The Hybrid is a weekly preview of every Big Ten game, plus relevant or whimsy games from the national slate.
Last week, when discussing the emerging talent of Christian Hackenberg as it related to Penn State's program as a whole, I said this:
Imagine if Penn State had weapons around him... or if they were allowed to play in bowl games... or if-- yeah, they're still screwed for a while.
Turns out "a while" meant, like, four more days. All of Penn State's NCAA sanctions levied in the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal were lifted in the middle of this week.
As usual, Penn State's totally not insane student body handled the good news with typical grace and tact. JK, they were frenzied morons with no scope of anything. They celebrated in the streets, chanted Joe Paterno's name (remember him? you don't? he's the guy who ENABLED A CHILD RAPIST), and demanded the late coach's win total get restored from 297 games to 409. The icing on the cake? They want the statue back.
I say this with no reservation: I hated everything about this display. While I know college kids will use almost any excuse to gather in the street (tornadoes, elections, loosely related pro team winning a title), you cannot deny there was a rooted passion behind this assembly. It's just hard to shake the feeling they learned nothing. Football trumps everything. Always. Forever. That will not change. Penn State people: this is like when your parents take you out of timeout and let you go outside to play with your friends -- you don't tip things over in the house and make more demands as you're walking out. Just accept it and keep your lips tight. Have you learned anything?
Other things that pissed me off...
- Love the NCAA dropping this news during the massive media frenzy around the Ray Rice story. Patrick Vint said it didn't even make the A-block of "PTI". The Penn State guys on the Black Heart Gold Podcast compared it to someone who "[laid] a big fart in a crowd and kept walking." They spoke with giddy, unsure tones. As if a guard told a prisoner in the middle of a sentence "You're free to go!" and he was like "REALLY?! Wait... why?"
- Yes, the NCAA lifted the post-season ban... but do you think they gave any of the $60 million fine back? /click, or nah.
- Hate to get all moral high ground, but could you imagine the victims of Jerry Sandusky watching these clowns celebrating in the streets? It's so god damned unsettling.
- The Big Ten flames out on the national stage, and seconds later, Penn State is eligible for bowl games again? In the freaking middle of the season? May be a coincidence, but it raises eyebrows.
- Scott Paterno said he was "certain" JoePa's stupid win total would be restored. Stop talking, Scott Paterno.
I'mma let Greg Couch ride for a little bit:
The Paterno family's desire to try to clear Joe's name is understandable. It was a name that stood for all the right things for decades and then turned to mud just before he died. But how cold is it that anyone is talking about Paterno's vacated victories today?
Sandusky's victims aren't getting their sentences reduced. Imagine what they must think seeing Penn State's punishments reduced, momentum turning and the Paterno family already calling, on this day, for the victories to be reinstated.
It just seems the actions in this case are always only a response to public pressure, not about what was right for the victims.
The program, the cult, the system let them down in the first place, and Penn State was rightly penalized. Now that the public pressure is off, that doesn't mean it's time to let Penn State off the hook.
Don't get me wrong, I hate when current players and coaches have to pay for the sins of a previous regime (Matt Barkely missing out on bowl games because of Reggie Bush comes to mind). But in Penn State's case, napalming the program was the only way. Instead, the community used the Sandusky stuff as a rallying cry. Alumni donations went up that year! They're not weakened, they're not punished -- they're stronger than ever. And maybe that's on me for thinking 'being bad at football for five years' was the only way to "pay back" something as heinous as Sandusky's acts, but, in the kool aid community that is Happy Valley, it honestly and sadly feels like the only way you can get through to those people.
Houston at BYU (25): Ehhhhhh.
Baylor (8) at Buffalo: Man, Baylor is a Top 10 team I haven't thought about at all. Did you know they don't play a ranked team until close to mid-November? They might be around for a while.
Also... Texas/"Friday Night Lights" related -- this Sepinwall tweet:
Am imagining alternate Friday Night Lights s1 arc suggested by this early promo pic pic.twitter.com/kMTDj2Cbjh— Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall) September 10, 2014
East Carolina at Virginia Tech (17): Way to go knockin' off Ohio State, boys. We love youuuuu.
UCF at Missouri (20): UCF's first game of the season on American soil.
