There are few discussion points in college football that get fans riled up quite like Big Ten and SEC comparisons. Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez added some lighter fluid and a giant ball of lint to that fire before Tuesday’s Capital One Bowl loss to Georgia.
“I think the Big Ten, talent-wise, is a lot better, and the defenses in the Big Ten are better than SEC defenses,” Martinez said via the Lincoln Journal-Star. “This was supposed to be one of the top defenses in the SEC, and we pretty much did anything we wanted against them.”
Those are some bold statements, so I did a little research and number-crunching to see if Martinez’s comments really held water. What I found can be broken down into three basic retorts:
And, last but certainly not least…
(Clowney beheading Vincent Smith in GIF format)
Now, jokes aside and in fairness to Martinez, both Michigan and Nebraska were in positions to win their bowl games against SEC opponents in the fourth quarter, as was Wisconsin against Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Had a few plays gone differently, it could have resulted in a nice showing by the Big Ten on New Year’s Day (no, we’re not counting Purdue).
Still, Jadeveon thinks that’s a Clown statement, bro.
You know it’s bad when a former rival of yours feels the need to pump you up.
To say this has been a rough start to the season for Butch Jones and Tennessee would be a massive understatement. In Week 3, they stole defeat from the jaws of victory in a rivalry loss to Florida. A week later at home, they barely (17-13) got past a UMass team that enters this weekend winless. The following week, they were embarrassed and humiliated in a 41-0 woodshedding by Georgia. Week 7 brought a stinging loss to South Carolina.
At 3-3 overall and an unacceptable 0-3 in SEC play, Jones’ coaching seat is fully engulfed in flames, with nary a fireman in sight. Enter one-time Volunteers nemesis Tim Tebow — record vs. Vols: 4-0 — with the former Florida quarterback-turned SEC Network analyst offering up a passionate message directed at UT ahead of its showdown with rival Alabama.
‘Bama opened as a 35-point favorite; with kickoff a little over an hour away, that number is up to 36.5.
Bovada.lv told CFT earlier this week that, over the last 31 years, the Vols have never been as large of an underdog as they are right now. Prior to a 23-13 loss, they were 30- point underdogs to Tebow-quarterbacked Florida in 2009. In 2011 and 2013, they were 29- and 28-point underdogs, respectively, to Alabama. They ended up losing both contests, 37-6 in the former and 45-10 in the latter.
In the previous 99 meetings between the rival programs, the Vols have lost by 35 or more points exactly four times. The first came in 1906 (51-0), the second in 1963 (35-0). The last two times? The 2013 game mentioned above and 2016 (49-10).
Don’t hit the upset alarm just yet, but No. 10 Oklahoma State is in a bit of a defensive battle on the road against the Texas Longhorns. After one half of play, the Cowboys and Longhorns are knotted at seven points apiece to set the stage for an interesting second half of play in Austin.
J.D. King gave Oklahoma State a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a seven-yard touchdown run. It came on Oklahoma State’s third possession of the game and at the end of a 96-yard drive. The next time the Cowboys had the football, another long drive for points was stalled when Justice Hill lost a fumble at the Texas 14-yard line. The Longhorns capitalized on the turnover by orchestrating a quick three-play 86-yard touchdown drive. Sam Ehlinger completed a 90-yard pass to John Burt on a 2nd and 16 and then Ehlinger took it in himself from two yards out on the next play to tie the game at 7-7.
Wisconsin does not appear to be in much of any trouble this afternoon in Madison, Wisconsin against Maryland, but the Badgers took a while to start putting away the Terrapins. Wisconsin owns a 21-3 lead on the Terps at halftime, but the Wisconsin offense has had two turnovers so far. Maryland just has not been able to capitalize on those opportunities.
The Badgers defense put the first points on the scoreboard on the game’s opening possession. T.J. Edwards picked off a pass from Max Bortenschlager and returned it 54 yards for a score. It was the fourth pick-six of the season for the Badgers, moving them into a tie for the national lead with Duke.
Maryland failed to take advantage of a fumble by Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor that gave the Terrapins the football on the Wisconsin five-yard line. Unable to pick up any yardage, Maryland settled for a field goal to cut the lead to 7-3. The Badgers responded with a 10-play, 70-yard touchdown drive ending with Taylor making his way to the end zone on a three-yard run. Wisconsin added a late touchdown on a pass from Alex Hornibrook to Zander Neuville.
In the second half, Wisconsin will get the ball to start the third quarter and will look to start overpowering Maryland to get this game wrapped up with a “W.”
When you are as high-profile as Jim Harbaugh has been — and when the off-field headlines don’t translate into the type of on-field success your fan base craves– you are the perfect target for the those in attendance for college football’s preeminent traveling road show.
With Penn State set to host Michigan Saturday night, ESPN‘s College GameDay show made its way to Happy Valley> As is the case every weekend, so too did the signs that have become a huge part of the three-hour pregame show.
And, not surprisingly, Harbaugh was a significant target as part of this Saturday’s festivities.