It’s Michigan Week! F%^k Michigan!

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“Great college football rivalries engage the healthy, activate the disturbed, fascinate the thoughtful, amaze the detached, mystify the rational, horrify the scholarly, encourage the immature, enrich the greedy, and terrify the faint of heart,”

— Bill Curry, via Mark Schlabach on ESPN.

Personally I am happy to let my immature and disturbed sides out this week! Michigan football has been sad this year and here is hoping that the sadness continues!

My two earliest vivid memories of the rivalry:

  • Going to the game in Ann Arbor with the family in the early 70s. We had seats in the student section. Some drunk Michigan student next to me kept pushing into my seat and spilling wine on me. We brought a large helium balloon to the game with OSU signage on it, and someone shot it.
  • Driving home from the ’73 tie game, and hearing the announcement that OSU was going to the Rose Bowl, experiencing the double joy of knowing that OSU was going bowling, and Michigan was not. All the cars with Ohio plates on the highway started honking horns and waving, it was a mobile celebration.

Lovely schadenfreude, Michigan makes today’s OSU win even better!

Hey, it was a great day already watching OSU walk all over Purdue and avoid a stumble. The defense was great, the offense was great, that little ad-hoc flip pass that Braxton threw for a td was glorious.

And then Michigan just put the cherry on the top. You can glory in all the hair-pulling and teeth-gnashing over at mgoblog, but the highlight has to be Michigan’s all time rushing yardage low of -48 yards. That kind of futility doesn’t come easy, you have to really work at it.

First BCS standings are out, OSU right about where they should be

bcs3#4 in the first rankings, a fine place to be. A #5 average in the computer polls is a lot better than anticipated (Billingsley in particular loves the Buckeyes), this past weekend’s carnage cleared out a LOT of riffraff. BCS Guru as usual had the standings already correctly forecasted.

OSU’s position is exactly where it has been most of the season — OSU needs to win out, and needs 2 of the 3 above them to get a loss. Which seems very possible, consider the remaining largest challenges for #1-3:

  • Bama: LSU, @Auburn, and then an SEC championship game against Missouri?
  • FSU: Miami, @Florida (OK maybe Florida is not a challenge this year), ACC Championship game against VT?
  • Oregon: UCLA, @Stanford, Oregon State, and then a PAC-12 championship game against ASU? UCLA?

There are some losses hiding in there for someone.

That said, OSU does not seem like they are the equal of any of these teams right now. Defense is just too weak, particularly the defensive backfield. If Iowa can put 24 on OSU, including tight ends getting behind coverage and outrunning DBs for a TD, well that doesn’t bode well. Still a lot of time left in the season though, plenty of time to get better.

Deshaun Thomas staying for junior year

Per “ElevenWarriors”:http://www.elevenwarriors.com/2012/04/deshaun-thomas-staying-for-junior-year and multiple other sites. This is just huge, I felt Deshaun was actually more central to the team’s success this year than Sullinger, tho it was the combo of them that made the team lethal.

Hey it is Kansas Hate Week

Reasons to hate Kansas. Or at least feel really sorry for them:

* Tornados. Lots of them.
* A state so bad, even it’s namesake city refuses to be in the state.
* Just like the Wizard of Oz suggests, the entire state is colorless.
* Wikipedia says the name means “people passing wind”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas or something like that
* The first us state to adopt prohibition — the least fun most humor impaired state ever.
* There is an official state soil. If all you have to celebrate is your dirt, you are one sorry state.

And a joke:

Q. How do you know the toothbrush was invented in Kansas?
A. If it was invented anywhere else, it would have been called a teethbrush.

College football amateurism — time to go

Kirk Cousins, the returning MSU QB, got all kinds of kudos over the last week for his nice speech about what a privilege it is to play college football, but I am underwhelmed. As others point out — “Kirk Cousins and Privilege”:http://www.elevenwarriors.com/2011/08/kirk-cousins-privledge — Kirk is letting himself be used by the monied powers in the system to protect their interests. The schools, the NCAA, the media companies are making billions of dollars off of college sports, and throwing peanuts to the players. And the players don’t even have a voice in the system — maybe the players would vote to spend all the proceeds from their sports on non-revenue sports, on university facilities, on salaries for university staffers, etc — but shouldn’t they at least have a say? Kirk, being part of a football team at a good college is a great experience, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are being used.

Frank Deford says it well — “Frank Deford on amateurism”:http://www.npr.org/2011/08/03/138919312/ncaa-still-stalled-by-amateur-hour-thinking. The time has come to abandon the amateurism requirement for college athletes in the revenue sports. A family friend made this same argument to me today in an email, I am all for it.

Other college football reading today — “Bodog season win total odds”:http://sports.bodog.eu/sports-betting/college-football-team-props.jsp (hattip @darrenrovell). OSU and Wisconsin both at 9. I’d take the over on both.

OSU 20, Wisconsin 17

Whew. TP looked like all-world at some points, and like a freshman at others. Beanie looked awesome. The receiving corps seems to be struggling to figure out how to work with Pryor and vice versa. Hard-hitting game, I think I counted 4 guys out with concussions or near concussions.

And now look how the next 3 weeks set up in the conference. Penn State, MSU, and OSU are atop the conference with 2-0 records. Penn State is at Wisconsin, then hosts Michigan, then at Ohio State. Michigan State is at Northwestern (who is 4th in the standings), then hosts Ohio State, then to Michigan. Ohio State hosts Purdue, then at Michigan State, then hosts Penn State. The race will probably be a lot clearer by the end of the month.

Ohio State deserves to lose to USC?

Ohio State deserves to lose to USC? – USC – OCRegister.com — the OC Register columnists and bloggers are pretty inflamatory. Here’s hoping they are crying in their beers Saturday night. On this particular point, Ohio State supports 35 varsity sports. USC supports 19. The revenue from the cupcake games is what provides the funding for the incremental 16 sports. No one is excited about the games, but you have to give Ohio State some credit for the use of the funds

OSU-USC rivalry goes deeper than football

Why not save the schadenfreude for Michigan? The obvious answer, understood by anyone who was around during the 1970s, is that USC broke more OSU hearts than anyone not named Schembechler. Three times during that decade, Ohio State lost a piece of the national championship by losing to the Trojans in the Rose Bowl. The less obvious but still accurate answer is that while OSU vs. Michigan is a border dispute, OSU vs. USC is a clash of cultures.

BuckeyeXtra – The Columbus Dispatch : Rob Oller commentary: OSU-USC rivalry goes deeper than football.

Nice writeup.  No less than the future of the free world is at stake.