“We didn’t come in with a mentality, feeling like we had all these mistakes. We came in actually on a high note.” – Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin after the team’s 49-20 rout at the hands of unranked Purdue.
If the current climate of college football is surprising to you, you probably don’t go to a school with a football team. Alabama is still an uncontested first overall, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is still on lock for the Heisman and the Big Ten is still an absolute embarrassment.
After Ohio State star defensive lineman Nick Bosa’s sudden-but-unsurprising decision to put his own future above the Buckeyes’, Head Coach Urban Meyer finally managed to lead his second-ranked team to an inspiring defeat. But this loss was almost unremarkable; had Ohio State sealed the deal and actually lost to Northwestern earlier in the year, Meyer’s accomplishment would not be receiving the attention it deserves.
Where Meyer really isn’t getting enough credit is his role in helping Michigan finally gain the lead in the Big Ten East. Head Coach Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines tenure has been exceptionally mediocre so far despite his $40 million contract, so Michiganders everywhere should thank Meyer for this professional courtesy: it might give Harbaugh and his taxpayer-funded khakis a chance at the Big Ten title for the first time since their 2004 shared championship with Iowa.
And with Northwestern somehow leading the Big Ten West, it would take a truly mythical meltdown for Harbaugh’s Big Blue to blow this game. They might even have to one-up their 2015 botched punt against Michigan State that handed the undeserving Spartans a victory with time expiring.
But if you still aren’t convinced that this year’s Big Ten is a complete joke, I encourage you to start watching American football. Because you clearly haven’t been already.
Surprisingly, their football team’s unpredicted upset of Ohio State wasn’t the only story in Purdue sports this week. Alumni quarterback Drew Brees passed for the 500th touchdown of his career, a feat that only four other NFL players have achieved, while leading his Saints to a 24-23 victory against the Baltimore Ravens. His victory made him the third quarterback in NFL history to best all 32 teams.
Except it almost didn’t happen. The Ravens’ fourth-quarter touchdown would have sent the game to overtime had kicker Justin Tucker not missed the extra point for the first time in 223 career attempts. His lapse evoked scenes of the River City Relay, or the 2003 Saints-Jaguars game that the Saints lost after lateralling their way to a unbelievable touchdown — only for kicker John Carney to miss the extra point. Time is a flat circle, or whatever.
So congratulations, Boilermakers, for being this week’s biggest story in sports. Hopefully it makes up for having to live in West Lafayette, Ind.