The Hybrid is a weekly preview of every Big Ten game, plus relevant or whimsy games from the national slate.
Vince Howard, you broke my heart.
On Dan Patrick's show this week, Michael B. Jordan -- of "Friday Night Lights" fame -- stepped back into the role of QB1 for East Dillon and picked a college to attend. They gave him the choice between Michigan, Michigan State, and Texas. Even though this was a quirky segment that didn't actually mean anything, I wanted to win this shit and see Jordan pick the maize and blue. After pulling a Cliff Alexander and deking one way, Jordan went in the opposite direction.
"Michigan State. East Lansing. Taking my talents to East Lansing."
The small crowd claps.
But, then, because it's Michigan State*, the other shoe of course drops.
"D'Antoni, I'm coming to play for you."
...D'Antoni!??!?!? Oh... oh, no. Michael B. did 'em just like ESPN did!
Because even when the breaks seem to be going Sparty's way, there's always still at least one thorn digging into their side. They were supposed to own this offseason, but Harbaugh and his lunacy got all the ink. They were supposed to be the best team in the Big Ten this year, but the defending champs came roaring back. Connor Cook was supposed to be thee face of the conference, but Ohio State has arguably three QBs -- and a dude named Zeke -- who are somehow more interesting.
We're nearly a decade removed from Michigan RB Mike Hart's "little brother" comments, and though Sparty has done more than enough to shed the baggage -- beating Michigan constantly, taking out Ohio State in the Big Ten title game two years ago, winning a Rose Bowl -- it's like they can never reach a true zen.
Which brings us to this week.
Michigan State-Ohio State was supposed to be the Big Ten's marquee game this season; we had to slog through so many Rutgers, Maryland, and Purdue games just to even get to this moment.
Best laid plans, man.
Now that Connor Cook's shoulder is hurt and everyone's pretending it isn't, my excitement has been extremely mitigated.
"But Bobby, what if its a good game and your wrong?"
Do... y'all know what the spread is? Ugh, and it's you're. It's always you're.
The spread is 13, you guys. Ohio State is nearly a two touchdown favorite in what was supposed to be their most challenging game of the regular season.
Oh shut up, net-face.
(* - SPARTY NOOOOO)
Friday Night Lights
Vince Howard, you could never let me down!
Florida Atlantic at Florida (8):
The Citadel at South Carolina: This is probably the white girl version of "NOT GON' BE ABLE TO DO IT".
North Carolina (17) at Virginia Tech: After putting up 125 points the last two weeks, is it possible UNC is truly the best team in the country? Without thinking through this at all, I say yes.
* * *
Good morning pic.twitter.com/tBHiggl0S4— Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) November 13, 2015
Rutgers at Army: This game wouldn't be interesting even if it was "Rutgers (1) at Army (2)".
Iowa State at Kansas State: You almost had it, boys.
Purdue at Iowa (5): Let's see if we can take this section to 10 items -- one for each win.
1. ...and we're off to a quick start.
Iowa Hawkeyes (@TheIowaHawkeyes) November 16, 2015
2. Add another two next to this number, and you've got the Purdue spread.
3. King Desmond.
4. The amount of RBs potentially able to contribute in the offense.
5. People have been praising this all week, and it hasn't gotten any less dope:
6. It really hasn't. They played Christopher Wallace in Kinnick Stadium. Up yours, "Start Me Up".
7. This graphic was seriously astounding.
Development pic.twitter.com/1i50dOKRqX— Gerald Bostock (@packer_hawk) November 15, 2015
8. KF and my mom have the same birthday (8/1). I don't know, man.
9. No. 9. Like this spot would go to anyone else.
10. You guys. The Iowa Hawkeyes are 10-0. This has never ever happened ever before, ever.
Indiana at Maryland: Is it possible Indiana is, like, the fifth best team in the Big Ten? I realize they haven't won a conference game quite yet, but they've been in it against all the good teams.
Did Indiana's Defense Give Up Points In The Fourth Quarter? My friend, they gave up points in the fourth, fifth, and sixth. The Streak is now at 21. We can legally buy Fireball and Busch Light for The Streak. The Streak is now throwing up in our backseats.
Illinois at Minnesota: Really need to secure the rights to this GIF.
Michigan (12) at Penn State:
I am deeply sorry for this tweet pic.twitter.com/4eGXlQsyf8— mgoblog (@mgoblog) November 15, 2015
* * *
I have held onto this for the duration of the Penn State bye week solely to include it here.
LSU (15) at Ole Miss (22): If Les Miles is really coaching for his job, then he gets canned, what happens? Does he retire? Go somewhere small and dumb? Become a PAC-12 defensive coordinator for no real reason? (My pick.)
Wake Forest at Clemson (1): Where have you gone, Clemson Tom?
Our nation's best hope not named "10-0 Iowa football" https://t.co/tsxqORHtyN— HALLRAISER (@edsbs) November 17, 2015
USC (24) at Oregon (23): Both fringe ranked! This game's got some real luster now.
I'm not surprised we saw Phil Knight rockin' a headset last Saturday. I'm surprised we haven't seen this 100 times already. If I had Phil Knight money, I'd already have fake coached at least five conference titles by now.
