The Opposing Quarterbacks Club
By John Kreinbihl
A Leaders vs. Legends Championship Cook-out
Championship week meant my buddy the doorman was under intense pressure to keep this week’s proceedings even more secretive than normal. Media requests and public curiosity hits a fever pitch with games of this magnitude and he was being inundated with requests for information on the upcoming meeting. National and local media hounded him. SEC pundits and fans protested outside the facility claiming their QB Clubs are better and therefore more deserving of attention and the general public showed because they saw a bunch of rednecks in flannel shirts and overalls making noise so they assumed Charlie Daniels was performing in the building. Needless to say, under the intense scrutiny he reacted like steel at 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and just melted. He called me in a panic and said he needed help. About thirty minutes later, I showed up with a vending cart of Corndogs, Yahoo and PBR and the crowd quickly dispersed. He thanked me and helped hide the microphones.
Here is the transcript from the meeting:
Moderator: Good afternoon everyone and welcome to this week’s meeting of The Opposing Quarterbacks Club. The regular season has ended and while many teams are waiting to hear about bowl invitations some teams will be playing for conference championships and undefeated Ohio State is one of those teams. The Buckeyes, winners of the Leaders Division, travel to Indianapolis to take on the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten Championship Game Saturday night. We will be joined by Spartan quarterback Connor Cook shortly and we’ll recognize Devin Gardner of Michigan for his efforts against the Bucks this past weekend, but I’ll begin the proceedings with the roll call. Joe Licata?
Moderator: Adam Dingwell, Quinn Kaehler, and Jared Goff?
Goff: Here, here and here.
Moderator: Damien Fleming?
Moderator: Joel Stave, Kain Colter, Trevor Siemian and Jake Rudock ?
Stave: Yes, yes, yes and yes
Moderator: Christian Hackenberg, Tyler Ferguson, Danny Etling and Nathan Scheelhaase?
Ferguson: We’re here.
Licata: Hey Ferguson, I saw where you asked Coach O’Brien to release you from your scholarship so you could transfer. Did you realize you had no chance of seeing the field or is Hackenberg that big of a jagoff?
Hackenberg: You know I’m sitting right here, right?
Ferguson: I’m not going to comment on any speculations. It’s an internal situation.
Dingwell: Keep it in-house. Good idea. That worked so well for you guys in the past.
Moderator: Adam, that conversation is over. If I may continue, Nate Sudefld and Tre Roberson?
Roberson: We’re both here sir.
Moderator: And finally, Devin Gardner?
Gardner: I never thought I’d utter these words again, but, yes, I’m here.
Moderator: It’s good to see you again Devin. Welcome back. Due the significance of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, it’s always nice to welcome a Wolverine back home. Over the past decade or so, it’s become a regular occurrence in the same manner Thursday follows Wednesday. As we plan membership each year, we no longer question or debate whether a Michigan Man will be joining us, we simply check the “yes” box on the form and move on.
Stave: You mean like you do for Indiana?
Gardner: So this is the recognition I get? I bust my behind; play the best game of the year; take the Buckeyes to the limit, a place none of you even thought about going; come within seconds of pulling off the upset of the college football season and I’m lumped with these losers?
Moderator: That’s not how I would put it, but yes.
Gardner: So scoring seven touchdowns and gaining over 600 yards in offense means nothing?
Goff: Nope. Nil, nada, nothing, zip, zilch and zero.
Gardner: Will you guys provide any comfort, sympathy or empathy?
Licata: Let’s do a quick inventory check on that request. Looks as if we’re completely out of comfort. Colter, what about sympathy?
Colter: The story is the same with sympathy. Trevor, how are we looking on empathy?
Siemian: Empathy is on empty.
