Beonard’s Losers — 2010, Week 6

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Howdy, football fans!  It’s hard to believe we’re at Week 6 already.  Is the season shaping up the way you thought it would?  I’m sure Brian Kelly expected to have more than two wins at this point, and very few people expected an undefeated Michigan.  Mark Dantonio probably didn’t anticipate being hospitalized twice, but Danny Hope may have foreseen Purdue’s injury woes based on the play-calling we’ve seen so far.  But the past is behind us, so let’s take a look at this week’s games.

Indiana at Ohio State

Bill Lynch’s basketball stars have proven that they can score points — they rank 13th in points for, and 4th in passing yards — but they’ll have a tough time against a Buckeye squad that only allows 14 points per game.  Jim Tressel’s nuts have seen the end zone a few times themselves, ranking 8th in points scored, which could prove to be a challenge for the mediocre Hoosier defense.  This is proving to be a good year for the Hoosiers, but they won’t like what happens in the Horseshoe.  Beonard’s loser? Indiana

Minnesota at Wisconsin

The gilded rodents tunnel into Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday to try to get their paws on Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the first time since 2003.  Their best hope is to catch the cheese eaters still licking their wounds from last week’s loss to Sparty, but Tim Brewster’s squad hasn’t shown themselves to be much good at anything. Bret Bielma’s Badger boys have been outscoring their opponents pretty well so far, and the axe will likely stay in Madison another year.  Beonard’s loser? Minnesota

Illinois at Penn State

Ron Zook’s tribe prepare for battle in Happy Valley on Saturday, looking better than they have in the past few years.  They hope to get the pelt of a sleeping kitty, but Joe Pa sleeps very lightly.  Although the Lion offense has sputtered, the defense has held unranked opponents to 9 points per game — just what you’d expect from Linebacker U.  This may be a rebuilding year for the Pennsylvania pussycats, but they’ll have no problem chasing away the Indians.  Beonard’s loser? Illinois

Alabama at South Carolina

The Tide continue to roll thanks to their nation-best defense and high-scoring offense.  This weekend, they’ll try to flood the Gamecocks out of Williams-Brice Stadium.  Steve Spurrier needs this win to keep the Gainesville reptiles within pecking distance.  This should be a fine SEC matchup, but I don’t think the home team can stop the rising waters.  Beonard’s loser? South Carolina

Michigan State at Michigan

Separated by one spot in both polls, these in-state rivals prepare for season-defining battle in the Big House.  RichRod has leaned heavily on his rabid quarterback to make up for the anemic Wolverine defense, so you can bet Sparty’s game plan revolves around stopping one particular player.  The spear toters haven’t exactly been the model defense so far, but they’ve done well enough to let the balanced offensive attack work.  Normally, a big rivalry game favors the home team, but with Mark Dantonio’s recent health woes, you know the green and white will be playing extra hard for him.  Beonard’s loser? In a close one, Michigan

LSU at Florida

It’s a matchup between the two SEC division leaders when the Bayou Bengals head into the swamp to take on Urban Meyer and his crocs.  After winning the last two games by a touchdown or less, Les Miles would love to run up the score in Gainesville.  That could be a tough mission, since the Gators haven’t given up more than 17 points in a home game.  With the offense declawed, the visiting felines will have to rely on their ferocious defense.  This could be a low-scoring game, and I’m not sure how much more distance Miles can get in these close ones.  Beonard’s loser?  In an upset, LSU

Purdue at Northwestern

Danny Hope is said to be taking his squad into Evanston on an ambulance, since they’re likely to need one by the end of the game.  The offense has been plagued by injuries and they’re not likely to get very far against Pat Fitzgerald’s 18 points-per-game defense.  The Cats have had Purdue’s number in the past few years, and it’s hard to see any way that they don’t derail the locomotive.  Fortunately, there are likely a few future doctors in the house.  Beonard’s loser?  Purdue

Well, my friends, that covers it for this week.  Come back here next week when we’ll have more losers!

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Beonard’s Losers — 2010, Week 5

Due to time constraints, this week’s Beonard’s Losers has not been recorded.

Due to technical problems, this post came out after the games were played. I promise I didn’t change any of my predictions.

Howdy, football fans!  I’d like to say something here, but as a Purdue alum, I’m afraid I’ll tear my ACL.  So let’s take a look at this week’s games.

