INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
Even in defeat, a clear message was sent that there are brighter days ahead for the Mustangs.
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Big Ten power rankings for people who believe you should never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
1. Ohio State (3-0): Last week, Oklahoma backup quarterback Austin Kendall said “I think (the Buckeyes) have a really basic defense. I think we can go out there and, I mean, Baker (Mayfield), he’ll light them up.” Kids say the darnedest things.
2. Michigan State (3-0): After winning at Notre Dame, MSU Coach Mark Dantonio said “You gotta make plays when the lights come on.” Football has long been a game played best when the participants can see the ball.
3. Michigan (3-0): Tom Brady was the Wolverines’ honorary captain Saturday. But that wasn’t why Colorado describes its 45-28 loss to Michigan as a deflating experience.
4. Nebraska (3-0): Oregon lost to the Huskers, 35-32. The Ducks went for two points after all five of their touchdowns, failing the last four times. Oregon is weird.
5. The Big Ten: (32-10): Hello? The league bumped off Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Oregon on the same day, and two of those three wins were on the road. It has an 8-3 record against Power Five teams (the SEC is 5-5, the Big 12 is 3-6). What is this, a football conference?
6. Wisconsin (3-0): Trailed 36-point underdog Georgia State in the fourth quarter before rallying to win. Next three games are at Michigan State, at Michigan, and Ohio State in Madison. Reportedly, all are better than Georgia State.
7 (tie). Indiana and Minnesota (2-0): Both had bye weeks, which was savvier Week 3 scheduling than bringing in North Dakota State.
9. Iowa (2-1): The bad news for the Hawkeyes was their loss to North Dakota State. The good news? They’re still in the Big Ten West.
10. Maryland (3-0): The nation’s most-underrated 3-0 team, and appropriately so.
11. Rutgers (2-1): Spotted Howard a 14-0 first-quarter lead and won. Spotted New Mexico a 21-0 first-quarter lead and won. If Iowa gets up 28-0 in the first quarter this Saturday in Jersey, are the Hawkeyes in trouble?
12. Penn State (2-1): No quip here. Penn State commemorated the 50th anniversary of Joe Paterno’s first game as its football coach. Some Temple fans turned their backs during a tribute and displayed a sign that said “He turned his back so we’ll turn ours.”
13. Northwestern (1-2): The Wildcats’ win over Duke was overshadowed in Chicago by the Cubs. And the Bears. And a spirited game of beer pong at Streeter’s Tavern.
14. Purdue (1-1): The Boilermakers host Nevada Saturday. Call Purdue’s ticket office and ask what time the game starts, and they ask you “What time can you get here?” Badda bing!
15. Notre Dame (1-2): The Irish have a 3-game losing streak against Big Ten teams. Uh, Iowa has a schedule-opening in 2019 …
16. Illinois (1-2): Allowed 287 rushing yards in 34-10 loss to Western Michigan. Luckily for the Illini, Lovie Smith is a defensive coach.