Gardner: You guys are completely worthless. You have no idea what I went through on Saturday. The world gave us no chance to compete with Ohio State but we knew the depth and intensity of the greatest rivalry in college football and we understood the ever-lasting ramifications of a Michigan victory for both schools. For us, it makes our season and our fans have memories that would last forever. For them, it would be the end of an undefeated run at the hands of their hated rival and throw them from any National Championship opportunities. We knew we had to pay the game of our lives and we did. I won’t lie, I was really hurting before the game and it got worse as the game went on, but I stood in there like a warrior, made plays with every last ounce of grit and determination I had. I hurt to walk but I ran as fast and hard as I could. My shoulder felt as if it was going to fall off at any moment, but I kept cranking it up and made great throw after great throw. This was Michigan-Ohio State in a manner that nobody associated with the rivalry had ever seen before. I played my ass off. I played my heart out. I gave everything I had and more and you, my peers, don’t appreciate that at all?
Rudock: Maybe it’s just me, I see his lips moving but all I hear is the sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher from the old Peanuts cartoons. Whaa-whaa, whaa-whaa, whaa-whaa, whaa-whaa, whaa-whaa, whaa.
Sheelhaase: That’s pretty much what I heard too.
Gardner: Perhaps I expected too much to gain your admiration but is it asking too much to get a little respect?
Etling: Respect? Anybody got any Aretha Franklin on their I-pods? Anyone? Buehler? Anyone? Guess not.
Hackenberg: I’ve got Salt-N- Pepa’s “Shoop”, is that good enough?
Fleming: Hey Devin, I just found a big box of “we don’t give a crap”, will that help?
Moderator: Devin, it would be easy to acknowledge your accomplishments and highlight assorted statistics, but that’s not what this Club is about. Here, your effort this year matches your effort last year. On Saturday, you finished flat on your back after the two-point conversion was intercepted and in 2012 you finished flat on your back after the hit from Zac Boren. The number on your jersey may have changed, but from our vantage point, flat on your back in a loss is flat on your back in a loss. I can’t make it any simpler than that and as a result I’m honored to present you with your Year 2 pin as a returning member of The Opposing Quarterbacks Club. Congratulations.
Sudfeld: Look, the 2 is horizontal as if flat on the ground. Nice touch.
Gardner: Man, this place is rougher than I remember. I haven’t decided if I’ll return for another year at Michigan, but if I do, I won’t be back.
Moderator: That choice is yours Devin and you’ll make the decision you need to make, but I will tell you, we’ve already designed your year 3 pin. Just sayin…
Kaehler: You gotta like that kind of forward thinking.
Moderator: At this point I’d like to turn attention to this week’s match-up. It’s the Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis featuring the Ohio Sate Buckeyes and the Michigan State Spartans. Joining us today is Connor Cook, the 6’4”, 220 lb., redshirt sophomore quarterback from Michigan State. On the season, Connor has completed 177 of 304 passes for more that 2,100 yards with 17 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions. Connor, welcome to The Opposing Quarterbacks Club.
Moderator: Connor, what do we need to know about you?
Cook: I’m from Ohio. I grew up between Cleveland and Akron. I red-shirted my freshman year and I’m a Media and Information major at MSU.
Kaehler: Media and Information major, what’s that mean? You watch TV and stuff?
Fleming: I think so. It’s like majoring in relaxation engineering where all you do is take naps.
Etling: Or reactionary sciences where you order things like pizza and merchandise online and wait for them to be delivered.
Roberson: Isn’t that called logistics?
Sudfeld: No logistics is the study of how the stuff gets there—inventory management, transportation, etc—reactionary science is making a phone call and having it show up on your doorstep with no interest in how it happen. The focus is on that it happened.
Roberson: What would someone do with that major?
Sudfeld: In one case, you run Domino’s Pizza for a few years and then become the AD at Michigan.
Moderator: In terms of Michigan State quarterbacks, we’re familiar with Andrew Maxwell who was a member last year, and the two of you split some the QB duties early in the year, but since the start of the Big Ten season, you have been running the Spartan offense. Was there one play or one moment that sort of transformed you into the starter?
