Opponent Watch 2014: Bye Week Comment Count

BiSB November 14th, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Ah, the bye week. Sometimes it interrupts the flow of an exciting football season. And sometimes it mercifully ends the eye-bleeding and cow-rubbing for seven extra merciful days. But either way, the bye week is not simply a void on the calendar. No, no. You are not so lucky. The bye week is the Britta filter of your social life. It catches all of the stuff you’ve been avoiding or putting off. It is your March 31st.

So today, we preview some of your most likely opponents for the weekend. Odds are, you'll be facing at least one or two of these this weekend, so you may as well be prepared.

About Last Week:

Football. Which was somehow worse than this week’s opponents.

Stupid M00N.

The Road Ahead:



Recap: A familiar rival. You have taken on this opponent in bits and pieces over previous weekends, but you didn’t get out there until 11:00 and then you came back in for a drink and the noon games had kicked off and then the Michigan game was on at 3:30 and then DAMN too dark to get back out there. Unfortunately, this has left you in a precarious state in which you still need to rake about 80% of the leaves, and you should probably mow the thing before winter, and your dream of turning that weedy dirt patch in the corner of the yard into, you know, grass, has hopelessly stalled for the second straight season.

This opponent is as frightening as: A standard MAC opponent. It probably won’t be pretty, and you may be left with the impression that you are half-assing it, but you can usually get enough done such as not to embarrass yourself too badly in front of your neighbors. Fear Level = 4

You should worry about: It is supposed to snow. And soon. So if you don’t score early in this one, there’s a decent chance nature will run out the clock.

You can sleep soundly about: It is supposed to snow. And soon. So if you fall behind in this one, who the hell cares it’ll be covered in snow and you won’t have to worry about it until like April. Polar Vortex FTW.

Current Line: Lawn -3


Pile of Papers on the Little Table

Pile of paper

Recap: It started innocently enough. There was the renewal notice for Cat Fancy and the coupon for the restaurant you never visit but might visit some time because you have a coupon. So you put them on that little table in the corner of the kitchen or on the desk in the den so you could take care of them later. And now, four months later, the pile has become The Pile. You know there are some medical bills in there, and something sticking out of the pile (like three inches from the top) says “Second Notice.” The pile is a combination of the vital stuff you can’t lose and stuff you probably should have thrown away months ago. Somewhere in there is your passport, your Social Security card, and a spare checkbook. The pile is starting to lean precariously.

The preferred offensive strategy is to isolate the various elements and attack them piecemeal. Sort the pile into three separate groups: stuff you need to do right now, stuff you can throw away, and stuff that can wait but you probably shouldn’t throw away. Put that last subset in a nice neat pile, and put it somewhere where you will remember to take care of it soon. Like the little table in the corner of the kitchen.

This team is as frightening as: Michigan State. You know going in that you are going to face some matchup problems that you can’t solve. At some point, you have to acknowledge that defeat is inevitable, and that your opponent’s superiority is unlikely to lessen any time soon. Fear Level = 8

You should worry about: Seriously, one of these days they are going to shut off one of your services for non-payment. It might be your electricity. It might be Cat Fancy.

You can sleep soundly about: If it ever comes down to it, you know EXACTLY where all of your important stuff is. Is there anything so wrong with having all of your important papers in one place?

Current Line: Pile -7 (and the O/U of remaining pile height at the end of the weekend: 4 inches)

[AFTER THE JUMP – More stuff that is more fun than watching football]

Musical Theater

Recap: You’ve successfully attempted to keep this opponent off the schedule for a long time now, but at some point your luck will run out and the brackets will lead you here.

The key when faced with the prospect of, quote, “doing something cultured for once in your football-obsessed, sweat pant wearing, permanent-ass-groove-in-the-couch deepening life,” scouting is key. An evening of “The Book of Mormon” or “Avenue Q” can actually be pretty okay. But if you aren’t careful, you’ll get isolated with the music of ABBA for two and a half hours. Managing the clock is also essential: Les Mis might seem like a decent idea but the first act is nearly two hours long, and whether your give-a-shit face can stand up to that kind of attack is unclear.

This team is as frightening as: “Please turn off all cellular devices” Fear Level =6

You should worry about: You can ruin any goodwill you may otherwise rack up with The Committee by complaining. Although this really should be the rule everywhere; if you get ranked 3rd by the CFP committee and complain because SO MUCH DIZRESPEKT, you automatically drop to 5th.

