The Hybrid is a weekly Big Ten football preview, plus relevant or whimsy games from the national slate
Every new season, I learn less about football and more about feelings. Which is ironic, because any football person would probably tell you there isn't room in the game for feelings. But the counterargument is that's probably the problem.
When "all costs" translates into "basically committing crimes," we have to draw a line somewhere, right? The writing has always been on the wall. This was the header picture we closed last season on:
Remember what mattered then? I don't, but looked it up:
Urban Meyer says he wants an "all-out investigation" into which cameraman collided with J.T. Barrett prior to the Buckeyes' win against Michigan. https://t.co/4gBMtegEdt— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 25, 2017
There are people -- real, plentiful people -- that care more about this fake investigation that never happened than stopping life's actual monsters.
And that's where we gotta draw a line.
Craig Finn once said "We gotta try a little harder, we gotta be a little better, we gotta put it back together." My fear is even if we do one and two, college football culture is too far gone. We'll get to Urban even more later, but one of the most audacious parts of the story is how not-contrite the dude was even *after* having his job nearly taken away. I shudder thinking about how much is still occurring under rocks all across the country. You just hope we can contain the Penn States and Michigan States of the world. No one is going to be perfect, but institutional control can still be a thing if decent people are still a thing.
But man, like... are they?
"Too late to forget me, we already met."
UCF (21) at UConn: meh
New Mexico State at Minnesota: mehhhhh
Northwestern at Purdue: You know how I know we're the lamest, most conditioned people in all of college football? I saw these two lame asses playing in Week 1 and grabbed at my neck for pearls that weren't there.
"A Big Ten conference game in Week 1... I'm just not used to this!"
And this was even after tOSU-Indiana last year.
Missouri State at Oklahoma State: It was probably time.
ATROCITY: Mike Gundy no longer has a mullet! pic.twitter.com/IwsVbfCLVC— Allan Bell (@AllanBell247) August 18, 2018
But it's still sorta kinda there, no?
Utah State at Michigan State (11): Sup, horribles?
Let's check in with Michigan State's renewed commitment to combating misogyny https://t.co/5FKEaQPe3H— Bryan Mac (@Bry_Mac) July 25, 2018
Western Kentucky at Wisconsin (4): We're... really gonna do the "Wisconsin could win the national title!" thing? Really?
I have a ton of respect for what Sconnie built and continues to sustain up there, but this is college football, idiots -- it's the same, like, three teams every year. Why is this different? Because of an O-line that's usually awesome anyway and an RB that's gonna put up mega dope stats? Stop me if you've heard this one before. So if it's really going to be different-different, you're basically telling me you believe in a big Hornibrook leap. It's not out of the question -- he threw 25 TDs last year... but he also threw 15 picks. He's horny as hell, sure, but he's also a bit of a roller coaster. I approach 2018 Wisconsin football with no hate in my heart, only genuine curiosity of how the hell this is gonna go. Let us hold hands and be horny.
San Diego State at Stanford (13): Cardinal (/forces index finger down throat to vomit) RB Bryce Love is back after saying "nah" to the NFL. Did have cool reasons to not go pro?
Eh, he seems like a good guy. That said, he skipped Pac-12 media day to go to class and Skyped in (laaaaaaaaaaaaame).
Oregon State at Ohio State (5): Ohhhhh, these are the least of the problems, you conscienceless dipshits.
Football "pants." Also, the "knee pads" seem a bit off. pic.twitter.com/76PBZj7pjw— Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) December 30, 2017
The rally for Urban Meyer at Ohio Stadium pic.twitter.com/4pmRS27X1p— Ari Wasserman (@AriWasserman) August 6, 2018
I mean, this... this decision.
This is weird but Ohio State investigated Ohio State and decided not to ruin Ohio States football program— Faux Pelini (@FauxPelini) August 23, 2018
We cannot allow ourselves to be surprised. These are horrible people doing horrible things.