Kent State at Ohio State (22): Hi, tOSU! What's it like to be the cherry on the Big Ten's shit sundae? At least your metaphorical maraschino feces fruit gets to be your school color. #scarletlinings
In all seriousness, we'd be remiss if I didn't mention the tragedy that is the end of Urban Meyer's Regular Season 25-Game Win Streak. Hit me, Sarah.
Indiana at Bowling Green: What's funny about the Big Ten Super Death last week is that there are still *eight* undefeated teams in the conference. Have the remaining ocho played mostly nobodies? Well, yeah.
West Virginia at Maryland: UNDEFEATED BIG TEN POWER Maryland* takes on West Virginia. Would this be the Big Ten's most marquee win of 2014 if they pulled it out? Also, what's the biggest W through the first two weeks? Penn State eeking it out vs. UCF in Ireland?
Why do we settle for these lives?
(* - count me as someone who saw "Star-Spangled Banner lyrics on Maryland's uniforms" as a headline and was like "oh, oh no" but was actually pretty into them when the picture came up)
Louisville (21) at Virginia: Somewhat similar to Baylor, Bobby Petrino doesn't play a ranked team until much later in the season (Clemson, mid-October). What's it gonna take to get that horrible/interesting asshole back in the national spotlight? A Top 10 ranking? We'll have to wait and see.
Wyoming at Oregon (2): Y'all have to read Spencer Hall's piece ("A day with The Duck: Oregon's mascot and the silent king of Eugene") about following the The Duck around for a day. It has this brilliant passage:
There is this kind of effect with any mascot: 50 feet away it is funny, at 10 it is mildly off-putting, and at six inches from your nose a mascot is the very Platonic ideal of soul-estranged terror. The Duck up close can be this kind of terrifying, because there is a real question of what to do when, after he notices you, he walks up and begins mean-mugging you and ... wants to fight? Or something?
Somehow, chest to chest with a duck, you feel like the interloper in the scene, the one who makes no sense whatsoever.
Then, at the moment you feel like backing away, he does some light twerking against the wall of an adjacent port-o-let.
And this GIF:
Not included in the article, however...
That interception forever.
Lastly, I'd like to tip my to hat to Marcus Mariota for looking downright Heisman-y against MSU last week. I've always loved Marcus as a college QB -- literally from day one -- but I've never been all that bullish on his pro potential (at least as a first round pick). He's becoming great, and I'm not sure there's a better QB in the country right now.
Miami (OH) at Michigan: Earlier this summer, after being put under for minor surgery, I woke up in an empty post-op room. After a short amount of time passed, my loving mother was at my bedside. Still somewhat groggy from the drugs and after trying to figure out how I handled the operation, this sequence happened...
Me: I forgot to tell you... had I died during surgery...
(She starts to get more attentive)
Me: ...just how much *pain* the University of Michigan football team has brought into my life.
Mom: You are so dramatic.
/walks out of the room
I just need you guys to know how much I hate Michigan.
But no, it wasn't me who called into the radio show:
Though I in no way oppose John Beilein taking over.
So yeah, I lost the bet from last week with Notre Dame fanboy Z.W. Martin. The stakes? I now have to take the ACT (a tribute to Notre Dame's academic scandals) while listening to the ND fight song on repeat the entire time. Z.W. also said it has to be drunk, though I'm positive I never agreed to that (it might, however, make it more tolerable). He said my results have to be posted to the internet, so we'll call this "to be continued..."
Georgia (6) at South Carolina (24): Game of the Week. Instead of giving spotlight to the football, let's give it to Steve Spurrier's domestic violence policy:
I've had a rule here ever since I've been here. If you ever hit a girl, you're not going to play on our team. You're finished. We've lost two players. One was about seven years ago. One was about nine years ago. So we're not going to have a guy on our team that has done that. And I can't understand that why every coach doesn't have that rule and why every company doesn't have that rule for their employees.
Love the Ol' Ball Coach.
Iowa State at Iowa: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HATE WEEK.
Actually, well... I know this is probably heresy in these parts, but I've always wished Iowa State was better. My ideal version of this rivalry is greatness from one side brings out greatness from the other. From there, it turns into this baller arms race of contending for talented recruits, classic-memorable games, and trading off national titles; like LSU-Alabama or something (totally realistic!). As it stands, Iowa hosting Iowa State is like letting a clumsy person triple fist wine while walking around in your newly carpeted living room. Just... no good can come from it.
