The Hybrid is a weekly preview of every Big Ten game, plus relevant or whimsy games from the national slate.
I watched the end of Iowa-Wisconsin on my phone in a wraparound line at a hot dog stand.
Gene and Jude's. They serve the hot dogs with fries on top and all that other crap Chicagoans like to dump in: onions, peppers, heinous mustard. They don't have any ketchup because folk here can be stubborn and weird about things like that. I don't know. I'm not here rock the boat of the great Chicago hot dog tradition; I just wanted some ketchup and victory.
But I didn't have ketchup or victory or even the hot dog quite yet. What I had was the Iowa defense scraping together yet another impressive stand as Joel fucking Stave somehow matriculated his team down the field. I'd just gotten out of a lonnnnng Catholic wedding ceremony. I promised myself beforehand to focus on the happiness of my friends, engage in everything, and not once look at my phone for score updates... but once the priest started going on rants about "This secular society we live in today", my eyes rolled hard, and the game once again took precedent. I kept peaking. It seemed like we were holding them, like we had it under control, like it was our day to take this game. But regardless of who was playing better or who deserved it more, Sconnie still had that one last opportunity. You and me and Joel Stave make three. But... could it really end like this? I mean, was this guy about to end our hopes and dreams?
The 4th and 2 incompletion almost felt too easy, too quick. That's how a shoulder shrug three-and-out drive ends in the middle of the first quarter. Not one during a BIG TIME DEFENSIVE STAND BATTLE WAR where no one donning black and gold is breathing comfortably. The last time I saw TE Troy Fumagalli catch a pass in that part of the field, he was a senior in high school, taking it in for a touchdown against my alma mater. This time? I don't even know if the ball hit his hands.
So I celebrated and we took the food out to the car to enjoy a brighter and better world.
Washington at USC (17): Is it possible USC got their upset out of the way at the right time? Or is this Stanford thing really going to happen? I don't know, but I do know one thing...
Friday Night Lights
New Mexico State at Ole Miss (14): As referenced in the intro, I was at a wedding last weekend -- my tenth of the year because life sucks -- and somehow ended up entirely missing the news of Florida's Ole Miss bashing until late into the next day. I felt like I'd crawled out of a bomb shelter or something. This is a Top 3 team going down in a massive way, but I suppose they don't have the cachet of an Alabama quite yet so no one wants to tweet memes at me.
LSU (7) at South Carolina: Before...
Eastern Michigan faces Leonard Fournette today. Everything will be fine. https://t.co/bYV38u9Tic— SB✯Nation CFB (@SBNationCFB) October 3, 2015
...and after: LSU's Leonard Fournette first in SEC to have 3 straight 200-yard rushing games.
Illinois at Iowa (22): We raaaaaanked, we raaaaaanked. This feels like the right game at the right time. The Hawkeyes come home after vanquishing Bucky in a hard fought, old school (I... really don't really mean that as a compliment), defensive struggle. Illinois enters without the services of RB Josh Ferguson -- a dude who legitimately has some game. So though Iowa has injuries of their own, it could be blood in the water time. The 11 point spread agrees with me.
Adam Jacobi, will you get us fired up about this 5-0 start and set the table with some stakes?
This is the uncertainty of a run. We want to know it'll keep rolling one, two, eight weeks from now, but we don't know who'll stay healthy and who won't. We don't know if Corey Wootton will run onto the field and break Beathard's ankle when Iowa's at Northwestern. Hell, Penn State (and 80% of the Iowa fan base) didn't know who Daniel Murray was until he introduced himself in the rudest possible way. So who's waiting to introduce himself to the Hawkeyes?
Was the Wisconsin game so stressful you could barely breathe? [ed- YES] Get used to it, because that's the primary physical response to a run in college football. This is what we hope to sign up for. This is it. Let's go.
I also propose stiff arms against converted QBs named Tanner should only be worth partial credit.
Baylor (3) at Kansas: #Pray4Kansas
Oklahoma (10) at Texas: It almost feels like the Sooners have lost a game already, because they're only cracking the Top 10 now. But I assure you, Oklahoma comes in unblemished.
As for Texas...