Why? Why keep that staffer who also had so many performance issues, now public? The staffer missed recruiting visits and check-ins — unbelievable at a football program anywhere, much less at Ohio State. The report mentions the staffer’s history of “promiscuous and embarrassing sexual behavior, drug abuse, truancy, dishonesty, financial irresponsibility, a possible NCAA violation, and a lengthy police investigation into allegations of criminal domestic violence and cyber crimes.” The university-commissioned report concludes that despite this, Meyer never wrote Zach Smith up or put him on a performance improvement plan, and instituted “no disciplinary action until July 23, 2018.”
They protect each other, they enable heinous acts. I'm not talking about just Ohio State anymore. I'm talking about them all. I know in my heart of hearts there are good coaches out there; good ADs, adequate systems. But what percentage would we put that at? Sub 20%? I mean, man:
What message do you have for Courtney Smith? Urban Meyer: "I'm sorry we're in this situation." Holy fuck, Urban.— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 23, 2018
"But Bobby, he's since apologized to Courtney Smith after literally everyone with a brain crushed him for not originally doing so!"
/rolls eyes ... homie spent that entire day sorting this mess out, and that legit was the best they could come up with; someone compared it to a hostage video -- were they even remotely kidding?
Urban Meyer is bad and good and talented and horrible and, maybe above all else, a petulant maniac liar. I've clowned him in this column for years, but deep down, even with his shady ass reputation, there has always been a baseline of respect. This, obviously, no longer exists. Ohio State's decision to keep this man transcends sports hate and rivalries -- this is soul sacrificing in the brightest of spotlights. Football wins are not bigger than this. I knew we were in trouble when it went from "When will they?" to "How many games?"
Diana Moskovitz at Deadspin put that bullshit into real perspective:
It’s a fool’s errand to expect anything logical from them, let alone an adequate response to something as ubiquitous and horrifying as domestic violence. And that’s before you unpack how ludicrous the entire exercise even is, to turn a woman’s pain and suffering and desperation into the language of, literally, a game.
No quote should stay in your head more after this than those lines. Don't get me wrong, this is grey. I am not calling Urban Meyer the devil. I am well aware the worst of this comes from Zach Smith. But the fallout or lack thereof makes me think of that MLK quote. Oh, you know, the all-of-them one?
- Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
- The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
- The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.
- Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.
- He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
- History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
- Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.
I don't even know what to say. There is no pizza, there is no righteousness, there is no fair power structure. Fuck everything; the karma comeback has to be real, and I will spend no time to equating it to on field outcomes.
Florida Atlantic at Oklahoma (7): Oklahoma, we need something light. Whatcha got?
We're gonna have to settle with little kid Kyler Murray in a Bean jersey.
Southern at TCU (16):
We're all rolling with TCU until at least the Ohio State game, right?
No outcomes, man; it's bigger than the games.
Texas (23) vs. Maryland: Maryland, we saw what happened last year versus UT. So here's the plan: wrap every QB's knee with all the tape you got, run a shitload of Wildcat, then get the hell out of there.
(D.J. Durkin, I have no scorn left, but please know you too are bad.)
Kent State at Illinois: Returning for his fifth and final year, one of my favorite college football players of all-time.
For the unacquainted, Illinois WR Mikey Dudek is the coolest cat ever. He produced the greatest athletic feat I have ever seen in person back when he played for my high school alma mater.
After two season-ending knee injuries and more bumps and bruises last year, he is finally healthy and ready to attack the world with new QB AJ Bush. Normally, I'd waffle between being crazily optimistic and cautiously optimistic, but it's time to face facts: this is the last dance. It's maniacism or it isn't. I choose maniacism.
Fluttering my heart further is Valpo transfer (and also Neuqua Valley program alum) Donny Navarro. He's more of a slot threat who was once described as being able to "get open in a shoebox". Anyway, this is him:
sick sick sick sick
Texas State at Rutgers: Well, a lot of other team controversies in their division probably took some heat off ol' Rutg--
I thought the offseason was missing a certain something https://t.co/cQeL3oA0i1— Ace Anbender (@AceAnbender) July 12, 2018
Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech: What will be harder to live down... Tony himself, or the #FinsUpRebels hashtag?
