Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Unimportant Game that Means Everything

Remember when I used to blog here? Those were the days. Ridiculous 100,000 word challenges, a few laughs, a few tears, nipple tassels galore. I miss those days.

First things first, barring a schizoid break or brain tumor that compels me to eschew sleep and do nothing but blog for the next month, that 100k goal will die in agonizing hell fire. It was a run. Anyway, I owe some charity of your choosing $500 bones. I haven't forgotten and won't forget - but we'll settle up at the end of the season.

Second, since it's been a while, let's just agree to never discuss the Illinois game again. It never happened. "What never happened?" you ask. Exactly.

Third, my nuts are sore from a weekend full of flexing. Sweet Sassy that Iowa game was something. FOTB Matt Humbert over at The Daily Gopher posted a terrific piece on what it means in the grand scheme of things, concluding that the game exorcised some old demons and left us basking in the light of hope. We at SGH have always had hope, but its sweet bosom is riper and more succulent that it's felt in a long while. The hope bosom makes everything right.

Crushing Iowa while nuzzled into the hope bosom.
So, here we are at 7-2, about the best all but the most optimistic Gopher fans would have predicted at the start of the season. 7-2 with the Buckeyes coming to town. The Buckeyes who hold a 42 - 7 record against us. The Buckeyes who we've beaten exactly twice since Richard Nixon was in office. We can talk about our historical ineptitude against Michigan. but no one has had our number as consistently and brutally as Ohio State.

Thing is, though, this game isn't really all that important. Our path to the West Division crown doesn't have Ohio State in it. I mean, we play them, so they're technically in our paths, like, literally, but, whatever, we don't need to beat them to win the West. If you told me to choose two games remaining on our schedule I'd like to win, this one wouldn't be on the list. There are ways for us to win the division by not beating both Nebraska and Wisconsin, but they're tricky and outside of our control to some extent. Give me those two games and let the results of this one be damned.

So, yeah, this game is meaningless. Who cares what happens? Get through it unscathed, preferably not giving up triple digits to maintain a modicum of respect and keep the powder dry for the all-important games against the Huskers and the Huns to the East.

But while that may be the pragmatic approach, man, I don't know anyone who looks at it that way. Notwithstanding [REDCATED], things feel really different here now. Maybe it's the sweet, succulent bosom of hope afforded to us by cracking the whupping stick on Iowa. Maybe it's that we have Floyd and the Jug together for the first time in my life. Maybe this is just what every fan of a respectable, competent team feels. But I am really looking forward to this game on Saturday.

It's not that I think we're going to win - it would take a lot to go right for that to happen. I just look forward to seeing if we might win and, more importantly, how we stack up. The B1G isn't rife with spectacular teams this year, but OSU is the best candidate we'll see. This will be a great test for us against the best in the conference.

We'll come in with a lot of confidence. The Bucks just played in their biggest game of the regular season and may be a little off their peak. It'll be cold as hell. It's Year 4. The outcome of this game may not mean much to determining the winner of the Western Division; that will be settled in the next three weeks. But it means everything to us.

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