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THE HYBRID: IOWA'S BACK FROM BYE, BUT IT'S A 'MEH' WEEK OVERALL

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This week's college football game preview column welcomes back the Hawkeyes, makes fun of Mark Dantonio, praises hard running (what?!), and does some shrugging.

Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports

The Hybrid is a weekly preview of every Big Ten game, plus relevant or whimsy games from the national slate.

This week kinda sucks. Let's get this going.

THE HYBRID

Thursday

Florida State (2) at Louisville: Might not be able to qualify why, but I really don't find this FSU team as detestable as everyone else does. Sure, Jameis makes me uneasy, and the patch of hair in the front of Jimbo's bald head is definitely tough, but it's not like they're, you know, Tebow. People have had these crazy takes like "You know it's bad when they've got you rooting for Notre Dame and Bobby Petrino!" I'm sorry, since when are we rooting for Notre Dame in anything? Not happening, dog. As for Bobby Petrino? Whatever. All of that said, if you're less like me and more like the majority, I'd give a slight recommendation to Drew's Jimbo hit piece at Deadspin.

Also: this is, like, the second best game this week.

Friday Night Lights

Neuqua Valley (6-seed) at Homewood-Flossmoor (3-seed): My alma mater takes on H-F in the first round of the IHSA football playoffs. Our opponent has speed, twin RBs in the backfield, and the dreaded HALLOWEEN HOMEFIELD ADVANTAGE.

Spooky.

Saturday

Oklahoma (19) at Iowa State: Mehhhhhh. I mean, I love the Clones in this spot, but Oklahoma ranked No. 19 is just disgusting looking.

Northwestern at Iowa: By my estimations, Iowa football hasn't played a game in 87 days, so I welcome this contest with open arms. I haven't heard a Black Heart Gold Podcast to tell me what to think yet, so I suppose I'll have to provide my own analysis. Analysis: we're favored by 4, that's a weird spread, I'm hoping we can slow down freshman RB Justin Jackson, and I want a blow up game from Kevonte Martin-Manley. We are winning this shit oh god I hope.

Maryland at Penn State: Well, you tried to beat tOSU, Penn State. We're proud of you. It was cute. Go play Maryland now.

Wisconsin at Rutgers: Why do we do this with our lives? Seriously, look at this game. It's completely horrible. No possible outcome or game situation will make this watchable or interesting or even ironic (non-Gary Nova general irony category). Also, is Wisconsin really not ranked? They've lost to a good LSU team and got upset at Northwestern, but they've double-digit-ed everyone else on the schedule. Eh, whatever.

Louisiana-Monroe at Texas A&M: Speaking of not ranked..

* * *

And: with LSU off this week, the Fournette Super Facemask goes here:

You realize that would probably kill most of us, right? Leonard Fournette should have a loop of this playing in his dorm right now through the end of the school year. Actually, leave the loop on when you move out of the room. What's the next guy who lives there gonna do, turn it off?

Florida vs. Georgia (9): Just keep grinding till you get Gurley back, Georgia. I don't even care if the new guy is serviceable. I want Gurley back for the premise of him being back. I wish the NCAA signed something for money so we could suspend THEM. #hotsportstakes

TCU (10) at West Virginia (20): Y'all heard about the 'TCU running out of fireworks due to too many touchdowns' story, right? That was great. Also, congrats to TCU on no longer being a minor league baseball team.

Purdue at Nebraska (17): Nebraska's one loss is MSU, but they've won every other game on their schedule by double digits... except McNeese State at home. Just what the hell is this team? (Questioning everything but Ameer, who I do not question.)

Kansas at Baylor (12): Is a Big 12 team making the college football playoff? What do we think, readership?

Indiana at Michigan: Hmm...

HMMMMM...

Brady Hoke, what say you?

Well, you're in luck -- you're a touchdown favorite this week. Indiana's "terrible defense + rocking QB4s and 5s on the road" formula will do that to you.

Speaking of coaches I hate... Mark Dantonio, come on down!

