Greetings, Chicagoans and other people who somehow found this website. Welcome to another year of college football! You know, the sport that sucked because it didn't have a playoff but now sort of does? Yeah, it has returned. Or, with props to Maybach Music Group: college football back.
My name's Bobby Loesch, and as far as SBN Chicago goes, I will be your official tour guide for this 2012-13 season. Those familiar with my work know I'm a Michigan/Iowa/Washington State fan, SEC hater but begrudging respecter of-er, and general lunatic when it comes to this beautiful calamity of a sport. This column is called The Hybrid. It was named that because I like tweener defensive players (LB/DEs for life) and thought it sounded cool. I think there were other reasons I'm forgetting (environmentally conscious?). Whatever. In the past, this column was very long and full of weird sections. In 2012, we are aiming for a trimmer, slicker Hybrid. We will be keeping some: the optional long introduction, the deconstruction of the Top 25, the preview of the upcoming slate, and the goodbye. Everything else? He gone.
But before we reduce, let's reintroduce and bid farewell to some of the old running favorites. I love how even in the process of trimming and deleting sections, we find a way to add more sections. Man, like, oh well.
- Tuh-Tuh-Tuh Tebow Rant: This was mostly me making fun of Tim Tebow. It was fun for a while because he polarized all of college football, but America was still kind of in the dark. At this point? He's more in that "jesus/obama/oprah" zone where his name reads more like a search engine term than an actual way to identify a person. The world has caught up, and though they might not be over Tebow (or even close), I sure as hell am. He's been burnt out (thanks, ESPN!). And unless there's some legit, college football tie to the Aw Shucks Duck Chuck, we'll more than likely keep his name outta this space.
- College Football Bandwagon: This section only took place after my real teams lost during any given season. It was me and my college roommate (Iowa Ryan) trying to latch on to actual good teams, find reasons to make them our own, and enjoy the success they eventually (or hopefully?) attained. In preparation for college football's playoff down the line, it's probably time to ax this biotch. Just feels a bit dated.
- Big Ten Rant: This was me finding something stupid from the Big Ten on that given week (really, like trying to mine water in the ocean) and complaining about its idiocy. This was a tough cut because the Big Ten really sucks and needs to get called out all the time. HOWEVA, there should be enough space within the remaining sections to still dig at this conference -- plenty. You'll just have to trust my capability here. Because man, I have credentials.
- College Fantasy Football Update: In 2011, I simultaneously debuted and became commissioner of a college fantasy football league (Big Ten, exclusively [we are crazy.]). I took a lot of delight in how stupid it was and of course saw the need to give weekly summaries. Though we're running it back this year (huge middle finger your way, CBS Sports), I think I'm done discussing it publicly. That said, my core is Ohio State QB Braxton Miller and the Michigan State defense. I also spent a large portion of the draft trying to find out the kicking depth charts of Indiana, Ohio State, Purdue, and Illinois. So yeah, this section definitely deserved to die. I'll still probably mention it from time to time, though.
- What They Said -- A Take On Others' CFB Takes: This was just a link dump with some commentary, for the most part. College football blogger Matt Hinton was my Edie Sedgwick. While I still heavily recommend peeping his stuff (he's now back with us at SB Nation writing at Sunday Morning QB again), big links should get linked enough throughout the column without having to be singled out at the end each week.
- Random Picture I Came Across While Googling Stuff For This Post: Obviously no explanation needed. But here are three examples. I believe this one was always known as the creepiest find.
While we're still indenting line items, I wanted to end this introduction with a constitution of sorts. Who are we and how did we get here? What are the rules? What is the language? What is The Hybrid? In honor of Michigan's laughably high No. 8 ranking, the Hybrid is...
- ...Worshiping the Spread Offense and its genius architects like Rich Rodriguez, Mike Leach, and -- sigh. -- Urban Meyer. O is cool, points are natural, and the only good scoreboard is one lit up like a Christmas tree.
- ...Pronouncing Mond'y, Tuesd'y, Wednesd'y, Thursd'y, Frid'y, Saturd'y, Sund'y as such. Wait, how do you spell and pronounce the days of the week??
- ...Calling out old, crusty sportswriters for not 'getting it'. Yo guys, cheating is cool. And while we're at it, Pro Style Sucks, Notre Dame hasn't been relevant since the 1980s, and a jersey with the color black on it isn't promoting gangs. Over it.
- ...Listening to "Call Me Maybe", deeming it the best pop song of 2012, the unquestioned jam of the summer, and the greatest thing to happen to music in the last eight months.