Cook: No, I think is was a matter of Coach Dantonio wanting some stability at the QB position and I’ve been fortunate to be a part of our current winning streak. Andrew is a great guy, a great teammate and we have all the confidence in the world with him when he plays and yes, he did tell me about this place. I’m willing to fulfill my initial obligation, but I don’t expect to be here long.
Scheelhaase: It won’t be that long. I’d say today, the meeting following your loss and the National Championship Game and then whenever the season-ending meeting is, so what, 3 or 4 meeting at the most?
Hackenberg: That’s not bad at all. Look at Licata, he’s been here every week since last August.
Licata: That’s because I look better in the Club jacket than anyone else here.
Moderator: Connor, can you give us an idea of how you see the game unfolding Saturday night?
Cook: We know this is no ordinary game. It’s our second trip to the Championship game and after losing two years ago, we’re anxious to reverse things this year. Plus we have several players from Ohio, myself included, so there is a lot of motivation for us heading into the game. Offensively, I think we learned a lot from the scheme Michigan ran last week. It seems misdirection plays and intermediate passes can be effective against the OSU defense. I’m sure they’ll make adjustments and try to play more disciplined on defense this week, but I’m confident our mix of rushing and passing will be successful for us.
Fleming: OK, let’s include the possibility you’ll move the ball and have success scoring against the Buckeyes, how will you stop them?
Cook: Our defense is one of the top units in the country. We’re number one against the rush, number one against the pass and number one in total defense in the Big Ten. We’ve shut down everyone we’ve played so far this year.
Goff: But you haven’t played anybody with the weapons OSU has. You’ve played teams that can run a little bit and teams that throw it, but you haven’t played anyone who can do both like Ohio State. Miller, Hyde, and that offense will be a handful for your defense.
Stave: And OSU’s O-line is the best line you’ll face this year. Experienced, talented, fundamentality sound. A quality group.
Cook: We appreciate their offensive skills, but we believe defense wins championships and the OSU D is not their strongest suit. Whether it’s due to injuries or inexperience at some of the positions, I don’t know, but everyone in this room has been able to exploit their defensive weaknesses—namely the outside backers and at safety—and we plan on doing the same. We’ll just do it with better players.
Licata: You make valid points but to me, the biggest factor you’ll face with the OSU defense is one very unhappy Urban Meyer. He preaches about playing with your hair on fire and I’m sure he didn’t see that Saturday against Gardner and his Wolverines. There’s no way he hasn’t thrown down the challenge of a lifetime to his defensive coaches and players. He came out and said, if we play like we did against Michigan, we’ll get beat. I guarantee you they won’t play like that.
Colter: I agree. Even though it was their rivalry game last week, I think some of the OSU players looked past Michigan and expected to win easily. A good coach and a good motivator—and Coach Meyer is both—will use that as inspiration for his team.
Fleming: I can hear him now ranting about how that was the worst defensive effort he’s seen in all his life and he tell how he used to throw the football to his son in their backyard and that his daughters played harder and tougher than they did. He’ll scream, “for the love of John Simon, why can’t anyone get pressure on the quarterback?” And, “if you think you can pussy-foot your way to a national championship, you’re a thousand percent wrong. I’ve won national championships and I know what it takes to win them and your effort Saturday wasn’t good enough to beat a middle school team, and thankfully we played that school up north instead, but that was not national championship caliber defense and playing like that the next two games only guarantees disappointment.”
Siemian: He’ll have them focused, disciplined, and most importantly, angry. He’ll make sure they come to play with a huge chip on their shoulder and they’ll dare you to try and knock it off.
Cook: And we will accept that challenge and come out victorious because that’s what Spartans do.
Scheelhaase: More than likely, you’ll hang close for a good portion of the game but in the end, Sparty will go all Sparty and the Buckeyes will hoist the trophy.
Cook: Not if it’s up to me they won’t.
Scheelhaase: It is and they will.
Moderator: Gentlemen, thank you for attending our meeting this week. That’s all the time we have for today. We are officially adjourned.