For The Love Of A Slugfest

Gregory Shamus - Getty Images

Big Ten football still does one thing as well as anyone. It captivates hearts, stirs emotions, and leaves a large and loyal following on the edge of its seat.

Maybe the sky isn't falling after all.

That's how I'm feeling after the fifth week of the season, after the opening week of the Big Ten slate lived up to its billing. Go ahead and snicker, we are who they said we were. This is not the best conference in the country. It hasn't been for the better part of a decade. It's not hip. Not slick. Not trendy, or trending.

Big Ten teams travel out West about as well as the Donner Party. They don't take inferior competition to the woodshed like they should. They don't measure up to the national elite.

But that's okay. You know why? Because B1G football still does one thing as well as anyone. It captivates hearts, stirs emotions, and leaves a large and loyal following on the edge of its seat.

I'm not ashamed to say it: I'll take 17-16 over 70-63 any day -- a stalemate over a shootout anytime. What we saw today in East Lansing is what makes football great. Two teams lined up and played like their hair was on fire for four physical quarters. We were treated to a sixty minute slugfest with a minimal margin of error. If Michigan State doesn't snag an interception or force a fumble on two promising Ohio State drives in the second quarter, the Buckeyes put the game out of reach before the half. If the referees don't blow a Braxton Miller fumble dead at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Spartans take a 20-17 lead, instead of settling for a field goal. If Etienne Sabino doesn't get pressure on 3rd and 9, or Reid Fragel doesn't seal a block on 3rd and 4, this game ends differently.

It's a contest of inches. Of razor thin margins.

That's how we do it up North.

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