The Hybrid is a weekly preview of every Big Ten game, plus relevant or whimsy games from the national slate.
Let's have a five second moment of silence for Michigan State's national relevance.
Nah, you're right, let's not.
California at USC: Shame on you, unranked USC. For SHAME.
In better news, Josh Shaw speaks!
...one week before the season opener against Fresno State, Shaw went home to meet [girlfriend Angela] Chilton, whom he has dated for more than seven years. They started arguing and Chilton ran out of the apartment and disappeared down the hall.
"We just got into an argument just like every couple does," Shaw said. "Was it loud? Yes. Was it overly loud? I don't think so."
Shaw remained in the apartment until he heard noise below his balcony. He walked outside to see police cars pulling up on the street. Shaw and Chilton adamantly deny the argument ever became physical — "I would never, ever hit a woman," Shaw said — but he worried about appearances.
"We were not on good terms when she left, I thought she had somebody call authorities. I was thinking the worst," he said. "If she did say anything, I'm a black man with dreadlocks, and with everything going on in the country at the time, all that stuff in St. Louis [Ferguson, Mo.] … in my mind, I'm going to leap from the balcony so authorities did not see me."
I can't believe I'm buying this, but I somehow am. The Ferguson defense.
Ohio State (8) at Minnesota (25): Really?! This is kind of an awesome game! Two of the Big Ten's hottest teams squaring off in Minny. You'd think Vegas might have a tough time handicapping this due to Minnesota's dominating performance last week and now being ranked, but, well, no: they're 14-point underdogs at home. Sheesh.
On the subject of valuing Ohio State: J.T. Barrett, come on down for some show love.
Per @ESPNStatsInfo, J.T. Barrett's 34 TD's through 9 games, most by any FBS player in first 10 career games that debuted in last 10 seasons— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) November 12, 2014
Let's change that to 'should'.
ESPN Big Ten Blog: "Should J.T. Barrett be a Heisman favorite?"
Aright, let's take it a little easy, no?
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Longtime readers know I'm a moderate fan of Minnesota HC Jerry Kill. Sure, he coaches a style of football we all loathe, but he helped launch Northern Illinois, dances* in the locker room after wins, and throws up (metaphorical) middle fingers to all of his critics who say he shouldn't be a coach because he has occasional seizures. Plus, there is literally a Google auto-fill called "jerry kill looks like a gopher". That picture goes here.
(* - not linking his dancing from last week because it actually kinda sucked)
If only him and Urban could trade offensive playbooks. I want the cool coaches to also have the cool offenses. Instead, we have guys like Kill and Les Miles, more averse to air than fish.
Clemson (19) at Georgia Tech (22): Ehhhhhhhhh, nah.
But: Deshaun back!
Temple at Penn State: Didn't have much to say on this boring game, so I went on Hackenberg's Twitter to see if he had anything interesting to say. It was mostly Penn State themed RTs, but I did come across this gem from earlier in the summer:
Iowa at Illinois: Mikey vs. Da World. For those who haven't seen Mikey Dudek play, hopefully he's able to showcase some his talents. Particularly if Illini QB Wes Lunt is back in the mix (of course in time for the Iowa game). Honestly though, if Purdue could win at Illinois, surely Iowa can too, right? Right??? You're right, it's really not fair to expect anything anymore with KF and Co.
Man, we got raked last week.
South Carolina at Florida:
TCU (4) at Kansas: I'd say Kansas could be inspired in this game, but we all know they blew their load last week after beating 2-7 Iowa State. Really, KU? Rushing the field? Ripping down goal posts?!?!? I get it -- the Jayhawks don't have the greatest football history. But the basketball history alone says this can't be happening. Y'all need to be stuffier and have less fun. I bet Duke football would never let this happen.
Mississippi State (1) at Alabama (5): Game of the Week.
This game has everything. The nation's No. 1 team, a now surging 'Bama, and Sabes dissin' Timmy!
Saban: Dak Prescott "reminds you of Tebow in a lot of ways, but is also a very good passer."
That's close to my dream quote. Saban being awesome, cross-racial comparisons, and a nice jab at our man. Seriously, click that link. Do you realize the Tebow crying game is arguably the best thing to happen in college football in the last 10 years? The team responsible? That's right: 'Bama.
The Tide are 8.5 point favorites in this one, so we might already be in "pray 4 Mississippi State" mode. But after all they've done so far this year, you have to feel at least OK about having Prescott and Dan Mullen at the helm of this ship... even if Prescott does wear No. 15 to honor Tim Tebow.
You're right, it's over.
Washington at Arizona (15): Don't worry, RichRod -- I think it's fair to say UCLA somewhat softened up the Huskies before you had to play 'em.
Nebraska (16) at Wisconsin (20): Ameer, are you back? Are you well? Maybe? Can I interest you in playing for a stupid trophy, then?