UCLA at Utah (13):
Updated Pac-12 Playoff Odds: pic.twitter.com/pUXzEL8h40— Ryan Nanni (@celebrityhottub) November 15, 2015
Northwestern (20) at Wisconsin (25): Sorry guys, I don't think they can both be ranked next week. So do we roll with SOS Northwestern -- or Joel Stave? I don't know, but here's a depressing article about Stave's legacy.
"I hear a decent amount on Saturdays at home games, even where I feel like I'll get heckled as much at home as I do on the road," Joel Stave said. "It hurts a little bit sometimes when you get it from the people who you'd like to think would be supporting you."
Did you know he, Connor Cook, and Kevin Hogan have the most wins of all active FBS QBs? Our Kevin Hogan. Our Joel Stave. It gets... a little difficult to wrap your head around.
Joel Stave's brother, take us out.
"Most of the fan base is just complete idiots," he said. "That's how it is in any sport, but especially at kind of the spoiled culture that is Wisconsin football. You get a lot of people that know very little about the game and have no experience or ability playing it themselves."
Rough times in Madtown.
Michigan State (9) at Ohio State (3): Game of the Weak.
* * *
Is it possible this is the actual best moment of Michigan State's 2015 season?
What do you think, Coach D?
Whatever. I don't even know why we're asking a volleyball coach about football anyway.
Channel 10... really? pic.twitter.com/3nLWQigwM8— David Harns (@isportsDave) November 18, 2015
Pwn'd yet again.
Charleston Southern at Alabama (2): Grab my hand as we visit a frightening realm.
Spencer Hall also wrote a piece called "Alabama will never lose another football game ever again, and all hope is lost".
No one will ever come back against the Tide, ever. It's 21-3 at halftime and there is no hope and I'm going ahead and writing this. There was that loss to Ole Miss for some reason and now there is only the drought, and the nuclear wasteland, and Alabama wandering through it smiling. Derrick Henry is 245 pounds and can outrun entire SEC defenses. Death is the only real undefeated team.
Alabama does not need water or sleep or hope like weak human flesh, nor even require a functioning quarterback. Don't watch the Tide unless you like watching the football equivalent of famine, or are an Alabama fan, and these are the same things. They play Charleston Southern and Auburn to end the season, and then Florida in the SEC Championship. They are already basically in the Playoff. Give up hope forever. Give it up now.
Zombie Damn Alabama.
Not to imply we can't have some semblance of fun. And it's coming from you-know-who, just like always.
Lane in the background throwin' ghost stiff arms pic.twitter.com/LKiCXDJShX— Bam (@BigBam3) November 15, 2015
Mississippi State at Arkansas:
Boy, love does work in mysterious ways, don't it? pic.twitter.com/vBfmtvZblC— Steve Czaban (@czabe) November 15, 2015
Tennessee at Missouri: Felt a little good.
Boston College at Notre Dame (4): Notre Dame, still committed to ruining everything.
Baylor (10) at Oklahoma State (6): Ohhhhh, Baylor Bears.
...and the lows.
You know, if you guys didn't hate the Big 12 with a weird, burning passion, I might try to sneak this in as the real Game of the Week.
TCU (18) at Oklahoma (7): Mehhhh. The Big 12 sucks!!!
/looks out of the corner of my eye for approval from the room
California at Stanford (11):
Updated Pac-12 standings. pic.twitter.com/gEj5eas22Y— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) November 15, 2015
(This is also coincidentally a picture of Flashy Ass Stanford's goal line formation.)
Colorado at Washington State: If you've made it this far in the column, you can probably handle an impromptu Wazzu party to take us out.
Q: ARE THERE PANTS?
Q: IS THIS DANCING?
A: UMM, YES THAT IS HOW WE'LL CLASSIFY IT.
Q: WHAT DOES BALLING OUT IN THE CLUTCH LOOK LIKE?
Q: IS GABE MARKS APPROACHING CAM NEWTON LEVEL SWAG?
I asked Marks about driving for the GW TD with 1:09 left on the clock: "That's way too much time for us." #GoCougs— Jessamyn McIntyre (@JessaMcIntyre) November 15, 2015
Q: SERIOUSLY, IS GABE MARKS STRAIGHT UP GOING AT GUYS?
A: DEFINITIVELY YES.
Michael Bumpus' record has been on Gabe Marks' radar.
Q: IS THERE A WAY TO TAKE THIS EXCITEMENT AND STRING OF RECENT SUCCESS A LITTLE OR MAYBE EVEN A LOT TOO FAR?
A: FOR SURE.
When asked if (QB Luke) Falk was worthy of a Heisman, Leach quickly responded "no question".
Q: BUT CAN WE STILL FIND A WAY TO LIGHTEN THINGS UP?
A: ALMOST CERTAINLY:
Mike Leach loves Taco Trucks but would pick Jimmy Johns if he had to eat fast food.
Q: LET US NOW MAKE A TONGUES OUT EXIT.
A: THAT IS NOT A QUESTION BUT OK.
Wrapping It Up...
Despite all negativity, I truly hope Michigan State can give the Buckeyes a game. Hey, wake up, Mike!
Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Black Heart Gold Pants. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or e-mail at bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com.