Pages

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Green's five takeaways from Week 1 of the Big Ten season

Photo Credit: John Peterson/Illinois Athletics


By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

 
Welcome to the first installment of Green’s five takeaways from the Big Ten week. Our opener begins with an unforgettable debut by Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz.
 

1) Graham crackers for days:
 
After a long, dry spell of Big Ten football, the return occurred Friday night and redshirt freshman Graham Mertz put his name on the national map with a five-touchdown performance and broke the Wisconsin school record for completion percentage in a game going 20-of-21 through the air.
 
The gaudy numbers highlighted a Badgers 45-7 mugging over the Illinois Fighting Illini, whose calling card coming into the game was their stellar defense. The defense took a hit with the loss of linebacker Jake Hansen as he stumbled to the ground after taking a wicked shot seconds before.
 

2) Fields of dreams:
 
Despite a competitive showing by Nebraska in the first half, Ohio State’s offense notched things up to another level behind a vintage Justin Fields performance in a 52-17 win at Ohio Stadium. Fields looked in mid-season form going 20-of-21 passing for 276 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
 
If I said 20-of-21 a second time in this piece, note that it is not a mistake as Mertz accomplished the same feat the night before and would be fun to see them air it out in Indianapolis on Dec. 19 in the title game.
 
The biggest beneficiaries of Fields’ performance were 100-yard performances from Garrett Wilson (129) and Chris Olave (104). Despite the dominance, the spotlight belonged to Jaxon Smith-Njigba with the catch of the season as the freshman tip-toed his right foot inbounds for a five-yard touchdown reception.
 

3) The Schiano difference:
 
The return of Greg Schiano to the Rutgers sideline as head coach rubbed off on the players as the defense forced seven Michigan State turnovers in a 38-27 win to snap a 21-game losing streak in Big Ten play dating back to the 2017 season.
 
It took 8:03 for the Scarlet Knights to match its 14-point total through five games last season. Isaih Pacheco scored the first of his two touchdowns on the day in that stretch as Rutgers scored its first win over Michigan State since Sept. 4, 2004, when they were members of the Big East conference (now the American Athletic Conference in football).
2020 has taught us that anything is possible and maybe Rutgers could play the role of spoiler for some of the Big Ten’s elite teams.
 

4) Don’t think Ford first:
 
For Penn State running back Devyn Ford, an ordinary touchdown would be something to celebrate, but for the sophomore it backfired as he should have fallen to the ground before scoring to secure what would have been a 21-20 win over Indiana.
 
Instead, the touchdown brought new life back to Indiana and took advantage as it trailed 28-20 and went down the field for a 75-yard scoring drive capped off by a Michael Penix Jr. two-point conversion to even the score at 28.
 
After a Penn State touchdown in the top end of the first OT, Indiana countered with a score of its own, but coach Tom Allen went for all the roses on a two-point conversion and the gamble paid off as Penix Jr. dove for every last inch towards the goal line for the game-winner. Indiana’s 36-35 win over No. 8 Penn State signaled that the Big Ten east race is not as generic as most assumed going into the season.

 
5) Wolverines gone wild:
 
After uncertainty at the quarterback spot with Dylan McCaffrey’s transfer, Michigan’s Joe Milton stepped into the top spot and fit like a gator shoe going 15-of-22 for 225 yards and a touchdown through the air in a 49-24 over Minnesota on the road at TCF Bank Stadium.
 
The Michigan offense showed a ton of vitality on the ground game as it finished with 256 yards, highlighted by a pair of touchdowns by Hassan Haskins as the Little Brown Jug trophy stays in the city of Ann Arbor for the foreseeable future as the next meeting will not be until 2023 in the regular season.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Your 2020 Big Ten football primer


Photo Credit: Geno Green



By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen
 
With all the uncertainty in the non-sports world, some bit of normalcy returns with Big Ten football on Oct. 23 with a Friday night game between Illinois and Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. 
 
In what will likely be a season unlike any other, let’s take a look at some key storylines to watch for in Big Ten play capped off by conference championship and crossover predictions from yours truly, Bill Bender from Sporting News, and CSO writer Jeremy Rosenberg.
 

1) Conference-only schedule for all 14 teams:
 
One of the few positives to come out of rescheduling are the elimination of non-conference cupcake games and an immediate dive right into an eight-game regular season schedule within the league and a ninth contest on championship Saturday reserved for Dec. 19.
 
The first three weeks will tell a lot about the state of the Big Ten with premier matchups, such as Michigan/Minnesota (Oct. 24), Ohio State/Penn State and Michigan St./Michigan (Oct. 31).
 