Ohio State at Illinois

The Chambana tribe’s schedule takes a turn for the difficult this weekend when Jim Tressel’s nuts march into Memorial Stadium.  After a tough game against Northern Illinois, Ron Zook’s squad needs to tighten up if they hope to scalp the number two team in the country.  Unfortunately for them, the Bucs will dominate this game.  Beonard’s loser? Illinois

Northwestern at Minnesota

Pat Fitzgerald’s purple kittens stalk into the Gopher hole on Saturday, looking to hand the gilded rodents their fourth straight loss.  Tim Brewster, meanwhile, really wants a home win to keep his job another week.  The chipmunks have been good at moving the ball through the air, but they won’t be able to match the visitors.  Beonard’s loser? Minnesota

Texas vs Oklahoma

After getting surprised by UCLA last weekend, the cattle are anxious to redeem themselves by hooking the Norman wagon train.  Their resume has been a little weak so far, and they’ve not been able to put up good numbers anyway.  Bob Stoops’ boys have given up more points than they might like, but they’re still outscoring opponents by 10 points per game.  Beonard’s loser? Texas

Wisconsin at Michigan State

The Greeks welcome Coach Dantonio back to the helm, and they’ll need his leadership against Bret Bielma’s Badger boys.  Both of these teams rely on the run attack, so this will be a traditional “three yards and a cloud of dust” Big Televen game.  This game will be won or lost by the defense, and I’ve got to think the rodents will be a bit more spear-resistant.  Beonard’s loser? In a close one, Michigan State

Michigan at Indiana

RichRod has gone from being in danger to leading an undefeated team with the second most rushing yards in the country.  They’ll rush into Basketballtown to try to defile Bill Lynch’s rock.  The Hoopsters are feeling pretty good about their team, lead by the potent passing attack, but they’ll learn a lot about their team this week.  Beonard’s loser? Indiana

Florida at Alabama

It’s a matchup of tough, undefeated SEC teams in Bryant-Denny stadium.  The swamp lizards have scored a lot of points with their balanced attack, but they’re going to have a tough time against the pachyderm defense, which has allowed a football-best 9.8 points per game in the first third of the season.  Combined with a lethal running game, and the home team will be hard to beat.  Beonard’s loser? Florida

Stanford at Oregon

The surprise of the Pac-10 will try to plant some roots in the Autzen Stadium turf on Saturday.  To do that, they’ll have to contain the most offensive team in football, and that’s not just the uniforms.  The quack attack averages a staggering 317 yards per game in rushing alone.  They’ve only allowed 11 points per game so far, but 22 per game in the two games against BCS opponents.  This should be an exciting game to watch, but I have a hard time picking against the Ducks in this.  Beonard’s loser? Stanford

Notre Dame at Boston College

The annual battle for the Pope’s blessings takes place in Alumni Stadium this week.  Brian Kelly could use a few blessings at this point, as his team has suffered three straight losses.  Fortunately for him, the Eagles seem entirely average this year.  In their only game against BCS competition so far, the East Coasters laid an egg.  On Saturday, the yolk will be on them again.  Beonard’s loser? Boston College

Penn State at Iowa

Two teams that have lost to ranked opponents, but haven’t played any other competition face off in Iowa City in a race that could decide who gets to go to Pasadena in January.  Both teams have allowed 12-ish points per game, so it’s a matter of who can get the offense going.  With Linebacker U’s linebackers looking questionable so far, the Hawks will have plenty of room for runs and short passes, so expect to see a lot of that.  Beonard’s Loser? Penn State

Until next week, my friends, try not to be a loser!

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Beonard’s Losers — 2010, Week 4

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Howdy, football fans!  It hasn’t been the best week for Michigan State.  Shortly after their last-second overtime win against Notre Dame, coach Mark Dantonio suffered a heart attack.  He’s out of the hospital now, and we wish him a speedy recovery.  Then on Tuesday, a player was arrested for his alleged involvement in a laptop theft ring.  The Big 12 has some mixed news, as it has gained nearly $7 million in exchange for losing Colorado a year early.  Of course, I also have to mention this week’s Mascot Fight, in which Rufus Bobcat got the best of Brutus the Buckeye.  You’d think that by late September the drama would all be on the field, but I guess it’s just not to be.  So while we wait for more non-playing drama, let’s take a look at this week’s games.

Austin Peay at Wisconsin

After a close call against Arizona State last weekend, Bret Bielma’s Badger boys will be glad to bring some easier competition back into Camp Randall Stadium.  Austin Peay hopes to enjoy the luck that some other I-AA teams have had this year, but it’ll be the Governors that get vetoed.  Beonard’s loser? Austin Peay

Ball State at Iowa

Kirk Ferentz’s flock got plucked last weekend, but on Saturday they return to the friendly confines of the Kinnick Stadium nest.  The Muncie fowl need to snap their skid before heading into MAC play, and ruling the roost in Iowa City would be a great confidence boost.  Unfortunately for them, the hometown birds aren’t likely to take kindly to strangers.  Beonard’s loser? Ball State

Bowling Green at Michigan

RichRod can’t afford to take any opponent lightly, after narrowly escaping the Massachusetts milita last weekend.  The Falcons fly in to Ann Arbor with the nation’s 29th best passing yardage — and a 0-2 road record.  The Wolverine defense has allowed more points as each week goes by, and once again it’ll be the offense called to save the day.  This game may be closer than most Michiganders would like, but they’ll be happy with the result.  Beonard’s loser? Bowling Green

Northern Colorado at Michigan State

For the fourth straight week, the Bears play a team with “State” in the name.  This weekend, it’s the East Lansing spear-toters.  After last week’s dramatic win, Sparty could use a bit of a break, but the Greely gang are no slouches.  They average over 45 points per game this season, albeit against weaker competition.  With Notre Dame last weekend and Wisconsin and Michigan coming up, this has all the makings for a trap game.  Beonard’s loser?  In a close one, Northern Colorado

