53. auc: college football edition iv.

Three years ago, I asked for your college football-related questions, and the resulting post, for some reason, became the most widely read post to ever appear on Uncle Crappy (the blog). Last year I did the same thing, and the subsequent discussion generated something like 8,467 comments.

Because there’s little else on my mind this week — as usual — let’s do it again. Ask Uncle Crappy (the person)  anything at all related to college football — even tangentially — and I’ll do my best to A) come up with an accurate answer or B) make some shit up.

And if you’re feeling ambitious, you can also answer this: The current point spread for Saturday’s game is 18. Will Ohio State cover?

Thank you in advance for playing.


50. twitteresque.

A first, perhaps in the history of blogging: an all #hashtag post:











41. the most wonderful time of the year.

I’ve kept most of my college football talk over on the new blog this season, because I wanted to have something to say over there (and it’s going very well, thankyouforasking).

But as special as Saturday football is to me, Saturday football in November is even better. And to the surprise of no one, I’m going to explain that to you once again over here.

Ohio State has just three more games this season — two rivalries (including the greatest rivalry game in any sport anywhere) and a road game that will go a long way in determining who gets the Big Ten’s automatic berth to the BCS. That’s the first great thing about November football — that’s when the important games seem to come up on the schedule, the ones that decide what kind of season you’re going to have, or the ones that you look forward to every year because those are the teams you want to beat more than anything. Or both.

I also love November football because it finally feels like football. Part of my disdain for the SEC, and its stadiums lined with flowers and hedges, is that they don’t know what November football is all about. The weather in Columbus can be gorgeous in November, but it can also be raw. And we don’t care. We dress for it, we make chili or stew for the tailgate party, we make sure there’s enough whiskey in the flask and we cheer that much louder. This is Football Weather, and I wait in anticipation for it all year.

Ohio State had a bye last weekend, so our three-game November Football slate starts on Saturday, at home against Penn State. Ohio State plays big games every season, but with the exception of Michigan, there is no team on the schedule I want to beat more than the Nittany Lions.

And I am so ready.

It’s not going to be snowing on Saturday morning when we’re setting up tables and chairs and stoves and grills, but it’s going to be brisk while we cook and eat and drink. There will be steam rising from the practice field south of the stadium when Ohio State’s band warms up before Skull Session. Fred and I will throw the football in the parking lot as we always do, and we’ll have to blow in our hands to keep the ball from stinging when we make a catch.

It will feel like November. It will feel right. And I cannot wait.

12. glimpse.

Nebraska: Mind if we join you?

Big Ten: Sure. How does 2011 sound?

Geez. That was easy. And no matter what Jim Delany or anyone else associated with the Big Ten says, I think there’s going to be more, and pretty quickly.

When Jim Delany talked about adding Nebraska to the conference Friday afternoon — something the Big Ten did just a couple hours after officials at Nebraska voted unanimously to seek a spot in the conference — he said some interesting stuff about how the conference would be structured as it adds its 12th team. And he also said a bunch of stuff I don’t believe for a minute.

Nebraska will start conference play in 2011, and Delany said there would likely be a conference championship game as soon as that season. He apparently was a little nonchalant about a title game, at one point saying this:

“We won’t expand for the sake of expansion … We’re not looking to achieve a championship game. That’s not our motivation. If it was we could have done that many times over the past 20 years.”

But when you think about the money involved in a Big Ten championship, it’s a little hard to take Delany’s nonchalance seriously. Yes, Nebraska is a good fit academically and athletically, but the Huskers are the newest members of the Big Ten because it allows the conference to hold a title game, it expands the footprint of the Big Ten Network, and it gives the Big Ten a license to print money.

I was more interested in a couple other things Jim said Friday afternoon, for what they reveal about how things might look down the line. He said the conference will take three things into account when it splits its teams into divisions, in this order: Competitive fairness, maintaining rivalries and geography. I like the top priority, because I’ve had a hard time coming up with scenarios that make the two divisions appear balanced, even with the addition of Nebraska.

I really like what he said about the conference’s rivalries. He said existing rivalries would be evaluated independently, to determine which ones matter most. “We’re going into this with the idea that rivalries really matter,” he said. “But not all rivalries are equal.” I’m assuming he would agree that Ohio State’s rivalry with the School Up North would be one of the ones worth preserving.

Finally, Delany said the conference would try to slow down the process, sticking a little more closely to the year to year-and-a-half schedule he had set at the start of this whole thing. He did leave the door open to quicker action, and I think that’s what we’ll see. Texas A&M is said to be considering ditching its former Big 12 cronies and taking a shot at the SEC, and if the SEC gets involved with this, all bets are off. Assuming the rest of the southern Big 12 schools follow through with a move west, the SEC wouldn’t have anywhere to go for new members but the Big East, and I really doubt that the Big Ten would let that conference crumble without taking a couple of its schools as well.

And don’t forget Notre Dame, boys and girls. They’re still talking tough, but if the Big East dissolves, they’re going to need a partner. And the partner that would make the most sense would still be the Big Ten.