. Now this could mean nothing, but if it’s a sign of things to come, Michigan might finally be competent and might look smart for giving Harbaugh another chance while getting younger on the coaching staff.
Or maybe it’s just Michigan and they’ll get beat by Washington (who need to get right after an embarrassing season opener), and both their rivals, leading to Harbaugh getting fired.
I know I said I know everything, but I know nothing about Michigan; no one does. What I do know is that they won the game that they were supposed to win, unlike No. 10 UNC vs Virginia Tech, and they looked a lot better than Oklahoma did against Tulane.
Check out this insane, kind of stupid, and very impressive pass by five-star freshman J.J. McCarthy:
Penn State vs. Wisconsin was the quintessential B1G game, and I loved every second of it
Let the national media say that Penn State vs. Wisconsin was a sloppy, boring game full of mistakes and bad offense. I will tell you that it was beautiful B1G football and a much needed viewing experience. In today’s game, where offenses put up 50 points with ease, it’s nice to watch two teams do everything they can to lose on offense, while two defenses look like they are the embodiment of Jesus himself on the football field.
In a battle of ranked teams, Penn State came out on top 16-10 in a beautiful showing of old school B1G football. All I can ask is that we get more of this in at least one game per week. Unfortunately for these two, Ohio State has an offense, and it looks like the Buckeyes are all but guaranteed to win the B1G. There was only one team who looked capable of matching them and that was Iowa.
Iowa looks really really good and should win the B1G west
Admittedly, I came into this season low on Iowa. I had them 8-4 after starting 0-2 with losses to Indiana and Iowa State. After their utter domination of Indiana, I am starting to think I was wrong. Iowa — led by their defense — beat Indiana 34-6; it was 31-3 at half, and the only reason it wasn’t worse is Iowa still doesn’t have a great offense and took their foot off the gas.
Michael Penix Jr. was believed to be the best QB in the B1G and somehow Iowa took that personally. They forced Penix into three INTs, and Iowa corner Riley Moss decided to take two of them to the house.
After returning the first interception 31 yards for a touchdown, Penix thought he should test him again and Moss rewarded that disrespect by taking it 55 yards for a second score.
Iowa’s defense is legit; they should be favored to win the B1G West. Their only concern should be spending the next 11 games finding some offensive rhythm, because defense alone won’t be enough to beat Ohio State in Indianapolis.
Check out Riley Moss’ 55-yard pick-six below:
Michael Penix just threw his 2nd pick six— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 4, 2021
Maryland will be a tough out
If you had me talking about Maryland on your bingo card, then congrats. For the rest of you, I love the B1G and will find some way to talk about the lesser teams as often as possible (see my thoughts on Michigan State earlier). Maryland faced a tough WVU team entering their third year under Neal Brown. Many people believe that WVU will be pretty good in the Big 12 this year, and they have a reputation of beating teams who come in without a clear plan.
Many people, myself included picked WVU to win this game — full disclosure, I am a recent WVU grad, so maybe I’m biased? The football is the one of the only thing that got me through being a West Virginia resident for a year and a half.
All Maryland did was win a tough game against a good opponent, force four takeaways, and show the offensive talent to scare some teams. Tualia Tagovailoa is not his brother, but he is a very talented QB, and Mike Locksley — also entering his third year as head coach — has the Terrapins ready to play. They may not be a B1G contender, but they won’t be a fun team to play against, and they can easily get to a bowl game.
Also, they have a ruthless Twitter account which let out this tweet after the win.
Certified Loser Boys pic.twitter.com/xmFU1R8iGZ— Maryland Football (@TerpsFootball) September 4, 2021
Bonus: I LOVE COLLEGE FOOTBALL TRADITIONS
One of the best things about college football is the traditions. One of the biggest losses of the pandemic — aside from the more important loss of lives, jobs, and other real world stuff — was the traditions and pageantry that go into college football. Without fans, there was no reason to continue some of those traditions. This week, however, we got to see the Wave, an Iowa tradition where they wave to the kids at a hospital that overlooks the stadium.
So great to have the back. pic.twitter.com/kGAJTmcqTo— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 4, 2021
We also got “Jump Around,” a Wisconsin tradition where they play the song and make every architect who has ever worked on that stadium have a heart attack.
Lastly, I know it isn’t a B1G tradition, but we also got to see “Enter Sandman,” Virginia Tech’s traditional entrance for every home game. I watched that game on Friday night and literally got chills looking at that stadium filled with people celebrating the new season. VT fans came out in full force and were reward with an upset of No. 10 UNC.
Bonus: Charlotte gets its first Power 5 win
I know this isn’t the Big Ten, but are you a college football fan if it didn’t warm your heart watching Charlotte, a program that’s only been around for nine years, get their first win over a Power 5 team by beating Duke 31-28? Check out the clip below and tell me you didn’t almost shed a tear.