Northwestern is the 19th-ranked team in the country and on the way up after taking control of the Big Ten West with a 17-7 win over No. 10 Wisconsin on Saturday. The Wildcats’ remaining games are at Michigan State and Minnesota, and home against Illinois — three teams that have combined to win as many games this season, five, as Northwestern has.
Most likely, then, we’re a few weeks away from an undefeated Northwestern team, ranked in the top 10, squaring off against Ohio State with a trip to the College Football Playoff on the line, coronavirus permitting.
And that game is going to be very ugly.
Against the Badgers, who had to be kicking themselves all the way back to Madison, here’s some of what Northwestern did:
- 16 first downs
- 2-for-15 on third down
- 263 yards of total offense
- 24 rushing yards — that’s not missing a digit, they ran for twenty-four yards
- 22:59 of possession
Those are numbers that should lose a football game, but Wisconsin had five turnovers, went 3-for-16 on third down, ran 40 times for 136 yards, and had eight penalties for 69 yards.
Does Northwestern’s defense get some credit for that? Absolutely. But also, Ohio State beat Indiana on Saturday by putting up 300 passing yards and 307 rushing yards, overcoming three turnovers to do it.
Barring something really weird happening, and yeah it’s 2020 so maybe it will, it’s going to be Northwestern and Ohio State for the Big Ten title. It’s going to be hideous, and it’s going to be Ohio State rolling to the playoff, where we could’ve just slotted the Buckeyes in the first place without going through this whole stupid Big Ten season that never should’ve happened in the first place.
Then again, if the Big Ten hadn’t played, Penn State wouldn’t be the first team in history to start as high as No. 7 in the rankings, then go 0-5. And the Nittany Lions didn’t just fall to 0-5, they lost by three touchdowns, at home, to Iowa, including a 71-yard pick-six by 305-pound defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon.
Penn State does have a chance to get into the win column next week, as the Nittany Lions are fortunate enough to have a date with lowly… Michigan, which, to be fair, scored 48 points and won… in triple overtime… at Rutgers.
BYU 66, North Alabama 14
Memphis 56, Stephen F. Austin 14
Virginia 55, Abilene Christian 15
At least Alabama 63, Kentucky 7, was a conference game.
There’s coronavirus in Hockey Canada’s training camp for next month’s World Junior Championships, an event that’s still happening for some reason.
Probably no big deal and nobody else involved will contract the highly contagious virus that already has shown how quickly it can spread among hockey teams. Surely this is the last we’ll hear of this.