The Hybrid: The Game, Or, The Location Of My Soul
Ohio State has defeated Michigan five times in a row. I'm sure of this, I just looked it up. Part of me was surprised because I thought it had actually been decades.
In all seriousness, I thought it was actually about seven times in a row. But five's still bad.
Earlier this week, ESPN's Adam Rittenberg outlined various Big Ten coaches' records against perceived rivals. Jim Tressel's looked like this -- vs. Illinois: 5-2 / vs. Penn State: 6-3 / vs. Michigan: 7-1.
Seven-and-one. Better than every other rival. And Michigan used to be good. Say what you want about Tressel being conservative, wearing sweater vests, and wasting Terrelle Pryor's talents, but 7-1 in The Game is 7-1 in The Game.
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.
The flower and phone are just a distraction!
Not just mine, either. Lloyd Carr, Mike Hart, Chad Henne... all the rest. We're all there.
Fighting for dear life to keep his soul out of Tressel's death chest is one Rich Rodriguez. I'm terrified it's a futile battle, but all I can do is stay optimistic. And as they say, when there's nothing left to believe in, believe in hope.
Carr was 6-7 against Ohio State. RichRod is 0-1. It's funny, you can actually work with 0-1. RichRod has been under so much fire at this job, you think he'd of been there for at least a decade. With all the bullshit that flies around him, I'm sure it probably feels that way to him sometimes.
Out of all the dumb, smug, stupid, pointless crap that Michigan does when it comes to its coaches, one is the concept of being a "Michigan Man." This concept is brought up all of the freaking time. And I can't imagine it still goes on anywhere else. In the craziest place in the world (SEC country), they don't do this. They used to prefer to have "one of their own" coaching, but people like Urban Meyer (among many others) proved transplants can be just as successful as homegrown talent. This is why you don't hear about a Florida Man, or a Georgia Man, or... an Alabama Man.
This clip in German was the best I could do, though it's probably
"Michigan Man." You have to know the traditions, the rules, the way things are supposed to be.
It's just so god damned absurd. Seriously, re-read that in a southern accent. Because that's the logic we're operating with here.
You have to know the traditions, the rules, the way thangs are sposta to beeee!
Only we're not operating with Southern logic because they don't even do that.
I bring up "Michigan Man" because one of the primary components of being a Michigan Man is understanding the significance of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry. Yes, the thing that any casual college football fan could acknowledge is important. It's like the boosters and more ignorant fans want to sit RichRod down and say: "No, no, don't say The Game's important, say it's really important. There's a difference, ya see?" Re-read that with a southern accent.
RichRod probably hates everyone.
This article was great.
"Just because I did not coach here before, I did not play here before, I'm not from the state of Michigan, doesn't mean I don't understand the rivalry." Rodriguez said. "Trust me, I understand the importance of the rivalry. I get it."Translation: I realize it's important you stupid morons! Leave me the hell alone!
But he ain't done (emphasis mine).
"I'm going to give you a news flash here," Rodriguez said. "I'm going to coach as hard as I can in every game I play, whether I'm playing Delaware State or Ohio State. Ohio State is a whole lot more important to a lot more folks and I understand that... if you know anything about college football, you understand this rivalry. It's the best one in sports. I'm thrilled to be a part of it."The saddest thing about the above quote is how many insane Michigan people it probably offended. No, Rich! Noooo! Coach harder against Ohio State. Harder!
People are crazy if they think even that aspect of the quote is true. If RichRod hasn't saved a few wrinkles in the playbook specifically for this game, then punch me in the face.
I think my favorite part about that article is there's a picture of Michigan WR Roy Roundtree. The caption?
Michigan receiver Roy Roundtree is a native of Ohio but says he never liked the Buckeyes.There's an implication here: that if he did like the Buckeyes, he probably should be kicked off the team. These people are insane.
Rodriguez said when he was first introduced as Michigan's had coach someone shook his hand and stuffed something into his jacket pocket. It was a button with the words, "Beat Ohio State." Rodriguez said that button still sits on his desk at Schembechler Hall.This is RichRod's go to anecdote about why the rivalry is important personally to him, and what it tries to illustrate is that a) he knows, and b) he's known from Day 1. Somewhere there should be a c) that says "leave me the hell alone!"
I think it's all starting to grate on him, though. Peep this recent quote (emphasis, again, mine):
"It eats at your soul because I don't coach football, I live it," Rodriguez said. "My family lives it, every one of our staff's family lives it as well. ... If you love it that much and you put so much into it, you don't have success, it certainly eats at you.Now... I recognize sports operate on the basis of hyperbole and extremes, so if you want to write off this quote, it's understandable. But I've read enough of his presser stuff to notice this one stand out. "Eats at your soul." Oh man.
