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B1G Dawg & Pussycat this 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 October 9th to October 15th, 2023


This week’s award winners both come from future Big 10 teams. The B1G Dawg showed he is ready to fight for a trip to the college football playoffs and in doing so he has made himself the favorite for the Heisman. The other showed the nation they were nothing but pretenders. USC fans like to talk about teams being overrated but they might end up being the most overrated team of them all.


 

The B1G Dawg of the week is Michael Penix Jr. for a Heisman-worthy performance.



In his biggest game of the year Penix Jr. showed the country that he can shine when the lights are the brightest. Washington took on Oregon at home and with over 7 million people watching Michael showed why he is the front-runner to win the Heisman Trophy.


Penix put together a 2-play, 53-yard winning drive at the end of the game to give the quarterback his first Heisman moment. In the game with Pac-12 championship and college football playoff implication, Penix would shine. Michael would go 22/37 for 302 yards he averaged 13.7 yards a throw and had 4 Touchdowns and 1 interception.


Down 33-29, Penix got a chance to lead his team on a game-winning drive after Oregon failed to convert on a 4th & 3 at Washington’s 47-yard line. On the 1st play with 2:11 left, Penix dropped back to pass and found J. Polk for a 35-yard gain to the Oregon 18. On the 2nd play of the drive with 1:43 left, Penix would drop back to pass again but this time he would find R. Odunze in the endzone. Oregan would then miss a 43-yard field goal to tie the game with .03 seconds left to give Washington the win.


Penix would become the favorite for the Heisman after Caleb Williams decided to have the worst game of his college career in a blowout loss to Notre Dame. Penix will have other opportunities to add to his resume but as it stands now, his odds are -140 to walk away with the trophy.


 

The Pussycat of the week is the USC Trojans for getting embarrassed in South Bend.


As USC headed to South Bend, their fans expected a blowout at the hands of their Trojans and Heisman favorite, Caleb Williams. One USC super fanboy even referred to this year's Notre Dame team as overrated and trash while other fans were already celebrating the win hours before the game even started.


What USC fans failed to realize is the defense is softer than your Thanksgiving Day mashed potatoes. If you can’t stop Arizona, Colorado, and even SJSU from putting up points how are you going to stop a Sam Hartman-led ND offense? The problem for USC in this game wasn’t just their defense that would let them down. It was also their so-called unstoppable, best-to-ever-do-it offense that let them down as well.


USC led by Caleb Willams came in averaging 47.3 points a game and 332.9 yards per game in the air. Caleb heading into the ND game already had 22 TDs in the air and 6 on the ground, and many believed the Heisman was his to lose. Well, the Willams USC -ed offense decided to have the worst game of the season in their biggest game of the season, and it just happened to come against the first real team they played.


In the game, Caleb went 22/37 for 199 yards, 1 touchdown, but had 3 interceptions. USC turned the ball over 5 times in the game and Williams was sacked 6 times. The first quarter was the only time when the game was close. By halftime, the Irish were able to build a 24-6 lead and they never looked back.


For USC fans if getting embarrassed by a rival wasn’t bad enough, they also got to watch their quarterback drop as one of the favorites for the Heisman. According to BetMGM, Williams now has the 8th best odds to win it at +3500 with Penix as your outright favorite at -145.


USC fans are left to ask themselves, Is USC the team from the first 6 games or are they the team that played against Notre Dame? Is Lincoln Riley ever going to put together a defense?


One thing is for sure, with games against Utah (at home), Washington (at home), and Oregon (on the road) we are going to find out just how good USC is. It’s now up to USC to show if they are pretenders, and considering this season, and considering they play Utah this week we could find out soon. How crazy will it be if the Utes beat the Trojans for the third time in just over a year?


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