The Big Ten: still doing everything wrong. I wonder if Jim "The White Malcolm X" Delaney had a say in any of this.
Northwestern at Notre Dame (18): We already made fun of this game's existence last week, so it feels less weird now. And with ND already at its second loss of the season and fully eliminated from the playoffs, I truly don't care what Northwestern does. Nothing is going to top M00N, anyway.
Seriously, can we talk about M00N?
Deadspin figured out around halftime where the game was going and put up post titled "Northwestern And Michigan Are Playing One Of The Worst Games Ever". Their description:
Northwestern had a punt on 4th-and-24 that failed to make it to the first down marker. The teams traded interceptions near the end of the second quarter. Before the last play of the half, NU coach Pat Fitzgerald prolonged the pain by calling
threetwo straight timeouts (he bluffed and didn't call a third) to ice Michigan's kicker — and somehow it worked! The Wildcats blocked the field goal, sending the game into halftime at 0-0.
The punt not making it to the first down marker has to be the best part, right? So very, clumsily, legitimately Big Ten. If, like me, you took this as a challenge to watch instead of a caution to stay away, hopefully you tuned in for the second half. When I finally got the game on, this was the first play I saw:
The teams continued to flail around for a long while... until Northwestern muffed a punt deep in its own territory. From there, Michigan had all it needed to finally put the ball in the dadgum end zone. Don't worry, they blew the lead as Northwestern cut it to one point with an excruciating scoring drive of their own late in Q4. Instead of kicking the XP to force a laughable overtime, Fitz decided to go for two and win M00N. Then... this happened:
You don't win M00N, Fitz. M00N wins you. But really, there are no winners.
Who knew this would come down to which quarterback would fall down at the less opportune time— Adam Schnepp (@aeschnepp) November 8, 2014
In a way, I think we all did.
Indiana at Rutgers:
Utah (23) at Stanford: After getting thumped by Oregon -- and there's no shame in that, at all -- our boys look to get back on track against Stanford this week. Both teams are .500 in the PAC-12, but only one team is cool. Seriously, did you know Stanford is 97th in the country in rushing yards?! 97th?!?!?!? It's, like, what you pride yourself on, David Shaw. They're 52nd in passing yards!!!!!!! Kevin Hogan, I'm going to need you to explain this.
Auburn (9) at Georgia (15): Sexay game on paper, but it really has no national title implications. So... no curr.
Missouri at Texas A&M (24): Last week, we previewed A&M true freshman Kyle Allen's first ever start, and boy, did the No. 1 QB recruit shine. He threw 4 TDs in the victory at Auburn and rushed for -1 yards. He's sweet. Kenny
Trill Hill, who threw for 3 TDs in his first start in Week 1 (and 511 yards!), is now listed as "available if needed." Jay-Z once said "younger get(s) younger every year", but in A&M's case, it's more like every month. Kenny, please feel free to transfer to Iowa. We'll welcome you with open arms. And we'll even let you keep the nickname once I get everyone up to speed on what "trill" means.
Florida State (3) at Miami (FL): Looooooooooooooove this match up. I know Miami is unranked, but it's definitely a Top 3 game this week. It's obviously not as good as the SEC one, but the night game component probably pushes it past Ohio State-Minnesota. And FSU is only favored by 2.5! That's as of Thursday morning. Vegas blames this seemingly low spread on the Seminoles' "inconsistency." Meanwhile, is Jameis Winston becoming -- /gulp -- accountable?
"I'm hurting this team, I really am," Winston said.
"It's not the offense starting slow now. It's just me starting slow, throwing interceptions, and that has to change.
"I've got to stop turning the ball over, and we've got to start making some noise in the first half. ... My job as the leader of the team and as the quarterback of this team, I have to put both sides of the ball in good position to win the game."
Anyone who wants to roll their eyes at those quotes, fine by me, but I found it super jarring when I saw that top one. I'm not saying he's a changed man or anything (prolly still a jackass), but if he has turned even a slight corner, this could be the moment it happened.
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As for Miami. I asked Hybrid reader/way-too-passionate Miami fan Paige to make a case for The U.
Game of the Week! ... Wait, it's not? What is? Oh, MissSt @ Bama. Yeah, that makes more sense. This should still be a competitive game and hopefully the one that brings the rivalry back into the national spotlight.
Miami started the season with a 31-13 loss to Louisville. Our defense allowed nearly half of Louisville's 3rd down conversion attempts (and both 4th down conversions) and our offense only converted 1 out of 13 attempts and had about half as many first downs as Louisville. Those numbers make me sad.
