The Hybrid is a weekly Big Ten football preview, plus relevant or whimsy games from the national slate
I wanted to go to Pullman.
The Palouse. Martin Stadium. The Cougs. I've jokingly said I'd rather visit Pullman over more popular destinations like an Italy or Spain... but, the thing is, it wasn't a joke at all.
This lifelong dream was my best laid plan in 2020 before 2020 became 2020. There were many others, of course, but this was The One; the plan you'd pick above all the others. I've been to probably 35 combined Iowa and Michigan football games -- but have rooted for all three teams throughout my life... Washington State was just *further*; that distance made the trip more elusive or rare. I coveted the voyage like it was placed on the pedestal of a pedestal.
A good friend moved to Seattle late last year, and I had it all sketched out in my overeager head from the second he gave me the news. Fly there, rent a car, road trip the nearly five hours. Not because it was the easiest route but because it felt more like the pilgrimage I wanted it to be. I would've even gone alone if that's what it came to.
Kept having visions of the scenery slowly changing as we left the city of Amazon and got closer to our destination in rural eastern Washington. The sun hitting the hills. I wanted "The Happening" meets Pure Michigan meets the perfect fall Saturday. You'd breathe the air different there.
Hell, would've even taken some snow.
Imagine dive bars, concerts, hugging your loved ones. We're getting closer. I am fortunate and aware enough to understand how little this pandemic affected me compared to 99.9% of the populace. To those of you with kids? God. Damn. How do you do it? To the unemployed? Keep fighting, keep at it. Your break will come. To the ones who lost a graduation, prom, wedding... I am so, so sorry. Frontline workers, you eternally have my admiration and respect. You are the heroes many would not be when faced with the same circumstances. Me? I just want to fucking play basketball or hop on an airplane.
Like, ten years ago, there used to be this First World Problems Twitter account, and one of my favorites looked something like this.
I have lobster stuck in my teeth which is a constant reminder of how fortunate I am, but seriously get out of my teeth.— Trevor Hickey (@TrevNY) June 8, 2015
Yes, we can dunk on the people who need crustacean floss, but, at the end of the day, your problems are still your problems.
In 2020, along with all of the very real problems, this college football season became our problem. Was it even going to happen (yes, then no, then yes, then kinda)? Would it be bastardized and controversial (yes yes yes yes)? Would the same shit happen that happens every year, regardless (YES)? Would the South prove they were tougher than the North even if that toughness really just meant more risk? This test is pretty much only yes answers.
The question: are you happy it happened? I hope you read Go Iowa Awesome because you either a) love college football, or b) hate college football (like me!). So was this worth it? My gut says no, but it is also so hard to deny some of the great moments. But can those memories be enough to carry a decision like that? This shit, as always, remains a complicated, loud spiderweb. I hope we never have to go through anything like it again.
Until then -- to use a completely heavy-handed metaphor -- I think of Pullman, Washington the way Andy Dufresne thought of Mexico before his Shawshank escape. That is the goal above all goals. I want to get there, be there, and appreciate everything it took to come out on the other side.
Welcome to the final Hybrid of 2020.
"In order to leave something behind, you have to leave."
N/A (was cancelled anyway)
Nebraska at Rutgers: #Play4Frost has hit a point where even if you hate him, you have to love him.
Frost: "It seemed like we had a media timeout for every drive."— Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) December 12, 2020
First clapping, now this? What's next? No, I am seriously asking. I'd put money on him potentially throwing an equipment manager under the bus. Everyone has to be fair game at this point.
The shoes were tied too tight!
Oregon (?!) at USC (13):
BREAKING: UW football will not be cleared to meet USC in the Pac-12 championship game on Friday, due to positive cases of COVID-19 and subsequent contact tracing. Oregon will take the Huskies place. (from @mikevorel) https://t.co/76N5sQcLAG— Seattle Times Sports (@SeaTimesSports) December 14, 2020
The Pac-12 probably got exactly what they wanted here. I swear the Huskies have only played, like, two games this season.
Four! Three wins, but the season ended with an L...
...to David Shaw.
Also, can someone explain how 5-0 USC is not in contention for The Playoff at all but Ohio State is penned in? Am I missing something major here?
Purdue at Indiana (11):
How it started: Penix Penix Penix, Vaginx Vaginx Vaginx
How it's going:
Road to Glory pic.twitter.com/o73ABk1yNQ— Mike Penix Jr. (@themikepenix) December 15, 2020
Heal up, sir -- you are one of the good ones.
Michigan at Iowa (16): We were ready.
Night game at Kinnick Stadium to end the season from hell???? pic.twitter.com/Lr2NC8r6sF— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) December 14, 2020
We as in you -- I did not want this to happen at all.
