After following the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams for its “Hard Knocks”-esque series, “All or Nothing,” Amazon expanded into the college ranks for an eight-episode run with the Michigan Wolverines.
Like most passionate Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans, I can’t stand the Wolverines. I hate their helmets, their fight song, their smug coach and their “Michigan man” nonsense.
I’m going to watch this series, so you don’t have to. These are my real-time reactions of the third episode, with time stamps just in case you do decide, “Yeah, maybe I want to see a kid say Jim Harbaugh looks like a creeper.”
This episode includes Penn State’s drubbing of Michigan and the Wolverines’ bounce-back against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. It focuses on quarterback John O’Korn, offensive tackle Grant Newsome and their special relationship with Larry Prout, a Michigan fan who has had more than 90 surgeries.
- 4:24 O’Korn is reviewing video of the team’s practice after a particularly scattershot performance. The Huntingdon, Penn., native can’t block out the noise from Penn State fans, who surround his hometown.
Everybody talking trash, and outside of this building a lot of people are freaking out and losing their minds about this team. But we’re five and one, and everybody’s acting like we’re one and five.
There’s good reason for this. The starting quarterback, who, let’s face it, was decidedly so-so, is lost for the season with a spine injury. And O’Korn, his backup, played like hot garbage in the team’s first loss of the year to Michigan State. His encore? A 10-of-20 performance for 58 yards —not a misprint — in an overtime win against the Indiana Hoosiers, who would finish the year 5-7. Now they’re playing the second-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions in Happy Valley and the starting quarterback can’t even make the simplest of passes in practice.
As a team, I think Penn State fears us. I think they fear Michigan. We’ve really beat them handily the past two years. And whatever people want to say outside of our building, they can say whatever they want. But we know we’re not the underdog in this game. If we go out and execute, we can impose our will on them just like everyone else we’ve played this year.
O’Korn is extremely lucky that this series debuted after he ran out of eligibility, because this would have been surefire bulletin board material in State College. (Hell, it still might be.) As with Speight, I can’t tell if Michigan quarterbacks project confidence because they’re afraid to show weakness or if they actually believe the stupid shit that comes out of their mouths. Two weeks ago, O’Korn said he’s the “most NFL-ready QB in the draft.” Malik Zaire offered a similar statement recently, leaving me to wonder if underachieving college quarterbacks live full-time in alternate reality of their choosing.
- 6:32 Speight and his girlfriend, Ani Sarkisian, are eating sushi and discussing the quarterback competition between O’Korn and Brandon Peters. Speight expresses hope that he’ll be ready to play by the Wolverines’ game against the Maryland Terrapins in three and half weeks (spoiler: he won’t) and tells Sarkisian, “I wish this season would slow down.” Her response? “Retweet.”
FIRST, IT WAS “HASHTAG INNER CIRCLE.” NOW IT’S “RETWEET.” I CAN’T WAIT FOR ANI TO DROP A “LIKE” INTO THE NEXT FILMED CONVERSATION. OMG, I HOPE SHE DOESN’T ASK WILTON TO “SLIDE INTO MY DMs” WHEN THEY’RE IN BED TOGETHER.
- 13:42 O’Korn comes over to talk to center Mason Cole at the conclusion of the Wolverines’ collapse against Penn State.
“Love you man. We’re brothers. It’s going to be on us seniors to keep these young guys in it all year, all right? We’re too good to give up.”
“And we won’t. We won’t.”
[Narrator voice]: AND THEY DID. THEY DID.
- 16:32 O’Korn, talking to a fellow teammate while playing video games:
“Our season is not lost. We need some help from some other teams now, but we really are still in control of almost everything.”
Did you catch that? O’Korn believes his team is 1) still in control but 2) needs helps from other teams. I wonder how he squares that circle.
Also, Wisconsin and Ohio State -- who carry a combined one total loss between them at this point — are upcoming on Michigan’s schedule. How could O’Korn honestly believe the season is not lost? He certainly remembers how Michigan’s lopsided beatdown of Penn State hurt the Nittany Lions’ chances with the College Football Playoff committee in 2016. Does he think the Wolverines get some sort of special dispensation from the committee for losing just as badly, even if they end up beating Wisconsin and Ohio State?
- 31:13 Harbaugh, driving home a caravan of his kid’s friends, hears it from one of them:
“Can you please get that, can you please get that thing out of your face? You look kind of like some of the creepers.”
“Which thing’s making me look like a creeper? What? My face? My face looks like a creeper?”
“No, only when you go like this.” (Kid grimaces, imitating a look Harbaugh had given just seconds prior.)
“Like that?” (Harbaugh grimaces broadly, showing his teeth.) “Is that better, smile?” (He offers an exaggerated smile.)
OMG, KID. I AM DYING. BRAVO!