Now that's a halftime adjustment: A Texas player IN THIS GAME retweeted about transferring at halftime. Wow. pic.twitter.com/06x71XUl6v— John P. Lopez (@LopezOnSports) October 3, 2015
Annnnnd the apology:
Texas releases statement on behalf of halftime retweeter Kris Boyd: pic.twitter.com/wzo8Bdlmzj— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) October 4, 2015
Maryland at Ohio State (1): The weird thing about Ohio State's crap schedule (again, not their fault, but still) is every week it seems like the team they play gets worse and worse and every week, Urban Meyer & His Weenies still find a way stumble and look underachieving. But this. This Maryland team truly feels like the get-back-on-track victory Ohio State fans have been expecting for damn near a month now. If tOSU struggles remotely against the Maryland QB who has put up a combined -9 fantasy points* over the last two weeks, any concerns about this team's ceiling going forward will be legitimate.
(* - yes, he's on my team as CJB's backup SHUT UP)
In lighter news...
OSU walk-on Joe Burger, who made the fake punt tackle, is available to media today. Fun fact: His dad's name is Bob. Bob Burger.— Jeff Svoboda (@JeffSvoboda) October 5, 2015
In lightest news...
The debut of the Urban Meyer Feelings Chart!
This week, I decided to go with PISSED OFF A LITTLE BIT because the Buckeyes played Indiana way too close, he can't seem to light a true fire under the team, and surely he'll get questions on his J.T. Barrett as the red zone QB only idea. While many will scoff at the concept, I'mma go ahead and defend Meyer and say this could at least be interesting and quite possibly innovative. My one fear: if I'm Cardale Jones and we hit the 25, I might be like "BOMBS AWAY" to make sure we don't get too close to the 20 because then I'd get pulled. Man, that could lead to some great team dynamics.
UPDATE: Here's something that has happened or will happen that probably doesn't matter anyway (as it pertains to this game).
Y Sports can confirm earlier report that Maryland intends to fire Randy Edsall as its football coach. Timing TBD.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) October 8, 2015
Indiana at Penn State: Well, the dream is dead. Ohio State scored 14 against the Hoosiers last week, making it the first time IU has given up points in the third quarter all season. Valiant effort, men. Valiant.
@bobbystompy Nooooo! 14 points in Q3! pic.twitter.com/f702Fjg43y— Patrick Brackett (@TaxBrackett) October 7, 2015
I'm sad too, Pat.
Did a Periscope presser in Michigan shirt and @coachjfranklin wasn't pleased. Funniest coach in CFB. pic.twitter.com/ZKSsCDPQSY— Clay Travis (@ClayTravisBGID) October 1, 2015
Central Michigan at Western Michigan: BHGP, we really need to figure out how we feel about Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck. So let's play a game of Cool! or Idiot?.
COOL!: On one hand, he's energetic, somewhat successful, and appears to be a popular coaching candidate to land a job at a Power 5 school this off-season. Here is him playing goalie against the WMU hockey team for some reason:
The boys are not taking it easy on @Coach_Fleck pic.twitter.com/OFRiDmgIzo— WMU Hockey (@WMUHockey) October 2, 2015
IDIOT?: On the other hand, he's sometimes a little too energetic (his field sprinting has a real Harbaugh quality to it), his name is P.J., and he promotes a "Row The Boat" mantra and appears to take it seriously.
This picture really sums up the dichotomy.
Georgia Tech at Clemson (6): So, so much Clemson stuff this week. And it all seems to involve body movements.
- Guy landing on face
- Did... anyone not fall at Clemson last weekend?
dont let them chris brown videos catch u outchere overestimating your abilities my g pic.twitter.com/jIBvJ3i4Ie— Desus Nice (@desusnice) October 5, 2015
- The full transcript
The transcript of Dabo Swinney's post game quote to ABC. Wow. pic.twitter.com/e9iYaFIIdi— Aaron Brenner (@Aaron_Brenner) October 4, 2015
- The celebration
- And, our main event, Clemson Tom talking shit:
jk he never e-mailed me... must be hungover still.
Georgia (19) at Tennessee: Georgia. Just... super dead. Yet again. Does anything ever, ever change? But, as always with college football, it could be worse:
6 teams have taken a 13+ point lead in every game this season: Temple (4-0) Navy (4-0) LSU (4-0) Baylor (4-0) FSU (4-0) Tennessee (2-3)— Peter Edmiston (@peteredmiston) October 5, 2015
Navy at Notre Dame (15): Every year, I do a Michigan-Notre Dame humiliation bet with my colleague and ND Nation fan, Z.W. Martin. Here's the most up to date list:
- 2011 (Michigan win): Z.W. singing Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" at a karaoke bar to mock RichRod's banquet crying -- and Groban finding out about it
- 2012 (ND win): Me dressing as a leprechaun in Ann Arbor during 2013's Notre Dame game.
