(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
“Northwestern is not ready for this, not yet. It was 5-0 and ranked Nos. 22 and 23 in two of the three major polls. But it had beaten up on nobodies and one sort-of, Iowa.” — Greg Couch of the Chicago Sun-Times, on the Wildcats’ 37-20 loss to Michigan State
1. Schooling His Old School: Minnesota Coach Tim Brewster was the captain of Illinois’ 1983 Rose Bowl team. In his first game at Illinois’ Memorial Stadium, his 12-point underdog Gophers shocked the Fighting Illini, 27-20.
“It’s hard. I have mixed emotions,” Brewster said. “I care about my alma mater. But I also have tremendous feelings for this Minnesota team. We came here on a mission to win. We have a philosophy: ‘Why not us? Why not now?’”
The 6-1 Gophers were 1-11 last year, Brewster’s debut season as their coach.
“We’re already bowl-eligible. This is very exciting for me, very exciting for the seniors,” said Minnesota linebacker Steve Davis. “We just want to keep pushing and get to that Rose Bowl.”
Uh, Minnesota did allow 550 yards to the Illini, 462 of those passing. Don’t make Pasadena plans just yet, Gopher fans.
2. JoePa’s Got Jump: Every Wisconsin home game, UW students spend the time between the third and fourth quarters jumping to House of Pain’s “Jump Around.”
Penn State linebacker Nate Stupar jumped to the music Saturday, too. Nittany Lions defensive tackle Jared Odrick broke into a dance.
You’d dance, too, if you’d beaten the Badgers 48-7 in their Camp Randall Stadium. It’s normally a house of pain for visitors.
Are the 7-0 Nittany Lions in the national title picture?
“We certainly deserve to be considered,” said their coach, Joe Paterno.
3. Imperfect Storm: Oklahoma and Missouri supposedly were on a collision course to meet in the Big 12 title game, maybe both with 12-0 records. Then they faced Texas and Oklahoma State, respectively.
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy hadn’t liked the way he played the week before at Colorado. He told Longhorns Coach Mack Brown, “I didn’t play very well tonight, but next week is my week.”
McCoy was a prophet. He completed 28 of 35 passes and expertly steered the Horns to a 45-35 win over the No. 1 Sooners. Now Texas is No. 1.
Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy’s players are 20 (and 21 and 22). They are men. They won at No. 3 Missouri, 28-23.
The $165 million that oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens donated to Oklahoma State in 2006 to transform the school’s football stadium and training areas is bearing fruit.
“Boone, he was there (in the OSU locker room after the Missouri win) and he was excited,” Gundy said. “He hadn’t had a lot to be excited about lately.”
Pickens filed suit last week against Lehman Brothers, claiming the investment bank owes him and four of his energy funds $59.9 million.
As the Hlist always says, $59.9 million here and $59.9 million there, pretty soon it adds up to some real money.
4. FIU is AOK: The Hlist and others in Iowa had their fun with Florida International in early September. FIU did nothing to help its football reputation by losing 42-0 to the Hawkeyes.
Look who’s won three in a row, the latest a 33-21 handling of Middle Tennessee State.
True freshman T.Y. Hilton caught a 63-yard touchdown pass against MTSU. Hilton is nicknamed ”T.Y. Goodbye” by FIU fans. The well-known AOL signoff “Goodbye” was played on the stadium speakers after he scored.
Twice, when Middle Tennessee punted out of bounds to avoid him, Hilton turned to the FIU student section and turned his thumbs down. That got the students booing the MTSU punter.
Who knew FIU football was so fun?
1. Badgered Bret: “When you get into the coaching profession you know there are going to be good days and bad days,” Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema said. “Today …”
That was said Saturday night in Madison after a 48-7 loss to Penn State, Wisconsin’s third straight loss and its worst since a 51-3 pounding from Miami 19 years ago.
Bielema, a former Iowa player and assistant coach, began this year with a 21-5 mark, 12-4 in the Big Ten. Things have gotten harder.
This was a preseason Big Ten title contender? Now it’s a dazed and confused outfit that is coming to Iowa on Saturday.
“I would have put a house up saying we’ll never start 0-3, even with the three games we had,” junior linebacker Jaevery McFadden said.
That’s why the NCAA doesn’t let its players gamble.
2. Wasted Juice: Illinois Coach Ron Zook feared his team would have a letdown after its 45-20 win at Michigan the week before. It did. Now 3-3 Illinois has as many losses as it did all last season.
“Just because you go to Michigan and win a game there, that doesn’t mean (anything),” he said. “Everybody in this league is out to get you.”
Illini quarterback Juice Williams set a Memorial Stadium record with 503 total yards. Illinois entered Gopher territory 10 times, for an average of two points per visit.
Note to the Illini: You don’t get many Juice Williamses. You may want to stop wasting the one you have.
3. Michigan’s a Mess: Michigan lost 13-10 to Toledo, a team that had been 1-4 and got clobbered at home by Florida International. Which is in worse shape in the Detroit-Ann Arbor area, Ford Motor Company or Wolverines football?
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press: “The Big House has become a big joke. There is no safe sanctuary for what’s quickly crystallizing into the worst Wolverines season in more than 40 years.
“The Rockets’ 13-10 stunner drove another stake through the guts and pride of a Michigan program that must wonder this worrisome morning if there’s actually another win somewhere on its schedule.”
4. Picks, Not Kicks: Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes picked off two passes in the Gators’ 51-21 pasting of LSU. He returned his second interception 52 yards for a touchdown, then weakly punted the ball into the end zone stands.
“Just the passion for the game kinda took over,” Spikes said. “(Punter Chas Henry) said ‘You kinda shanked that thing.’”
Florida Coach Urban Meyer on Spikes’ 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty:
“I’m going to kill him. But that’s all right.”
“Texas is better than OU.
“Go ahead. Read it to yourself. Read it aloud. Scream it if you want. Tell the neighbors. Text someone. Write your congressman.
“It’s true. Texas has a better football team than Oklahoma. Savor it, Longhorn fans. Feel it, take it in, believe it.” — Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman.
Kirk seemed a bit giddy.