2) Ohio State’s quest for its fourth straight Big Ten title and maybe more:
 
The Ohio State Buckeyes have not only been the class of the Big Ten conference over the last four seasons, but among the elite of college football and are light years ahead of the rest of the league when it comes to recruiting. Quarterback Justin Fields returns for his junior season and looks to lead the Buckeyes beyond greener pastures beyond winning a conference championship.
 
The achilles heel of Ohio State in recent years has been its inability to win in the College Football Playoff semifinal with losses to Clemson in 2016 and 2019. With a conference-only schedule this season, the pressure to go undefeated is not there, but going without a loss in a slate highlighted by Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan would go a long way to securing another birth into the College Football Playoff.
 

3) Could this be the season the Big Ten finally gets two CFP teams in?
 
The Big Ten, along with the Pac-12 find themselves in an advantage over the other Power Five leagues— a crossover game to go along with the conference title game on Dec. 19, which could be used as an additional tool by the College Football Playoff committee to determining the field.
 
This could benefit teams like Minnesota, Penn State and Wisconsin if they end up on the other side of the conference title game. Only time will tell to see if the Big Ten can even position two teams that could make a case for the final four come New Year’s Day in Pasadena and New Orleans.
 

4) Lack of flexibility in rescheduling games:
 
With the Big Ten starting so late into the season after pulling the plug once on its conference schedule back in August has backed itself into a corner— lack of flexibility in making up postponed games.
 
In an eight-game, eight-week schedule, it is inevitable that games will be canceled due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Every conference has experienced some teams dealing with outbreaks leading to postponed and even canceled games.
 
As of Thursday afternoon, the canceled games would be declared a no contest, but if 2020 has taught us, it can always evolve into a fluid situation.
 

5) Conference championship and crossover predictions:
 
With the addition off Big Ten crossover games to championship Saturday on Dec. 19, I called upon some of my sports media friends for their predictions on who will play on the final day before the College Football Playoff selection show on Dec. 20.
 

Geno Green, CSO founder:
 
(E1) Ohio State vs (W1) Minnesota (Indianapolis)
(E2) Penn State vs (W2) Wisconsin
(E3) Michigan vs (W3) Illinois
(E4) Indiana vs (W4) Nebraska
(E5) Michigan State vs (W5) Iowa
(E6) Maryland vs (W6) Northwestern
(E7) Rutgers vs (W7) Purdue
 

Bill Bender, Sporting News college football writer:
 
(E1) Ohio State vs (W1) Wisconsin (Indianapolis)
(E2) Michigan vs (W2) Minnesota
(E3) Penn State vs (W3) Iowa
(E4) Indiana vs (W4) Northwestern
(E5) Michigan State vs (W5) Nebraska
(E6) Maryland vs (W6) Purdue
(E7) Rutgers vs (W7) Illinois
 

Jeremy Rosenberg, CSO writer:
 
(E1) Ohio State vs (W1) Minnesota (Indianapolis)
(E2) Michigan vs (W2) Wisconsin
(E3) Penn State vs (W3) Illinois
(E4) Indiana vs (W4) Iowa
(E5) Maryland vs (W5) Northwestern
(E6) Michigan State vs (W6) Nebraska
(E7) Rutgers vs (W7) Purdue
 
 
 
 
 

Pick Six- Big Ten edition for Week 8




By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen


With all of the uncertainty in the real world, it feels great to have Big Ten football back and this week's Pick Six will reflect it.

Last week, Green led the way with a 5-1 mark to take first place for the first time ever, while Larimore went 4-2. Baligian brought up the rear at 3-3.


Standings:                 GB

Green        30-12        -

Baligian    28-14        2

Larimore   26-16        4


This week's picks:
                                                Green           Baligian       Larimore


Illinois at Wisconsin (Friday)               Illinois          Wisconsin        Wisconsin

Rutgers at Michigan State                   Mich. St.          Mich. St.         Mich. St.

Penn State at Indiana                          Penn St.           Penn St.          Penn St.

Iowa at Purdue                                     Purdue             Iowa                Iowa

Maryland at Northwestern               Northwestern   Northwestern   Maryland

Michigan at Minnesota                      Minnesota         Michigan       Michigan


Monday, October 19, 2020

CSO Mock College Football Playoff committee top 25 for Oct. 19



By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen



Thanks to the mock selection committee for coming through and making the fifth edition of the rankings possible this season.