Central Michigan at Northwestern

The purple kittens have gotten themselves off to a solid start, quietly working their way into the top 10 defenses in football.  On Saturday, they’ll host the number four defense.  With both of these teams better when they don’t have the ball, it could be a low-scoring game, but the pass-happy play should keep things lively enough.  Pat Fitzgerald has shaped his herd into a force to be reckoned with, and they’re well on their way to a school-record third straight bowl game.  Beonard’s loser? Central Michigan

Toledo at Purdue

The old gold and black locomotive picked up some steam last weekend in a win over Ball State, and it’ll need that momentum when Toledo blasts into the West Lafayette switching station.  Tim Beckman and company oughta feel right at home in the Cradle of Astronauts, but that might not be such a good thing.  The missiles have lost their only home game, and won both of their road matchups.  On Saturday, however, they won’t be able to get into orbit.  Beonard’s loser? Toledo

Alabama at Arkansas

The number two and number five scoring defenses face off in what’s sure to be a lively Razorback Stadium.  The Tide D made it a full nine quarters into the season before they surrendered a touchdown, and last week’s dismantling of Duke was the first time a team has scored twice.  The piggies, meanwhile, gave more points to Georgia last week than Alabama has allowed at all.  Still, it’ll be tough for either team to move the ball.  At the end though, there’s a reason Alabama is the top-ranked team.  Beonard’s loser?  In a close one, Arkansas

Eastern Michigan at Ohio State

In yet another Big Ten-vs-MAC matchup, the Eagles fly into the Horseshoe to try and get their first win.  Not a chance.  Beonard’s loser? Eastern Michigan

Stanford at Notre Dame

After two straight losses to Big Ten teams — and you wonder why the Irish decided to remain independent — Brian Kelly will try his luck against the California tree.  Stanford’s had no problem scoring points, having scored at least 35 in each of their first three games.  Although the Pope’s boys can score too, they’ll really need their defense to step up if they hope to win this game.  After a promising defeat of Purdue to start the season, Brian Kelly has looked  more and more the sinner every week.  Beonard’s loser?  Notre Dame

Temple at Penn State

The most lopsided active “rivalry” in football kicks off in Happy Valley Saturday afternoon, with the Owls looking for their fourth win — not only of the season, but of the series.  The winged professors have shown that they’re not the pushover they’ve been in years past, but Joe Pa’s kitties have their claws sharp.  Beonard’s loser?  Temple

Akron at Indiana

Just when you thought there couldn’t be any more MAC teams playing against the Big Ten this weekend, the Zips head into Basketballtown to take on Bill Lynch’s unproven squad.  The winless kangaroos are nearly last in points for and points against.  Frankly, I’m surprised that the cream and crimson aren’t defending the rock against Jackson Creek Middle School.   Beonard’s loser? Akron

South Carolina at Auburn

Another matchup of ranked SEC teams is in store for us Saturday evening when Steve Spurrier takes his Cocks into Jordan-Hare Stadium to take on the Auburn kittens.  Both teams are hoping to remain undefeated in conference play, but the home team certainly needs it more, with the depth of the SEC West.  South Carolina has a stout defense, despite the 19 points they let Furman have.  Meanwhile, Auburn has struggled to keep teams in the teens, and that just won’t work against this kind of opponent.  Beonard’s loser? Auburn

Oregon State at Boise State

With the wheels coming off Virginia Tech’s season, Boise State needs to make the most of this second game against a ranked opponent.  Mike Riley’s flattails haven’t had the best of luck keeping opponents off the scoreboard, and that’s a real problem when you’re playing on the blue turf of Bronco Stadium.  Critics can say what they want about strenght of schedule, but when it’s the real deal, the Boise Broncs know how to ride off into the sunset victoriously.  Beonard’s loser? Oregon State

Northern Illinois at Minnesota

The last of the MAC/Big Ten games kicks off in TCF Bank Stadium when the Huskies take on the “Please Don’t Fire Me. Love, Tim Brewster”s.  This is quite the pillow fight and I’m not entirely convinced either team should win.  I do think that things look very bad for Mister Brewster.  Beonard’s Loser? Even if they win, Minnesota

West Virginia at LSU

Bill Stewart takes his squad down from the mountain to do a little bit of explorin’ in the Baton Rouge swamp.  The visitors let Marshall go to overtime, so they’ll want to fix their defenses before they encounter the Bayou Bengals.  Les Miles and company don’t seem to be able to throw the ball, but they can slink downfield just fine, and they sure don’t like letting strangers have their way in Tiger Stadium.  Beonard’s loser?  West Virginia

Okay, folks, that’s all I can come up with this week.  Come back here next week and we’ll talk about some more losers.

