3. Expectations remain the same
Yes, after the first 15 minutes, I was convinced that this team was going to win three games and we were destined for 11 more weeks of misery. But these kids are just that: kids. There are nerves, jitters, overthinking, and underperforming. But it’s not a one-quarter season. There are 11 more games, and 11 chances to get better.
The defense seems to have elevated their game and Nathan Carter seems to be the solid pickup we were all hoping he would be. Now that the nerves are shaken out, this team needs to show more against Richmond and not have us all shaking in our boots for the Michael Penix Jr. Show.
All in all, the expectation remains the same: 7 or 8 wins with a signature victory over one of the big four (Washington, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State).
I loved the coaching decisions by Mel Tucker whether it was the decision to go for it on fourth down, his decision to keep Noah Kim in the game even though everyone on their couch was begging for Katin Houser, or how the team responded when faced with adversity early in the game (the team kept choppin’).
From what we saw from the Big Ten in Week 1, there are plenty of winnable games on the schedule, and if Tucker wants to coach this team in 2024, he needs his team to come out on top more times than not.