Run the Ball, Punt the Ball: Big Ten Championship Preview

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If you did not know by my Twitter handle, I played ball at Northwestern University. With my five years of experience there, if there is one thing I at least somewhat know when it comes to college football, it’s the Big Ten. I’ve played in front of 4,000 people at 11:00am in West Lafayette, Indiana when its 37 degrees, overcast and windy, while the 15 students that actually came to the game haplessly chant ‘Boiler Up’ as we stomp them by 30.

I’ve also played in the Big House in front of 120,000 fans where we got stomped by 30 and it was so loud I couldn’t hear myself think, let alone hear a snap count. Goddamnit, the Big Ten is special. Throughout the year I will be giving you my picks and previews for the Conference. So, put your big boy pants on, drop your SEC bias and let’s talk some Big Ten football.

Northwestern vs. Ohio State, 12/1 8:00pm EST.

The play: Northwestern +14.5

Well, well, well. It all comes to down to this. Wait, what’s that sound? Is it that the lock of year horn???

I would like to formally announce this game as my:

*clears throat*

“BIG TEN RUN THE BALL, PUNT THE BALL, ALL WE DO IS COVER DOUBLE DIGIT SPREADS, STATS ARE FOR LOSERS, CATS V. CONVICTS, PEOPLE DON’T FORGET PURDUE, WE’RE TAKING THE PURPLE TO PASADENA, TRUST YOURSELF, LOCK OF THE YEAR”

I am yet to miss a ‘special’ lock on Northwestern this year for the simple reason that, if you are familiar with the program, you know the types of games where we show up and the types of games that we do not. And guess what this is? This is the type of game we goddamn show up in. Let me tell you why:

INTRODUCING THE OFFICIAL ‘WILL NORTHWESTERN SHOW UP TO PLAY CHECK LIST’:

  • Lackluster performance the week before, check.
  • The other team coming off their best performance of the year the week before, check.
  • Not a single person who isn’t a Northwestern fan expects us to be in the game, check
  • A double digit spread, check.
  • A publicly overvalued opponent, check.
  • An opponent with deep-rooted institutional failure at the highest level that absolutely could have helped prevent an on-going domestic abuse case, not to mention a laundry list of other infractions and violations that date back through multiple different coaching staff’s and administrations, check.
  • A head coach who may or may not die on the sideline depending on the outcome of the game because of health problems that without a doubt stem from the stresses of covering up remarkable amounts of wrongdoings over the years at both Florida and Ohio State, check.

Okay, maybe those last two points are just unique to this game, but the rest ring true.

As a double-digit dog, in our last 11 games, we are 10-1 ATS and have won 6 of those games straight up. In our last 6 games as an underdog in Big Ten play we are 6-0 ATS and 5-1 straight up (the one loss being a 3 point loss to Michigan). Simply put, we are one of the, if not the best team in the country in the underdog role. That feeling reverberates throughout the locker room and every single player in there can feel the disrespect pulsing through their veins. We are constantly looked at as the underdog; whether it was in recruiting, or in the articles written by the media or even the attention and support that we get from our own fucking student body. That feeling is what has motivated Northwestern players for decades and will motivate those players tomorrow. But, after tomorrow, things change. We have the facilities, the recruiting has been improving every year and we finally have the support from the University. So what’s left? A marquee win and a trip to the Rose Bowl to go play those candy-asses from the Pac-12, that’s what. This is just another year for OSU, who’s an extremely flawed team that played one complete game the entire year. This is where the tide turns for Northwestern, where we go from being a ‘good program for Northwestern’ to just a good fucking program. Where we go from the lovable losers, just happy to-be-there little-engine-that-could, to the fucking Big Ten Champions. TAKE THE CATS ON THE MONEY LINE AND I’LL SEE YOUR ASS IN PASADENA!

If you aren’t fired up yet, please let my dear friend Brent push you over the edge:

Please excuse me, no doors will be walked through for the next hours, only brick walls. Go ‘Cats.

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