And it's only Year Two.
Tressel's coming for your soul, RichRod. Don't let it get chest'd.
* * *
As a Michigan fan, one of the most frustrating aspects of losing these five-straight games is seeing all these other teams roll Ohio State. I'm not just talking about ESS EEE SEE teams. I'm talking about stupid, fake, crappy teams like Penn State and Purdue. Seriously, those teams blow. But I guess not as hard as Michigan.
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.
Seriously, I tear up during the pre-game intros every time.
If you're upset and terrified at the previous paragraph, remember, I'm not the most insane. The Ohio State students pee all over each other (it's true, it's science).
It's crazy. Chad Henne couldn't beat Ohio State, not once. When I see him play for the Dolphins, it's something I still think about. I suppose it is part of his legacy. He seriously might as well have an 0-4 tattoo on his face, that's how much I can't shake it. Knowing his personality, he probably doesn't care at all. Well, that's unfair. I'll go with: he's probably over it.
But I'm not. And I won't be until they win. Just win. Just win once. It seems so impossible.
There is a silver lining. Around the third or fourth loss, I conceded the -- already very obvious -- fact that Ohio State was simply better. Rivalry? Ha. One-sided dominance.
Basically, this means that whenever Michigan wins this game again, it's going to be great. Five? 15? 50 games in a row? You run your streak, OSU. Keep going. Do your thing. Because at some point, it's going to be end. And it's going to be glorious. When the clock hits zero of that fortuitous game, it's going to be the most glorious thing in the world at the very moment it occurs. And I can't wait.
(It likely will not happen this year.... Damn.)
THE HYBRIDQuick, Selective Hits On The BCS Standings
(unbeaten teams noted)
1) Florida (10-0) -- This Tebow Fake Girlfriend Scandal had even better aspects than the Brandon Spikes Scandal from earlier this year. If you don't feel like reading, I'll outline.
Part 1: In the last three-ish years, googling "tebow girlfriend" netted you this picture.
Part 2: Horndog male college football fans all thought the same thing, "Oh man, she is stacked, Tebow's the man!" or "Oh man, she is stacked, Tebow's such a bastard!"
Part 3: This girl's bares a slight resemblance to British pin up model Lucy Pinder. This causes people to compare and contrast, and at some point, Tebow and/or Pinder both went on record to refute the claim.
The real Lucy Pinder. And the other result of a "tebow girlfriend" search.
Step 4: The actual girl from the picture parlays the fame of the picture into actual pin up modeling... where she poses in a Tim Tebow body paint jersey for Playboy magazine (via SPORTSbyBrooks, NSFW). This is particularly ironic because Tebow took his name out of the running for the Playboy All-American team because of his religious beliefs.
Step 5: Maybe not the most sizzling part, but by far the most ironic part: "For the record, the girl, Erin Drewes is not Tebow's girlfriend, never was and insists the original photo was photoshopped. Reality never lives up to the legend."
Conclusion: She never dated Tebow, possibly never even met Tebow, was confused for a pin up model, became a pin up model, and was (heavily likely) disapproved by Tebow every step of the way.
Only Tebow, man.
2) Alabama (10-0) - ALA-BAMA MAAAAAAN!
3) Texas (10-0)
4) TCU (10-0) - They really, really, really, really, really deserve to be in the national title conversation. Such a shame.
5) Cincinnati (10-0) - Brian Kelly is not Urban Meyer... yet.
6) Boise State (10-0)
7) Georgia Tech - What a game last week after I pimped them. This casual like is turning into casual love. And isn't casual love the best of all loves?
8) LSU - Still carrying USC's torch.
9) Pittsburgh - Pitt in the Top 10! Just in time to give Cinci a credible win.
10) Ohio State - Don't look into the eyes!
12) Oklahoma State
13) Iowa - It was pointed out a win over Minnesota this week could still send Iowa to a BCS bowl. This seems unfathomable as I could have sworn Iowa's lost it's last eight or nine games in a row.
14) Penn State - On that same train of thought, someone talked about the possibility of Penn State jumping Iowa for that BCS spot. There are two reasons this won't happen. 1- Iowa beat Penn State head-to-head in Penn State's house, and 2- Penn State hasn't beaten a Top 25 team at any point this season. SUCK.
15) Virginia Tech
16) Wisconsin - Boring ranking, boring team, second tier, congratulations.
/bitter they rolled Michigan
17) Stanford - So you found out they beat USC and Oregon back-to-back and were pretty impressed, right? So who did they lose to?
at Wake Forest (by seven)
at Oregon State (by 10)
at Arizona (by five)
There's a theme there.