DATES OF WHEN CONFERENCES/INDEPENDENTS WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE POLL:


Pac-12- Nov. 2
MAC- Nov. 2

Biggest jump: Oklahoma State 5 (+3)

Biggest fall: North Carolina 15 (-10)




           Team                Points     Last Week

1) Clemson (9) 5-0          225               1

2) Alabama 4-0               216               2

3) Ohio State 0-0            202              NR

3) Notre Dame 4-0          202               4 (+1)

5) Oklahoma State 3-0    181               8 (+3)

6) Georgia 3-1                 170               2 (-4)

7) Cincinnati 3-0              162               7

8) Penn State 0-0              161              NR

9) BYU 5-0                        155               9

10) Texas A&M 3-1          150                8 (-2)

11) SMU 5-0                     122                11

11) Miami (FL) 4-1           122               12 (+1)

13) Florida 2-1                 120                13

14) Wisconsin 0-0             104                NR

15) North Carolina 3-1      97                  5 (-10)

16) Iowa State 3-1              81                 14 (-2)

17) Michigan 0-0                66                 NR

18) Virginia Tech 3-1          61                  18 

18) Kansas State 3-1           61                  17 (-1)

20) Marshall 4-0                  51                 19 (-1)

21) Minnesota 0-0               45                  NR

22) NC State 4-1                  44                  21 (-1)

23) Coastal Carolina 4-0     37                  22 (-1)

24) Boise State 0-0               16                  NR

25) Liberty 5-0                      13                   23 (-2)


Others receiving votes:

Iowa 11, Auburn 11, UAB 9, Army 8, West Virginia 6, Tulsa 4, Air Force 4, Arkansas 3, Indiana 2, Oklahoma 1, Memphis 1

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Pick Six- Week 7 CFB slate




By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Welcome to another week of Pick Six. For the first time ever, all three competitors finished at 4-2 each.


Standings:                 GB

Baligian       25-11        -

Green           25-11        -

Larimore      22-14      3


This week's games:

                                                                  Baligian              Green             Larimore


Navy at East Carolina                          East Carolina    East Carolina        Navy

USF at Temple                                            USF                Temple                USF

Army at UTSA                                            Army                 Army                 Army

Ole Miss at Arkansas                               Ole Miss          Arkansas           Ole Miss

Georgia at Alabama                                Alabama          Alabama            Alabama

Boston College at Virginia Tech              Va. Tech           Va. Tech             Va. Tech

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

CSO Mock College Football Playoff committee top 25 for Oct. 13




By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen



Thanks to the mock selection committee for coming through and making the fourth edition of the rankings possible this season.

DATES OF WHEN CONFERENCES/INDEPENDENTS WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE POLL:

Big Ten- Oct. 19
Mountain West- Oct. 19
Pac-12- Nov. 2
MAC- Nov. 2

Biggest jump: Texas A&M 8 (+10)

Biggest fall: Florida 13 (-9)




           Team              Points       Last Week

1) Clemson (8)              200                  1

2) Georgia                    188                  3 (+1)

2) Alabama                   188                 2

4) Notre Dame              175                 5 (+1)

5) North Carolina         162                9 (+4)

6) Oklahoma State        161                8 (+2)

7) Cincinnati                153                 7

8) Texas A&M              141                18 (+10)

9) BYU                         134                11 (+2)

10) Auburn                   119                12 (+2)

11) SMU                       117                15 (+4)

12) Miami (FL)            112                  6 (-6)

13) Florida                  104                   4 (-9)

14) Iowa State               83                  18 (+4)

15) Tennessee                78                  10 (-5)

16) Louisiana                76                  16

17) Kansas State           73                  20 (+3)

18) Virginia Tech          68                  13 (-5)

19) Marshall                 64                  22 (+3)

20) UCF                       47                   21 (+1)

21) NC State                 34                  NR

22) Coastal Carolina   23                   24 (+2)

23) Liberty                   18                   NR

24) Oklahoma              15                   NR

25) Boston College       14                  NR


Others receiving votes:

Army 12, Tulsa 11, Memphis 8, UAB 8, LSU 6, Air Force 6, Houston 6, West Virginia 4, Arkansas 2, Louisiana Tech 1

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Pick Six- Week 6 CFB slate

 



By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Welcome to another week of Pick Six as Green showed out with a 4-2 mark last week, while Larimore went 3-3 and Baligian brought up the brisket rear at 2-4.


Standings:                 GB

Baligian       21-9        -

Green           21-9        -

Larimore      18-12      3


This week's games:

                                                                  Baligian              Green             Larimore


Virginia Tech at North Carolina            N. Carolina       Virginia Tech    N. Carolina

Texas vs Oklahoma                                 Oklahoma           Oklahoma         Texas

Tennessee at Georgia                               Georgia              Georgia          Georgia

Kansas State at TCU                                 TCU                 Kansas St.     Kansas St.

Texas Tech at Iowa State                         Iowa St.               Iowa St.         Iowa St.

