That Michigan State-Wisconsin ending last week is what college football dreams are made of. I use the expression "college football dreams" instead of just "dreams" because college football dreams are twisted, vindictive, and mostly terrible. I watched that game in a bar loaded with Wisconsin fans (as well as some MSU fans), and boy, were the Wisconsin fans crushed. I could almost feel their pain transferring over to me just because of my numerous emotional scars. Being dead already -- RIP, Michigan -- it was very easy to empathize.
For me, the look on Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema's face after the play rang most true. Let me try to screen cap it, hold up.
Aright, this is the play.
This was Bret after the review.
I'll tell ya what, he looks alive. A lot better than I'd look. Certainly a lot better than I'd look split-screened and contrasted with actual, happy people. But yeah, that loss had anything to make me hate everything if I'm a Wisconsin fan.
- You blew the game overall
- You sucked to start the game
- You came back, only to lose again
- You squandered Russell Wilson's only year as your QB -- you will never have that cool of a QB again
- You lost on a mega-bogus Hail Mary, but only *after* it was overturned as an incomplete catch where you thought you had a shot to take the game to OT when you had all of the momentum
- Time to go home
And with that loss, the Big Ten will ungracefully bow out of any national title relevance. As someone who watched Wisconsin death stomp Nebraska in person only a few weeks ago, this loss seemed unfathomable to me. Can we just blame the home-field advantage and move on? I'd say yes, but that's lazy. MSU played well. B.J. Cunningham made No. 1 WR-type plays. And Kirk Cousins, I suppose, did stuff. Their defense also picked Russell a few times, which did terrible things to my psyche. I mean, if the greatest ever can't succeed, then who can? Then who *is* the greatest ever?
1) LSU: GAHT DANG, WITH 'BAMA NUMBER TWO ANN US NUMBER ONE, I S'POSE WE-UHL 'AVE TUH SETTLE EET ON THA FEE-UHLD.
2) Alabama: AW HELL YEAH, BUT TOO BAD WE GOT UH BAH WEEK FIRST, BUT 'EY REMEMBER, EEHN THUH ESS EE SEE, AW-UHR BAH WEEK IS *YO-UHR* CON'FRENCE CHAMPEEONSHIP.
ESS. EE. SEE. ESS. EE. SEE. ESS. EE. SEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
While I don't grasp and would never participate in all of the conference triumphalism that SEC fans insist on having, I suppose I somewhat understand it. It's a Southern thing, it's a pride thing. If you want to chant your conference's name after big games, power to you. But now this notion that 'Bama and LSU should re-match in the national title game? Man. If that happened, I'd be out on college football, no joke, until a real playoff. What is the end game for these SEC fans? They're already undefeated in the national title game, they've already proven superiority. Now they want an all-SEC national title game? Where do we go from here? An entire slate of all-SEC BCS bowls? At what point would they be happy? When does this inSECst end? Don't you *want* your stupid school to kill Stanford so you can all high five and chant your conference name in a stadium full of confused, smart people? Because, to me, that's your goal. I have roughly 50,000 more words in me in regards to this topic, so we really should just stop here.
3) Oklahoma State: We need you so, so badly.
4) Boise State: No. 4's pretty good. And the BCS gave you that, eh? Cool.
5) Clemson: CLIMP. SON. CLIMP. SON. CLIMP. SON.
6) Stanford: An NFL player thinks Andrew Luck is overrated and maybe shouldn't go No. 1 in the 2012 NFL Draft. Does this have anything to do with illogical SEC biases? Would I post it in the Hybrid if it didn't?
Niners defensive tackle and former LSU guy Ricky Jean-Francois, the floor is yours!
"I'm not a Pac-12 fan at all," Jean Francois told Inside the 49ers, "I'm an SEC guy. But if he ever plays against an SEC school, Alabama, LSU, that draft stock is going to fall. That will be one game they just don't show the scouts."
The real tragedy in that interview is we were probably only one or two questions removed from hearing about "SEC speed". It's a shame Andrew Luck can't measure up to SEC legends like Stephen Garcia and John Brantley. Oh, brother.
For the record, Andrew Luck, whether he succeeds or fails, is one of the most lauded and respected NFL QB prospects in the history of the league. ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer has called him the best QB prospect he's ever watched on tape.
ESS. EE. SEE. ESS. EE. SEE.
(In Jean-Francois' defense, of the last ten QBs selected No. 1 in the NFL draft, five have come from the SEC. Granted, two of those five were JaMarcus Russell and Tim Couch. So there's that.)
7) Oregon: Why did you have to lose to LSU? We all know you're the best team in college football. With, you know, the way you just spread things out and create piles and piles of yards like a compost heap in a hippie backyard. Do hippies have yards? Have I lost you yet?
8) Kansas State: I'm told you're still undefeated.
Is this 'proof' they are a dominant team, raising their helmets in triumph? Or did a photographer just write 'proof' on it? Will the world ever know?
9) Oklahoma: Down goes Oklahoma! And you blew it to no-longer-cool Texas Tech? Come on, duders. If you screw up Okie State's season, you're going to upset a lot of us.
11) Michigan State: You chumps really did it. And with that sophomore Denard killing LB suspended. I suppose I'll give you a kudos and friendly reminder you lost to Notre Dame by double digits. They actually mirrored your score. It was 31-13. Score mirror.
12) Virginia Tech
13) South Carolina
14) Nebraska: Didn't kill Kill, but made him stronger. More on this later.
15) Wisconsin: It didn't have to end that way.
16) Texas A&M
17) Houston: Mehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
18) Michigan: Guarantee you play someone stupid this week. What better way to come off a bye then to play a team that's almost more boring than the bye week itself?