This "I can only be diplomatic for so long..." speech is one for the ages. To set it up, Michigan spent all of last week not saying a peep about MSU -- I'm talking boring, boilerplate answers to everything -- with the goal of giving Sparty no fuel for the motivational fire after getting shredded up like a steak in a pack of dogs at Spartan Stadium last season. After somewhat succeeding at this plan, LB Joe Bolden drove a stake into MSU's field before the game on Saturday.

Oh boy.

Whimsy? Yes. Sad? For sure. Maybe, slightly arrogant? I guess kind of. Weird attempt at bravado? Definitely. But I don't think you could ever look Joe Bolden in the eye and say "Sir, you have disrespected me with your small tent spike."

Unless you're Marky D.

That's right, he spent time in a 2014 press conference stewing about comments a Michigan player made who hasn't suited up for the Wolverines in seven years. I also love him claiming State handled themselves with composure in a rivalry that's been defined by late hits and cheap shots (from both sides) these last few years. Also, if we're bringing up events from seven years ago: does ANYONE remember them doing the same thing BUT WITH A FUCKING FLAG against Notre Dame? No one even knew Michigan's dumbass stake thing happened until after the game. But please, let's get more mad. Coach?

"Throwing the stake down in our backyard out here, and coming out there like they're all that?..."

Haha, "all that." It sounds like a dad is trying to think of a creative way to use the word "cool", "hip", or "swagger".

His sanctimonious crap then crests to the point where he wants to say "AND WE SHOVED IT UP THEIR FUCKIN' ASS"... but he totally backs down. Because that's what class is.

"It got shoved up. Up. Shoved it up. It got shoved the last minute and a half."

Mark D fail English?

But this is why I'll always respect* the man: he finishes the rant by basically saying "We weren't going to run up the score, but then they did this stake thing, and it really pissed us off, so we hung 7 more on them because HELL YEAH YOU DESERVE THAT SHIT."

As a Michigan fan, bigger gaps in losses only help the long term plan. So thank you, coach Dantonio. May you take yourself this seriously forever.

...

PRIDE COMES BEFORE THE FALL.

(* - Meanwhile, Hoke literally issued a statement to apologize for the stake incident. This happened quicker than the explanation for why they put a recently concussed Shane Morris back into a live football game. This is Michigan football in 2014.)

USC at Washington State: It's baaaaaaaaack.

Did Connor "The Limiter" Halliday limit his interceptions to one or two a game? Yep.
How many interceptions did he throw? Just two!
Who did Washington State lose to? Arizona. And it wasn't even that close.

I'll give Connor the final word, because he's been a treasure in this column.

Sounds like a plan.

Auburn (4) at Ole Miss (7): Game of the Week.

But they both have one loss already so it's kinda like eh.

Arkansas at Mississippi State (1): I really think we need to spend more time thinking about Mississippi State -- Mississippi State -- being ranked No. 1 in the country right now. All glory to Dan Mullen and videobombing.

* * *

Also: I've already given love to Fournette's tough run this week, so why not carry on the hard-nosed running tradition (it's what the late David Shaw would have wanted) with this insane submission from the Mississippi State RB.

If the computer did that to you in NCAA, you'd think the difficulty level was bullshit and probably quit. I cannot believe that run.

Stanford at Oregon (5): David "Pow Pow" Shaw travels to Eugene to continue his "Losing All Games That Matter 2014 Tour".  Kevin Hogan, what say you?

:(

Notre Dame (6) at Navy:

Oklahoma State at Kansas State (11): ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Illinois at Ohio State (13): Riley O'Toole and Mikey Dudek head to The Horseshoe for a date with Urban Meyer and his team of assassins. I heard earlier this week Illini coach Tim Beckman met with former QB Juice Williams (also on the U of I coaching staff) to discuss something like "what it takes to win at Ohio State." Well, with that meeting out of the way, it's on to victory!

Arizona (14) at UCLA (25): This UCLA tweet.

Utah (18) at Arizona State (15): Another close game last week, but Utah took care of business against USC. They continue to validate me in every way, and I will be mentioning that until this conks out. To the desert with you, boys.

Wrapping It Up...

/plays Northwestern cat growl sound bite

(as a joke)

Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Black Heart Gold Pants. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or e-mail at bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com.