(I think, in this fake scenario, the Cyclones win if they spill the wine. But really, there are no winners.)
Do love me some cop pranks, though.
Mississippi State at South Alabama: One-handed pick!
Good week for Vine interceptions.
Louisiana-Lafayette at Ole Miss (14): My SEC coworker and I had a debate that started with "Could Ole Miss win the Big Ten?" and ended with "Would Ole Miss definitely win the Big Ten or probably win the Big Ten?"
Minnesota at TCU: The Gophers play in the weirdest games at the weirdest times. This one starts an hour/half hour after all the other late-afternoon games this Saturday.
Illinois at Washington: Playing against Western Kentucky last week, the Illini sweated out yet another game against an inferior opponent. The good news? MIKEY MANIA, BACK IN FULL FORCE. Oh yes, after catching a TD in his first collegiate game, freshman WR Mikey Dudek (and the pride of Naperville, Illinois) continued to make plays in his second outing. VINE TIME.
Here's him YACing all over the field:
And here's him stealing a touchdown that got fumbled at the goal line:
For his efforts, he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week. It was Illinois' first honoree in over a decade. Because they are bad, you see.
Army at Stanford (15): ...
Stanford just punted from the 29-yard-line. USC's 29-yard-line. And it was a touchback. Solid 9-yard net on the punt.— Kenny Legan (@KennyLegan) September 6, 2014
Do you know the context? Do you even want to know? Does context matter? It doesn't matter. It could be 4th and goal from the fucking 29, and it probably still makes more sense than punting (if your team knows how to throw a pass).
Also, shout out to David Shaw for getting stuffed on (a different) 4th down after going with a fullback dive call. The 1980s called, and they want their "go to" play back.
Southern Miss at Alabama (3): Alabama rapper Yelawolf released a freestyle called "Alabama Song" this week.
I... have nothing to say about the Tide.
Louisiana-Monroe at LSU (10): How do we feel about LSU freshman RB Leonard Fournette doing the Heisman pose after his first collegiate touchdown? Normally, I love raw swagger displays, but that felt like too much, even for me. All that said, I found myself disappointed he apologized to his team after the game. I mean, if you're gonna do it, do it and own it, young man.
Northern Illinois at UNLV: NIU's gonna get ranked again, aren't they?
Purdue vs. Notre Dame (11): Not sure I could construe a game more unappealing. Boring, shitty Purdue against bleh Notre Dame at Lucas Oil of all places? Is there a shred of anything good here? Man, I hope this has a funny, double digit spread.
/looks up spread
NOTRE DAME BY 28?! Purdue. Purdue, Purdue, Purdue. Uh. Umm. Well. Enjoy the NFL experience?
Penn State at Rutgers: Wait, is this a conference game? Are we in Big Ten conference play? When the hell did that happen? I know I said what I said in the intro to this column, but that doesn't mean I'm not still rolling with Christian Hackenberg. But is karma rolling with Penn State?
Portland State at Washington State: /sigh
Did Connor Halliday limit his interceptions to one or two a game? Yes.
How many interceptions did he throw? Two.
Who did Washington State lose to? Nevada. They lost to Nevada, you guys. By double digits, you guys.
You know, I'm starting to think limiting interceptions to one or two a game might not be the winning blueprint. But that's OK -- we press on.
Rice at Texas A&M (7): Last week, y'all voted "Kenny Trill" as The Hybrid's official nickname for A&M QB Kenny Hill. As a hip-hop head, I feel obligated to give the BHGP readership the Urban Dictionary definition of "trill":
An adjective used in hip-hop culture to describe someone who is considered to be well respected, coming from a combination of the words "true" and "real".
Not bad, right? Now his parents are even trademarking it. RIP, Kenny Football.
Arizona State (16) at Colorado: Did anyone see the Coastal Carolina recruiting video (semi-NSFW for bikinis and hawt chix)? It may has well have ended with "Your move, Arizona State."
Nebraska at Fresno State: At least if Nebraska decides to lose a stupid game, it'll go mostly unnoticed (9:30 p.m. kickoff).
Northern Iowa at Hawaii: ESPN lists this as a Sunday game because it kicks of at midnight on the East coast.
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Wrapping It Up...
Enjoy the rest of Hate Week, BHGP. Try not to hate too much.
Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Black Heart Gold Pants. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy.