I’ve spent most of my life indulging in horror novels and movies to the point where I can recite The Texas Chain Saw Massacre by memory. As a result, I’ve built up a tolerance to a lot of what is shown on screen, so I upped the disturbingness of what I put in front of me. I’ve sought out and watched some of the most depraved films ever made: Dogtooth, Be My Cat, The House That Jack Built, etc.
I’m drawn to the depravity shown in these films; they demonstrate the worst humanity has to offer and give us hope and encouragement that we can be better. They make us feel good about ourselves as we see bad people getting carved into sausage links, or being burned alive in a bear suit because you couldn’t be decent enough to break up with your girlfriend. Horror makes us comfortable in the uncomfortable, and as a result helps us deal with the problems we face everyday. Nothing can be as bad as what we see on the screen.
I don’t get scared easily. I haven’t really been scared in as long as I can remember-
I wasn’t prepared for this. I’m not done building the shelter, and I haven’t replenished my bean supply from the beginning of the pandemic. Where’s Ohio State? Did someone open the seventh seal? How much time do we have left?
Gage, it’s a football game.
It’s the Big Ten Championship, people are excited for this.
Who? Satan? Beezelbub? Ellen? I’m a sick fuck but even I would never stoop to these levels. One of these two, okay. Maybe I wrap my mind around Michigan playing Wisconsin. Iowa playing Ohio State is usually a pretty good game. But this? Absolutely not. Nope. No God would let this happen.
You have to write about it.
Says who? You? Who even are you?
Well, you know, I’m uh…
Hey where’d you go?
Fine, I’ll talk about it. I don’t even know where to start.
Talk about the Michigan offense.
THERE YOU ARE!
We know what Michigan does: they’ve been doing it since Jim Harbaugh first put on the khakis to distinguish himself from the other ghouls that haunt the Big House sidelines. They are a ground-and-pound, smashmouth, cliché Big Ten offense. They’ve dominated teams on the ground to the tune of 225 rushing yards per game this year, with three rushing touchdowns a game. Do you know how hard it is for a triple option team to rack up these numbers? Hell, do you know how hard it is to do it in Madden? F
Michigan, after 7 years of trying, has finally found their offense. Even with past offensive lines that were arguably more dominant they failed to achieve this kind of success. This is their first time EVER in the Big Ten Championship, and I’m choosing to give Cade McNamara the respect he has so rightfully earned. He is just as much a reason for their success as anyone on the offense. Unlike the Ghosts of Quarterback’s Past under Harbaugh, McNamara has a strong enough arm to make all the throws, the mobility to get out of tough situations, and most importantly the brains to keep his offense on the field. He doesn’t make mistakes, and in the rare moment he does, he keeps his head up and goes back out for business on the next drive. He is the perfect quarterback for this team.
I can talk about Michigan’s back-7 for days and the awesome stuff Josh Ross and Daxton Hill are doing, but that’s not what the people want. You want the exciting stuff. You want the guys that earn their stacks with sacks. You want Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo.
Yeah, they’re the best pass-rushing duo in college football, combining for 23 sacks so far this season. They’re both going to be first-round picks in the spring, and Hutchinson probably top-5. Michigan has had a strong pass rush before, with guys like Rashan Gary and Kwity Paye, but never have they had two guys so utterly dominant. I don’t think Hutchinson is going to win the Heisman like so many Michigan fans do, but goddamn there has to be some award for the havoc these two wreck.
Good, good. Now do Iowa.
I’m getting there, but what is there to say? Iowa is Iowa.
*Disclaimer: I have written and talked about Iowa extensively, and I tweet about them a ton, and I cannot stress enough that I abhor Kirk and Brian Ferentz. I’ve written about why before, if you want to talk to me about it I’d love to have the conversation.*
They have managed to win 10 games despite having a black hole under center. It’s miraculous really how they manage to win game after game without a quarterback. It’s not like they run a triple option either; it is a simple, outside zone/stretch offense with the quarterback under center. He occasionally has to boot, but really that’s it. His only job is to hand the ball to Tyler Goodson and not throw picks, which is pretty easy since they only throw 28 times per game for an average of 6 yards per attempt. I’m completely dumbfounded as to how they do this.
Oh, nevermind, I remember: defensive coordinator Phil Parker is a genius. He runs the simplest defense known to man, but you bet your fucking ass it works. Iowa is giving up only 17.2 points per game this season (Michigan is actually giving up the same, with better recruits and trying a whole lot harder.) They are a top-10 defense in college football, and have been for the last, what, 5 years? A simple 4-2-5 with minimal blitzing and (by recruiting measures) an average set of defenders running it? Oh, that just leads to two All-B1G first-team DBs in Riley Moss and Dane Belton, two more second-team defenders, and one more on the third-team. Phil Parker is the best kept secret in college football.
Okay, fine, and the best punter in the Big Ten, All-B1G honorable mention be damned.
Alright, but what does this mean for the game?
Yeah, I don’t actually know.
My gut says Iowa keeps it close for the first, like, two-and-a-half quarters, but Michigan’s running backs and massive offensive line take over. Iowa’s front-seven is better than Ohio State’s, and should be running off the fumes born out of the public’s doubt in them, so they might last even longer.
I just can’t see a world where Iowa’s offense does much. They should be able to find some success in the run-game behind Tyler Linebaum, but outside of that I don’t have a lot of hope for them. They’re severely limited by what they have under center, and their tackles are going to get abused by the Michigan EDGEs. Their only chance is playing the field position game and winning by punting.
If Iowa wants to win, their defense is going to have to lull Cade McNamara into a false sense of security and steal a couple possessions, maybe even score a touchdown. The win and a Big Ten Championship rests solely on their shoulders.
Howdy! If you have like this, have problems with it, or just want to tell me I’m an idiot, leave a comment! You can also find me on Twitter @B1GOPE if you have any stronger feelings about it. Let me know how you plan on surviving!
If you want to get more newsletters like this, with a focus on Big Ten Football and the Midwest, please subscribe! It’s completely free! I also like to talk about Detroit sports and regional foods.
Last thing! Please share this with 1 person if you can. I would love to be able to build a community here, and I’d love to have you and your friends a part of it. Thanks!