Ahhhh, thank you. My soul is battered and sputtering. It is the Harbaugh's eyes of souls.
Harbaugh looks like a President after serving 2 terms pic.twitter.com/5BiSAywkVm— Jim (@SportsJimShow) December 14, 2020
Good things did happen, though. For Iowa. Never for Michigan.
Like, this might genuinely just be a thing going forward.
1st half Petras vs 2nd half Petras pic.twitter.com/X0TgFSK7un— Heavens! (@HeavensFX) December 12, 2020
This, hopefully, will not.
the hollowed out eyes are legitimately terrifying pic.twitter.com/Wm9y02ebrM— RossWB (@RossWB) December 12, 2020
And we have no ragrets about said flip.
Ihmir Smith-Marsette says his ankle's good. Boot is precautionary.— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) December 13, 2020
"Do I regret the flip? No. Would I do it again? Yeah. Im just happy we got the win. Everyone was having fun. My senior year, never going to play in Kinnick again got to go out with a bang.
It also feels pure, uncut 2020 to have my favorite throw of the year come from maybe my least favorite QB.
Crossed one off the list. Growing up in FL I dreamed of filming in the and hadnt gotten the chance until today. It was AWESOME!!! The footage looks great with the and the W over Wisconsin, and 6 straight big ten wins enjoy a few of my fav shots from today #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/TzB5iwUuqh— Chris Ruth (@ChrisRuthIA) December 13, 2020
Vanderbilt at Georgia (8): Sarah Fuller kicking through the glass ceiling.
HISTORY— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) December 12, 2020
Sarah Fuller is the first woman to score in a Power 5 game. pic.twitter.com/Paq7WS24zu
Want it on the record forever how badly I would fail if put into this situation. I was touring the Patriots HOF in 2009 and attempted the snow kick at one of their simulators. Not only did I miss -- I slipped and landed on my back like it was a cartoon banana peel. What I'm saying is she is much more impressive than whatever that was supposed to be.
<3 <3 <3
Northwestern (14) at Ohio State (4): Ugh, fuck this bad game.
.@OhioStateFB becomes the first program in the ESPN 300 era (since 2006) to sign the top overall recruit in back-to-back classes.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 16, 2020
2021: DE Jack Sawyer
2020: WR Julian Fleming pic.twitter.com/cLAXRTAZLQ
Also, fuck the future.
Texas A&M (5) at Tennessee: A&M has one win over a ranked team (who themselves have two losses; hi, Florida!). Let's see if we can get a comment from the world's dumbest person.
Clemson's Dabo Swinney disagrees with Ohio State's College Football Playoff resume:— 247Sports (@247Sports) December 11, 2020
"If I was on a committee, it would be hard for me to leave out a 10-1 Texas A&M or an 11-game Florida team over a team that's played six games."https://t.co/CfoyTXEMUq pic.twitter.com/1MYk25kj6o
I had an Iowa professor once tell me freedom of speech is almost more important as a device to discover what you do not believe, and good gracious, Dabo fits the bill like a glove filled with old mayonnaise.
Oklahoma (10) at Iowa State (6): I love these people. (Ed. Note: Bobby does not speak for all of us on this point. -- Ross)
1912-2017 https://t.co/vVHpPVFPzI— Wide Right & Natty Lite (@WideRtNattyLt) December 3, 2020
But... we want your coach.
Every day we hear nothing I feel more and more confident that Harbaugh is out the door. If he really wanted to coach at Michigan money be damned itd be done by now. Feels like were waiting for the NFL shoe to drop. Im at 70/30 hes gone— Lamar Jackson Truther (@ThiccStauskas) December 15, 2020
Not so fast -- look what he fell into on Wednesday.
For the first time in program history, Michigan signs a Top 100 QB, RB, WR and OL in the same cycle and some of you want to fire dad to make a run at the Iowa State coach because we had a bad pandemic year— MC (@20MC20) December 16, 2020
Either way, Go Clones.
Washington State at Utah: Wazzu's game last week had the plug pulled maybe an hour before. Obviously safety first, but it was the first day-of cancellation I can remember in college or the pros.
Air Force at Army: One more chance to watch Jonny Nation!
Army (-7.5) beats Navy 15-0 and the game stays UNDER the total of 36.— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkes22) December 12, 2020
It is the 15th straight UNDER in the series.
Louisiana (19) at Coastal Carolina (12): Coastal is on the cusp of going 12-0 with three wins over ranked teams -- and won't even be allowed to make eyes at The Playoff. This is the world's worst sport...
...that always finds a way to have a saving grace.
