Brain is all over the place this week. Let's start out with some bitching. Wanna go all-caps headlines with me this week? Wanna do that? Let's do that.
WHY WAS EVERYTHING LAST WEEK SO AWFUL WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE: Okie State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Everyone. Dead. They're all dead. The SEC is taking over our minds. The SEC wants to field a three-team national title where all of the SEC teams play each other at once. When I called last week a "deSECaster," I meant it. This is our worst case scenario, people. The thing about college football is it's just like winter. Sure, every year, both are horrible, but, also, every year, they find new ways to prove they are horrible. Winter is always cold and the worst, but what about that one year your car wouldn't start? Or you got snowed in? Or you slipped on ice? There are intricacies. Wrinkles.
College football had two-loss LSU win the national title a few years ago. College football had SEC run a longer and more impressive national title streak (still ongoing, by the way) than anything we've seen before. What's their encore? All of this horrible, terrible bullshit. The SEC West is No. 1, 2, and 3 in the polls right now. Not even the conference! Just a division from the conference! The upside? To paraphrase a Sir Mix-A-Lot interview I saw once, there is literally nowhere to go but down. This can only blow up. As upset as I was this weekend -- and I'm still a little now, but way less than before -- this can't end all that great. Let's run the scenarios...
- LSU beats Alabama again in the national title. Kinda stupid.
- 'Bama beats LSU, proving nothing. They both have a win over each other.
- Arkansas screws up the whole enterprise, somehow. Kinda funny.
- LSU somehow loses to Georgia in the SEC title game. Funny as well.
- Any other, non-SEC team succeeds in a big way and cracks the national title game or -- super gasp -- wins the national title game? Complete perfection.
Last week proved unsatisfying, yes, but we've bottomed out, friends. There's nowhere to go but up. The SEC can't prove anything anymore. There's no 'zero' ranking. They've hit their best case scenario, and, yeah, it really, really, really, REALLY sucks, but our brightest days are in front of us. I totally swear. But last weekend was pain. And I felt it just like the rest of you.
THE GAME: This week, while wrapped up in my hatred for everything, I can't let this get overshadowed -- Michigan is playing Ohio State in Ann Arbor, and they are favored. I was in high school the last time Ohio State lost to Michigan. Denard Robinson was in seventh grade. Someone told him that recently, and he said "That's crazy!" You know why he said that? Because he has angelic thoughts.
The week of the game, usually one coach or player from one of the two sides says something cool, this year, we've got nothing but the repeated story about how Michigan coach Brady Hoke refers to tOSU as "Ohio" and not by their stupid, full name of "Thee Ohio State University". That story is the anti-Rich Rodriguez. It's something so stupid that means something so minimal, that Michigan media delights in using it for masturbation material. Meanwhile, RichRod coaches his ass off with barren talent, and people are like "HE DOESN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT THE RIVALRY MEANS TO US!!!11111"
'The rivalry' means it's a football game you want to win a little more than all of the other games you want really, absolutely want to win. But screw my weird hated for their local media; god damn it, I hope Michigan wins this game. Everyone knows The Hybrid is really just me complaining and making bad jokes, but, thinking deeper, I'd almost attest the root of all my CFB insanity comes from Michigan's horrible losing streak against Ohio State. I'm going to look through the archives and see what kind of crazy crap I've said in the past about The Game. Hold up.
In 2007 ("In Defense Of The Game"), I illogically picked Michigan over a better Ohio State team. Expletives and Lloyd Carr seemed to be my logic:
My passion is starting to override my logical thought right now, because I'm considering picking Michigan.
I can't. I won't. Fuck it.
The Pick: Michigan. For Lloyd.
Wow, I already feel stupid.
In 2008, RichRod was coaching his first year at Michigan, and I think I took the year off from writing. Likely cause? Coma. Coma? Coma.
In 2009 ("The Game, Or, The Location Of My Soul")...
If you ever find yourself in the worst state in the world, probably somewhere near the Columbus area, head over to Tressel's mansion. Come in through the front door, walk past the foyer, and probably through a hallway or two until you find his study/chamber area. There, you'll find an old wooden chest, probably in a corner. There are two locks on the outside of it. Inside is my soul.