- 2013 (Michigan win): Z.W. writing a love poem to Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees on Twitter and sending it to him in individual tweets (Rees did not respond).
- 2014 (Notre Dame win): Me taking a drunken ACT with music blasting.
This year, with M and ND not playing, we devised a different bet where we each picked the three hardest games off the other team's schedule, and whoever had the higher margin of victory (or lower margin of defeat) won the bet.
So yes, I'm just now starting to realize I've put all my eggs in the rickety basket that is the David Shaw and Kevin Hogan show. This'll... this'll be tough.
Northwestern (13) at Michigan (18): Was actually feeling pretty good about M's chances on ending the Wildcats' unbeaten season this week... and then Jake Rudock got compared to Craig Krenzel in some article I saw (lost the link). Vomit inducing.
Moving on to players I do enjoy watching... you guys have to get on board with Michigan's Aussie punter:
This Blake O’Neil Instagram caption is about as Australian as it gets. pic.twitter.com/qGPMhETAuV— Ben Fidelman (@bfidelman) October 5, 2015
I think a "right, then?" would have cemented it.
So the offense is Rudock, the special teams is Aussie... what about the defense? How are their expectations going in to the Northwestern game?
"Our goal is for them to get no yards on every play, or negative yards," nose tackle Ryan Glasgow said. "If they get yards, it's a failure for us."
"If they don't get any yards on offense," Bolden added, "then they don't score any points. You can't win a game if you don't score any points."
Oh, so they're insane.
Wisconsin at Nebraska: Who are we rooting for in this game? Wisconsin, right? I hope you Nebraska hatin' Iowa fans enjoy the Touchdown Tommy experience.
Minnesota at Purdue: Athletes come and go from our lives all the time, and in the collegiate ranks, it's especially easy to forget dudes who are only there for one or two years, but this week, Timehop sent me a tweet I'd written a few years ago about former Purdue QB Caleb TerBush. Like... Caleb TerBush. I can't believe that ever happened.
As for Minnesota? The staring contest is over.
UConn at UCF: This dumb game only makes it because this great Vine made me so happy.
Hey! I’m going to throw it over thereNOPE (via @aaron_torres): http://t.co/sUQSKseq66 https://t.co/gZxftZqvmJ— SB Nation (@SBNation) October 3, 2015
I've spent a lot of time thinking about the pre-destruction point he does, trying to figure out what it all means. It's almost as if me or you were transported onto the field of a college football game, put under center, dropped back to pass, got this weird confidence like "I see an open guy! I think I really can be a division one QB OHHH NOOOOOOOOO MY AHHHHHHHH!!!"
Life comes at you fast.
Oregon State at Arizona: The David Shaw March Of Death And Surprisingly Rejuvenated Offense continued last week, as flashy ass Stanford beat Arizona, 55-17. How are these victory margins even occurring? Are they running? Are they passing?
/looks up the stats
It's weird, you guys. It's, like, super balanced. Three passing TDs, two rushing TDs, and two field goals. Kevin Hogan -- our Kevin Hogan -- only threw two incomplete passes last week. Sure, his yardage total was only 217, but what do you expect from these guys? Stanford. Man.
In even more "everything is falling apart" news, Arizona will no longer being doing the haka before games. The article about this was pretty standard, until I got to the part with the quote from the chief who disapproved:
"They certainly don't do it properly," he said. "Just out of courtesy, you would expect them to do it at least 98 per cent properly, if not a hundred per cent."
Washington State at Oregon: Washington State blew a two TD road lead to ranked Cal last week, and I'm kinda pissed, so instead, let's distract me with talk of Oregon's new uniforms:
Every "Pioneer" uniform has a different portion of the Oregon Trail on it. #GoDucks pic.twitter.com/i74qEvUXFo— Craig Pintens (@UOPintens) October 5, 2015
You know, when I heard Lewis & Clark and saw the logo on the helmets, I was kinda out, but then, when I saw the trails on the jerseys, I was all the way back in.
