The Hybrid is a weekly preview of every Big Ten game, plus relevant or whimsy games from the national slate.
Seriously, man -- fuck the Rose Bowl.
I know, I know. It's not like going isn't on my bucket list, too. The stadium's probably solid, the pageantry's there, and California in January is undeniably wonderful. But the parade? The tradition? The settling? Nah.
Fuck settling. In 2015, the Rose Bowl is settling.
This season is not and can not be about that anymore. I have heard Iowa fans this week giving wah wah cry speeches. "But wut if we woose duh Big Ten title game? Ohio State wood make thuh Wose Bowl instead of us."
Do you seriously think Ohio State wouldn't trade places with Iowa in a nanosecond? My next sentence was going to be: the Rose Bowl means nothing. But we all know that's not true. If Michigan State beats Iowa on Saturday and the Hawkeyes somehow find their way to Pasadena, it will certainly be a nice consolation prize. But you can not think about shit like that. What does this team really play for? Something that mattered a ton in 1985 or the real god damn trophy? I am going to have a poll at the bottom of this column, and the results will probably be disenfranchising. The question: would you rather win this week and lose in the CFP semifinal or lose this week and make/win the Rose Bowl?
It should not be a polarizing question. It shouldn't.
We should want stakes, the biggest stage, and at the absolute least, a puncher's chance to watch this Iowa team prove it or lose it. Because it's house money now, baby. My (our?) best case scenario for this team going into 2015 was 7-5, but oops -- the Hawkeyes just went undefeated in the regular season. But the Spartans loom. And I -- alongside many more of you, I'm sure -- will be traveling to Indianapolis to watch this team play their biggest game against their best opponent (so far) to see exactly what they have. This means embracing risk and letting go of old dreams to make way for fresher, newer, and better ones. Aimin' high because there's no good reason not to.
So to paraphrase Andre Young: "Give me one more Big Ten title, and fuck the Rose Bowl -- you can have it back."
Friday Night Lights
* * *
Before we get to Saturday, let's hit on some teams not playing this week.
Good Or Bad Teams That Still Deserve A Little Shine For A Real Or Funny Reason
This Vine feels perfect to kick this section off:
"Go Cougs, whatever!"
I need to adopt this attitude more when my teams are letting me down. Speaking of...
Washington State: Yes, the Cougs got smoked in the Apple Cup after having to start their QB2 and giving up three (a;lsdfkja;slkdfj) defensive touchdowns. But...
UCF: UCF teaches us it can always, always be worse.
Still, I think I'd rather roll with UCF than BC.
Eagles scored 100 points in their 2-0 start vs. Maine and Howard, then scored 106 in their final 10 games. https://t.co/OoVhAxZ5U8
— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) November 28, 2015
BC finished 0-8 in the ACC with the No. 1 defense in the country.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 28, 2015
Rutgers: Even Rutgers might be more fun.
#Rutgers fans boo QB Chris Laviano's return to the field after missing one play. Laviano has thrown 4 TDs today
— Bobby Deren (@BobbyDeren) November 28, 2015
Auburn: This feels like the cousin of the Wazzu Vine from above...
* * *
Chill out, Will.
I think he’s saying "toucan hole." https://t.co/cFk9pUv77Z
— Ryan Nanni (@celebrityhottub) November 28, 2015
Why can't you be more like Frank?
Virginia Tech: Beamer Ball goes out in the best of ways.
Illinois/Northwestern: Aight, what's sadder... this crowd?
Or this vote of confidence?
#illini AD Paul Kowalczyk on 2-year deal: "It's not ideal but for now, I don't think it'll put a dagger in the heart of the program."
— Jeremy Werner (@JWernerScout) November 28, 2015
Missouri: This still isn't as blehhhh as BC.
Minnesota: Speaking of special teams... shouts out to the holder who gave himself an award.
"Your hands are too slow" they said. "Your cadence has no rhythm" they said. This one's for the state of Minnesota. pic.twitter.com/HkgGRK0aL1
— Peter Mortell (@PMortell37) December 1, 2015
Even SVP showed love.
Ohio State: That's right, Buckeyes -- you're not playing on championship weekend. I don't give a shit that you won The Game*, because I know you're dissatisfied overall, so we're going SAD PIZZA this week.
Urban Meyer Feelings Chart
Also, this isn't that funny, but it made me laugh because Zeke responded and took it in stride:
(* - they own Michigan's soul, you guys; I am so depressed and alone)
Indiana: This section could end with no other team. Seriously -- they're unparalleled. There is no other team in college football who emblemized both success, failure, and yes, CHAOS as the 2015 Indiana Hoosiers.
We begin with some sad news: last week, I incorrectly reported the Indiana defense giving up points against Maryland, but I was looking at a 2014 box score. So, sadly, The Streak actually ended at 21 games. RIP, The Streak.
HOWEVA, let's see how they did against Purdue.
/looks up box score (the 2015 one, I know, shut up)
Did Indiana's Defense Give Up Points In The Fourth Quarter Last Week?
They gave up eight! The Streak is back on. And since Indiana won, the Hoosiers are going to a bowl game -- so we have an opportunity to double up before the season officially ends.
Nate Sudfeld, you own this life.
Seriously, the homie swung my entire Big Ten fantasy football league final. I was in said final and had CJB as my starter -- he put up, like, 10. Sudfeld, meanwhile? 48 points! He passed for 4 TDs and ran for one, cementing his cult hero status and taking hundreds of dollars out of my pocket. I couldn't even be mad. We are naming a division after him next year.
* * *
Texas at Baylor (12): Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb. This game reeks of the Big 12 execs singing Simple Minds to the rest of the college football world.