I bring up where we were, because I'm pretty happy about how far we've come. Sure, we lost to Nebraska and Georgia Tech along the way, but we're going into this game on a three game winning streak, a defense that has improved to allow only 16-of-47 3rd down conversion attempts and force 8 TOs in those three games (not to mention, allow 0-of-4 4th down conversion attempts and make 7 sacks in the last game alone), and a big play offense led by Brad Kaaya who's only getting better with each game and Duke Johnson who should honestly, without bias, be a Heisman contender.
Against Florida State, our defense needs to get to Jameis and rattle him as much as they can, but even more so, get him off the field fast — limiting 3rd down conversions and first downs and forcing TOs where they can. Brad Kaaya hasn’t thrown an interception in the last three games, and he’s going to have to keep placing the ball right in his receivers' hands because in each of the three games we’ve lost he’s given up two interceptions. Kaaya connected for two touchdowns with big TE Clive Walford in the last game against UNC, but we need more out of speedy WR Philip Dorsett, who is often downfield for the long ball but can’t make the play. Hopefully we see a big game from Duke as well. He’s been explosive in the past three games, but our opponents were ready for him in the games we lost and I know FSU will be too.
I’m looking for a clean game from Kaaya, Duke finding lanes, and a defense that spends as little time as possible on the field, and I really think Miami has a shot at snapping FSU’s 25-game winning streak.
Damn, 25 games in a row. Fans/media rip on FSU for being inconsistent and weird this year, but that is still a helluva winning streak... even if the majority of those were racked up by last year's superior squad. No predictions from me, but I really feel good about Miami keeping this one close based on all we've heard going in.
Michigan State (12) at Maryland: I grew up a Michigan fan who never really cared about MSU until these last five years or so, but man, that tOSU loss made me so happy. I don't even know why. Urban Meyer sucks, Ohio State was the traditional power who really should garner no neutral fan interest, and they're supposed to be Michigan's No. 1 rival. I suppose it's because it was great to see that spread hummin'. Say what you want about Meyer and his pizza eating personality, but when it comes to beautiful O, there's no shade you can throw.
Plus, Ohio State winning and staying in slight contention for the playoff gives (BAHAHAHAHAHA) Michigan (baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahaha) the opportunity (YOU'RE SERIOUS?!) to knock off (HAAAAAAAAAAAAA) the Buckeyes (not a chance) in the last game of the regular season (....NO).
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How do we even start to tackle this "no handshake" thing they pulled against Penn State two weeks ago? Me, I wanted to know why. I figured, since it was their first Big Ten meeting, Maryland wanted to do some kind of bush league 'rivalry creation' tactic. The kind of thing that Mark Dantonio would use as bulletin board masturbation material. Though I'm sure that was part of it, it looks like some of this can be traced to Penn State HC James Franklin's comments about regional recruiting this past May (Baltimore Sun quotes, emphasis mine):
...The new coach aspires to dominate in an area extending six hours in any direction from Penn State's campus. That, of course, includes the Baltimore-Washington region considered by the University of Maryland as its base.
"I consider this in-state. I consider New Jersey in-state," Franklin told the crowd. While there are other schools in the region, "they might as well shut them down because they don't have a chance."
Haha, what an asshole. Is Franklin a known douche? That'll probably be this week's poll.
NCAA Big Ten did the unjust thing by fining Maryland 10K and suspending WR Stefon Diggs. I'm sure Edsall was like "Two minutes?"
The good news is, while Maryland probably paid the fine, Diggs lacerated his kidney and might be out for the season anyway. Poor Diggs.
So yeah, I'm Team Maryland in this one. Sportsmanship be damned. I'm not shaking some fuck in the hand if he says my progr'm shouldn't exist. No new friends, Maryland. No new friends. No, no new.
And you know what else? We (me?) lamented Maryland and Rutgers joining the Big Ten because it was stupid then and is probably still stupid now, but Maryland gave us "no new friends" and Rutgers gave us Gary Nova. That's about 50x the contribution that teams like Iowa, Purdue, or Northwestern* gave this conference in 2014.
(* - besides, of course, M00N)
LSU (17) at Arkansas: How on earth did you blow that 'Bama game last week? Terrible. Plus, your AD apologized for the fans chanting "Fuck you, Saban." Now, let's all mock Yahoo! trying to describe the chant:
While DT Devon Godchaux was being tended to by LSU's training staff, some LSU fans started a three-word chant that ended with "you" and "Saban." We can let you guess that it was directed towards Alabama coach Nick Saban and what the first word was.
Here at the Hybrid, we'll do the guessing for you. It was... it was probably "Fuck".
Arizona State (6) at Oregon State: ...frisky?
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Wrapping It Up...
I didn't really find a place to shoehorn PARTY DOG, so he's gonna go right here:
party dog forever pic.twitter.com/0NBIxD9VQ6— SPENCER HALL (@edsbs) November 8, 2014
Party on, party dog.
Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Black Heart Gold Pants. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or e-mail at bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com.