[This is in no way aimed at #FSUTwitter. It’s just a hypothetical example. #FSUTwitter definitely shouldn’t track me down and light my house on fire because of this DIZRESPEKT.]

You can sleep soundly about: an hour or so, as long as you aren’t a snorer and are pretty good at propping yourself upright.

Current Line: I dreamed a dream in time gone by.


PoliSci Paper

Recap: On the first day of class, when the prof passed around the syllabus, you saw that 12-15 page paper due the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. And being the beginning of September, you made one of two choices: (1) that you would get a head-start on the paper, or (2) that Thanksgiving would never ever come. But seeing as it is November 14th and your progress thus far is a blank Word doc that’s been open on your desktop for the last three weeks, it’s starting to look like you were wrong on both counts. 

This opponent is as frightening as: Hobbes’s State of Nature. Fear Level = 9

You should worry about: Wikipedia’s take on some of this stuff is really freaking hard to understand.

You should sleep soundly about: You are a Michigan football fan. You are more prepared to discuss Sartre than any man or woman alive.

Current Line: Increased margins and Courier New font: -28


Outlet Mall


Recap: Another regular rival (be sure to check out Six Zero’s game preview regarding previous years’ matchups). Your spouse has been on you for a while about how the kids need new pants and they are 4% cheaper if you drive the 17 hours to the outlets in East Mordor. Plus you could use a new little table for the kitchen after the old one collapsed for some reason. So there’s a pretty good chance you’re doing this.

This team is as frightening as: I dunno, they have some nice stuff, and I suppose there are some pretty good deals, and we might as well try to find a new comforter because when are we gonna be back here again, and wait how did we just spend 2,700 bucks? Fear Level = 7

You should worry about: Controlling the clock. You will mentally estimate how long this trip will last, and you will lowball the actual time required by at least 60%.

You can sleep soundly about: Hey that’s a good price for khakis.


The In-Laws


Recap: Sure, they’re good people. They feed you when you come over, and you can usually  watch some football in peace. But you’re having intimate relations with their son or daughter. And they know it. And you know that they know it. Everyone knows it. You’re schtupping their offspring.

This opponent is as frightening as: Accidentally reminding a parent that you have defiled their progeny. Fear Level = 5

You should worry about: “When was that? Oh, it was on our honeymoon.”

You can sleep soundly about: Don’t mention “sleeping.” Again. You’re sleeping a person they birthed.

Current Line: Sporadic but crippling awkwardness –12.5


Broken Dryer

Recap: You’ve faced similar opponents in recent years, including victories over the vacuum cleaner and the classic 2009 upset over the leaky sink. But this year’s opponent feels a lot like last season’s dishwasher debacle, in which a seemingly straightforward matchup led to an embarrassing trip to Sears on a Tuesday because you didn’t execute.

The Dryer is running the classic Hoke offense these days: it takes forever to get going, it doesn’t accomplish anything, it makes a weird repetitive clapping noise, and the stuff inside just keeps tumbling over itself over and over until the timer runs out. And like Michigan, your spouse has foolishly acquiesced to the suggestion that maybe the same person who has been unable to solve the worsening problem over the past few months is the person who should be tasked with fixing it this time. All you need is the right tools. Maybe a Nuss Wrench will loosen that flange thing, which will expose the problem. Does that sound right? I think it could work.

This team is as frightening as: Being 80% sure that you tripped the correct circuit breaker before poking a large piece of metal (that draws 220 volts of electricity) with additional pieces of metal. Fear Level = 8

You should worry about: This might be your last chance to fix ANYTHING around here before your spouse completely gives up on you, at which point she is going to start pulling in new people to do the job. Like the neighbor, or her brother. You know, someone who has shown the ability to be successful against sophisticated opponents.

You can sleep soundly about: Once you figure out how to get that panel off, it shouldn’t be THAT complicated, right? How many wires can there be? Two? Maybe three? I'm sure you'll be able to eyeball it and identify the problem.

Current Line: Skinned Knuckles: -21; Mild Electrical Burns: pick ‘em; Functional Dryer: [off the board]

The Garage

Recap: Look, face it. You aren’t going to clean the garage. You’ll look at the mess in the garage. You might even roll the basketball into the corner and lean the rake against the wall. But that sumbitch ain’t getting done. So just don’t even.

This team is as frightening as: Ohio State. Sure, you’ve theoretically got a shot. But it’s not happening. Fear Level = 10

You should worry about: You know, I should really…

You can sleep soundly about: …eh, fuggit. /closes door

Current Line: Noper




Recap: Yes, Indiana is a Big Ten football team with over eighty scholarship athletes. And yes, you are one person reading a blog, and one who is primed to be defeated by a messy garage and a broken dryer. But with Sudfeld out and ever plausible backup dispersed, I think you’ve got this.

