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NCAA Football: Penn State at Iowa
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Grumble grumble

Sports are dumb. Everything is dumb. Why do we care about sports? Just a game played by kids. Nothing matters. Nihilism is the way.


1. Iowa

Let’s get this out of the way. The better team lost on Saturday. Were it not for a Sean Clifford injury, Penn State wins by 3+ scores. The fans booed injured players. The coaches mocked injured players. The higher ranked, favored team’s crowd stormed the field after the win. Thumbs up, Hawkeyes! Fantastic job!

2. Ohio State

The Buckeyes are back in control for the Big Ten, though since their one loss was out of conference, it never really left them. Still, they have zero margin for error with a blemished resume, but then without Clifford, I don’t know that anyone in the East can truly challenge OSU.

3. Michigan

The Wolverines struggled with Nebraska, though ultimately got the 32-29 win. I find it hard to believe that Michigan is an actual contender for the B1G, let alone the playoffs like some would suggest, but hey, undefeated is undefeated.

4. Penn State

I’m Penn State with Sean Clifford, and I’m a playoff team.

And I’m Penn State without Sean Clifford, and I eat paste.

The Lions have a good enough defense that they should stay competitive in every game here on out (Columbus perhaps excepted), but if the offense continues what it showed in Iowa City, 8-4 or 7-5 are not far-fetched final records.

5. Michigan State

The Spartans are undefeated, having beaten Rutgers 31-13, but I just don’t see them being in the same category as OSU, Michigan, or PSU (with Clifford). We’ll see how things shake out as the big four in the East start to play each other in the coming weeks.

6. Indiana

BYE week for the Hoosiers.

7. Wisconsin

The Badgers finally got another win, 24-0 over Illinois, but it’s clear that the offensive struggles in Madison will continue for the foreseeable future. Not unlike a few other teams in the B1G, a solid defense will take you fairly far, but no offense is a problem.

8. Maryland

A 66-17 loss is going to send you tumbling no matter how good you looked in September.

9. Nebraska

The Cornhuskers lost this week, but still managed to move up the rankings, as they looked quite sound against a top 10 opponent.

10. Rutgers

Rutgers seems to have settled in to this mid-bottom tier this year. Good enough to be competitive against the better teams, not good enough to actually win.

11. Minnesota

BYE week for the Gophers.

12. Purdue

BYE week for the Boilermakers.

13. Illinois

Yes, Illinois lost 24-0 to Wisconsin, but I don’t have much faith that Northwestern would fare better against the Badgers than the Illini did.

14. Northwestern

BYE week for the Wildcats means they can’t move into 15th place with a loss.


WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, your squiggly lines are back! Rejoice, rejoice!


Iowa claims the top spot, with Ohio State and Michigan rising. Penn State drops, and here’s hoping that’s as far as they fall. Michigan State stands pat, with Indiana and Wisconsin moving up. Maryland is in free fall, while Nebraska appears more and more competent each week. Rutgers takes a small drop, while Minnesota, Purdue, Illinois, and Northwestern all stand pat in the basement.

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