Arkansas at Alabama (8): You know, I didn't think anything was scarier than normal Alabama, but that was before ZOMBIE ALABAMA.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Alabama lost a game and is in very good postseason shape anyway.
Remember when Alabama lost to LSU in 2011, then hung around long enough to get a BCS rematch? And then Alabama's 2012 loss to Texas A&M meant the Tide were totally out of the BCS race, except they were back to No. 2 just 14 days later? And how it took the most amazing moment in college football history to put away Bama in 2013? And how the Tide lost to Ole Miss last October, then ranked No. 1 last November?*
Yeah, that stuff seems to be happening again, despite columnists telling you a couple weeks ago that Bama's run was done. Because after Alabama humiliated Georgia in Athens and the Rebels' SEC West lead was reduced to just a tiebreaker, it's pretty easy to see the exact same story playing out again.
Zombie Alabama is somehow even more dangerous. They have nothing to lose! They've already been killed! I'm gonna google "zombie alabama" and see what happens... those seem like two good words to pair.
/googles "zombie alabama"
(image source -- I am laughing so hard right now -- is Toys 'R' Us)
Oklahoma State (21) at West Virginia: Gundy and Friends are still undefeated. The Oklahoma State I know would be at least ranked No. 17 by now.
TCU (2) at Kansas State: TCU and Baylor are such weird Top 5 teams because they almost feel like placeholders. One is going to knock the other one off, and that's kinda gonna be it. But it's pretty clear the winner of that game will very, very likely be a playoff team. #moderatetakes
Florida (11) at Missouri: Florida! There you are. I was hoping you didn't have a bye this week, because if you had, there's be no reason to show this.
Miami (FL) at Florida State (12): I asked my friend Paige (Miami fan) for her negative thoughts on this game:
As the daughter of a Miami alum, more so than being raised to love Miami, I was raised to hate FSU and Notre Dame. If we lose to FSU when they now have the former Notre Dame quarterback under center, who led his previous team to a 41-3 route of Miami in 2012, I will pull a Bobby and THREATEN to never watch this sport again.
Michigan State (4) at Rutgers: I might legitimately feel sorry for MSU (non-Dantonio faction) at this point. This season has been flat and shitty. It gets worse, because we're about to pile on more here.
1) Defense = bad.
7 teams in the Big 10 are ranked in the top-20 in yards per play allowed. MSU is not one of them. They're 76th. #ThingsIForgotToSayOnPodcast— jamie mac (@justcoverblog) October 4, 2015
2) Even moar injuries (starting safety and a backup LT this time).
3) Purdue almost came back.
4) Purdue almost came back.
5) Your fans left at halftime.
MSU fans. They gone. pic.twitter.com/X8c8Fh9e9i— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) October 3, 2015
I'm pretty undecided on this, but MGoBlog's Brian Cook (Michigan fan/alum) had some pretty strong takes:
Weather wasn't great on Saturday but it was in the mid 50s. Throw on a poncho and you're going to be a bit too warm, if anything. Michigan had more fans at a road game than MSU had as the #2 team in the country at halftime in a league game. Hell, probably 3x or 4x the number of fans showed up for the 2008 Northwestern game when a 3-7 Michigan team took on Northwestern in brutal freezing rain.
I challenge anyone anywhere to come back with a shot from a top five team that's that empty during a conference game that's still in doubt. It's won't happen. MSU fans are the worst.
I asked my my Spartan coworker for his opinion on what transpired:
It is a constant source of frustration for the football people at MSU. The student section just prefers the bars -- nothing anybody can do about it. Plus, it was freaking freezing and windy and raining. UM fans commenting, just pick up your free sub with that ticket and go fuck yourself.
Either way, no worries, you're still not Rutgers:
It's peak Rutgers for a suspended coach to reinstate a suspended WR.— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) October 7, 2015
California (23) at Utah (5): Wait, is this our Game of the Week? My gosh, it is (though I know y'all will fancy Northwestern-Michigan above it). I can get into this, though. Cal's got that NFL prospect QB who none of us know anything about, and we all know what Utah's about (toughness, not being flashy, making Michigan's Week 1 loss look better each week). I'll give this a co-sign, and we can all be on our way.
* * *
Wrapping It Up...
Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Black Heart Gold Pants. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or e-mail at bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com.