... a meaningless bowl game and a great big bowl of schadenfreude. The best thing about being a fan (as opposed to a coach) is that we get to go ahead and overlook opponents and speculate on random acts of potential awesomeness. I'm just going to go ahead and assume that we beat Illinois this week because I want to believe that we're being magically transported back in time to the point where we don't lose games where we're favored by 18 points. Building on that, I'm going to go ahead and presume that we beat Michigan State, so that brings us to that great weekend of rivalry games, and that magical time of the year when we all join hands around the table together with our families and give thanks that we're not Hawkeye fans. Although we haven't met the 6-win threshold to qualify for a bowl game, there's still a chance, and where there's a chance, there's hope, and where there's hope, well, let's look at all of the wonderful things that we might have: First, and most obvious, we need to beat Iowa. I have Iowa friends who continually talk amongst themselves like teeny-bopper girls discussing boys, convincing themselves that "Kirk Ferentz is totally the right guy for us." I want to calmly and politely--the Iowa way--lean in and mention, immediately after they get thumped, that Iowa, too, could have its own Scott Frost moment. When they look at me confused, I'll whisper in hushed and serious tones, "Bob Stoops is available." Feel free to use that yourselves if you have any Iowa fans for friends. It's pure gold. You can convince them that he's right there, at the door, just waiting for the offer. They're Iowa fans, so they don't know any better. It's kind of like getting your dog to chase an infrared light: it's probably not very nice, but it's entertaining, and they don't know that it's not very nice. I want to see a lot of this: We will have a whole new list of mediocre teams that we suddenly get to cheer against. If we have any hope of making a bowl, we need to have a dearth of 6-win teams, and it will also help our cause to have as few 5-win teams as possible so that we're not in competition with them for the bonus spots. That means that this will be the thread where, hopefully, we can start building lists of teams that need to get slobber-knockered on that weekend so that they have no hope of earning a bowl invitation. If this sounds low and unseemly, that's because it is. Like a homely girl at a beauty contest, when you can't win the prize on your own, you have to eliminate the competition. You'll be surprised to realize how happy it will make you to know that Wake Forest, Louisville, Memphis, Kansas, and Kansas State don't need to worry about goin' bowlin' this year! (Guess you have more time for your precious basketball.) SMU, Miami, & Florida State? (Cheaters never win--outside of the SEC--so think about that while you're home for Christmas.) I can't bring myself to openly root against the military academies, so I'm just going to do it silently by pretending that I'm suddenly partial to Army this year (they're already qualified), which is why I want Navy to get beat: "I thank you for your service, but I don't want you taking away my bowl game." Pretty much the entire Pac-12 is sitting at 5 wins, so I'm not sure who to root against there, but I'll start with Cal & Stanford since those smarty-pants hippies don't need to be taking time off from studying to go to a bowl game anyway. I'll hopefully expand and update this list because it'll become pertinent information two weeks from now. Let's start with seeing more of this "gentleman" on the hot seat in Louisville and end with a Seminole Surrender Cobra that makes you think that they had to finally quit that stupid chant: (Addendum: Am I crazy to think that the picture above probably helps FSU's recruiting? I might be old-fashioned, but a pretty co-ed with fire in her eyes who looks like she's ready to put on the pads and go cheapshot some cocky rival player is EXACTLY the sort of girl that I would want a son to marry ... though she should be a Husker fan, of course.) Item #3 on my wishlist is I want Auburn to donkey-kick 'Bama in the nads. 'Bama will still get to go to the SEC Championship, and they'll probably drop as low as #2 in the CFP rankings, but Tuscaloosa will have to set up an emergency suicide hotline. Hopefully no co-eds get killed this year for casually saying that the 'Bama fans are over-reacting. Let it be a close enough game so that the talking heads can still try to explain it away as a hiccup, and 'Bama is still the best team, etc. This sets them up for more pain in the near future. I want me some Roll Tide Surrender Cobras: Item #4 is all about increasing the misery of the OSU and Michigan fanbases to the greatest extent possible. If both are still 1-loss teams on Rivalry Weekend, I don't want their game to be close. I want at least one of their fan bases to spend the next several weeks, months, or preferably more stewing and sniping about how they deserve better, and how their coach needs to step up to the plate or move along, etc. Since Michigan expects to win this year--finally, for the first time ever over an Urban Meyer-coached Buckeyes team--nothing breeds disappointment like high expectations, so I want them to get crushed. I'm going to go ahead and root for OSU to beat them, and I want them to do it with grating panache. Do you remember how the Michigan punter muffed a meaningless punt to give the game to MSU in 2015? Yeah, I want to see that happen again, maybe even a couple times just to open up some old wounds. I want to see Urban run a Double Reverse Pass for a touchdown as time expires in a blowout, and then argue that OSU should get to kick the PAT. As much as Husker fans seem to already hate Urban Meyer, can you imagine how much he grates and chaffs the sensitive bits and crevices of the MIchigan faithful? Like Nebuchadnezzar, may Urban Meyer be used as an instrument of pain to chasten the Michigan alumni. I would enjoy that about as much as this: But we can't have the OSU fan base all happy and pro-Urban going into the bowl season, so that needs to get trashed. My ideal situation would be for them to look absolutely dominant/perfect against Michigan,... and then go get curb-stomped by Purdue in the B1G Championship Game. You saw how bonkers their fan base was a few weeks ago when the Boilermakers invited them to a Texas boot party at Ross-Ade Stadium. Can you imagine how giddy OSU would be to have the opportunity to "erase" their one loss? Can you imagine how filled with bile and venom they'll be if Purdue stomps them again? I want Tyler Trent to have one more glorious taste of Buckeye-stompin' goodness. I also want another off-season (and recruiting season!) of wild speculation about whether Urban Meyer is going to retire, and I want to see Buckeye Surrender Cobras and crying Buckeye mimes: I'm rooting for targeted chaos in the CFP. I want 'Bama to get stomped by Georgia in the SEC Championship Game so that we can have ESPN repeatedly tell us in excruciating detail with all sorts of complicated metrics that Alabama really is one of the best teams, and we just shouldn't believe our lyin' eyes. I also want West Virginia, UCF, and Washington State to win out. There's no way that the CFP committee is going to let 'Bama sit it out while one of those other teams gets in, so we'll add even more vast swathes of the country to the mob with pitchforks and torches, looking for the guys who rig these things as they stick 'Bama in there again, again opposite of Georgia. When it's all rigged, and the dirty deed is done, I want someone who's not supposed to beat Alabama to beat Alabama so that we can get a third helping of Roll Tide Surrender Cobras: I want Nebraska to win a bowl game. I don't care if we're playing somebody from the California Penal League, and I don't care if it's a bowl game that sounds like my 8-year-old son's unsupervised Saturday mornings--the Cheetos and YouTube Bowl--but I want a win. What am I leaving out?