I've had a lot of really weird ideas when it comes to watching the game this year. Part of me thought about watching it naked. Like some sort of weird baptism-y thing. Part of me wanted to put on layers and layers of clothes and just curl up in the fetal position until I started sweating out the demons of Tressel and The Game. This game reduces me to this.
Well... I, uh, did the naked thing. It did not work. And getting dressed as the final seconds ticked off the clock was shameful and pathetic, as it should of been. I was so alone.
Michigan gets the game at home next year. Denard will be a junior, if still alive. That's a good base. But 2011 is for 2011. This is 2KX. We'll see how it plays out. As always: fuck you, Tressel.
I was pissed! Haha, geez.
This year, Michigan is favored -- again: favored -- by, like, a touchdown, and they really should win. New, stupid problem: Urban Meyer is rumored to be the next head coach at Ohio State, but he keeps shooting down reports claiming just that. My best guess? Ohio State loses the game, but then Meyer accepts the job right after it ends. It's the same move the Yankees did when they announced A-Rod's extension minutes after the Red Sox won their most recent World Series. So a) it takes credit away from Michigan finally beating Ohio State, and b) it takes heat off Ohio State losing because they'll (media and tOSU alums/fans/students) be so excited for Meyer. Man, if that happens...
I'm not even nervous for the game this year. I'm pissed off. I hate college football, the streak needs to end, and I have a bottle of Rosé sitting in my fridge that will be eliminated once the game is over. I will then listen to the second half of "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" and roll around on the floor. Why not the first half? Because I'll have already listened to it before the game to pump myself up. Duh, terrible question.
IS THIS COLUMN DONE FOR THE YEAR?: As for The Hybrid itself... This week of college football has typically been my stopping point for The Hybrid in the past. Every year, I always say "this'll probably be the last one... but maybe I'll write more!" And I never do. But with the newly alive Big Ten title game next week and so much damn BCS uncertainty, I am going to do my damn best to make sure this column continues until the start of bowl season. We'll see. I'll try to do better, guys. Pwomise.
(* = unbeaten)
1) LSU*: Arkansas, eh? You don't seem concerned.
2) Alabama: Way to duck your conference title game and have the easiest path to the national title game, you clods.
3) Arkansas: Whatcha got?
4) Oklahoma State: Iowa State, boys. Iowa State. Okie was up at 10 at halftime, so I decided not to get score updates on my phone anymore. Later on, when I found out about the upset, I was blown away. The person -- Z.W. Martin -- who told me about it then said something like "Don't you like Iowa State a lot?" And I was like "...Yeah! I do!"
This is not hyperbole: the OSU win was the most likely the greatest football moment in the history of Iowa State football. I say that not to be disrespectful but mindful of how momentous that moment was for the progr'm. Great win, 'Clones. Sure, you ruined everything, big picture, but you balled-so-hard against the No. 2 team in the nation. Plus every Hawkeye fan now has to STFU. Great times and amazing silver linings.
5) Virginia Tech: TOP FIVE?! This POS team?!
6) Stanford: Good lookin' lurker.
7) Boise State: Don't really wanna think about you anymore.
8) Houston*: Welcome to the Top 10, Houston. I think if every team in front of you had three or four losses (each), you might crack the Top 5. Maybe. Nah.
9) Oklahoma: No shame in losing a transcendent game on the road to one of the best players in college football. Even if it was your first ever loss to Baylor. My favorite moment from the game wasn't the upset itself or that one super rocking play. No, it was when the kids all rushed the field and someone had a sign in Baylor colors that said something basic like "WE ARE GOING TO WIN". Haha, I love stuff like that.
UPDATE: There's a thread about this on the Baylor message board, and someone posted a pic of the guy and the sign.
10) Oregon: I don't blame you for the loss. I blame kickers. Not your kicker, but all college kickers. As automatic as NFL kickers have become, the boom hasn't trickled down to college in any way. That was a chip shot! A chip shot! CLODS.
11) Kansas State
12) South Carolina
14) Michigan State: MSU dude in my office is more nervous about Northwestern than he was for, like, any other game this year. This is also including the fact MSU has already made the Big Ten title game and the loss would literally do nothing to change anything about their season outlook. Puh-puh-Persa.
