The Way We Watch: an irrefutable ranking to the B1G's best games
Dogs are the best game-watching companions. My wife agrees. Bravo and Big Noon Saturday do not cross streams as much as one would think, so she leaves it up to the dog. With the dog there are no pleas to change the channel, pass the dip, and stop playing the “Night Court” theme song on loop. Dogs let you live your own quirky and nuance-ridden college football Saturday with the occasional request to go outside.
Through the first eight weeks of the season I’ve tinkered and toyed with how to get the best version of Milton the Black Lab, or MBL, no need to waste your reading comprehension on formal names let alone acknowledging articles in a title, for college football Saturday. The best version of MBL is not the best football watching version of MBL, it’s about merging the two.
Author’s note: With only a few skips of faith, just skips, not leaps, you can substitute your child in for the place of a dog and experience the same sort of fruitful Saturday.
Get your dog walk in early: The early walk minimizes any sort of awkward pass between people you know only through both of you walking a dog on a leash. The deader the streets, the more likely you’ll be able to listen to a few college football podcasts and talk yourself into a bet you hated on Thursday.
Indulge, indulge, indulge: Dogs are on a much more rigorous dietary regiment than humans. How many dogs are on Lipitor? Thank you. But, you have a devotion to television on Saturday. Your dog, yes the smartest, goodest, most obedient, blessed-from-heaven pet imaginable, starts to lose interest after you walked them for a mile and they wake from a nap. Have a bone or two ready for them to work on. It’ll take you through any sort of weather delay.
Watch the time: Feed your dog with two minutes left in the first half of a game. By the time halftime hits they’re ready to visit the bathroom and you can go without seeing Rob Stone on your screen for a few minutes.
Game #3: Penn State vs. Michigan State, 2:30 ABC
There’s something alluring, borderline spooky about undefeated Penn State visiting East Lansing in the last of a back-to-back-to-back set of games that started with Iowa and Michigan. Penn State dropped its last two games to the Spartans, though the game in 2017 in East Lansing featured a weather delay the length of a sprawling Judd Apatow film.
We can hope to preserve Penn State’s perfect record for the Ohio State game on 11/23. That’s a lot to ask, so let’s request the oddities and follies that is Michigan State’s efforts to score.
Game #2: Notre Dame vs. Michigan, 6:30 ABC
Both teams are already eliminated from college football playoff contention. Tsk-tsk the Fighting Irish for adhering to the Groucho Marx rule when it comes to conferences. There’s the bright lights of the Big House, Jim Harbaugh’s cautionary tale to recruits, and the allure of Notre Dame in prime time.
Michigan remains fascinating as a storyline throughout the season as fans come to grips with the program’s proper place in the college football hierarchy and red pen edits of the season-long storyline that comes with each win or loss. The tinge of moxie from the Wolverines last Saturday at Penn State makes them an interesting watch.
Does the offense continue the sort of effort it showed in the second half last weekend? How does Shea Patterson operate against the Fighting Irish after his horrific showing last season? Will Notre Dame keep Ian Book out of dangerous third and long situations? The answers to the questions will be nothing but a weekly cumulative review of Harbaugh’s time at Michigan.
Game #1: Wisconsin vs. Ohio State, 11 AM, Fox
Much appreciation to the Illinois White Beards for ruining an undefeated matchup between the two teams. You can argue that the last Saturday in October is the first real test for either team, though Wisconsin managed to fail an open notes and phone-a-professor quiz last weekend.
Ohio State is a terror on defense and an unbiased joy on offense. Wisconsin is synchronized execution in how cohesive parts get Jonathan Taylor past the first level of defenders. Look for the Badgers to take chances on nontraditional downs to get Ohio State out of any sort of rhythm on defense. Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan needs to make the Ohio State defense regret any condensed formation near the line of scrimmage with a few shots downfield in what should likely be man coverage.