East Carolina at USF                               USF                     USF                USF

Monday, October 5, 2020

CSO Mock College Football Playoff committee top 25 for Oct. 5





By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen



Thanks to the mock selection committee for coming through and making the third edition of the rankings possible this season.

DATES OF WHEN CONFERENCES/INDEPENDENTS WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE POLL:

Big Ten- Oct. 19
Mountain West- Oct. 19
Pac-12- Nov. 2
MAC- Nov. 2

Biggest jump: BYU 11 (+8)

Biggest fall: Mississippi State 23 (-14)




           Team              Points         Last Week


1 Clemson (8)                 224                 1

2 Alabama (1)                214                 2

3 Georgia                       208                4 (+1)

4 Florida                        199                 3 (-1)

5 Notre Dame                189                 5

6 Miami (FL)                 159                  6

7 Cincinnati                   157                 11 (+4)

8 Oklahoma State          155                 12 (+4)

9 North Carolina           151                14 (+5)

10 Tennessee                  132                16 (+6)

11 BYU                           127               19 (+8)

12 Auburn                      117                 7  (-5)

13 Virginia Tech             100               23 (+10)

14 LSU                             95               18 (+4)

15 SMU                           92                22 (+7)

16 Louisiana                   74                21 (+5)

17 Texas                          71                 8 (-9)

18 Texas A&M                60                13 (-5)

18 Iowa State                  60

20 Kansas State              51                24 (+4)

21 UCF                           42                  9 (-12)

22 Marshall                    29                25 (+3)

23 Mississippi State        24                 9 (-14)

24 Coastal Carolina        19               NR

25 UAB                           17                NR


Others receiving votes:

TCU 14, Pitt 13, Memphis 11, West Virginia 10, Oklahoma 9, Air Force 9, Liberty 8, Army 8, Tulsa 6, NC State 4, Ole Miss 1, Florida Atlantic 1

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Pick Six- Week 5 CFB slate





By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Welcome to another week of Pick Six as Larimore led the way in a surprise at 6-0, while Baligian and Green went 5-1.


Standings:                     GB

Baligian          19-5         -

Green              17-7         2

Larimore         15-9         4


This week's games:
                                                                        Baligian        Green        Larimore

TCU at Texas                                                    Texas            Texas          Texas

Baylor at West Virginia                                   Baylor     West Virginia    Baylor

Texas Tech at Kansas State                          Texas Tech   Texas Tech   Kansas State

North Carolina at Boston College               N. Carolina  N. Carolina  N. Carolina

Navy at Air Force                                            Navy           Air Force      Navy

Auburn at Georgia                                        Georgia         Georgia      Georgia



Monday, September 28, 2020

CSO Mock College Football Playoff committee top 25 for Sept. 28

 




By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen



Thanks to the mock selection committee for coming through and making the second edition of the rankings possible this season.

DATES OF WHEN CONFERENCES/INDEPENDENTS WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE POLL:

Big Ten- Oct. 26
Mountain West- Oct. 26
Pac-12- Nov. 9
MAC- Nov. 9


        Team                   Points

1) Clemson (8)                200

2) Alabama                     192

3) Florida                       176

4) Georgia                      175

5) Notre Dame                166

6) Miami (FL)                 162

7) Auburn                        157

8) Texas                           131

9) UCF                            123

9) Mississippi State         123

11) Cincinnati                  115

12) Oklahoma State         114

13) Texas A&M               104

14) North Carolina           82

15) Pitt                              77

16) Oklahoma                   70

16) Tennessee                   70

18) LSU                            68

19) BYU                            64

20) Memphis                    50

21) Louisiana                   43

22) SMU                           38

23) Virginia Tech              36

24) Kansas State               23

25) Marshall                    17


Others receiving votes:

Baylor 7, UTSA 4, Virginia 1, Boston College 1




Saturday, September 26, 2020

Pick Six- Week 4 CFB slate






By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Welcome to another week of Pick Six as Baligian returned to his winning ways with a 5-1 mark last week. Green finished 4-2, while Larimore brought up the rear at 3-3.


Standings:                     GB

Baligian          14-4         -

Green              12-6         2

Larimore          9-9          5


                                                             Baligian          Green          Larimore


Kentucky at Auburn                                    Auburn            Auburn          Auburn

Louisville at Pittsburgh                            Louisville             Pitt                Pitt

Army at Cincinnati                                  Cincinnati        Cincinnati     Cincinnati
 
West Virginia at Oklahoma St.               Oklahoma St.   West Virginia  Oklahoma St.

Tennessee at South Carolina                    Tennessee         Tennessee      Tennessee

NC State at Virginia Tech                       Virginia Tech   Virginia Tech  Virginia Tech