- ...Respecting and not hating on cool power programs like Oregon, Miami, USC, Oklahoma, Texas and giving dap to up and comers like West Fucking Virginia and Okie State.
- ...Saying "'Friday Night Lights' or GTFO." Here, we pay tribute to the greatest network drama of all-time. If you haven't seen it, watch it instead of reading this column.
- ...Sneaking in a "y'all" on occasion, despite being from the Midwest.
- ...Yearning for the SEC's national title reign to finally, finally, finally end. It'll happen, dudes.
Also, watch the "BYAH!" video. Definitely do that.
I'll also probably put a poll at the bottom of every column I ever write, even if there's nothing worth asking. So feel free to vote always.
I'm now ready. Let's get it.
Quick, Selective Hits On The BCS Top 25
1) USC (25): One of my historically favorite bandwagon teams gets the nod as our pre-season No. 1 -- and don't they totally deserve it? Returning the best pocket passer in the country paired with that cool wide receiver and tons of other blue chippers, it's not crazy to call the Trojans the favorite. Though with all the success the SEC's had over this last half decade/decade, I'd be a little cautious with the crowning.
2) Alabama (17): The champ is here! Sure, they lost stud RB Trent Richardson, cool defense guys, and everyone knows their QB is boring, but they isn't it always reloading with these guys? The o-line returns all five starters and are said to be monsters. If anyone's gonna boring up our season with bland, juggernaut-type on-field executions, it'll be these dudes.
3) LSU (16): Ah, the team who put together one of the worst national title games of all-time. Zero points, eh? I feel like I'm still waiting for LSU to cross the GD 50-yard line.
4) Oklahoma (1): Slightly, slightly forgot Landry Jones is coming back. That's good news, because Oklahoma is always a blast to watch. QB continuity can only help continue this storied tradition.
5) Oregon: The spread Gods are always interesting because of their offense, coach, and uniforms, and this year, they're starting a redshirt freshman named Marcus Mariota. While he's never done anything super notable on the field yet, he's from Hawaii, was recruited as a dual-threat QB, and former Ducks RB LaMichael James said he's the "real deal" and could be the "best QB to ever play at Oregon."
6) Georgia: Have heard a little bit of buzz around the Bulldogs as a national title darkhorse. They duck all the good SEC teams in the regular season and return a bunch of starters, so that's cool, but when does Georgia ever do anything? I'm putting them in the "prove it" file.
7) Florida State: Kirk Herbstreit, one of my absolute favorite college football analysts, picked the Seminoles to win the national title. This season. Is he trying to look smart, or does he truly believe this?
8) Michigan (1): A lot of times, a team gets over-ranked and I lose my shit. Michigan has the honor of being the first team this year to help me hit that point. Let the games begin...
God damn, is this a joke? You know what makes this No. 8 ranking even better (read: more offensive)? The fucking "(1)" after their name. Seriously?! Over-ranked at No. 8 *and* a novelty first place vote? This is such a joke. Michigan and Notre Dame get more love for showing promise than a high school basketball player with a 40 inch vert. After Michigan had everything break right for them in every conceivable way in 2011, it's very hard to fathom it happening in back-to-back seasons. Even their best case scenario (last year) still resulted in two losses. This season, they 'boast' one of the top ten most difficult schedules, have a guaranteed loss to Alabama in Week 1, and really are probably more suited at No. 16. Seriously, if they finish this season in the Top 10, you all get ponies.
Don't get me wrong, I love Michigan, Denard and I'm totally in the bag for this team, but 2012 is going to be a ringer, man. I've had to deal with the fact this season is 'over' for the last two years. Seriously, they said to themselves "We're Michigan. Let's ruin Denard's senior year." (probably)
Having said that, you do have to beat the best and play the best to try and put yourself in that territory. I'd rather this game and loss happen now than the national title game. As depressing as it sounds, at least you know (like, right away) what you have.
I am picking Alabama, however.
9) South Carolina: Noted SEC homie Clay Travis picked the Cocks to win the national title over USC. #alsoadarkhorse
10) Arkansas: Meh.
11) West Virginia: These cats have some buzz, they're moving to the Big 12, and their QB is one of Vegas', like, Top 10 Heisman contenders. WFV, you are officially interesting.
12) Wisconsin: My typical bearishness on 'eh' Wisconsin took a back seat in 2011 when Russell Wilson came in and burned the boring power running philosophy to the ground. This year, Montee Ball's Heisman campaign and a new starting QB all but ensures Wisconsin returning to bland form. The upside? They'll probably still run up the score and be awesome in that regard.