15) Michigan: Denard matched Tom Brady's career passing TDs record last week. But I guess he can't pass? 2Pac, send off the haters.
16) Wisconsin: Illinois had you on the ropes and then you surrrrrrrged. Can't even blame Zook for that; the Illini just didn't execute in the second half. It was foot shooting in the most direct way besides actual foot shooting.
17) Clemson: Good no-show, guys.
18) Baylor: I'll throw my Heisman support behind RG3...mostly because I hate everyone else. I think I heard someone mention him as an NFL prospect the other day? Really? That's great. Is it true? Can someone look into this.
19) Penn State: Well, Suckys, you proved me wrong. I guess. There's still time for you to lose to Wisco next week and not make the Big Ten title game, but you really have proven that with a good D and improving O, you can roll through (most of) the Big Ten -- in a down year for the conference. Still, you ducked Michigan and someone else, so this season will always be remembered a little too fondly.
Actually, it won't.
21) Nebraska: Hapless last week.
22) Notre Dame: Welcome back to the Top 25, School That Everyone Hates. Gotta say, this ranking feels like it fits 'em perfect.
23) Georgia Tech
Dropped from (AP) rankings, sponsored by You Probably Shouldn't Have Been Here Anyway: Southern Miss (Looks Southern is going to Miss being ranked -- zing!), Florida State (F.S.-WHO?)
Lot to talk about.
- I can't believe it's been less than a week since Tebow beat the Jets. Feels like three weeks ago. What an age we live in. I blame iPhones. Anyway, I can't believe that happened. The best part about it is people are doing the whole "Well, I didn't think he could do it, but you've really gotta give him credit for actually winning that game." Do I really have to give him credit? Really?? Because I saw what I saw: a super crappy QB performance through 3.5 quarters capped off with a somewhat impressive final drive. If the Denver D plays poorly, the Broncos are already losing by 30, and none of it matters. So I'll choose to give my 'credit' to Von Miller, who looked Willis-ian out there. I immensely look forward to watching the progression of his NFL career.
- Tebow responds to Plummer's call out about religion.
"If you're married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife, I love her, the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and have the opportunity? And that's how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ," Tebow said. "It is the most important thing in my life, so every opportunity I have to tell him I love him, or I'm given an opportunity to shout him out on national TV, I'm going to take that opportunity."
Yes, go on...
"I look at it as a relationship I have with him, I want to give him the honor and glory every time I get the opportunity," Tebow said. "And then after I give him the honor and glory I always try to give my teammates the honor and glory, and that's how it works. Because Christ comes first in my life, and then my family, and then my teammates. I respect Jake's opinion, and I really appreciate his compliment of calling me a winner, but I feel like every time I get the opportunity to give the Lord some praise he is due for it because what he did for me, and what he did on the cross for all of us. I really appreciate his opinion and I respect him, but I still will give all the honor and glory to the Lord because he deserves it."
Tebow added that he thinks being a Christian has helped him as a football player "because it gives me a peace beyond all understanding and it gives me a sense of comfort."
But Tebow did say he has no hard feelings toward Plummer, who has said he thinks it's great that the Broncos are winning games with Tebow at the helm.
"Thank you," Tebow reiterated he would say to Plummer, "for the compliment of calling me a winner."
I love how robotic his praise of Plummer's praise is. Robot voice. "I really appreciate his compliment. of. calling. me. a. winner." Haha, he even said it twice.
While the national public is still trying to figure out their relationship with Tebow (love or hate, pick a side, right?), this is something I've been able to dissect for years, because I follow horrible college football, and I had to watch him do well for four horrible years. If you don't like Tebow because he's religious, that probably makes you prejudiced. If you don't like Tebow because he's so overt with his religion, that probably makes you a little close-minded. After all, if you believed what he believed, isn't is possible you'd be the same way? Who knows, maybe, maybe not. But it's not a religion thing. People try to make it that, but you can't. Every time I think I have no reason to hate Tebow, I remember two things.
1) He's left-handed.
2) The Promise.
