Seriously. Do not. High five to Charleston Southern for making the trip and collecting the paycheck, but zero things of significance happened in Memorial Stadium on Saturday. I mean, look at this Trib piece where they just go ahead and refer to CSU as “vastly inferior” right there in the subheader! That’s not even nice, you guys!
But honestly – you can’t take any of the performances in this game – not Ryan Lankford’s, not Mason Monheim’s, not even Reilly O’Toole’s – and project them forward against a Big Ten opponent, or even any other BCS opponent. You know, like the one coming to town on Saturday night, Louisiana Tech. More on them in a minute.
No, here is the thing of significance from Saturday:
Skip to 2:11. That’s Camp Randall Stadium celebrating like they just won the Rose Bowl after Utah State shanked a field goal that would have won them the game. Please read that sentence again.
Dear God, to call the Big Ten Leaders Division “wide open” is to hurl an insult at all other things that are wide open, like “spaces” or “highways” or “Arizona State receivers.” This division is a tire fire. The team that has probably looked the “best” out of the CCG-eligible teams is Purdue. Purdue! You don’t even have to be good to win this thing. You could argue that, among all the teams that could win it, Tim Beckman has the strongest differentiator in his favor simply because he’s new and Bret Bielema and Skinny Joe Tiller Danny Hope don’t have a ton to game plan on. It’s not a lot, but you hardly need anything to stand apart in this motley crew, so who cares?
Which brings me back to La. Tech. In Week 2, both Wisconsin and Illinois traveled west for Bad Idea Games against Pac-12 teams and both looked abominable. Wisconsin then proved it was no fluke by almost gagging against said mighty Aggies. LTU presents a similar offensive attack to ASU. How much of that disaster in Tempe was due to playing late, in the Pacific Time Zone, with a new QB? Guess we’ll find out. If the answer is even “some of it” then this game could turn into a win, a 3-1 non-conference slate, and potentially a running start into the Vulture Bowl against Penn State. A loss and maybe we’re staring at a 3-9 season. Feels like a big, crossroads moment for the young Tim Beckman Era. Glad I’m planning on seeing it in person.