13) Michigan State: Elite defense, experienced o-line, and a good RB? Check. Wide receivers and a QB with any tangible experience? ...
14) Clemson: Knowing nothing about this team, I'm declaring them overrated and destined to blow a big game.
15) Texas: Heard UT was considering a QB platoon which, you know, could be regrettable.
16) Virginia Tech: Sorry about that Sugar Bowl, dudes. You deserved to win.
17) Nebraska: What's funny about Nebraska's love affair with RB Rex Burkhead is I'm pretty sure they feel the exact opposite about QB Taylor "T-Magic" Martinez. It's a real good universal balance. Even better, my buddy Mikey B., an Iowa fan living in Nebraska-ish territory, auto-drafted his college fantasy team last year and got T-Magic. This year, he got roped into a last minute assignment for work and was forced to auto-draft again. His player this time? Burkhead. Rough times.
18) Ohio State: The Urban era begins. As much as I hate how quickly tOSU rebounded from the sanctions (assuming the ship continues its course this year), it's undeniably exciting to have a lightning QB like Braxton Miller paired up with Urban "Family Man" Meyer.
19) Oklahoma State: Perpetual column favorite feels a little lower than their typical pre-season ranks of the past. They did loose Weeden and Blackmon, so I s'pose I can see it.
20) TCU: First mid-major.
21) Stanford: You're still around?
22) Kansas State
23) Florida: No *way* is Florida ranked. Really? We're just grasping here.
24) Boise State: Very happy Boise eeked in, because it makes their Friday game against MSU that much cooler (ranked vs. ranked, it has to be good!).
South Carolina (9) at Vanderbilt: Ahh, South Carolina's annual game which ropes me in because its one of the first games, they're ranked high and on the road... yet they're playing a crappy SEC team which never does anything. Happy to be here.
Washington State at BYU: Super awesome for me because it's a) the start of the Mike Leach era, b) Wazzu on TV and c) Wazzu on TV before they've lost a game. I think this is the first time this has happened in four years; not exaggerating. Thursday night, ESPN.
Minnesota at UNLV: The first Big Ten game of the year! Minnesota! UNLV! 10 p.m. CST start! Haha, I'm not watching, either.
Boise State (24) at Michigan State (13): Really, really love this game. Borderline Game of the Week potential if not for, well, you know. Both teams were very good last year but come into 2012 losing dudes. The homefield and stout defense definitely favors MSU, and the Kellen Moore departure leaves a huge void in the QB position/offense overall for Boise State, but it's early season Boise against a power conference team, so you never know.
Notre Dame vs. Navy (in Ireland): Who's in on that 8 a.m. (CST) start? No one? Notre Dame could do us a real nice favor and blow their season somehow even earlier than usual.
Miami (OH) at Ohio State (18): My girlfriend (tOSU fan) is going to this, so we know SBN Chicago's Zach Martin will be watching, possibly tear-soaked in a Dublin pub. Plus, Braxton and the Urban debut, remember?
Iowa vs. Northern Illinois (at Soldier Field): Not a good game, but I wanted to comment. As an Iowa alum living in Chicagoland, I feel very obligated to go to this. Only, five years ago when Iowa-NIU played at Soldier Field, Michigan lost to Appy State right before it started, the game itself sucked (though there was beer), and it was probably the worst day of my life. Not good mojo on a day Michigan plays the defending champs. I wish my friends the best, and if you need me, I'll be as far away as possible.
Clemson vs. Auburn: Come on, Climpson. Let's get that loss out of the way, and we can kinda just build from there.
Hawaii at USC (1): My love of Hawaii the place and USC the concept got this game here. I can't promise anything, though.
Michigan (8) vs. Alabama (2) (in Dallas): Game of the Week. Though I'll be pins and needles, I highly, highly urge you, the less invested fan, to remember to not look at this as 2 vs. 8. It's really more like a 1 vs. 20 kind of game. You can't come in with expectations. I told someone earlier this week my best case scenario is "Michigan loses by 17 and no one gets hurt." Worst case? Denard gets severely injured, Michigan gets hella embarassed, and we all go home. I understand we have to pin our Week 1 hopes on this game being good, but just don't get bitter if that doesn't happen. ESPN is billing this as power program vs. power program because of the meaningless single digit pre-season rankings for both teams, but right now, Alabama is definitely in a different class. Comparing them like they're remotely similar is a disservice to what Alabama has accomplished over these last four years.
Arkansas State at Oregon (5): Let's see this new Q.
Wrapping It Up...
I have Limp Bizkit stuck in my head. I'm extremely worried about Saturday.