The ravages of norovirus have put your favorite OTE "writer" in a bit of tough position--the fetal position, to be exact. Using every last ounce of energy in my beautiful midwestern body, I managed to shirk my duties and trick long-time commenter BSchim23.1 into writing this for me. Outside perspectives are always a boon to our always outstanding articles. Plus, after 13 of these, I feel as though I've exhausted all my sly witticisms and knee-slapper jokes. Time for a pair of fresh legs. So without further ado.....heeeeere's Schimmy!
Shattered Illusions: Iowa and The Rose Bowl
New Kirk, off the charts S&C, long legendary QB's, a defense that it's simply impossible to score rushing touchdowns on, revolutionary morning practices, etc. The year 2015 was a year the Iowa Hawkeyes revolutionized the way the sport of college football is played. From a thrilling come from behind win over 3-9 Iowa State in the Super Bowl, to a 57 yard FG at the horn vs 8-5 Pitt in their own crib to avoid OT, to a total non butt fumble in MadTown, this squad had natty written all over it. Then they actually played someone. A narrow loss in CCG vs 12% of Conner Cook had spirits and confidence high that the Hawks would emerge victorious in Pasadena.
What ensued was a thorough dismantling of an imposter. Stanford completely outclassed Iowa in all 4 phases of the game, being better than Iowa at a minimum of 20 of the 22 positions on the field. This is what happens when an inferior program catches lightning in a bottle against a horrid schedule, then actually plays someone good. From the opening play to Shaw's glorious "go fuck yourselves" TD late, this was as thorough a dismantling of an allegedly elite team as you'll see.
Honestly, this is the rest of the B1G West's fault. We allowed a complete garbage team to get to the CCG, so we have no one but ourselves to blame for #PasadenaMassacre16.
The Next Step?
Things didn't go well for Sparty on NYE in Dallas. Quite simply, they ran into someone who does what they'd ideally like to do, but only does it better. I'm sure MAMU fans will take some crap over the offseason (some justified), but this is basically the trajectory programs who don't recruit at an elite level every year take to get to the pinnacle. It takes some painful lessons along the way. The build underway in East Lansing has some parallels to how TO finally built Nebraska into a national champion. MAMU is currently the envy of about 98% of FBS football, but the final 2% is the hardest. It will take some philosophical changes, but it's certainly possible that Dantonio hoists The Golden Vagina before hanging it up. (Edit: no, it isn't.)
PSU: They are who we thought they were.
When the Luck Runs Out: Tarpwestern
A turnover-dependent team that doesn't force turnovers usually gets blown out. That was definitely the case in Tampa. Since shrimp costs more than onions, the Outback people look pretty damn prescient.
Thumbs up, Bagders.
What Could Have Been: OSU in Glendale on the Wrong Day
I'm sure we'll rehash it again in the comments, but OSU was the best team in the league. Sparty deserves a ton of credit for handling the monsoon in CBus better, but it hurt the B1G's chances of a natty repeat.
Thanks for the help, Schimmy. I'm going to step back in and use what vitality I can muster to give Michigan what they deserve...
In his first bowl at the helm of the Wolverines, Obersturmführer von Khakihosen secured Michigan's largest margin of victory ever over the Gators. Granted it's only a 3-game series stretching back to 2003, but the Gators remain winless against a clearly inferior B1G program from the moribund midwest. Well done, Fighting Harbaughs.
Minnesota & Nebraska: Who You Calling a Loser?
The Gophers and Huskers were especially notable this year for making a bowl despite having losing seasons. Thankfully, both got the job done. Minnesota did their level best to give the game back to a MAC team, but held on with a late pick. In light of the loss of Jerry Kill and some heartbreaking defeats late in the season, this was the best possible finish to a very tough year.
Nebraska truly stepped up to the plate and showed why they were the team that flummoxed MSU, and how easily they could've been an 8-win squad. Pac-12 darling UCLA must've expected a cakewalk, and the Huskers didn't bring a cake. Instead they brought a Tommy Armstrong and a Devine Ozigbo. Nebraska is now 7-6 all-time against the Bruins. Is Jim Mora on the hot seat? One has to think that the seemingly annual UCLA arc of "Could-be-good-WOW-THEY'RE-GREAT-oh-shit-wetfartnoise" seasons is getting old in L.A.