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The Hybrid: Michigan vs. Notre Dame, Two More Times With Feeling

So Michigan and Notre Dame are set to square off for the last time, like, ever this weekend. Well, except when they play in South Bend next year for the true last time ever. Well, until they play again at some point in the distant or not so distant future. Money talks, you know?
So maybe this week isn’t really about the rivalry’s semi-imminent hiatus. Maybe it’s more just about how insane people have been *about* the rivalry’s semi-imminent hiatus. Enter: Mark May.

I can’t have much doubt. I think it’s a terrific rivalry. And when GameDay comes to town they know it’s a big game, everybody knows it’s a big game. Growing up in upstate New York, I used to watch it when I was growing up, when it was on television.

That’s… really something. Anything you’d like to add, Deadspin?

Really, Mark? Notre Dame didn’t play Michigan while you were growing up. In fact, the first time Notre Dame played Michigan in your lifetime, it was 1978. You were a sophomore offensive lineman for the Pitt Panthers, where presumably you weren’t watching because you were on the field playing against Temple. You were playing against Kansas during the Notre Dame-Michigan game the next two years…

So yeah, people hate change so much, they’re willing to go on TV and lie about it. The weird media cat fight between Michigan coach Brady Hoke and Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly further cemented the rivalry’s intrigue in my mind. Hoke said its significance was immense while Kelly said it wasn’t the end-all-be-all. But by the end of the week, Kelly, under pressure from some combination of media, administration, or fans, had to back down some and play up the rivalry’s significance. I’m telling you, college football has a weird ass dynamic.
Hell, let’s just review the last two years of Michigan-Notre dame just from my personal perspective…
In 2011, there was a public bet between myself (Michigan fan) and colleague Z.W. Martin (Notre Dame fan). After Denard sent me to heaven, Z.W. had to pay up. He detailed it like this:

…I have to sing ["You Raise Me Up"] by everyone’s favorite white-guy-with-good-hair-that-sings-with-conviction-and-grace, Josh Groban, at a Karaoke bar and then upload it to YouTube for all of you jerks to enjoy.

It was the song that made RichRod cry at a Michigan banquet the previous off-season. Because Z.W.’s a noble guy, he agreed to follow through. And because Twitter makes the world better, Josh Groban found out about it. His response?
I’m all ears, pal…and i WILL be posting your sure to be magical performance to 350,000 people. Drink tea. It’s a doozy.
I wish I was kidding.
The 2012 game was certainly less exciting, but I’m betting Z.W. was more thrilled with the outcome. The ND victory over my Wolverines propelled the Irish to an undefeated regular season and a bet victory over yours truly. The stakes? Well, I’m on the hook for dressing up in a leprechaun costume (already bought) and wearing an anti-Michigan sign around my neck to a Notre Dame bar in Chicago for this year’s contest. The problem? I totally forgot about the bet and made plans to go to Ann Arbor this weekend for the game. Z.W. was kind enough to shift the guidelines of the bet to “let me” wear the stupid outfit *in* Ann Arbor — and he even said I don’t have to worry about the anti-Michigan sign. Though I’m not sure if we’ll be going to the game or just a local bar, I can’t imagine this not brewing trouble. We’ll see.
As for this year’s new bet? If Notre Dame wins, I have to write a 10-tweet public poem on Twitter to Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees. If Michigan wins, Z.W. has to write a 10-tweet poem on Twitter… to Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees. The best part: Z.W. hates Tommy Rees more than I do. Hell, I actually *like* Tommy Rees. I’m the one who nicknamed him “Touchdown Tommy”. If it even needs to be said, this nickname is fun when he’s throwing touchdowns and beyond fun when he’s not.
I dedicate this week’s Hybrid to “Touchdown Tommy”. May he never live down this picture.

THE HYBRID

Selective Hits On The AP Top 25

1) Alabama (58): Let’s get you up to speed on the two newsiest items I discovered about Roll GDMF Tide this week.
a. Alabama has a running back named Altee Tenpenny (this is important). I work with an Alabama fan who casually mentioned the dude’s name in the context of last week’s Virginia Tech game. I stopped and asked him to repeat it back to me 900 times.
 
b. QB A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend Katherine Webb posed on a magazine cover this week (/yawn), alongside… McCarron’s mom! Haha, as if A.J. wasn’t already losing enough sleep. Dude needs to seriously avoid any “which one do you think is HOTTER, guys?” discussions in Internet comment sections.
 
2) Oregon: The jury is obviously still out on coach Whatshisname, but if the 66-3 victory over Nicholls State last week is any indicator, the transition from Chip Kelly is at least starting out OK. I’m not even going to check the box score to see if they attempted random two-point conversions — it’s a trust thing.
 
3) Ohio State (1): Gotta love the “FU” first place vote tOSU got this week. They looked sloppy as hell in Week 1, so I’m glad there’s at least there’s some justice in this one spot drop. And to the Ohio State fan who called me out last week, what say you now about Braxton Miller’s durability?
 
