The picture is only a little relevant. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Last week, I started into my "Top Ten Tuesday: Let's Talk Football" series. Like I have said from the beginning, this is a very interactive post in which you can agree, disagree, post your own list, etc. In choosing my Top Ten list, my criteria is generally predicated by my own opinion and not anything rational like logic and minor details like facts. In fact, the best part about being a writer for Off Tackle Empire and having free reign to post at will (previously anonymously and now... less anonymously) is that I can pretty much say whatever I want with the only repercussions being getting absolutely destroyed by the comments thread.
Of course, even with that in mind, I think that the real best part of this is that we can talk football. I've been reduced to watching highlights from the CFL... The C-F-L. So that brings me to this week's TTT. I have gone through the games we will see next season and chosen my Top Ten. Graham told me that if I do not have Ohio State-Michigan as the best game ever, he's going to put me on double secret probation, so be weary fans of other schools. (Just kidding... sorta) With no further adieu, This week's TTT: Best Games of 2012 (According to me).
If Minnesota wins, the state of Iowa may explode. If Iowa wins, the universe seems to make more sense and the transitive property is down one less degree. Either way, this is one of those terribly entertaining games that has zero business being entertaining.
10. Penn State-Ohio
Look, how many people know what happens next? I literally have zero clue how the fallout from yesterday will play out and who actually shows up on September 1. I've heard wild rumors about starters looking to bolt to a contending team, and until it's proven one way or another, all we can do is speculate. Still, this game has so much intrigue. Also, Frank Solich has quietly put together a pretty good team in Ohio. Minus his penchant for getting behind the wheel after drinking, he's done a great job with the Bobcats. Now would be a good time to link to this fine moment in Bobcat history.
This is probably only that interesting to me and a bunch of smart people. Still, I am very curious to see how Northwestern does against a quality/improving BCS Conference opponent. Will Colter be as good as the Wildcat faithful envision? Will Northwestern field a secondary that actually covers the opponent's receivers? Will this game be decided on a ten round Quiz Bowl? So many questions. I'm legitimately excited to watch this game.
8. Michigan-Michigan State
According to the beat writers, this game decides the Legends. In a must-win for the Wolverines to show they are back and a must-win for the Spartans to prove they are here to stay, this should all play out in Denard v. MSU's defense. Who do I think wins this game? You'll just have to wait for our previews in the fall to find out. FWIW, I think this game has potential to be the best game of the year.
This is my list, so be prepared for a lot of Nebraska from here on out (kinda). I think Nebraska could be in contention at the end of the season based solely on the bunching at the top of this division. I also think Iowa will be good enough to beat anyone, but won't be crisp enough to follow through on that. With that said, a Friday game in Iowa City could wreak havoc on the Huskers chances to make the CCG. Even if that is not on the line, this game should provide quite a bit of entertainment and jawing between the fans.
6. Ohio State-Nebraska
I am really interested in how Nebraska and Ohio State will react playing at the Shoe this year. Obviously last year did not go according to plan for either team, but at least Nebraska got away with a victory. All signs point to this not ending well for the Huskers, but I think Nebraska can sneak away with a win again as Urban installs a brand new everything in C-bus. But, of course I do.
Seriously, I am naming the games I find fascinating, and it just so happens Nebraska is in three in a row. I promise they will not be in every one from here on out. Let's just say that this could be a make-or-break for both teams as far as establishing momentum. Nebraska was embarrassed last year by the Badgers, but that happens. If Wisconsin wins this game, they could be undefeated going into an October 27 showdown with the Spartans. Vise versa, if Nebraska wins, they could have all the momentum needed to ride into the Show and secure a lot of bandwagon hype.
4. Ohio State-Michigan
Sorry Graham, this can't be my number one. See, it's still a game I am really looking forward to. Hoke vs. Urban, the powers fighting at full strength again, and a chance for Ohio State to put all their emphasis on the one game that matters to them this year (with potential CCG implications). Everything about this game is great without the added rivalry element. The thing is, I think that both teams are going to disappoint their respective fan bases a little bit. Still, I'm excited for this one.
3. Wisconsin-Ohio State
This will not end like it did last time, but the hype will be there. I have no idea what to expect from either team in light of departures and changes in coaching staffs, but last year's game was fun and I think this year's game will be just as fun. Throw in the Madtown crowd and copious amounts of alcohol, and we have a great television (or live for the lucky ones) even on our hands. I think that this game could be huge for Wisconsin winning the division... Oh wait, it's Wisconsin's to lose and this game really probably doesn't matter. Nice year to be one of four teams eligible for the postseason.
JerryWorld, different unis, preseason champs of their divisions, B1G-SEC, and a whole lot of other storylines. This game sets the tone for the media and if you believe otherwise, look no further than the Boise State hype machine. I do not think Michigan has the horses to pull this one off, but if they do, they are instantly in BCS Title talk and Denard amps up his (September) Heisman talk. This is also the first real big game of the conference year and will signify football is back. Pretty much everything about this game makes me happy, except the part where I root for Michigan. Still, I'll be rooting for Michigan.
1. Wisconsin-Michigan State
How this game is not considered number one by any publication ranking the games is beyond me. This is blossoming into one of the most competitive and heated matchups in the conference and there is enough bad blood that this should be extremely entertaining. In what could very well be a repeat of the CCG, this matchup will pit a running game made for the NFL in the Wisconsin mold against a defense made for the NFL in Michigan State. This could provide us with enough ammo for highlight reels for years to come. I cannot emphasize how fun this game should be.
So there you have it. I have my Top Ten. Let me know my hits, misses, and your choices! I am sure I just made a lot of people sad (Apologies to Illinois, Indiana, and Purdue... I did not slight you on purpose. It's just that I don't find your games all that exciting on paper. This will probably be a different story come the season.)