Punt/Counterpunt: Cincinnati

Submitted by Seth on September 9th, 2017 at 8:00 AM

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[Patrick Barron]

PUNT

By Bryan MacKenzie

Say you've built a giant killing robot, or a mechanized cyborg of some kind. Think 'Jaeger from Pacific Rim.' Or a Terminator. Perhaps a Voltron or Megazord of some kind. You build it to compete with other beasts of similar size and overall quality. Maybe you're taking on another robot. Maybe a giant lizard creature, or some sort of evil soulless monster. It doesn't really matter. Just say for the sake of argument that your giant robot emerges victorious in its first real battle, and exceeds even your most optimistic expectations. Congratulations to you and your entire engineering team. Job really well done, guys. Bravo.

Now, imagine that a week later you are asked to use that same giant killer robot to take on a new adversary: WALL-E.

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You are suddenly presented with a new set of challenges, and some things that you might not even have thought about: can your giant lasers aim that low? Can your tracking system lock onto a target that small? How will my attempts at deception work against an opponent that is almost entirely incapable of reacting to stuff? And how do we judge how well we have done? Is 17 seconds a good time in which to crush an opponent like this? 

Look man, we built this thing to take on Sharkosaurus. And swarms of JoeBots. We never really put much design effort into a task like this.

You see both the dilemma and the lack of dilemma facing Michigan this week. How do you keep players motivated and focused, both during the week and during the game itself? How much do they pull out of the bag? How soon do the starters come out? Where is the line between "healthy competition" and "stop stop he's already dead?"

These are real considerations. But take a step back in your giant mechanized killing machine, and look at the bigger picture. Some things may be in doubt, but one thing isn't: WALL-E is gonna get crushed into, ironically, a pile of garbage. Maybe it's a 35-10 pile, maybe it's a 60-0 pile. But at a certain point, scrap metal is scrap metal.

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That screen pass almost worked

From a pure football standpoint, it's hard to look at any aspect of this game and see even a hypothetical, "devil's advocate" argument for a competitive game. Cincinnati finished last year losing 7 of their last 8 games (by an average margin of nearly 18 points). They opened this year by getting outgained by an FCS team that had lost 47 of 48 games. Maybe WALL-E has a plasma cannon hidden in there somewhere... but I doubt it.

Michigan 52, Cincinnati 3

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COUNTERPUNT

By Nick RoUMel

Cincinnati has a lot going for it. It is the biggest, baddest, Rockem-Sockem Robot of all time. Cincy is the Iron Giant. Megatron. Dolph Lundgren from Rocky IV.

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Cincinnati was originally named Losantiville. It was a major exporter of pork products. The German immigrants developed a product named “Goetta,” made of ground pork and pinhead oatmeal.

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“Cincinnati Chili” is also a local food thing, a thin gruel-like concoction flavored with cinnamon and served over spaghetti with cheddar cheese. Skyline Chili is the iconic franchise that pioneered this phenomenon, in 1949.

The Ann Arbor School District opened Skyline High School in 2008. This was shortly after Bo Schembechler died, and there was strong sentiment to name the high school “Schembechler High.” The school board went with the safe pick, the same way that a large group always ends up settling for plain cheese pizza. I am always tempted to order a three-way when I visit that high school.

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Cincinnati is also known as the Queen City. This is because the glam rock band “Queen” once performed a concert there at Riverfront Stadium, where Vontaze Burfict blindsided Freddie Mercury and was suspended for six games, yet also given a $38 million contract extension.

The city of Cincinnati is also the cradle of mediocre Notre Dame coaches. In 1980 the Irish stunned the football world by plucking Gerry Faust from Cincinnati Moeller High School. The bold experiment ended five years later, with Faust finishing 30-26-1. Former Bearcat coach Brian Kelly is in his eighth year at Notre Dame, with a 60-31 record and three bowl victories: Sun, Pinstripe, and Music City.

Other former University of Cincinnati coaches have performed better elsewhere. Mark Dantonio did well at Michigan State during the period the Michigan Wolverines temporarily suspended their football program; now he is content to lose with dignity. Tommy Tuberville and Butch Jones have also coached at UC; this year their new coach is former Ohio State assistant Luke Fickell. Michigan fans will remember Fickell from 2011, when he assumed head coaching duties for a year after Jim “The Little Penguin” Tressel resigned in the wake of scandal. That was the ONLY F*NG TIME MICHIGAN HAS BEATEN OSU IN THE LAST 13 YEARS.

You can see where I’m going with this. Yep, out to get a beer with my son in law.

IVAN DRAGO 35, C3PO 0

Comments

Y-UM

September 9th, 2017 at 9:20 AM ^

A historical clarification, if I may, to one of Mr. RoUMel's brilliant paragraphs:

"Queen" performed at Riverfront Stadium because of their well-known reverence for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow—they referred to their "longfellow" on the regular—and so they wanted to honor his poetical naming of Porkopolis as "The Queen of the West."

That of course makes today's match-up a contest between the Queen of the West and the Champions of the West.

Der Alte

September 9th, 2017 at 9:36 AM ^

During WWI, Cincinnati was a hotbed of anti-German sentiment, which was probably some sort of reaction to the large German presence in that city from earliest times. Anyway, the city fathers changed the names of many streets from their German-souding names to nonethnic names. A crazed mob hung a German guy from a street lamp. If you were a Kraut in Cinci back then, times were tough.

But no crime should go completely unpunished, so I'm especially looking forward to watching today as M avenges those ancient antiGerman acts and grinds the Cincinnati Bearcats into bratwurst. Go Blue.

Jon06

September 9th, 2017 at 11:28 AM ^

"Mark Dantonio did well at Michigan State during the period the Michigan Wolverines temporarily suspended their football program; now he is content to lose with dignity."

Bravo, dude.