This team is as frightening as: Indiana. Fear Level = 2

You should worry about: Being one person leaves you particularly vulnerable to play action.

You should sleep soundly about: Even if you bite on play action, the odds of Indiana exploiting it are pretty slim.

Current Line: Indiana +2



November 14th, 2014 at 10:34 AM ^

chimney sweeper dealies for dryer vents from Walmart. It works pretty well, but my dryer is on the second floor and I got covered in ash like dust standing on a ladder rotorooting out the vent. Suggestion, wear a hat, goggles and dust mask (or bandana).

The Committee won't let you back in the house until you've added your clothes to the random piles in the garage ...


November 14th, 2014 at 10:52 AM ^

I know that feeling.  I fixed an ailing fridge and it was amazing.  And who would have thought a fridge needs a working heater!  The internet is so cool sometimes, letting you see videos to fix things and get parts cheap.


November 14th, 2014 at 9:53 AM ^

I was hoping to see the opponent

Social Calendar Conventions
You promised Bob 2 weeks ago that you would get together, and tonight he has decided to collect. Why can he just not realize when people say "let's get together soon" they mean I may never see you again.

Fear level: total and utter dread of a tortuous night of awkwardness


November 14th, 2014 at 10:12 AM ^

Those first two opponents are going to give me a run for my money this weekend. Along with the always challenging half-finished bathroom remodel opponent that has been looming large for several weeks.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


November 14th, 2014 at 10:20 AM ^

Well done.  /slow, steady clap


I live in Spring Lake, so the lake effect has already hammered us with 6+ inches and it's still coming down hard.  Snow man in the front yard watched me run the snow blower this morning.  Plow went by immediately after, so I went back out to clear that.  By the time I finished, the driveway needed snowblowing again.


...but at least the leaves are covered.


November 14th, 2014 at 10:20 AM ^

I will be filling out my Michigan law license application (waiving in - not taking the bar).

Now, who wants to hire me?   I have time on Saturday for phone interviews if anyone is interested.  I won't start drinking until probably 5pm, so, anytime before that and I'll be available.


November 14th, 2014 at 10:25 AM ^

The garage may be the most difficult opponent on the schedule, but you've always got a chance. Even the year when the little table had a full mug of coffee spilled on it, an unseasonable warm fall shower gave the lawn a demoralizing upset and the "let's go to the outlet mall WITH the in-laws and kill 2 birds with 1 stone" fiasco turned into an unspeakable ( and in hindsight, predictable) disaster, you still managed to walk into a heavily favored garage and somehow find your groove.

Of course, you were younger then and you seemed about equal to the task of the garage at the start of every season. And even if you do eke out a victory this year, it pales in comparison to the defeats at the hands of My computer is running slow, can you take a look (hadn't lost to them in nearly 2 decades), Can you pick my sister up at the airport (how did that even get in the conference?!?), and the humiliating Put the new swing set together (seriously, this shit used to be fun).

Add in the embarrassing Halloweengate where you brought your daughter home with a poopy diaper, 2 skinned knees and a probable concussion (sure the skinned knees probably made her walk that way, but that turned out to be a pretty lame argument in the face of hysteria) and you have to imagine that no one is going to care if you win in the garage and play in the Shovel the sidewalk bowl this year.


November 14th, 2014 at 10:28 AM ^

This is phenomenal, if only because last bye week I cleaned the garage.  It is spotless, including power washed floors.  This gives me hope for the Ohio State game this year.  (Also, this may or may not have been done under the promise of being okay'ed to buy a new table saw if accomplished.  If we beat Ohio State we get a new Harbaugh? I think that's a decent deal).


November 14th, 2014 at 10:33 AM ^

The Garage is always easy as hell to take down early in the season, but their coaches always have them flying high by the end. Their record in late October/November is near spotless since forever.


November 14th, 2014 at 10:42 AM ^

Very well done indeed!

We actually tackled the pile of papers last night, or rather, we started to do it. So far, we found a certificate of insurance that probably should have been in a car, a half-read book, a few Power Rangers and two "Thank You" cards from showers that are now months in the past. The good news is that we can now actually prepare food there, provided you have a small-ish cutting board and are willing to only cut one thing at a time. 


November 14th, 2014 at 11:27 AM ^

started in the den.