Factoring in the hashtag, have you ever seen a phrase more symbolic of 21st century identity dysphoria?
Furman at Clemson (2): I asked Clemson Tom if he was back in for 2018, and he basically shot this response out of a cannon. The man delivers like the 1st and 15th:
Welcome back to another wonderful season. If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you are a college football fan. If you aren’t, I’m assuming you accidentally stumbled across this looking for a hybrid type car.
Hybrid cars are for people who watch Pac-12 football.
This season, the Clemson Tigers are looking to once again go back to the College Football Playoff and win the national championship. If you don’t believe the Tigers will get there, you’re a complete moron. Can they win a national championship? Absolutely -- they have the talent. But will they? That’s the million-dollar question, my friends. The fun part is they have the ability, so you will be watching premier football unlike the football play in Columbia, South Carolina.
This week, we play Furman. They are private school in Greenville, South Carolina. You will hear this probably 100 times when you’re watching "College GameDay" Saturday morning, but their quarterback is actually a student at Clemson. I don’t want to get into the details because I really don’t care, but he does attend both schools.
I can’t really trash talk because we should wipe the floor with them. You will see a lot of our younger talent in the second half, i.e. Trevor Lawrence, who some fans have dubbed the next greatest Clemson QB. [ed- yeah, he looks super cool]
This weekend, we welcome back the greatest sport in America. I hope your team does well unless you are a Gamecock fan.
Raise hell and drink a cold one for me.
UMass at Boston College: File this away for future anger.
Javian Dayne, Ron Dayne's son, committed to Boston College today. We are all old. https://t.co/SPZycRX6Gw— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) January 20, 2018
Austin Pea at Georgia (3): You couldn't close the damn thing out, could you, Georgia? You had 2nd and 26.
AN EPIC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!!!!!— TITANIC TD (@TitanicTD) January 9, 2018
ON 2ND AND 26, TRUE FRESHMAN QB TUA TAGOVAILOA THROWS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WINNING 41 YARD TOUCHDOWN STRIKE TO DEVONTA SMITH!!!!! IT'S EVEN BETTER WITH TITANIC MUSIC!!! @ALABAMAFTBL ARE CHAMPS AGAIN!!!! NICK SABAN DOES IT AGAIN!!!
2nd and 26.
Washington (6) at Auburn (9): Game of the Week. Been giggling at this shit every time the promo runs. And yes, I sifted through at least two pages of videos to present you with... this.
Appalachian State at Penn State (10): /ignores Penn State opponent
So we're all hoping the losing-Saquon-and-the-OC is enough to slow down what James Franklin is building in Happy Valley, right?
Tennessee vs. West Virginia (17): How long do we think Will Grier is gonna be a thing? Quarter of the year? Half the year? All year? There might be enough good guys already -- not sure I'll have the energy for this.
Northern Illinois at Iowa: You know what happened a little bit ago that I'm still thinking about?
Gary Barta just said that if alcohol is ever sold at Kinnick Stadium, the motivation wont be to make money, but rather to improve the fan experience.— Pat Harty (@PatHarty) July 24, 2018
Also, my tOSU co-owner and I drafted Noah Fant in the first round of our Big Ten Only (/shudder) college fantasy football league. You best believe this matters more now; I'm taking his stats more seriously than Brian Ferentz takes discipline.
Brian Ferentz with strong reply when asked about having two OTs suspended for opener: We have a situation that is all of our own doing. This is the University of Iowa. You cannot get out of jail on Thursday and play on Saturday. Thats not how it works here." (1/2)— MarkEmmert (@MarkEmmert) August 21, 2018
Have some, Sparty.
Washington State at Wyoming: On December 29th, 2017, I watched Tyler Hilinski start Washington State's bowl game against Michigan State. Less than one month later, he took his own life.