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Beonard’s Losers — 2010, Week 3

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Howdy, football fans!  Not everyone is pleased with how last week went.  Perhaps no one is more distressed than Frank Beamer, who watched his Hokes lose again, this time to I-AA powerhouse James Madison.  Tim Brewster’s Minnesota squad lost to a I-AA team, too, putting his job in further jeopardy.  It’s not hopeless for these guys, though.  Take Kansas as an example: they upset Georgia Tech a week after their I-AA loss.  Still, as the season goes on, these kinds of losses become harder and harder to take.  So who will be a victim of a killer cupcake in week 3?  Let’s take a look at this week’s games.

Ohio at Ohio State

After holding steady in the face of a Hurricane, Jim Tressel’s nuts will try to defend themselves against the Athens pride.  The cats have been stingy on defense, but they haven’t faced competition like they’ll see in the Horseshoe.  The lesson here is that these trees won’t make good scratching posts.  Beonard’s loser?  Ohio

Arkansas at Georgia

SEC play begins for Arkansas on Saturday, although it’s also the beginning of legitimate competition for the pigs.  Neither team has been very willing to let opponents into the end zone, but Bobby Petrino’s squad may do just that if they keep looking at next week’s game with Alabama.  This will be a close game, but it won’t mean much, except that the red clay hounds are better than their loss to South Carolina.  Beonard’s loser?  In an upset, Arkansas.

Kent State at Penn State

After a rough trip to Tuscaloosa, Joe Pa’s kitties will appreciate the return to Happy Valley.  Kent State comes into this game amid a three-game road trip.  The Flashes couldn’t get it done to start the trip, and that’ll continue this week.  Beonard’s loser?  Kent State

Massachusetts at Michigan

With the last-minute win over Notre Dame last weekend, the Wolverines showed that their fortunes may finally be turning around.  They can’t rest just yet, though, as the Amhurst riflemen will be marching into Ann Arbor.  The Minutemen have won both of their battles so far, but they’ll find these weasels too much to handle.  Beonard’s loser?  Massachusetts

Northern Illinois at Illinois

The Huskies start a three-game road trip with a journey down to Chambana to face Ron Zook’s tribe.  The Illini had no trouble getting Saluki pelts last weekend, but they’ll find these pups a little tougher to tame.  The DeKalb doggies have a good rushing attack, but they’ll find themselves rushing to week 4.  Beonard’s loser?  Northern Illinois

Ball State at Purdue

Danny Hope’s iron workers picked up their first win of the season last week in a lackluster defeat of Western Illinois.  This weekend, they’ll face an in-state opponent in the form of the Ball State Cardinals.  The Muncie birds lost at home to Liberty, and they’re not likely to fare any better against a locomotive — speeding or otherwise.  Beonard’s loser? Ball State

Arizona State at Wisconsin

The Sun Devils take their unblemished record into Camp Randall Stadium in the hopes of burning the hair off of Bret Bielma’s Badger boys.  The desert demons have averaged 47-and-a-half points in the first two weeks, but that’s hasn’t exactly been against top-notch competition.  The cheeseheads have done their own cupcake smashing, and they’ll make sure it’s the visitors who end up singed.  Beonard’s loser? Arizona State

USC at Minnesota

Things went from bad to worse for the Gilded Rodents last week when they lost to South Dakota.  On Saturday, it goes from worse to worser as the L.A. wooden horse gets wheeled into TCF Bank Stadium.  Despite the off-the-field kerfuffle, Lane Kiffin’s squad will be ready to do some varmint huntin’, and there’s not much the Twin City faithful can do to stop it.  Beonard’s loser? Minnesota

Indiana at Western Kentucky

Willie Taggart must be glad to return to the top of the hill after getting demolished on the road in the first two weeks.  They’ll play host to a Hoosier squad that shellacked Towson, but remains mostly undefined.  Bill Lynch needs the Basketballtown Boys to tune up for the start of Big Televen play in two weeks, and this trip to Bowling Green should do just that.  Beonard’s loser? Western Kentucky

Notre Dame at Michigan State

The 74th battle for the Megaphone Trophy kicks off on Saturday in East Lansing.  After a heartbeaking loss last week, Brian Kelly will try to earn absolution for the papal pigskin squad.  Scoring points against the untested Spartan defense shouldn’t be a problem, but containing the potent rushing attack might be.  In the past nine years, the home team has only won the trophy once, but that might become twice.  Beonard’s loser?  In a close one, Notre Dame

Iowa at Arizona

After two straight easy home games, Kirk Ferentz takes his Iowa City flock down to Tuscon to face off against the local feline population.  Mike Stoops hasn’t seen his squad face real competition yet, so he might not know what to expect.  What I expect is to see fur and feathers flying, and a bunch of neutered kittens at the end.  Beonard’s loser? Arizona

Okay, folks, that’s about enough pigskin prognostication for one week.  Join me again next week when we’ll have another crop of losers.

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Beonard’s Losers — 2010, Week 2

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Howdy, football fans!  The college football season got off to an interesting start in places like Mississippi and Kansas.  Of course, if you ask the crowds there, they’d prefer life a little less interesting if it’s all the same.  Not to worry, though, we saw the traditional cupcake sacrifices, too, and none worse than the 72-to-nil whuppin’ that the Oregon Ducks gave to New Mexico.  That stings from here!  Fortunately, week two is a time to right the ship and try again.  After all, half of the teams in college football are undefeated right now.  With the pep talk out of the way,  let’s take a look at this week’s games.