I was sent in against it after losing my driver's license a few days before a court date.

I eventually found an expired passport, my original SSN card, and parts to a piano trio from a group I haven't seen in a few years.

The pile had overflowed the desktop and started reducing floor space but I don't fully blame myself. Cats were involved.


November 14th, 2014 at 11:17 AM ^

Cat Fancy, I discovered it to be a surprisingly deep read with a passionate and committed social mission, for instance, in it's unflinching discussions of shelters, strays, colony maintainance, TNR, and other difficult homeless pet social issues.

Kudos for the product-placement reference.


November 14th, 2014 at 11:17 AM ^

Added to my schedule last minute: allowing the roommate to let her show me her school's football tradition (Texas A&M)

Fightening as: Watching a Kevin Sumlin offense in person and knowing he can never be ours, but then watching a Kevin Sumlin defense and remembering why.  Fear level = 6

Should worry about:  It's supposed to be in the 40's and raining.

Sleep soundly about:  Constantly reminding insufferable Aggie fans that this is "real football weather"

Line: 109,901 is still greater than a rennovated 106,000.


November 14th, 2014 at 11:57 AM ^

I come from a family of Aggies, and I remember that one of their traditions is you get a smooch from your wife/girlfriend after every Aggies touchdown (maybe field goals too, I don't recall). No wonder they love Sumlin's offense so much down there...

Anyway, if you're at all romantically interested in your roommate, that might be a good A&M tradition to explore. Just sayin'! :-)

Amaizing Blue

November 14th, 2014 at 11:25 AM ^

My washer stopped washing in the middle of a load a year or so ago.  My attempt to fix it resulted in visits from the plumber, the appliance repair guy, and an electrician.  Could have bought a new one for $500 or so, but I wanted to do it myself...I chose poorly.


Edit:  Jim Beam on a Sunday afternoon does not improve your ability to fix stuff.  It only makes radical solutions sound plausible.

Forgive me.

November 14th, 2014 at 11:26 AM ^

and my spouse's loud-mouthed little brother with every fiber of my being. Curse them for their scheming competence.  However, I take solice in the fact that they both have worthless degrees (one works at the Quickie-mart and the other mucks stalls for a living).


November 14th, 2014 at 11:37 AM ^

this at work and laughing very loudly. I tried to explain it to those around me and they looked at me like I'm crazy.

Chances I'm asked to take a drug test today: Fear/paranoia level 10. I'm reminded of how I felt in the 2007 game vs App St. As the day progresses, so does the likelihood of something embarrassing happening.

Chances I fail the drug test: Fear/paranoia level 1. I don't do drugs so the only chance I fail is a lab error. I'm reminded of how I felt after I heard we scheduled this yrs App St game. The outcome will be fine but everyone's response will be "Lol, what an embarrassing way to spend an afternoon."


November 14th, 2014 at 11:46 AM ^

Leaves and Weather.  I am so overjoyed at needing to do one last lawn mowing and leaf cleanup and get it done before IT STARTS SNOWING late Sat. afternoon!  Curse you Weather!


November 14th, 2014 at 12:16 PM ^

It was great back in the day when home games started at noon or 12:30 EST.   We'd look at the clock Saturday morning and leap out of bed at 9 to get the coffee going and the game on the TV.   Those were the salad days.   I had all day to fumble with the fixtures, pick up the dog poop in the yard, and actually get a start on the garage.  Curse you meddler of start times.

User -not THAT user

November 14th, 2014 at 12:42 PM ^

I've found the In-Laws to be a remarkably easy opponent to negotiate on the schedule ever since installing an innovative offense based on deception and misdirection called "Grandchildren 1 & 2". Admittedly this offense is complex and difficult to master; not every program is ready to deploy it based on present personnel. But I can't recommend it enough as a means to manipulate an otherwise tough opponent.

They're not so good about helping with the others on that list, at least not immediately, I do admit as much.

You Only Live Twice

November 14th, 2014 at 1:37 PM ^

... a lot of people are out of the office today because I'm only partially successful at stifling my laughter.....

The Piles are a formidable opponent as there is no weather excuse.. plus the pile builds on its success by recruting others... pretty soon you realize the new recruits are totally dominant and you're totally outmatched....it's just not pretty.

Blue in Denver

November 14th, 2014 at 5:14 PM ^

I swear after reading the second opponent I turned around to see if you were standing there watching me.  Damned near died with the garage.

This is my favorite MGoArticle of all time.


November 15th, 2014 at 3:42 PM ^

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