The Home Stretch

The Home Stretch

As hard as it was to endure, I hope you took full advantage of the second bye week. I hope you put your feet up, relaxed your mind, let your heart rate beat at a normal pace for the first time since late August, and above all else, let those vocal cords relax and rest their roar. As much as we hated to face another bye-week, this one could not have come at a better time. In fact, the script was written to perfection. If you thought those last three games were tough, I’ve got some sobering news for you. You haven’t seen a darn thing yet. As we enter the home stretch, it’s what lies in front that is truly going to make or break us, not what’s been left behind in our wake.

Don’t get me wrong, that three-game gauntlet over Iowa in Iowa City, Michigan in the Blizzard and Sparty under a bucket full of rain was nothing short of a spectacle. It was everything it was cracked up to be and more. We now stand tall at a robust No. 5 (making the case to be even higher), sport one of the game’s most difficult schedules to date and effectively squashed any leftover chatter from our own fans claiming we hadn’t played anyone prior to that three-game swing. I’m not going to lie, as much as I may have beat my chest in August and claimed we’d go 12 and 0, deep down I didn’t really think we would get this far without notching at least one blame-it-on-our-youth loss by now. No way, no how.


Yet, here WE ARE on the brink of the home stretch. Undefeated. 8 and 0. Not only are we in the conversation but a huge part of the debate this week was whether or not we should flip-flop with the defending champs, Clemson, who sit at No. 4. Even Herbie from College Gameday has hopped on the bandwagon, tootin' our horn on our day off this weekend. There was no chance we’d drop for not playing when the polls came out on Sunday. Those days are behind us. We have earned that spot and a week of rest was never going to change that. Who knows how this year’s first College Football Playoff poll will shake out on Tuesday night but we’ve got more than a fighting chance be one of the four teams in at this point.

We’ve been down this road before you know. Remember in 2017 when that walk-off home run in Iowa City landed us firmly at No. 2 for a week or so? But this one feels different. We haven’t reached our peak. In fact, with only the home stretch of the regular season left to go, we’re just starting to hit our stride and everyone knows it. Not just us this time, but all the talking heads out there as well. There are land mines and traps to conquer, and a date with the king of the conference. That gauntlet we just overcame may have been a brutal test but it’s the home stretch that’s ultimately going to define us. Nothing comes easy this time of year, but this go around we’ve got them just where we want them and our sights are set high.