San Jose State at Wisconsin

Bret Bielma’s Badger boys are used to facing off against Spartans, but the Greeks they’ll meet on Saturday aren’t quite as impressive as the ones from East Lansing.  Mike MacIntryre will try to get his first win as the leader of this army, but he’ll be lucky if the score’s better than last week’s 48-3.  Beonard’s loser?  San Jose State.

Illinois State at Northwestern

The Normal birds fly up to Evanston on Saturday to face Pat Fitzgerald’s purple kittens.  Ryan Field has become less hospitable of late, and the Redbirds will need to have their claws sharp if they want to pull out some fur.  In fact, they’d probably ought to go ahead and book a flight home, because I doubt they’ll be able to fly back on their own.  Beonard’s loser? Illinois State.

South Dakota at Minnesota

After tunneling out of a second-half deficit against Middle Tennessee, the gilded rodents look forward to the relative ease of facing South Dakota.  Coyotes have been known to eat their share of groudhogs, but Brewster’s buck-toothed brigade will come out of this one on top.  Beonard’s loser?  South Dakota

Michigan State versus Florida Atlantic

Although it’s not technically a home game for the spear-toters, it’s at least at a familiar battlefield.  This will be to their advantage when coaching legend Howard Schnellenberger brings his flock of Owls up from Fort Lauderdale.  Mark Dantonio feels like his East Lansing army hasn’t gotten enough respect around the conference, so he’ll probably use this weekend to try out a few things in preparation fro Notre Dame next Saturday.  Despite the long view, the visiting nocturns will have a long flight home.  Beonard’s loser? Florida Atlantic

Western Illinois at Purdue

In what may be the manliest matchup of the weekend, the Leathernecks will arrive at the West Lafayette switching station to face Danny Hope’s bartenders.  After a tough loss to Notre Dame, the gold and black choo-choo could use a confidence boost.  Fortunately, the leathery necks of the visitors won’t be too stiff.  Beonard’s loser? Western Illinois

Florida State at Oklahoma

The Tallahassee tribe head into Oklahoma to get another win for their new chief.  After a slaughter of the Samford Bulldogs, they’re feeling pretty confident, but Bob Stoops will have his wagons circled.  The Norman wagon train had a good test last weekend and should be ready to fight off the invaders.  Beonard’s loser?  In a close one: Florida State

Iowa State at Iowa

After pulling out some dog fur, the Amesnado sweeps into Iowa City to try to reclaim the Cy-Hawk trophy.  The winds might cause a bit of a problem for the pass-happy offense of Kirk Ferentz, but his birds know how to fly through a storm.  This may be a bit closer than the past few matchups, but once again, the Hawks won’t be plucked.  Beonard’s loser? Iowa State

Michigan at Notre Dame

Cardinal Kelly got his tenure off to a good start in last week’s excommunication of Purdue.  This week, he’ll play host to the Wolverines.  If anyone could use a blessing right now, it’s RichRod, who needs a few signature wins to keep getting signatures on his pay check.  So long as the Domers can keep Michigan’s versatile quarterback in check, the Indiana Vatican will remain holy another week.  Beonard’s loser?  Michigan.

Miami at Ohio State

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge happens a few months early when Randy Shannon’s cyclone makes landfall at Columbus.  The ‘Canes are used to knocking trees out of their way, but Jim Tressel’s nuts are unflappable. This will be a great game, but Sweatervest will make sure the trees remain standing.  Beonard’s loser? Miami

Penn State at Alabama

JoePa’s kitties head into Bryant-Denny Stadium hoping to knock the pachyderms off their perch.  With both a key defender and the defending Heisman winner stuck on Nick Saban’s bench, the visitors have a lucky break.  Still, the felines line up with a freshman quarterback, who hasn’t faced this kind of pressure before.  It won’t be easy, but the Tide will roll.  Beonard’s loser? Penn State

Well, my friends, that’s about all I’ve got for you this week.  Come back here next week when I’ll have more losers for you.

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Beonard’s Losers — 2010, Week 1

Due to technical problems, this week’s Beonard’s Losers has not been recorded.  Sorry for the lack of audio, and also the late post.

Howdy, football fans! It’s been a long, crazy off-season. Conference shuffles mean the Big Ten and Big XII are about to get very confusing. Notre Dame continues to insist that the calendar says 1989. At least they’re not USC, which is facing a two year ban from post-season play. Or BYU who just this week hopped on the independent bandwagon.  All-in-all, it’s enough to make you ready for the start of football season. Once again, we’ll be looking at the Big Televen, plus Notre Dame and a selection of top-25 matchups. Now that the introductions are out of the way, let’s take a look at this week’s games.

