Today sees the final regular season games for the Big Ten and for many teams, it is not a moment too soon.
At this point, Northwestern, Purdue and Illinois are eager to end the misery (I omit Indiana from this list because they always lose and are used to it).
Iowa and Nebraska are both hoping to finish strong, Wisconsin is no doubt wishing it had a home game against OSU, and Penn State is still under sanction (so no one really cares how it does).
Incendiary link-whoring sports writers like Drew Sharp will claim this makes the conference "irrelevant" and not part of the "national conversation." To which I reply: Get a life.
One of the true joys of autumn is the annual pageantry of football - both high school and college. It is a time of profound tradition and nostalgia - where old friends come together and young people build new memories. Teams play for jugs, spittoons, and horrifically ugly trophies that matter far beyond what some blow-dried has-been denizen of the sports-industrial complex thinks about it.
To put it another way: The consequences of each game are far more signficant than the votes of 60 out-of-touch Associated Press voters. The AP may help pick the bowl games but the relationships of the team members, the experiences of the fans - these are the things we take away.
Even a losing team has moments of glory, and even winners know the bitter taste of an unforseen setback.
But enough about that - it's time to get down to business.
And the business in Michigan today is looking grim.
The Spartans are about to close an epic season at home against surprising Minnesota. The Golden Gophers are the feel-good story of the fall, rising from disappointment to become a legitimate threat to the established order. I thought they might give the Skunk Bears a closer game, but that was before their resurgence.
The chief danger is that the Spartans may overlook the business at hand and focus on next week's showdown with the Buckeyes. Despite what the coaches and players say, I predict a slow start for the Spartans because of this.
Of course, MSU always starts slow, but today there will be a little discomfort as the team realizes that 11 wins are better than 10 and that the Gophers can be rather tenacious, even in defeat (certainly I found that out when I manhandled their mascot some years ago).
MSU wins, and no one really cares by how much.
MEANWHILE, AT THE STADIUM SOON TO BE KNOWN AS "HORSESHOE NORTH": What is there to say? The Skunk Bear faithful are already wearing sackcloth and ashes, calling for the heads of the coach, his offensive coordinator, and their first-born children.
Schadenfreude is a wonderful thing.
What Wolverine fans need to understand is that nothing in this world is a given. If the Spartan nation rejoices in its success, it also knows that glory is fleeting and must be earned anew each year. A hundred victories in the era of leather helmets means nothing today - and while the history is neat, it says nothing about the game on the field.
Normally we at the Posse like to be counterintuitive - to challenge the conventional wisdom with bold predictions. So far this season, we've been right more often than not. However I see no flaws in the conventional wisdom here.
The Buckeyes will hang as many points on the Skunk Bears as humanlly possible. The game may still be close by the half, but I expect "Ohio" to bury the Wolverines by at least three touchdowns.