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B1G Dawg & Pussycat of the Week

Each week I will bring you the B1G Dawg/Pussycat of the week from the Big 10. This could be a player, coach, or school who had an outstanding performance, a great recruiting week, or just an amazing week in general. Opposite of that will be the Pussycat of the week. This will be the player, coach, or school who failed to get the job done from the prior week. The only rule is it must be an event that has happened inside the B1G (including the teams joining in 2024) from the previous week.

Awards for the week of November 20th to November 26th, 2023

The dawgs of the week are the two teams that will compete in Indy for a Big 10 Championship. Both teams did what they had to all season to get where they are. One team entered the game 'perfect' well the other got somewhat lucky by being in the Big 10 East, but won the games they had to, so they have a chance to play for a title.

The pussycat of the week comes from the Big 10 West and a future Big 10 member. Both teams entered the season with not only the goal of playing for the conference championship but were among the biggest favorites to win a National Championship. Yet these two teams now sit at home and must figure out what’s next.

The B1G Dawg of the week Is the Michigan Wolverines and Iowa Hawkeyes.

Michigan 30 OSU 24 that’s all you need to say. With the final whistle, social media would blow up with Buckeye tears sending Michigan fans into utter joy. A fan base that came into the game extremely confident, left broken and wondering where they go from here. If winning the game wasn’t good enough, the Wolverines did it with an interim head coach making the win that much better.

Michigan’s Sherrone Moore did everything right in the game from time management to being aggressive when he had to. In the 4 games, Moore was acting head coach he put up a record of 4-0 with two of the wins coming against top 10 teams. Michigan fans are now left at ease knowing that if head coach Jim Harbaugh leaves for the NFL their next head coach is currently on staff.

The joy Michigan fans get after beating the Buckeyes is always a great feeling, but to see the meltdown by Buckeye fans made the win that much more enjoyable. Now Michigan heads to Indy for a chance to win their third straight Big 10 championship and with it another trip to the college football playoff.

Iowa Hawkeyes will be heading to Indy looking to dethrone the reigning champs and be the first and only Big 10 East team to win the title. Like their opponents, the Hawkeyes face criticism all year on how their offense operated and their inability to put points on the board. But you need to give credit where credit is due and head coach Kirk Ferentz would lean on his defense and special teams to win the games he had to.

Iowa used a 4-game winning streak to end the year to get into the title game. In those last four games, the Hawkeyes would only average 15 points per game but held their opponents to a mere 7.5 points per game. Now Iowa will try and do what no one in the Big 10 has been able to do in 2 years, beat the Michigan Wolverines.

The Pussycat of the week is The Ohio State Buckeyes and USC Trojans

Ohio State team came into the 2023 season on paper as one of the most talented teams in all of college football. Led by arguably the best player in college football, Marvin Harrison JR who is projected to be a top 5 pick in the NFL draft. Ryan Day had one question to start the season, what quarterback was he going to pick to lead the Buckeyes? and would he be able to lead the Buckeyes to a win over arch-rival Michigan and a trip back to the Big 10 Championship game?

This past weekend those questions were answered, and unfortunately for OSU, it wasn’t the answer they were looking for. Day had everything going for his team as they made the trip to Ann Arbor. Michigan’s football program has been engulfed in a sign-stealing scandal for the 4 weeks leading up to the game. The scandal resulted in one member of the Michigan staff resigning and the other being let go. It also took Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh off the sidelines after the Big 10 suspended him for the last 3 games of the season. Day, who many consider one of the best coaches in college football would now need to match wits with an interim head coach, a situation that had OSU extremely confident that the Buckeyes were going to head back to Columbus with a win.

OSU fans showed up and were loud and ready to party, but Sherrone Moore, the interim head coach had other plans. Moore matched Day at every turn, and as the game went on it became evident one coach was playing to win the other was playing scared and not to lose. Then with OSU down 6 and under a minute to go, OSU quarterback would make the biggest mistake of the game throwing an interception to end the game. The OSU staff and players were forced to watch the Wolverines celebrate their third straight win in the rivalry. Buckeye fans now must face the fact that Ryan Day officially has a Michigan problem and must ask the question, is he still the man to lead this historic program?

2023 had high expectations for the USC Trojans and for good reason, a team on paper that was filled with talent. Many believed that USC was going to be the team that would take the National Championship crown away from the Georgia Bulldogs. USC's Caleb Williams was the reason for the High expectations, a player that many believe is a lock for the 1st overall pick in the NFL draft. Even with a talent like Williams, USC was unable to live up to the expectations.

The problem USC had all year was their inability to play defense. If the Trojans just had a decent defense, USC would probably be playing for the last PAC-12 Championship. Since his days at Oklahoma the criticism of Lincoln Riley, has been not being able to put together a defense and the problem has followed him to Southern California.

USC played 5 big games all year and lost all of them. It started by being embarrassed by Notre Dame 48-20 and finished with a loss to in-state rivals UCLA 38-20. The only reason USC didn’t finish with another loss the last week of the season was because they were on a bye. How a team with this much talent and the best quarterback in college football could finish the year 7-5 is just dumbfounding.

At the start of the 2023 season, if someone said Marvin Harrison JR and Caleb Williams would finish their college careers with zero conference championships, and zero trip to the college football playoff most people would have said your crazy. But that’s the talent it looks like Day and Riley just wasted. Instead of watching them play football, we are now left to watch if they declare for the NFL draft.


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