18) USC - It's OK, Dynasty, I'm still behind you. It's a rebuilding year. You guys probably called it a re-loading year, and that's cute, but don't be in denial. It's not your fault Mark Sanchez left. It's his. Everyone says Stanford owns you now, but hey, look, you're only one spot below them. Finish strong. And believe in Pete. He loves you very much.
19) Oregon State
20) Miami (FL.)
22) Brigham Young
24) Houston - Lost by five to UCF, which was UCF's first ever win over a ranked team.
Any Sweet Games This Weekend?
No, not really.
Friday Night Lights...
Boise State (6) at Utah State: Only because it's a Top 10 team on the road, and it's televised on ESPN2.
Ohio State (10) at Michigan: I will make no guarantees other than it will be at least good through the first quarter.
Minnesota at Iowa (13): This week's "Bobby cares, you shouldn't" game.
Florida International at Florida (1)
TCU (4) at Wyoming: Beat down?
Kansas at Texas (3): I guess. KU is such a mess right now.
The other games people might "say" will be good...
LSU (8) at Mississippi
Penn State (14) at Michigan State
California (25) at Stanford (17)
I'd say all three have zero appeal.
Big Ten Rant
Clay Travis pointed this out: if presumably Iowa or Penn State goes BCS, that means a trickle down effect where all the bowl-bound Big Ten teams ranked below OSU/Iowa/Penn State are forced to play up a game in their respective bowl games. Thus hurting the odds of victory across the board in every single Big Ten bowl game while simultaneously upsetting everybody else who -- rightfully -- hates the conference.
This is an apology in advance.
College Football Bandwagon
Every year, once my actual favorite teams 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 this year, Florida). The goal of the CFB is to fake feel good about yourself when your "team" makes the national championship. Plus it gives you invested rooting interests.
College Football Bandwagon 2009
1) Alabama -- ... ... ALABAMA MAAAAAN!
5) Boise State
I'm a long time reader of Shanoff, he's probably in my Top 5 online sportswriters, and he's usually the first thing I read every morning, but as a national columnist, his Florida bias has gotten out of control in recent years (most notably acknowledging no case for Michigan to play for the national title in '06 and creating TimTeblog.com in '09). We'll use this space to make fun of him when he says insane UF stuff which usually happens weekly.
Hard to rip him in a week where he defended Belichick's logical 4th and 2 decision, and to be fair, his DanShanoff.com and Sporting Blog stuff was fine, but not last Friday's Doc Saturday post, which talks about Florida fans' expectations.
The 2007 Patriots were the greatest offense in NFL history, but they're only remembered as the biggest chokers in NFL historyDick! That's a little extreme.
Alternatively, think of the 2000 Ravens: Dominant defense, good-enough offense. Their legacy? NFL Champions. In college football, the same goes for Alabama in 1992, Tennessee in 1998, Ohio State in 2002 and, yes, Florida in 2006, all teams that frequently "won ugly," but ultimately won it all on the biggest stage.You know what the difference between '92 Alabama, '98 Tennessee, and '02 OSU vs. '06 Florida? The first three teams actually went undefeated. Florida lost. They lost! The Gators have never had an undefeated season in school history.
If Florida loses along the way? Absolutely, go ahead and gripe -- be epically disappointed. I know I will. But as long as they are winning -- which, appropriately, seems to be the focus from Meyer to Tebow -- that's all that matters. The ultimate comeback to anyone questioning "how" your team is playing: "And-oh."Ugh.
He also talks about Florida's win-or-die appeal:
Hell, that was a huge appeal for me when I converted to Florida fandom: The expectation that the team would compete for championships, every year. (And it's not like I carpet-bagged in for the Meyer Era; I started in Spurrier's final year, which meant I experienced every minute of the Zook debacle.) When your team is this good, expectations -- the highest expectations -- are not just normal; they are fair.Every minute! Zook coached there for three years. Not exactly a generation.
What They Said -- A Take On Others' CFB Takes
- Mangino snaps (seriously, watch the video... it's got NSFW language, but it's short, and he is fuming)... Jason Whitlock proceeds to blame it on his weight.
I'm not even gonna touch this one.
- One would think I hate stories like Notre Dame making its university plane untrackable on flightaware.com, but for some reason, I eat this stuff up. I love the secrecy of the process of hiring a new coach. It's like their at war. Only more is at stake.
Random Picture I Came Across While Googling Stuff For This Post
At one time, this was an actual advertisement. An actual, terrifying advertisement.
Speaking of terror...
Bonus Random Picture I Came Across While Googling Stuff For This Post
Me and Jim Tressel
Wrapping It Up...
Stay patient, next week or the week after could start to be cool again. Oh, and keep me in your thoughts. Please?