(And you thought Wisconsin had a big O-Line…)
Oh yeah? Well take this: a 6’9″, 400 lb tackle and the guy next to him is 6’5″, 350. According to James Franklin, Minnesota has the biggest offensive line in the country including the NFL.
Now, that can punish a defense, particularly if the possessor of such a behemoth O-line happens to control IITOP (Increasingly Irrelevant Time of Possession). As if that’s not enough, Antonio Shelton’s suspension for a rather egregious and unneccessary unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for spitting in the direction of a Moo U. player leaves a hole in the middle of the Lions’ defensive line. They’ll be light one major piece for the entire game.
Penn State will have to deal with those realities, along with the early wake-up call of an 11 AM CT kickoff when the #5 Nittany Lions (8-0, 5-0) line up against the #13 Minnesota Auric Rodents, who possess an identical record. The Rodents will be bolstered by the news that their highly successful coach, P. J. Fleck, has signed a new seven-year contract subject to approval by the Board of Regents. But that happened to Franklin last year and we see how that has turned out. (I’m not sure what I meant by that). Anyhow, P. J. Flyspeck has the full faith of Goldengopherhood in the Land of the Frozen North, as it were. Put that in your pipe and freeze it!
Day of the Unbeatens
This Battle of the Unbeatens will be somewhat overshadowed by the hype surrounding the #1 vs. #2 LSU-Alabama game, the latest in this year’s series of Games of the Century, which earned the favored 3:30 PM time slot. Yep, another Battle of the Unbeatens on the same day on Week 11 of the season and we’re on the undercard. Tuscaloosa gets ESPN College Gameday while Minneapolis gets BTN Tailgate. We’re playing second fiddle here. Back burner material. (When you’re #2, you try harder. —Jerry Della Famina).
We’ll either be watching that 3:30 game placidly with the warm glow from a veritable surfeit of male love oxytocin coursing through our hormonal storm drains or bemusedly, suffering through the stunned embarrassment of “WTF went wrong?” rumination. (I had to write a paragraph that said absolutely nothing, so this was it. And damn it, it won’t be the last! But I digress.) President Trump is expected to attend that HUUUGE SEC battle, so you know it’s a matter of national urgency. It’ll be such a game, you wouldn’t believe. Impeach me if I’m wrong, already. I dare you.
Hey, have I told you that they’re trying to drum up an anti-coyote campaign in my neighborhood, as if the pro-bear campaign was not enough animal husbandry for the idle rich? In my mind, there are never enough anvils in the world, and last I heard, coyote-owned Acme Anvil Corporation were the premier global producers of that particular blacksmith’s fixture. Attempting to control coyotes is like trying to stop the rain. Who’ll stop the rain, already? And who’ll stop the Rodents? That’s what we’re here to find out. Whether we ever get around to talking about it is anyone’s guess. Highly in doubt, I’d say.
Well, coyotes could stop the rodents. Give me a bye week and I’ll show you how unfocused I can get!
Who ARE those Rodents?
One thing is for sure. You’ll hear Sanguinarians saying Minnesota hasn’t played anyone. I saw the Rodents’ recent schedule being characterized as “Jim Delany’s* Expansion Schedule”, as their three most recent wins were over Maryland, Piscataway Junior High, and Nebraska — the three most recent additions to the Big Ten lineup. Expansion teams don’t always have to suck — Penn State was one once and did not suck — but these three just happen to suck badly. (I know, it’s hard to suck badly, but these three do it with panache.) Anyway, the Jim Delany Expansion Schedule characterization tickled my funny bone so I had to repeat it. (Another meaningless paragraph for your collection).
However, somehow, Penn State opened as 6½-point favorites even though they’re playing in the Rodents’ home burrow. It is an incredible leap of faith for this reporter to believe that the Nittany Lions are that much better. It would be a similar leap of faith to believe that the Rodents were better than the Lions. You can do your analyses and strength of schedule bullshit, but this damn game is going to come down to who the hell plays better. Given that both teams are sound, and in view of the noon kickoff, anyone can and will win. (I love cliches that make eminent sense, yet are purposeless. But someone’s gotta win. Anyone can. You get the point.) Anyhow — ploo! –— how do I pick this?
It’s kinda boring for me to run through all the matchups and compare strategies employed by the coaching staffs (or is that staves?). Besides, who cares what I think? As usual, you could read that kind of stuff elsewhere. It has no lasting value, as it evaporates promptly at kickoff time. You come here for entertainment, admit it! I am a football imbecile and I can only offer opinions straight out of my ass.
Plus, today I’m a lazy ass. I have important anti-bear lover business to attend to, and a stupid Saturday board meeting to prepare for, so I’m better off writing inane drivel. Because it’s my blog and I can write crazy shit if I want. And I want to see Todd Sponsler even come close to my level of insanity in his Lion’s Den prose. He thinks he has to write about football and middle-aged sex (or lack of same). I write about bears and slippery balls.
I could continue to write this moronic crap forever, but I’ll spare you. I’ll get around to closing this out, I promise. LOLOLOL… I’m batshit crazy! I’m trying to convince the irrational bear lovers in my neighborhood that I’m a protector of cockroaches, and my lunacy has spilled over here! (Or is that spilt?) So, why should I get off the damn track and write about a game that’s going to be over before we all wake up on Saturday? Why? I ask!
Oops. I’ve exhausted all my available column space. I’ll see you next week.
TCF Bank Stadium, where the Rodents burrow, is an open, outdoor arena and this is November we’re talking about in Minneapolis, here, already. Oy vey, what does the weatherman hold in store?
Well, my little pooners, as I am writing this, we’re seeing a rain mixed with snow forecast and a high of 38°. The UV Index is 1 — no skin cancer worries — so you can bring your SPF 0 Smirnoff flask. I see some ball-handling issues. Shit! Not slippery balls again! UPDATE: K. John has provided me with a weather update, which has changed significantly from what I wrote above. “The forecast has been changing rapidly. Currently looking at a kickoff temperature in the mid-20s and most of the game being played below freezing. The rain has moved out of the forecast, however. My aviation weather tracker which provides more information than the standard forecast is saying 26 at kickoff with a range as low as 19 and a high of 28.” So maybe heavy balls instead of slippery balls.
Okay, that turned out to be erroneous bullshit from the peanut gallery. As of 9 AM CT, The Weather Channel forecasts a partly cloudy 39°F at kickoff time and a high of 42°, with some showers in the early afternoon and full-blown rain later, turning to snow by around 8 PM. We might miss the rain, but I’ll throw out a “slippery balls” caution nonetheless.
Da Bottom Line
I’m gassed about going 9-0 and then tragically losing to Indiana at home. Wait, what? Ah, but seriously, folks, beware the Ides of Marching rodents! One nooner
in the slop and snow the Rodent burrow with “that dullard look” written all over their fresh, young faces while they dream of Schmuckeye sugar plums dancing on their ass could be all she wrote for “that perfect season”. Yea, verily, this is a call for focus, lest those dreams evaporate in one swell foop.
So, PSU – 6.5 and an over/under of 47.5 works out to 27-21 or thereabouts. Prithee, whereabouts do you think this will wind up? I screwed up big time last week, so my perfect season is no longer at stake. Therefore, I can wild-assedly speculate with him-punity. It’s all about man-splaining, you see. Penn State 22, Minnesota 20. Take the under, I’m pretty sure.
(I’ll be back after the game, whether you like it or not!)
*Jim Delany is the current Big Ten Commissioner, who will retire at year-end.