4) Clemson (1): The Tigers won the big game, and I couldn’t be happier. They’re the No. 1 team in the country, if you ask me. I’d settle for No. 2, though. That feels unarguable.
 
5) Stanford: I was going to make a joke about how Stanford is so far off my radar, I couldn’t tell you a single thing about their game last week. This was until I found out they actually didn’t play last week. But hey, 0-0 is still undefeated. But seriously, seriously: who has a bye in Week 1?!
 
6) South Carolina: Jadeveon Clowney did not record 40 sacks in the Gamecocks’ opener, and America was crushed.
 
7) Texas A&M: Johnny Football Johnny Football Johnny Football — he’s baaaaaaaaaaaack.
 
I’ll give reporter Mike Brownlee the first word“Every time Johnny Football pisses off sports media a puppy is born.”
 
Ain’t that the truth?
 
Johnny Manziel came into the third quarter during a surprisingly close game against Rice. He threw 3 TDs, talked mad shit, jawed with an opposing linebacker while in the middle of running what looked like a no-huddle offense, celebrated TDs with autograph and money gestures*, and had one of those half-bump-walk-by things with his coach that TV networks like to treat like the modern day Zapruder film (Hi, LeBron!).
 
I’m the kind of sports fan who likes memorable, intriguing athletes, so I’d rate his performance as an A+++. I feel like a lot of people my age views it the same way, but I’d be ignoring a lot of others if I said that sentiment was unanimous. ESPN pundits flipped. You would have thought Manziel brought a gun onto the field and started shooting members of the Rice defense for looking at him the wrong way. Clay Travis said they treated him as if he was Unabomber. 
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
 
I mean, Tim freaking Tebow got a taunting penalty in the BCS title game and I never heard anyone utter a word about that. All Tebow’s penalty illustrated was the joyful way he played football. Tajh Boyd scored a rushing touchdown in ESPN/ABC’s primetime game and made the same money hand gesture that Manziel did and I didn’t see it replayed anywhere. Nor did I hear anyone suggest that Boyd was a narcissist hell-bent on destroying his team’s title chances. 
 
As I thought about this Saturday night, it suddenly came to me — what you think about Johnny Manziel tells us more about you than it does about him.
 
That’s because Manziel has become our own national Rorschach test. Is he an entitled brat who is playing the game in a classless manner or is he an irreverent rebel whose brilliance owes much to his individuality? Your answer probably tells us a ton about you.
He’s right. He breaks down the five types like this:
1. If you hate the way Johnny’s playing football, you’re probably a rules follower.  
 
2. If you love the way Johnny’s playing football, you’re probably a fan of individual choice at the expense of institutional rules.  
 
3. You’re a Texas A&M fan and don’t care what Johnny does because, by God, he’s yours.  
 
4. Johnny’s a rich, white Texan and this makes some people not like him.
 
5. You hate Johnny Manziel because he’s not playing like you believe a “white” athlete should play.
Do you think you fit a different set of criteria? If so, shoot me an e-mail and let me know. I’m always up for new perspectives on Johnny.
 
(* – apparently he celebrated TDs like this last year, though I have no memory of it)
 
8) Louisville
9) LSU: Made a nice statement against TCU, so I’ll ease up on jokes about their national title chances.
 
10) Florida State: America, meet Jameis Winston. He’s a five-star, dual-threat, 6-4, redshirt freshman, and he looks primed to take CFB by storm as the new QB1 for the Seminoles. He threw 4 TDs and ran for another in his debut against Pitt, and while Pitt is Pitt, that’s one helluva way to start a career — especially against a team that still remains part of the BCS (or so they say). As someone who values great QB play and always wants at least one of the three Florida teams to be good, I’m planting myself firmly on the Winston bandwagon. Well, until he does pretend money gestures after scoring a touchdown… because that would RUIN COLLEGE FOOTBALL.
 
11) Georgia: Let’s take a listen to this Georgia fan, who called into the radio after the Dogs fell to Clemson last week.
I post it not to make fun, for he is me. That guy and his words are what college football are. The beautiful misery. My favorite part is when he calls for head coach Mark Richt’s head while offering not a semblance of an idea as to who’d actually replace him. Also, when he says “I love these Dogs, man”… that’s totally something I could see myself saying about my team after a loss, thinking it was passionate and cool, and realizing only way later how insane I truly I am.
 
12) Florida
13) Oklahoma State
14) Notre Dame: When I say “Touchdown”, you say “Tommy”…
 
Touchdown! (Tommy!) Touchdown! (Tommy!)
 
15) Texas
16) Oklahoma
17) Michigan: Project 17, around to mock me for another week.
 
18) UCLA
19) Northwestern: Really impressed with last week’s win over Cal. NW dealt with some true bullshit in pulling that one out.
 