19) Penn State: How can they be ranked this high? Don't the pollsters know?
20) Texas Tech: Top 20!? Hell yeah! Are you interesting again?
21) Arizona State
23) Auburn: It's go to feel like decades since that national title which occurred less than a year ago.
25) West Virginia:
Dropped from (AP) rankings, sponsored by Cam Newton: Auburn (still BCS!), Georgia Tech (Triple option? more like Triple-A!, Washington (uh, no one cares about you), Illinois (/bumps face into window that was supposed to be open)
As someone who has talked about Tim Tebow in his college football column for almost two years since Tebow has actually played college football, last week's Broncos comeback left me shocked and chagrined. You think it might be Tebow's perseverance, but it was actually me not being able to process his overcoming 1 in 1,000+ odds to do it. Yeah, that was it.
Typically, for this section, there are a few Tebow news items I can cherry-pick or comment on, but these last few days have produced so many, I'm almost kind of burnt out. Things hit massive overflow to the point where you can actually pinpoint the exact moment -- it was when this happened. So we'll do two quick hits, then peace.
1) Darren Rovell has Tebow's new logo here. Stupid for sure.
2) Completely amazing writer Brian Phillips wrote about Tebow at Grantland. I wouldn't call the piece an A+ or all-encapsulating or anything, but it's Brian Phillips, so there are roughly seven or eight amazing lines that make reading worth it anyway.
Rice at Houston (17): Is it fair to rip on Houston then rely on them just for a Thursday Night Lights game? Of course. Thursday Night Lights.
Michigan State (11) at Nebraska (14): Listen, I'm with you, I know this is a Big Ten game between teams who've already lost and have lame, double digit rankings that aren't sweet No. 10, but... I still kinda like this game. If MSU wins, that'll mean they beat Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin and then Nebraska all in the month of October. I mean, what a feat. Imagine if they did that and Notre Dame didn't beat them by double digits. We might be talking real season at that point.
Purdue at Michigan (18): Ah ha! I knew you had a crappy game. And it's at home, too. Even though Purdue is more boring than Michigan, the fact that it's at the Big House (my favorite sports venue, ever) somehow makes the game more boring to me than if it was played at unarguably/actually more boring Ross-Ade Stadium, where Purdue plays its home games. Logic is just gone.
Washington State at Oregon (7): Feelin' like... this could be real bad.
Baylor at Oklahoma State (3): III vs. 3. Get it?
Oklahoma (9) at Kansas State (8): This exists? Sweet. Game of the Week. I also love how OU is almost ranked higher than K-State, even though OU just lost a game and K-State is undefeated. Something about that feels what I'd call 'Big 12 Perfect'.
Illinois at Penn State (19): One of my favorites against maybe my least favorite. Does the Illinois slow death 2011 continue here?
Georgia (22) vs. Florida (neutral site): I don't care about the super huge party and all of the drinking and beautiful women, this game sucks and you can't tell me otherwise.
/wishing I were there...but just for the party!
Iowa at Minnesota: This is where I try and talk you, the reader, into an Iowa game you may have otherwise found uninteresting. But with this one? Naw. Instead, two quick Iowa points.
1) Guy in my office (Iowa grad) thinks Iowa can make a BCS bowl this year. I'm about 96% sure he's serious.
2) On a much lesser but more personal scale, I think it's realistic they may be ranked before the year ends. I know.
Clemson (5) at Georgia Tech: Climpson on the road! Climpson...on...the ropes? More than a big part of me wants to call this the Game of the Week. What, with Clemson's propensity to choke and G-Tech's propensity to run sweet plays, make t-shirts after beating Kansas, and crushing teams equipped with way less discipline than they have. Man. I need to move on to the next game before I actually give this game the tag.
Stanford (6) at USC: I'm in on this game. The Dynasy vs. Stanford. If USC loses out, can they pick Andrew Luck next year?
(That joke woulda worked way better a few years ago when USC actually resembled an NFL team.)
Every year, once my actual favorite teams (Michigan, Iowa, Washington State) have been eliminated from the national title picture (by, you know, losing just one game), my buddy Ryan and I create what we call the "College Football Bandwagon" which mostly consists of a list of all the undefeated BCS conference teams minus Notre Dame (and sometimes others). The goal of the CFB is to fake feel good about yourself when your "team" makes the national title game. Plus it provides invested, fake rooting interests.
Roll Damn Tide: ROLL DAMN TIDE.
Oklahoma State: I'm a man?
Stanford: Stay lucky.
Kansas State: Wildcats, grrrr.
LSU: Les Miles, more winnin'!
No: Houston, Boise State
I was gonna say "We lost Oklahoma and Wisconsin!" but I'm now just realizing Ryan didn't include either of those teams last week. He must see the future. He also left out Boise, which I might disagree with? Maybe? I e-mailed him for an explanation, but I only gave him about a fifteen minute window to respond, so he had nothing for me at press time.
Russell stumbled a bit against Michigan State, and I got destroyed by, well, Ryan, ironically. Stupid Montee Ball.
This week: Not looking it up. I'm almost completely convinced my season is over.
- Do you want to be Iowa's crappy, scrapped rivalry trophy for Halloween? Because if you do, and you can rope a girl into it, I will take part in that. (Hat tip on this link to my boy, Ryan Young.)
- The UCLA-Arizona Fake Referee Runs Onto Field Then Later On The Teams Brawl really does live up to the hype. Yeah, it's from last Thursday or Friday so it feels like forever ago, but if you missed it, peep it.
Wrapping It Up...
All eyez on Manhattan, Kansas.
Bobby Loesch is the assistant editor of Tremendous Upside Potential. He can be reached at bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy.