The Hybrid is a weekly preview of every Big Ten game, plus relevant or whimsy games from the national slate.
My buddy Crooks -- who you may know as MidnightBlueSix if you post on Hawkeye Report -- likes to send out group e-mails recapping Iowa's glorious wins and horrific losses, and let's just say the Nebraska game broke him.
The last time the Hawkeyes weren’t eliminated from conference contention before the last game of the season was 2004, their last conference title. Let that sink in for a minute. Every year since then, including the vaunted 2009 season, the Hawkeyes knew they weren’t going to win the title before week 12. That’s the definition of irrelevancy. There have been good moments and beloved players, but no conference titles and no showdowns at the end of the season with the title on the line. Jesus. Ten classes of alumni have entered and left Iowa City without ever seeing their team hoist the trophy, or even have it present on the sideline at the end of the year. I don’t really have any other commentary for that, it just stings to see it laid out like that. We’re the football equivalent of RC Cola. While Pepsi and Coke battle it out for supremacy, we’re all "Hey
guys, remember me?"
Though he maybe lost me with the pop analogy, his point rings true: it's pretty incredible to not only be a decade removed from a conference title*, but also so far removed that we're not even in the mix during the final week of the season. I'm not sure what has to change. No, actually, I am sure: coaching. Crooks wants young blood to shake things up. I can't disagree. But as it stands, we have Sconnie headed to yet another Big Ten title game while we sit at home with our thumbs up our asses.
Welcome to the final regular season Hybrid.
(* - split title, Michigan went to the Rose Bowl; basically meaningless)
UCF at East Carolina:
Friday Night Lights
Northern Illinois vs. Bowling Green: Man, I really actually miss NIU's weird national relevance. One last time, with feeling: roof roof roof roof roof roof.
Arizona (7) at Oregon (2): Game of the Week. This is on a Friday?! Man. When 'Zona-Oregon played earlier in the season, I had this to say in the preview:
This is my Super Bowl... my confirmation good exists in the world. The team that I should root for vs. the team I wish I rooted for. RichRod -- my idol, my father. Oregon -- puppies wrapped in marshmallow blankets. There are no losers here. None at all. Spread 'em out, shred 'em down, and watch the points pile up. Football at its finest.
Rinse and fuckin' repeat. I mean, could RichRod really pull it off again? He's already pwn'd Michigan without playing any game...
Brady Hoke fired the same day that Rich Rodriguez was named the Pac-12’s coach of the year.— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) December 2, 2014
Haha, suck it.
He's already blown a gasket in a way he can't possibly top (in 2014, at least)...
...and the Arizona band is already plotting some sort of national expansion:
Arizona may not be to scale. pic.twitter.com/Dc5U60xaa0— Shane Dale (@territorialcup) November 28, 2014
But... but... but Marcus.
He is greatness.
My heart is with Rich and his family, but my head is with Oregon. I don't think they're gonna let this opportunity slide away (again).
In conclusion, USC isn't playing this week, so this goes here:
Iowa State at TCU (3): Iowa State is in the Big 12 title game?!?
/remembers Big 12 doesn't have a title game
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma (20): Meh.
Alabama (1) vs. Missouri (16): Call this a reverse jinx all you want, but how pre-destined does this 'Bama victory feel? The Tide haven't been underdogs going into a game since, like, the Bush administration. They're uncanny. Like Saban's hair itself.
I'm serious, though. I don't think Mizzou is going to touch Alabama. We should all start pre-celebrating, Lane style. I'd embed the Vine, but it got taken down. But yeah: Kiffin is the best.
Actually, no, this tweet is the best:
When ya uncles get to reminiscing about how they used to run these streets pic.twitter.com/AT2RAYzBt6— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) November 30, 2014
And you know we see you, Amari Cooper. NYC might soon, too.
Kansas State (9) at Baylor (6): Holy shit, why is no one talking about this game? Why am I not talking about this game? Is it because Iowa State poses no threat to TCU? Probably. Also, anti-shout out to the Big 12 for keeping their dumb conference schedule going during championship week. Just add a title game, you dicks!
Florida State (4) vs. Georgia Tech (11): Forget the Snapchats and general careless idiocy, Winston might just stink right now.
Plus he's a snitch!
As for G-Tech: I am almost begging you to watch the end of their game against Georgia last week. It'll tell you all you need to know.
Wisconsin (13) vs. Ohio State (5): How much more fucking luck does Wisconsin need in these Big Ten title games? They go to the Rose Bowl after a dumb Spartan penalty in the first ever one, they make it in again the year PSU and tOSU are sanctioned, and now they get a Barrett-less Buckeyes team with a shot for yet another conference championship. Miss you already, J.T.
Fortunately, the Badgers have cool Melvin Gordon and a cavalcade of hilarity at QB, so this squad is definitely more likable than ones we've had in the past. But still: who the hell do you root for in this game as a neutral Big Ten fan? And if you're anti-Cardale "Ain't Come To Play SCHOOL" Jones, you can stop reading this column right now.
Random Teams Who Definitely Are Not Playing This Week
Michigan: Brady Hoke? HE GONE! Let the definitely doomed coaching search begin.
Illinois: I ended up going to Northwestern-Illinois last week in Evanston (first half only). Mikey caught a TD in our end zone and generally was a great man. He gets another banner since they made a bowl (!) and kept Beckman's job (!!!).
As for our dear friends Northwestern?
So Illinois going bowling, likely keeping Beckman. Northwestern will miss bowl despite wins against Wisconsin, PSU and ND. Crazy.— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) November 29, 2014
* * *
Wrapping It Up...
I'll be back next week for a bowl preview. Spoiler alert: I'll hate them all. But we'll have the playoff field set by then, and... that might be kinda cool? Ugh, they should just expand to eight or 10 already.
Enjoy the Big Ten title game.
Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Black Heart Gold Pants. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or e-mail at bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com.