20) Washington
21) Wisconsin
22) Nebraska: The Huskers beat Wyoming 34-31 last week. I asked my step dad (massive Nebraska fan) if that squeaker was Nebraska getting the rust off or an extremely bad omen for the rest of the season, and let’s just say he’s not particularly bullish on their defense.
 
23) Baylor
24) TCU
25) USC: Hey, it’s the Trojans. Hi, guys!
 
Dropped from rankings:
 
Boise State (19): Cinderella is dead.
 
Oregon State (25): The Beavers did what Nebraska did, except they came out on the losing end. A 49-46 loss to Eastern Washington sounds absolutely horrible.
Any Sweet Games This Weekend?
Thursday
Nothin’
Nothin’
Saturday
 
Florida (12) at Miami, FL: Love the games that super-vault the winner and totally bury the loser. The Gators are favored by three, but don’t sleep on the Canes.
Tennessee Tech at Wisconsin (21): Let’s just keep running the ball.
South Florida at Michigan State: This one’ll be telling. The Spartan offense looked every bit as awful as the D looked excellent last week. South Florida will be a stiffer test than Western Michigan, so we might need an MSU QB to break 100 yards passing this time around. Anyone? Anyone???
Eastern Michigan at Penn State: /whistles, looks away, twiddles thumbs
Cincinnati at Illinois: The Bearcats pwn’d Purdue last week; are the Illinois in store for similar treatment?
Missouri State at Iowa: I know I said I’d be boycotting Iowa’s entire season last week, and while I fully intend on doing that, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give some very important space to my new favorite Hawkeye fan, Vodka Samm. After allegedly trying to storm the field last week, our hero was arrested, blew a .341*, then fired off a series of completely beautiful tweets about the whole experience. Some of my picks:
Just went to jail #yolo
 
I’m going to get .341 tattooed on me because its so epic
 
Go Hawks motherf*ckers
She also says she was not trying to disrupt the game. I’d say that makes her even better, but I honestly don’t care either way. In conclusion, Hybrid MVP candidates, through week one: 1) Vodka Samm, 2) Johnny Football, 3) Jameis Winston
(* – while I endorse college football drunkenness, I in no way can endorse a BAC that high… that is bordering on “lucky to be alive” territory)
Indiana State at Purdue: Purdue, you’re, like, one more loss away from me asking ChicagoSide if I still have to cover you for the rest of the season. Don’t be the next Iowa.
South Carolina State at Clemson: Well, well, well, look who made it onto College GameDay last week. None other than Hybrid contributor himself, Clemson Tom!
Fresh off Climpson’s big win against Georgia last week, CT weighs in on this week’s comedown game…
Last week my Clemson Tigers defeated the Bulldogs from Athens, Georgia. It was a very big win for our program, and it has seemed to upset a lot of the $EC homer … or should I say just Gamecocks?
 
Not sure if you saw the game or not, but you didn’t miss much — except for a high scoring football game and Georgia faking an injury every other play. Don’t believe me? Just go to YouTube and type in Georgia faking injuries, you’ll see. [ed -- wow, he's right]
 
This week my No. 4 ranked Clemson Tigers take on the Bulldogs of South Carolina State. I don’t know much about this team except they have a great halftime band. This is basically going to be a game that we pad the stats and get the young guys some experience.
 
Look for Tajh to have another Heisman-type game. Spencer “The Bull Shark” Shuey will be in on every tackle again. Rod “Hot Rod” McDowell will once again run the ball like he’s in a PS3 game. This team is hot and ready to explode so hurry up and get on the bandwagon while you have room!
Tajh Boyd and Jameis Winston could fight for my heart forever.
Oregon (2) at Virginia: This only makes it because it’s technically BCS vs. BCS.
San Diego State at Ohio State (3): I’m looking for the Buckeyes to flash more fireworks on offense this time around.
South Carolina (6) at Georgia (11): Game of the Week. While it seems the Gamecocks have momentum while Georgia is reeling, I’m picking the Bulldogs. I know they’re at home, but they’re only favored by three, so this is basically a pick ‘em. Georgia showed resiliency after a rough loss last year, and I see no reason to think that can’t happen again. But, of course: CLOWNEY KILL SMASH.
Syracuse at Northwestern (19): These two teams should play each other forever.
Southern Miss at Nebraska (22): I think the Husker O could drop 70, and their fans would still just be focused on the other side of the ball.
Navy at Indiana: You never know.
Sam Houston State at Texas A&M (7): Johnny Football’s one full game before the ‘Bama tilt next week.
Notre Dame (14) at Michigan (17): The pick is Michigan, but I’ll be wearing a leprechaun costume, so what the hell do I know? I fully expect to hate all Michigan fans by the end of this excursion.
Washington State at USC (25): The Cougs are coming for that precious ranking, USC!

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