Aaron Rodgers dropped an F-bomb on a female Bears fan who flipped him two birds.
The White Sox were no-shows in their ALDS series against Houston. The Cubs appear headed for hibernation for the foreseeable future.
The Bulls will have to prove their unbeaten pre-season means something in the actual season. And the Blackhawks? Haven’t thought about them since Joel Quenneville took his mustache and left town.
In that context, it occurred to me that, for Chicago sports fans. . . the Sky’s the limit.
Kudos to the Second City’s WNBA champions. Very happy for them and their fans.
But when it comes to the over/under on Chicago sports fans who have embraced women’s basketball, take the under.
Which makes me wonder: Will Big Ten football know joy or despair when all is said and done?
In this space last week, I cautioned against reading too much into Iowa’s lofty No. 2 ranking—because of its wobbly offense. I had no idea, though, that the Hawkeyes would be thoroughly flummoxed by Purdue 24-7 just one week after stuffing Penn State 23-20. In just one afternoon, Iowa went from playoff talk to speechless disbelief.
If Kirk Ferentz really wanted to help his son, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, he would have steered him into coaching defense. In Iowa City, anyway.
I have always been a fan of Boilermakers coach Jeff Brohm, who knows how to move ’em around, especially on offense. If Brohm can either upgrade his recruiting at Purdue or go to a place where recruiting is not as tough a deal, more people will be fans of his work.
And now, Ferentz’ curious defense of Hawkeye fans who booed Penn State players in the dubious belief that Nittany Lions were faking injuries to slow Iowa’s ``attack’’ seems even more strange.
Where does this leave Iowa? The Hawkeyes are still the best bet to win the Big Ten West. But that’s much more debatable now.
Purdue will have an opportunity to show that its trip to Nile Kinnick Stadium was not a fluke on Saturday, when Wisconsin comes to the land of Boilermakers. Las Vegas, which has made the Badgers a three-point favorite, is not sure about that.
What I am not sure about is Wisconsin. The Badgers have a stout defense. But their offense, starting with quarterback Graham Mertz, continues to be suspect. I keep thinking Paul Chryst ought to be able to coach up Mertz to a reasonable level of effectiveness. Either that, or Mertz goes from the Badgers’ most celebrated recruit to a prime example that recruiting is an inexact science.
Maybe Army, with its foot-soldier approach to football, wasn’t the right game for Mertz—and the entire Wisconsin offense—to show improvement. If the Badgers step up their offensive game—their defense is very solid—at Purdue, their meeting with Iowa on Oct. 30 could become more interesting than people expect.
If not, Purdue could fight on for another week. The Boilermakers’ problem is. . . their remaining schedule. Even if you believe they can verify their contender status at Nebraska, which continues to be its own worst enemy, Purdue has back-to-back games against Michigan State and Ohio State left. Plus an Old Oaken Bucket season-ender with Indiana that could be very competitive. And a who-knows meeting with Northwestern, which looked better on Saturday against allegedly improved Rutgers.
Meanwhile, the Cornhuskers seem destined for another miserable fall. They are 3-5, 1-4 in the league, and their Oct. 30 meeting with Purdue shapes up as their best chance to salvage one more win. After that, Nebraska finishes with Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa.
In other words, 3-9, 1-8, is a very real possibility. Even if the Huskers snatch a couple more wins, they still won’t be bowl-eligible, which is the modern-day equivalent of a kindergarten diploma.
What does Nebraska do then with Scott Frost?
The prodigal son who was supposed to be the savior already is a virtual lock to post his fourth straight losing season. Although the Cornhuskers have shown some flashes, walloping Northwestern 52-7 and hanging around before losing to Oklahoma, Michigan State and Michigan, enthusiasm for a fifth season for Frost will be tepid.
It could be worse. Nebraska could be in the ``It just means more'' SEC, where LSU's Ed Orgeron is the second coach to get booted two seasons after winning a national championship. He joins Gene Chizik, who got drop-kicked in 2012 at what-have-you-done-lately Auburn.
What would happen to a Scott Frost under those standards?
Maybe Nebraska can follow the lead of Michigan, which kept Jim Harbaugh but served up a hefty paycut. Actually, that seems to be working out well this fall.
Barring upsets, this Saturday’s Big Ten slate doesn’t look overly exciting. No. 25 Purdue is a home dog. In the other three games involving ranked teams—Northwestern at No. 6 Michigan, Illinois at No. 7 Penn State, No. 5 Ohio State at Indiana—all three ranked teams are each roughly three-touchdown favorites. Yawn.
Oct. 30 is when the logjam in the Big Ten East should start to untangle. Michigan (6-0) will be at Michigan State (7-0) in the Uncivil War. And Penn State (5-1) will be at Ohio State (5-1) in a perennially pivotal showdown.
That’s why Big Ten fans are advised to get excited about some terrific matchups, and not pay too much attention to having four teams in the Top 10. Which is not destined to last.
In the Big Ten, the sky may be the limit. But after what happened at Iowa, that’s not the way to bet.