Marshall at Ohio State

Doc Holliday’s Herd thunders into Columbus on Thursday evening, and will try to give their coach an unblemished start to his career. Jim Tressel’s nuts come into the season ranked number two, and they’d hate to give that up so quickly. The Bucs have a big trip to Miami scheduled for the following weekend, but Ol’ Sweatervest will keep them focused. Beonard’s loser? Marshall.

Towson at Indiana

The Tigers stalk into Memorial Stadium in the hopes of catching the home team playing a game of basketball. Bill Lynch needs his boys to defend the rock early and often if he wants to keep his job much longer. Fortunately for him, Indiana’s been fairly good at starting the season with a few wins. Beonard’s loser? Towson.

Minnesota at Middle Tennessee

It’s a color clash on Thursday night when Tim Brewster brings his gilded rodents into Murfreesboro to take on the Blue Raiders. The pedagogues are no slouches, winning their last six games on 2009, including the New Orleans Bowl. The groundhogs, meanwhile, haven’t won six in a row since 2003. It hardly feels right picking a Sun Belt Conference team to win against the Big Ten, but there you have it. Beonard’s Loser? Minnesota.

Youngstown State at Penn State

Have you ever seen a Penguin try to fight a Lion? Let me tell you, friends, it’s not a pretty sight. With Bobby Bowden out of the way, JoePa can run up the lifetime wins total without having to worry about any competition, including from the visiting team. Beonard’s Loser? Youngstown State.

Western Michigan at Michigan State

The Broncos start the season by taking a ride into East Lansing to take on the green and white warriors. Soldiers traditionally get along pretty well with horses, but these spear-toters would much rather fight on foot. With a fairly agreeable conference schedule, Mark Dantonio hopes to sneak his way atop the conference standings at the end of the season, and feasting on horse meat is a good way to start. Beonard’s Loser? Western Michigan

Eastern Illinois at Iowa

Unlike Youngstown and Penn States, this matchup favors the avian team.  Iowa worked their way into the national championship discussion last season, and you know Kirk Ferentz will have his flock ready.  Kinnick Stadium is just no place for kittens.  Beonard’s Loser? Eastern Illinois.

Illinois versus Missouri

With the Arch Rivalry scheduled to go on hiatus for a few years, it could be Ron Zook’s last chance to win this contest.  Mizzou has gone 5-0 in games played this century and the Chambana tribe ain’t too thrilled about losing again.  Unfortunately for the natives, Zook’s squads have been masters of disappointment, and this hunting trip looks to end in disaster.  Beonard’s Loser? Illinois.

Purdue at Notre Dame

With a new coach at the altar, the Papal pigskin squad will try once again to bring glory back to the Indiana Vatican.  Adjusting to a new system is never easy, though, and the West Lafayette locomotive has already had a year with Danny Hope in the engine.  If the conductor can keep from calling a timeout at the end, the train will roll on through.  Beonard’s Loser?  In an upset, Notre Dame.

Connecticut at Michigan

It’s not often Connecticut is a “must beat” team, but that’s very much the case for RichRod and his Ann Arbor animals.  The winningest program in college football can’t be happy with a third straight losing season, and dropping the season opener at home would not be a good start.  The Hartford pups fared pretty well in the Big East last year, but playing in the Big House is a different game all together.  Beonard’s Loser?  In a close one, Connecticut.

Northwestern at Vanderbilt

Robbie Caldwell had better be an expert deep-sea diver, because Vanderbilt currently sits at the bottom of the ocean.  His salvage efforts will be hampered by Pat Fitzgerald and the purple kittens.  It’s not too often we see the Big Televen and SEC face off, but the Dixie-dwellers would just as soon this game doesn’t happen.  By the end of the day, the Evanston felines will be Nashville cats.  Beonard’s Loser? Vanderbilt

Wisconsin at UNLV

For the second time in four seasons, the cheese-eaters head for the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip.  In 2007, the Badgers only managed to win by 7 points.  This year, the game should be a little more one-sided.  Bret Bielma wants to come into the game against The Ohio State 6-0, and his boys will steamroll anyone who tries to get in the way.  Beonard’s Loser?  UNLV.

Well, friends, that’s about all I’ve got time for this week.  Stay tuned for next week when we have a whole ‘nother crop of losers.

To the Beonard’s Losers main page.

Who doubted Purdue? Not this guy!

You’ll have to excuse this post.  It’s one of complete fanboyism, written while still under the influence of a nail-biting win and the 92 fluid ounces of Killian’s I had at Buffalo Wild Wings.  If you don’t want to read my excited babbling, it can all be summed up in two words “Boiler up!”  Remember a week ago when everyone was saying that Siena would be the only 14-seed to be favored in the first round?  Remember how even President Obama had written Purdue off?  Remember how the Big East was God’s gift to college basketball?  It seems things have changed.

Purdue has earned its way back into a second consecutive Sweet 16.  Like I had written last week, the Boilers needed the bench to step up.  D.J. Byrd and Ryne Smith certainly earned their scholarships this weekend, although Patrick Bade made some solid contributions of his own. But it was senior Chris M.F. Kramer who really carried the team through the first two rounds.  Kramer simply refused to let his career be over, and in a repeat of the game at Alabama in December, took the team on his shoulders at the end and carried them to victory.