In June, SI reported he had Stage 1 CTE. After my teams took bad L's in the final week of the regular season, I complained like I always complain and half-vowed to stop following this sport. If and when I actually do, it will be for real reasons like this. There has to be a better way than whatever it is we're currently doing. We love our rituals, our traditions, our Saturdays -- but what is the cost? There is another conversation to be had about how Washington State is choosing to handle all this, but I honestly am still at a loss.We'll miss you bad, 3.
RIP, Tyler Hilinski (1996-2018)
(In the aftermath is Hilinski's Hope, a charity namesake centered around mental illness education founded by Tyler's parents.)
UNLV at USC (15): So we're doing this, eh?
If you assumed 5-star pro style QB from the state of California and can also somehow see into the future and know he's on the Jets now, you're right on all accounts.
North Carolina at California: I liked this scandal because of its purity; it felt very "back to the basics."
North Carolina suspends 13 football players for selling Nike Jordan shoes https://t.co/CKSp9Ls4ug— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) August 6, 2018
I mean, who among us?
Boise State (22) at Troy: Bleh.
Indiana at Florida Intl: Ross mines gold.
wait wait WAIT... Indiana has a QB named JOHNNY PABST? pic.twitter.com/KfPiQyW2h1— RossWB (@RossWB) August 27, 2018
My only regret is he already goes by Johnny so we can't stylize "John Pabst" with a more casual nickname. I hope he only receives snaps like these:
Michigan (14) at Notre Dame (12): I like ND because they make it easy.
I do not like Michigan because they make it hard.
Michigan has the 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12 preseason top 25 teams scheduled— Patrick Barron (@BlueBarronPhoto) August 20, 2018
Also: in, like, May, Michigan did some sort of "endearing roast" of former head coach and spineless program sabotager Lloyd Carr.
"There's always care in his voice," Harbaugh said. "He was the kind of leader that, some light a torch and you go down a dark path and they say 'follow me' and you all follow him. There's other leaders that I truly respect, this type of leader, that lights his torch but is also lighting other torches along the way."
It's not always this easy to pinpoint the moment you realize you don't deserve good things. If only he felt about chicken the way he feels about Lloyd.
Maybe they just shoulda sent in Jourdan Lewis. If Carr rocked black and gold, he wouldn't have had a chance.
You play WR at Iowa, you really just telling me you wanna be a bouncer.— Jourdan Lewis (@JourdanJD) July 19, 2018
Louisville vs. Alabama (1): We gonna roll around in glass now or after the game?
Alabama is number one in the preseason 2018 AP poll & has now been number one in at least one poll in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, & 2018. This is by far the longest stretch of consecutive number one years in CFB history. https://t.co/KGRjFblBaS— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 20, 2018
Bobby Petrino at UofL Luncheon ending his remarks on the Alabama game:— Jason Anderson (@J680Anderson) August 17, 2018
"I believe we're gonna go beat em. And we will go beat em"
Also: there is no QB controversy. It's Tua. Stop there, end there.
Bowling Green at Oregon (24): Fringe Oregon continues to bum everyone out. I'd rather them be unranked than suffer these back-of-the-Top-25 indignities.
Oregons new uniforms use the same font size as your moms iPhone pic.twitter.com/sCgURQuAIW— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) August 16, 2018
Akron at Nebraska: Remember when Tanner went pro?
Yeah, how'd that go?
Wait, he did get drafted? I've been telling everyone he didn't!
Miami (8) vs. LSU (25): As someone with not one single memory of OBJ's college career, it's good to know -- shade free sentence -- I didn't really miss anything compared to his glorious NFL highlights.
As for The U... there's been buzz on them as a regression team, but I have no feel whatsoever. Is the Turnover Chain back?
Virginia Tech (20) at Florida State (19): I mean, OK.
Wrapping It Up...
This perfectly encapsulates why I hate "The Big Bang Theory" pic.twitter.com/G2P4TLyUKy— Lyle Rath (@LyleRath) January 27, 2016
(all of us on Saturday)
Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Go Iowa Awesome. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or email to bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com.