Florida (18) vs. Alabama (2): Can Florida break zero points? Oh, no, I meant going into negative integers.
Also, totally forgot Lane Kiffin named his son when he was the Tennessee coach.
Also also, a PJ Kendall point I liked and something to potentially file away for a few weeks from now:
If Oklahoma plays Alabama, Mayfield is the type of qb that can give the Tide fits.
— PJ Kendall (@Deathby105) November 29, 2015
USC (20) vs. Stanford (7): I've known I've had to write about this game since last Saturday, and mentally, it's basically been one big, long apology/concession/YOU WIN letter to David Shaw and Kevin Hogan. I'll address them individually.
David Shaw, you were right about your team being able to score points. I already acknowledged this earlier in the year, but I'm pointing it out again. I thought you were a clod, and I was, in fact, the clod. Though punting from dumb spots on the field will likely always be your Achilles heel, I concede right here and right now: you are a -- gulp. -- goodmaybegreat football coach. OK?
Kevin Hogan... just... my god. How do I even start this? When I first saw you throw a football, I truly thought you were one of the worst QBs I've ever seen play college football. I do not say this disrespectfully, but if you are asking me to be honest, that was my assessment. Your throwing motion is like Diet Tebow. But my friend, you balled out against ND Nation last week. When your team needed you to get them into field goal range, do you know how long it took? It took you 24 seconds. In the length of an NBA shot clock, you got them in position for the game-winning FG. What's that? You want me to tell everyone your stat line? With pleasure: 4 TDs, 0 INTS, 17/21 with 269 yards. It may not be Baylor level, but that is efficient, consistent greatness against a high quality opponent. You were right; maybe always. I was wrong; definitely always.
Gentlemen, I've clowned on your team all year with the Flashy Ass Stanford moniker, but you actually were a bunch of Flashy Asses against ND last week. If chaos reigns supreme this weekend, I would welcome you into the CFP with open arms.
Alex, take us out:
Michigan State (5) vs. Iowa (4): Game of the Week. We're the Game of the Week, you guys. This is serious.
So first thing's first... COOL PLAYS BATTLE.
Man, that was exquisite.
He called the play "lucky."
Aw, come on. We can't compete with an o-lineman taking it in for a legitimate rushing TD. We, um, have a hug?
It might not be impressive at first, but his feet are pretty GD high. It's real emotion, you know? Ah screw it, UNLEASH THE BIG GUNS, KIRK!!!!
That's your Coach of the Year right there.
Iowa Hawkeyes (@TheIowaHawkeyes) December 2, 2015
I'll end this battle with an amazing/mortifying e-mail from my Spartan coworker:
Yeah found some GameDay sappy material to cling to. MSU CAN’T LOSE WE GOT ROWAN BABY!
* * *
One final point I would like to make about this game: Iowa has been quite comfortable for the last half of this season as it pertains to not really facing deficits or adversity. That means salting away the clock on the ground, leaning on the defense, and playing conservative. So what happens if the Spartans go up, say... 13-3 in the first, second, or third quarter? I believe CJB is the kind of quarterback who can make the necessary throws and the drive-saving first down runs. Does this coaching staff want him throwing 35 times? Hellllll no, but when you're pinned down, it turns into a "by any means" situation. So if this game gets a little hairy, the adjustment -- or lack of one -- that goes into the offensive philosophy will certainly be something to monitor.
North Carolina (10) vs. Clemson (1): Drake lyrics, drinking stereotypes, and a reference to His Airness? You best believe we have Clemson Tom here to preview the ACC title game.
Did we just finished the regular season undefeated? You damn right we did! Are we still ranked No. 1? Oh hell yeah! Do those arrogant, sweater vest wearing, wine drinking, pinky finger out, baby blue wearing Tar Heels think they can beat us on Saturday? Of course they do -- they're idiots! Now don't get me, wrong UN-Cheat is a talented group, I mean hell Michael Jordan went to school there. Wait, we're talking about football, a grown man sport. This is a real team sport that men play. It's a battle. You can plan on us rippin' the throats out of the Tar Heels as we continue our march to the College Football Playoff and compete for national championship. Tar Heels, enjoy the Chick-fil-A bowl.
You know it really pisses me off that the ACC commissioner once played football at UNC, was the athletic director there, and somehow thinks he can be unbiased towards other teams in the conference. Everyone in our conference knows he is a complete joke and shows extreme favoritism to Tobacco Road. UNC literally created a fake classroom to keep their players eligible. If that happened anywhere else, the NCAA sanctions would come down so heavy it would make SMU feel bad. Oh no, not at the great academic school in Chapel Hill. The scandal with the Tar Heels is atrocious. The fact that the commissioner does absolutely nothing means he should be fired. Enjoy your boo Berry biscuits at Bojangles, dummy.
We will do what everyone else in the conference wants to do and that's beat the tar out of the Tar Heels. Put on your argyle jerseys and go out there like you have a dag-gum fashion show. We'll be looking even prettier as we beat the brakes off of you!
YOU AND YOURS, VS. ME AND MINE.
Enjoy your boxed wine and imported cheese, you arrogant pricks. I'll be drinking bourbon and eating BBQ.
Watson 4 Heisman.
Seriously though, if UNC wins this, they should totally go to the Playoff.
* * *
Wrapping It Up...
Win or lose this weekend, thank you for the consistent support and feedback throughout my second season here at BHGP. This community is seriously something special -- and I say that whether Iowa was perfect or putrid in 2015; maybe even especially if they'd been putrid. Sometimes making sense of the losses can be even more important than celebrating the Ws.
I will likely be back at some point later in the month with an eye-rolly preview of all the very bad bowl games. Until then.
Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Black Heart Gold Pants. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or e-mail at bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com.