Let’s be honest, it’s not all beautiful for Purdue.  When JaJuan Johnson is shooting from the perimeter, there’s absolutely no one to get an offensive rebound.  E’Twaun Moore scored 15 points, but was still 7 of 17 from the field. Point guards Lewis Jackson and Kelsey Barlow still make some really poor decisions at times.  Despite all this, Purdue is still one of only 16 teams playing in the NCAA tournament at the end of the week.  Very few people outside of the Purdue locker room and the loyal fans even considered this as a possibility.  You know what?  Some of us still believe that this Purdue team, without Robbie Hummel, could get past Duke and make it into the Elite 8.  How’s that for a big middle finger to the “experts” who figured Purdue would lose in the first round?

While we’re on the subject of disrespect, which conference was supposed to be the best in the country?  All season long we’ve heard about how the Big East is just leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of Division I basketball.  The funny thing about the tournament is that it points out when people are full of crap.  If you look at the teams in the Sweet 16, you’ll notice that there are three from the Big Ten, and only two from the Big East.  Even that pathetic conference called the Pac-10, which we were told was barely worthy to even play basketball at all, has a team in the Sweet 16 (and an 11 seed at that!).  So really, to all the experts out there (who will never read this), I cordially invite you to shut the hell up.

It’s also worth noting that the state of Indiana has two teams represented in the Sweet 16: Butler and Purdue.  Both teams survived close games in the second round, but either or both of them could find themselves in the Elite 8.  Considering how much basketball means to the state of Indiana, that is only fitting.  Although I have a bit of a personal dislike for one of the Butler players, I’d be happy to see them keep progressing through the tournament, and I hope my Boilermakers do as well.  All I know is that the moment Robbie Hummel’s ACL gave way, most of the country was done with Purdue.  But not me, not the other loyal fans, not the coaches, and certainly not the players.  Boiler up, and beat Duke on Friday!

All is not lost for Purdue

Anyone who pays even the least bit of attention to college basketball has heard about the total blowout that happened in Indianapolis on Saturday. Minnesota earned their way into the NCAA tournament with a 27-point dismantling of Purdue.  With the loss, Purdue dropped to 0-2 against NCAA-bound opponents since Robbie Hummel’s season-ending ACL injury.  There’s a lot to be disappointed about for Purdue fans.  11 first-half points, 14% from beyond the arc, 44% free-throw shooting, being out-rebounded by 25, Lewis Jackson and E’Twaun Moore getting injured.

But not is all lost.  My good friends at Boiled Sports have summed the game up pretty well, but their tone is unsurprisingly deflated.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t crushed after watching the game, but there’s no need to give up yet.  This season isn’t quite what we’d hope it would be. A Final Four run seems nearly impossible, but there’s still a Big Ten title to hang in Mackey.  And who knows what the NCAA tournament will bring?  There’s a reason March is the best month.

For Purdue fans, Saturday’s game does have some positives to take away.  Most notably, the contributions of two key freshmen.  The oft-maligned Patrick Bade has spent most of the year being a liability, but he has stepped up since Hummel’s injury.  At 6’8″, Bade helps fill the gap between JaJuan Johnson and the rest of the team.  In the last five games, Bade has played an average of 9 minutes. Those minutes include 1.8 points and 1.4 rebounds. Those aren’t great numbers, but he’s turning into a solid basketball player, and that’s important for the Boilermakers right now.  Bade still picks up a foul every 5 minutes or so, but his fouls have become fouls of effort, not of clumsiness.  If Patrick Bade continues to improve, Purdue’s chances for success increase dramatically, not only this year, but next.

D.J. Byrd has also received some scorn in his freshman year.  The Mister Basketball candidate had a lot of expectations  and has been fairly underwhelming through most of the schedule.  At 6’5″ and 214 pounds, Byrd could also find a spot on the football team’s depleted secondary, and some of his fouls have resembled tackles. On Saturday, though, Byrd provided what was closest to passing for a spark.  Making his first three-pointers since December 22 (ending a streak of about 13 misses), D.J. Byrd provided nearly a quarter of Purdue’s points against Minnesota.  That was Byrd’s first double-digit scoring since the season opener. For a team that has been relying on Johnson and Moore for most of the points, Byrd’s off-the-bench contributions will be very welcome, and even necessary.

On Friday afternoon, Purdue takes on the Siena Saints in Spokane, Washington. Siena has a losing record against the Big Ten, but includes a first-round upset of Ohio State in last year’s tournament.  Purdue has won its last 11 first-round NCAA tournament games, and has a good chance to extend the streak to 12. It will depend largely on the contribution from the bench, and on Johnson and Moore not having bad games. Even noted optimist and Purdue basketball expert Sara Yelich has said she “might [have] Purdue getting beat (sic) in the first round.”  By Friday evening, we’ll know, but Purdue fans still have reasons to be optimistic.

