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You know that moment you wake up in the middle of the night and it sounds like War of the Worlds is going on outside because there’s a storm, and you wake up the next morning, limbs down, chicken coop turned on its side, lawn furniture all over the yard?
Or for a college reference, you know the frat house basement the morning after the first weekend of partying on campus?
If that visual was a football division in a power conference, it just became the B1G West.
The announcement that Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave is out “indefinetely” with an injury helps explain why Tanner McEvoy … wildly ineffective in the second half against LSU this past weekend … was starting and never replaced by last year’s serviceable starter.
Also, Gary Andersen shed light into the most puzzling American question since Roswell in 1947 … why the heck did Melvin Gordon get only three carries in the second half against LSU? He too was nursing an injury.
Suddenly, the B1G West is upside down, inside out, a total cluster.
Wisconsin was not only the prohibitive favorite to win the division, but many were picking the Badgers to win the conference. Still, as strong as the B1G came out looking this past weekend, one half of its conference is potentially a total wreck, especially relative to how strong several teams in the B1G East looked, including Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State.
You look down the first weekend’s results and sort of furrow your brow and scrunch your nose the way you do when someone toots in an elevator.
Iowa and Illinois both struggled mightily against FCS competition. Not to say that the teams they played cannot be good, but that’s not a good sign for a conference title run. Northwestern started out asleep at the wheel against Cal and was down too hopelessly to make it it all the way back after someone finally hit the alarm.
Purdue looks improved, but there’s a long way to go there. The Boilermakers beat Western Michigan by pulling away late, and the Broncos, like the Boilers, were coming off a 1-11 campaign with all of zero FBS pelts on the wall for that season.
That mostly leaves Nebraska to grab the torch, run with it, and hopefully bring enough lighter fluid to keep it burning for everyone else. Call it the “winning football games” version of the fishes and loaves story in the Bible.
Now, it’s not worth getting too worked up about one week of results and suggesting that each team will play the exact same every time out. Northwestern should be ready for the opening bell next weekend. Teams like Iowa and Illinois will improve because the fact of the matter is, you likely know less about your team going into week one than you will at any future point in the season.
However, Wisconsin having injury issues already is a huge blow to a competitive B1G West. Part of it’s unfair because Tanner McEvoy was playing LSU, and LSU makes a lot of folks look bad. Yet, the fact remains that he was a defensive player last season moved back to quarterback, which indicates the depth there even behind him might be nil. The next guy down the depth chart is Bart Houston, who is mostly unknown but has a great first name.
Injuries suck. I think we all understand that. Moreover, Wisconsin can ill afford a heavy amount of them, especially to experienced offensive players.
The B1G West just got a lot more interesting, and seems wide open for a corn-fueled ending.