Ole Miss at LSU:
Once again, my thoughts on the current state of LSU Football: pic.twitter.com/Xt8aEOYDzz— Evan Saacks (@evansaacks) December 10, 2020
Clemson (3) at Notre Dame (2): The first ever meh No. 2 vs. No. 3 matchup in Hybrid history? Clemson Tom doesn't think so.
I've been waiting all year for Saturday afternoon. We have our revenge game against Notre Dame. Now, the last time we played Notre Dame, we went to double overtime with our third and fourth string defense and offense. So I think we did a pretty good job with true freshmen and sophomores playing against Ian “Soft As A Note" book. I really hate that guy's face. I'm sure he's a decent human being and everything, but there’s something about the way he just breathes that really aggravates me to my core. Also, I think I speak for the rest of America when I say the head coach, Kelly, is a complete waste of a human.
I'm not kidding when I say that we played with third and fourth string players the first time we played them. When you have the coaches' sons out there playing the entire game, something is definitely wrong. Now, that everyone is healthy, you can expect a decent game -- as I am predicting -- but we all know that Trevor Lawrence is not going to let Notre Dame keep him from the College Football Playoff.
Spot the damn ball and watch the video.
He also sent this video.
Does it end with a prank call? You know it.
Minnesota at Wisconsin: Well, y'all -- we did it. An entire college football season passed without me learning the name of Sconnie's RB1. I even watched two full games! Crashing and burning in Big Ten fantasy football probably did not help. Speaking of... for those of you who asked (no one asked), our Premier League-style season somehow is coming down to the last week, as the 8-0 team is playing the 7-1 team for the title. The 8-0 guy has Fields, and I'm not sure the 7-1 guy has a playable QB, so, uh, we'll see how that goes.
Illinois at Penn State: RIP, Lovie. Can someone be boring and unsuccessful yet still feel like a loss for the conference when they exit?
Stanford at UCLA: Is... UCLA the new Stanford?
I might just take the rest of the night off pic.twitter.com/x8YyAb6Ygn— CJ Fogler (@cjzer0) December 13, 2020
Alabama (1) at Florida (7): RGDMFT.
This is the final score tweet.— Arkansas Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) December 12, 2020
Alabama has won every game they've played this season by double digits and their points for/against in the last five is a staggering 253-36. I swear this happened the second Sabes basically said defenses couldn't control games like they used to. He's a god damned wizard.
Florida, conversely, has a baby with hands dipped in finger paint.
"I guess the best thing to do would have been to play less games because you seem to get rewarded for not playing this year in college football."— John Talty (@JTalty) December 13, 2020
After his first loss, Dan tried to shift blame to having a packed stadium. After this one, Dan tries to whine about playing 10 games.
Dan Mullen, this sport will be better when you are forever gone.
The shoe guy can stay, though.
The guy who threw a shoe at George W. Bush has been made aware of the Florida shoe throw!— Allan Bell (@AllanBell247) December 13, 2020
2020 is just pure insanity every day. https://t.co/05DyQiLtKq
Tulsa (23) at Cincinnati (9): Why can't we have good things?
I'm in the minority as someone who actually likes the 4-team College Football Playoff but I gotta admit, this 16-team bracket is borderline erotic... pic.twitter.com/jh1zrWt21D— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) December 11, 2020
Wrapping It Up...
The 2020 college football season plan / The 2020 college football season reality pic.twitter.com/4g5LFaY1Lt— actioncookbook (@actioncookbook) December 12, 2020
We still built something together though, didn't we? Though this was supposed to be the final Hybrid of a year we can't wait to finish...
2020 is 96% complete. pic.twitter.com/4iuBixZHvr— Progress Bar 2020 (@ProgressBar202_) December 17, 2020
...I have some news.
Due to the potentially historic nature of the 2020-2021 Iowa men's basketball team -- and, honestly, because I do not fucking leave the house -- I am proud to announce the continuation of this column as it morphs into what we will be calling...
It's a combination of The Hybrid, basketball, and a subtle nod to drinking. Every Thursday, noon (CST), until the wheels fall off.
Not exactly sure how it is going to look quite yet, but I am very open to general suggestions and ideas for sections. What we do know: it will be more Iowa-focused/less nationally focused than its football counterpart. That said, I absolutely plan on shoehorning in Michigan hoops talk (not sorry/sorta sorry) but also hating on Brad Davison (a promise we can all believe in). Can even also try to keep some football talk going; still trying to lock down Clemson Tom.
Clueless people on the Internet tend to use this video in a triumphant way, but if you know me or this column at all, it's a much better indicator of an impending downfall.
Let's continue this dive into the void, together. The parquet awaits.
Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Go Iowa Awesome. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or email to bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com.