A tale of two Mackeys

It was the happiest of crowds, it was the saddest of crowds.  That’s how I’d describe the 14,123 fans who filled Purdue’s Mackey Arena on Sunday afternoon to watch the Boilermakers play host to Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans.  A win would have kept Purdue in sole possession of the Big Ten lead and an easy road to the first conference championship, but everything changed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night. Robbie Hummel’s torn ACL was big news in college basketball, so big that “Robbie Hummel” was a trending topic on Twitter for a while.

The national media gave up on Purdue very quickly. After Kansas and Kentucky both lost on Saturday, there wasn’t even mention of the fact that #3 Purdue might win against the 13th-ranked Spartans and would be the default choice for a #1 ranking. Loyal Boilermaker fans refused to be swayed by the lack of confidence displayed by writers and analysts across the country, though, and they showed up early to give their team encouragement.

Twenty minutes before tip-off, the seats were nearly full.  By the time the teams came out for the game, Mackey Arena was as loud an energetic as I’d ever heard it.  Two hours later, the fans were slowly shuffling out in disbelief.  A game that was winnable and would make a big statement turned into a seeming vindication of the doubters.

My good friends over at BoiledSports.com have already written about some of the numbers from yesterday’s game, so I won’t repeat the effort.  While it is obvious that Purdue could have benefited from Hummel’s presence, his absence wasn’t the difference maker.  It’s hard to blame E’Twaun Moore for his poor shooting, since Tom Izzo made sure he was always covered in a sea of green.  But you can blame Chris Kramer (never thought you’d hear me say that, eh?) for committing five turnovers.  You can blame JaJuan Johnson for spending most of the day away from the basket.  You can blame Kramer and Keaton Grant for not pulling the trigger on open threes. You can even blame Tom O’Neill, Curtis Shaw, and John Higgins for repeatedly missing MSU walks in the first half.

Still, there are positives to take away from the game.  Patrick Bade, while not very impressive on the box score, looked about as good as he had all season.  He looked like a basketball player today, albeit a young and confused one, and he’ll need to continue this in order to give Purdue a non-Johnson inside presence.  The defense as a whole played quite well, as evidenced by the low score.  Michigan State had more turnovers than made baskets, and that gives the offense a lot more breathing room.

Up next is the final home game of the year, against a comically bad Indiana team.  Anything less than a 20-point win on Wednesday should be disappointing to Purdue fans, especially given that it is Senior Night (maybe Mark Wohlford will even get to play).  After that, the season closes for Purdue at Penn State. The Nittany Lions have finally figured out how to win a few basketball games, and this one might not be as easy a win for the Boilers as some might expect.  Still, if Chris Kramer (and/or Lewis Jackson) can keep Talor Battle contained, there’s no reason Purdue shouldn’t end up 14-4.

This means that Purdue will likely end the season sharing the title with Ohio State and Michigan State.  Michigan State closes out the season with home games against Penn State and Michigan, and has no business losing either of those two contests.  Ohio State has only to host Illinois on Tuesday night.  Illinois has lost 3 of the last 4 games, but will be playing for an invitation to the NCAA tournament, so they should keep it close.

The fact remains that there’s still a lot of basketball to be played, and Purdue fans have a lot to be proud of.  In the tradition of “One Brick Higher“, expect to see 14,123 loud fans on Wednesday night.

NCAA tournament — week 2

As awesome as March Madness is, it is even more fun when you have a horse in the race.  For all the crap the Big Ten has had to put up with this year, it did pretty well this weekend.  The only major upset was (5)Illinois, and given the history of the 5-12 matchup, that’s almost expected.  (8)Ohio State’s 2OT loss to Siena wasn’t their best effort, but 9 beating 8 is generally not too uncommon.  (I’d like to pause here to point out that even though my blog post from last week picked tOSU, my bracket actually has Sienna making it to the second round.)  Overall, the Big Ten went 3-3 against higher seeded teams and 3-2 against lower-seeded teams.  Let’s put this another way:  10.9% of the field of 64 hailed from the Big 10.  In the second round and Sweet 16, the Big Ten represents 12.5% of the field.  Not exactly dominant, but certainly respectable.  Those who have been drinking the haterade can be silent now.

(2)Michigan State faces (3)Kansas.  I’m not quite sure what to make of this game, since I picked (14)NDSU to get the upset in the first round.  My bracket has (6)West Virginia getting the upset here, but (11)Dayton killed that for me.  (3)Kansas has done much better than expected, considering how much talent they lost last year.  The real question is will they be able to sustain their run?  On the other hand, I’ve never quite bought in to Michigan State.  They’re good, but I don’t think they’re Elite 8 good.  Kansas will carry on, my wayward son.

(5)Purdue has made a habit of getting out to an early lead only to let off the gas (offensively, at least) in the second half.  This game will come down to Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson vs (1)Connecticut’s Hasheem Thabeet.  Thabeet has a 5-inch advantage on Johnson, and will keep the Boilermakers from getting too many rebounds, but Johnson’s 15-foot jump shot will prove tough to defend (it will also open up Robbie Hummel to get a few offensive boards).  If Purdue can avoid the second-half slumpsies, I say there are even odds.  Past performance dictates there’s a 70% chance UConn will be 1337.