Truly the worst. It's actually not as bad as I remember it, but the fact it hit plaque status the very next year was unexplainable. Way to tack on the "God Bless", too, Florida. 'Public' university.
- Tebow horse.
- The homie Clay Travis, at Outkick The Coverage, asks a question that really could be my favorite headline of the entire 2011 news cycle: "If Tebow announced he was gay on Christmas Eve, would it break the Internet?"
Iowa at Nebraska (21): Had every intention of going to this game until ticket prices hit the stratosphere. Weak, Nebraska.
Arkansas (3) at LSU (1): Clay Travis and others suggest LSU may stay at No. 1 even if they lose this game. Maybe *that* would be the last stage of SEC dominance. Game of the Week.
Both of these games are during the day, but, well, picture.
Iowa State at Oklahoma (9): Watch The Clone.
Georgia (13) at Georgia Tech (23): Peh?
Ohio State at Michigan (15): It ends here. THIS IS SPARTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADIEJIMTRESSELSTAYDEADAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Alabama (2) at Auburn (24): Imagine if Cam Newton was a senior this year. Iron Bowlllll. Speaking of Cam Newton, SBN Chicago's Ricky O'Donnell, Hybrid reader Brian P. some other guy, and I will be attending the Colts-Panthers game this upcoming Sunday just to watch Cam play. It'll be great. Dueling photo essays are likely on the horizon.
Virginia Tech (5) at Virginia: A rivalry game, I assume? Top 5 team on the road? I mean, I won't watch, but I'm mentally "in" on this game.
Oregon State at Oregon (10): Man, screw you, Oregon.
Penn State (19) at Wisconsin (16): Do it, Russell, do it. Found out this week Russell Wilson's father had passed away (not sure how recently). It made me feel super bad and created an even more elevated level of respect for him.
Duke at North Carolina: Haha.
Clemson (17) at South Carolina (12): Imagine if Climpson was still unbeaten going into this. Would they have lost by 200? I say that'da been on the table.
Notre Dame (22) at Stanford (6): Objectively, I'd call this my second favorite game of the week (behind LSU-Arkansas). Both teams are super telegenic and very fun to watch. Plus, who wins and who loses will show us a lot about both.
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.
Whatever, the real bandwagon died June 11, 2010.
The dream is over. After improbably making the playoffs/semi-finals, I threw up, like, a 50 point loss last week. There are no upsides, but the nice thing is the two best teams did make the finals. Both teams are loaded. One has Denard, one has Montee Ball. Spread is like six points. Should be pretty epic, actually.
- Speaking of Penn State (again)...about a week late on this, but the Penn State buttons that got pulled are hilarious.
- Real Iowa move, Florida Atlantic. Call me a cranky writer all you want, but I've been railing against this since I've been in college: stop rushing the field and the court. Only do it if you're a downtrodden or mid-tier program.
Here are the rules, they are so simple. 1) Win on the last play or super, super exciting fashion, you can rush, 2) Beat a Top 5 team and you don't consider your school elite, you can rush, 3) Win a title, you can rush, 4) Rivalry games are grey areas.
Baylor beating Oklahoma for the first time ever last week? One of the most legit field rushes ever. I don't know enough about Florida Atlantic's situation to actually call it out, but, man, Iowa rushed the field a lot. Iowa students rushed the field against teams we were favored to beat. I use "we" so loosely in that sentence. I love Iowa.
- Amazing quote from an Ohio State recruit. Re: Ohio State academic support (emphasis mine).
"It's the education part. I know all these schools athletically can offer me the same thing. The academic support at Ohio State, there is no way you can fail. Even if you're giving minimal effort there is no way you can fail."
Wrapping It Up...
Congrats to my idol, mentor, and friend (in my head) Rich Rodriguez on getting hired by Arizona. You are one of my favorite things about college football, and anyone who thinks anything negative about you is wrong. Arizona will probably become my honorary No. 4 favorite team. Fake favorite. Like old USC. College football the without RR for the last 10 months was a worse product. As I told Paige the other day, I wish him 50 national titles.
Bobby Loesch is the assistant editor of Tremendous Upside Potential and a weekly contributor to SBN Chicago. He can be reached at bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy.