Big Ten Bloggers SquareTable Roundup

A few days ago, I posted the Boiled Sports-hosted Big Ten Squaretable. And many of the Big Ten Bloggers participated. Some seem to enjoy this as a diversion. Some seem to approach it joylessly, like it’s required homework. Others seem to think it’s some kind of contest, like there’s a points system and they might win somehow. And Enlightened Spartan’s email was the kindest:

Has to be the easiest and most enjoyable yet.

Just like my high school girlfriend.

Regardless, here’s who participated:

Enlightened Spartan (Who is apparently not enlightened enough to find a decent site host.)

Black Heart Gold Pants (Who actually didn’t participate, but instead sent brief, half-assed answers along with a famous-among-Big-Ten-Bloggers photo of old men having a threesome. Does anyone else get reminded of the things “Sean Connery” would do during those Will Ferrell/Jeopardy sketches on SNL whenever they deal with BHGP?)

Paint The Town Orange (Reminds me of a joke – why does Illinois wear orange? So their fans can wear the same shirt to the game Friday, hunting Saturday and picking up trash on the highway on Sunday.)

The Only Game That Matters (Always assumed the only game that mattered was the game of Life. Well, that or Sorry. Or Chutes and Ladders.)

Zombie Nation (Perfect name for a site that loves 900-year-old, undead Joe Paterno.)

Varsity Blue (One of those sites whose name was probably quickly – and without much thought – conceived, much like Adam Jacobi, and now has a header that says “Varsity Maize.”)

Maize & Blue Nation (I’d have gone with “Maize & Blue Town Known As Ann Arbor.” Which reminds me, how is “AnnArborIsAWhore.com” not a site yet?)

The Nittany Line (One of the few Big Ten Blogs more basic-looking than ours.)

Ground Zero East Lansing (Close second in name voting: Smoldering Wreckage East Lansing.)

Lake The Posts (What happens when you toss a blog into a lake.)

Happy Hour Valley (A Penn State blog with a name that implies drinking – if you’ve ever been to Happy Valley, this is about as shocking as Clay Aiken being gay.)

As we work through this rather long wrapup post, quoted text from other sites is in italics. Cool? Good.

As for the responses, as I said, there were some terrific ones. There were also some potshots being taken. The Nittany Line began by mocking me directly (more directly than most, anyway):

First off I don't take orders from someone that only gets his balls back from his wife once a week, damnit I'll call it a Roundtable and you'll like it junior!

Okay, you little whippersnapper. If my wife had her hands on my balls almost all week long, I’d rather enjoy that.

And Happy Hour Valley called our naming it the Squaretable, “…a deliberate attempt at lameness.”

Mmm-hmm. Kind of like the “ROWR” noise that’s made at PSU games and the “Love ya Lions!” graphic on the board are deliberate attempts at being latently homosexual.

On we go to the questions…

1) We're all car guys here at BS. So your task is to assign your own program a vehicle. Is Purdue an all-terrain vehicle like a Jeep or a Hummer? Something befitting a brawny Boilermaker? Is Ohio State a slow, conversion van being passed by Corvettes with USC markings? Is IU a John Deere tractor with a hillbilly riding on it? Get creative and let us know both what your school is if it’s a car as well as assigning a vehicle to as many of the other Big Ten schools as you like. (I’d require you to do them all but I know attention spans are short and counting to 11 is hard.)

This question generated some quite funny – and very creative – answers.

Enlightened Spartan says they’re a hippy bus. And has no comments on anyone else.

BHGP, via email, says “Iowa is a car that’s pretty good.” Solid.

Paint the Town Orange went with Illinois being a “water car”:

Our offense is one that is perfectly suited, and often prefers to stay on solid ground. But in certain situations will go to the air, or in this case water, and cruise around at blistering speeds. Also you can waterski with it, and that totally rocks right?

Speaking of water-skiing… Zooker!

The Only Game That Matters felt that our question was a “trap”:

So far in this blog's short history, we've avoided falling into the trap of "Big Ten teams as..." posts. Big Ten teams as Simpson's Characters! Big Ten teams as TV Networks! Big Ten teams as Porn Stars! They're all tiresome and tedious. We'll play along here though, and for extra credit we'll do all eleven Big Ten teams as "modes of transportation."

Ah, I see. Our question is “tiresome and tedious,” is it now? And yet you’ll still do it. That’s what I thought, you little daffodils.

Regardless, they did a good job, nailing eleven great suggestions for the Big Ten teams. My favorites included:

Illinois: The Dodo. If you've played GTAIII (yes, the one for PS2) you know exactly what I'm talking about. Oh sure, you can get it, and you can drive it. But just try to get off the ground for any discernible distance. Go ahead. We dare you. Just like Illinois, the thing looks sweet, and runs fine on the ground, but as soon as you try to do anything through the air it locks up and ends in a heaping fireball of twisted fury and a PS2 controller slammed viciously against the floor.

Iowa: The first thing that popped into my head when I though "Iowa" was
this, offered without caption or comment.

Minnesota: The mall escalator. They're the up side so far, but sooner or later, you've gotta get off that puppy and head back down. I mean, they only go two directions.

Penn State: Last week, I wrote that the tag line for Penn State this year should be "I can't believe this offense is working either." What vehicle perfectly matches that?
How about this. Every time this thing starts, I'm amazed, but man oh man, once it's goin' it can sure mow down opponents, provided they're not over 6" tall and made of soft, fluffy grass. Either way, this thing's pretty useless once the grass stops growing, which should be around October 1st.

Indiana: I'll go with the first thing that google images pops up when I type in "Indiana University and Car." Indiana,
this is your vehicle. Odd, since that appears to be the Golden Gate bridge in the background, but also kinda fitting. You're not going to get anywhere fast… but hey, on a perfect day going downhill, it can probably get you safely to a bowl game.

Zombie Nation also did all eleven programs (that’s what she said) and also did a very admirable job. Among my favorites here include…

Wisconsin:
Loud, slow, and usually surrounded by drunken working-class heros, you just keep plowing over everyone.

Michigan: You laugh now, but
this 'project car' will beat your pants off some day.

Purdue: You used to be cool… in like 2000.

Ohio State: You WERE making excellent time,
but then

Northwestern: Just because we can't afford
one of our own, doesn't mean you're automatically smarter than the rest of us.

Indiana: Aw,
while cute and efficient, no one really takes them seriously.

Maize & Blue Nation had two car suggestions that I found particularly clever:

tOSU is a Land Rover. From the outside, it looks great. It's supposed to have a ton of power and speed. It can clear large objects and traverse almost any terrain. But as soon as you get it home, something breaks and you get about 3 recall notices in the mail, and it spends the whole season going in and out of the shop. And by the end of the year, all that is left is a heap of rusted worn out metal.

Michigan State is a dump truck rolling down a steep hill. The problem is, once you hit the bottom of the hill, you have to push down on the gas. Sometimes the driver can find it, sometimes the driver slams into a wall. Usually the bottom of the hill is right about the time they play Michigan. I think they might have a better driver this year, but we'll see if he can find that gas pedal.

The Nittany Line decided to answer a totally different question, and chose to assign bikes to each school. This would have been a terrific answer if (a) I’d asked about bikes, (b) more than 10% of the population has any clue what the difference between bikes is and got humor out of it or (c) if we were all at the Blue Oyster Bar. (For the record, I do have a bike – an ’89 Ninja 600R – so eat it.)

Nevertheless, there were a few clever ones…

Purdue: Any bike ridden by Evil Knievel. Joe Tiller brought the high flying spread offense to the Big Ten and admit it, you liked it and a small part of you wanted to see it on your team, just like a small part of every kid wanted to be Evil Knievel. Just like Purdue's offense Knievel made people shake their heads in awe. Sure Purdue beat some good teams and sure Knievel made some breathtaking jumps but just like Purdue's games, more times than not Knievel's jumps ended very badly often in horrific fashion.

Northwestern: Vespa

He has a great picture of a pinkish/purpleish Vespa, but I can’t link you to it because he has his links disabled like a dink.

Sure it's cute and sure it's smart, hell you'll probably get something in the neighborhood of 80 miles per gallon, but can you really take this thing seriously? You know what they say about fat chicks and scooters they're always fun to ride just don't let your buddies catch you doing it. How many guys openly admit they own a Vespa and how many guys open admit they root for Northwestern… oh, sorry LTP.

Lake The Posts chimes in with some nice suggestions as well:

Penn State - Oldsmobile. It's not your father's Oldsmobile. It's your father's father's Oldsmobile.

Illinois - A Lamborghini. Not sure how the guy driving it could afford it, but you're pretty sure they're compensating for some insecurities.

Purdue - Mazda Miata. Screams of using flash and sleek exterior to compensate for a midlife crisis knowing you are used to driving a minivan.

Worth noting that’s the second comparison of Purdue to a Miata.

Northwestern - A Volvo. High performance engine, but its 5-star crash rating is what let's you sleep at night.

High performance, you say? To the tune of 16-8 over Ohio? We shall see…

Happy Hour Valley says that Ohio State is a Pinto:

Things were going alright for the Buckeyes until they go severely rear-ended by USC and exploded in flames.

2) In Week 1 in the NFL, the New England Patriots learned how precious things can be when Tom Brady had his knee blown out by a former Boilermaker. Let’s say your team wins out from here to the end and is in a BCS bowl game with a chance to do the school and conference proud – what ONE player on your squad would you most likely cry about having his knee blown out in the first quarter? That is, who is truly indispensable?

Answers varied, and my favorite point in haughtiness was the way more than one PSU blog acted as though they’re so damn talented, they could lose key guys and keep on steamrollin’.

They did seem to agree that Sean Lee was an example of a key loss that they’ve soldiered on without, taking down powerhouses like Temple. Uh, yeah.

Zombie Nation sez: I love this question. Penn State has already lost its "indispensable" player in Sean Lee, and we're doing just fine. Penn State doesn't have that ONE player right now who's injury would kill the season or the big game. Watch this team play a few times, and you'll see that there's no individual star. Hell, even if Daryll Clark went down, PSU has Pat Devlin, who'd start for most other Big Ten teams right now.

Yeah, we’ve got guys on the BENCH who would start for most of you mooks! Rah-rah-sis-boom-bah!

Let’s get into conference play before you make this assertion, son.

Happy Hour Valley: We have so many weapons offensively that it’s hard to pinpoint one guy whose injury would cripple our attack…

Man, you guys must be national championship-bound!

LTP was saddened that I gloated about Tom Brady’s injury and chose Tyrell Sutton.

PTTO takes: Arrelious, for-realious Benn.

TOGTM decided to focus on 45% of the teams in the Big Ten, interestingly leaving out Wisconsin and PSU, the early conference favorites:

Going through every team so far has been tedious,

Managed to mention “tedious” in each of his first two answers. Must have been on his Word of the Day calendar.

so I'll name just a few players who I believe are truly indispensable for teams thus far:

Beanie Wells - OSU
C.J. Bacher - Northwestern
Javon Ringer - MSU
Kellen Lewis - Indiana
Juice Williams - Illinois

Really, that's all I can think of. This answer probably won't win any awards.

Nope.

The Michigan blogs – M&BN and VB – go with McGuffie and Threet, respectively. And yes, what ever would Michigan do to save their Motor City Bowl hopes if they lost one of these guys? I kid, I kid. (Sort of.)

An interesting answer came from G0EL, who focused on the second most indispensable:

It's Ringer, and I think everybody knows why by now.

Because he’s handsome?

Instead of dwelling on that point, I'll tell you who I think is second most indispensable. I'd say strong safety Otis Wiley has returned to his 2006 form, but he's better than that. He leads the Big Ten with four interceptions, and has been all over the field so far this year. His interceptions against Cal helped keep MSU in the game, and he had a critical pick against Notre Dame which set up the first MSU touchdown. He's the most dynamic playmaker on the MSU defense, and if he goes down, there's nobody really suitable at safety to replace him currently.

Solid answer, actually.

3) Purdue plays Notre Dame this week and, well, we detest Notre Dame like probably no other program. Let's say I have the power to force you (maybe you lost a bet to me) to wear another Big Ten school's colors to an away game for that team. That is, you're wearing OSU colors to a game being played at Michigan, or something like that. And I'm talking, dorky, head-to-toe… goofy-ass sweatshirts and flat-brimmed, ridiculous-looking hats. If you have to choose, which program would you be able to stomach wearing? (Remember, you're going to an away game, so people won't like you and accept you and you'll be taking this abuse for a school you're not even affiliated with.) And by the same token, what program could you absolutely not EVER stomach wearing, under any circumstances?

A lot of people felt Northwestern was the easiest to wear as it’s hard to hate a harmless, cuddly little purple kitten, with a couple votes for MSU as well. Let’s let LTP lead off for this one:

Purdue. No, not because you're hosting, but because they are the Switzerland of fandoms. I've been down this road many times before. Michigan and Ohio State are the kings of the hill and therefore unlikable and too bandwagon-y. Penn State is right there with them prior to the slip-ups of the early-to-mid-2000s. Wisconsin is a border war team. Sparty and Iowa are LTPs least favorite fan bases for the (aggghhh! We lost to NORTHWESTERN!!!!) lack of respect card and for least friendly fans who come to Ryan Field. Illinois is obviously our in-state rival. Indiana is well, Indiana. Which leaves Minnesota and Purdue. I like both of the fan bases and am always treated well by their alums, so it comes down to a fashion play. Black and gold with a train logo is just way cooler than maroon and gold and a silly buck-tooth gopher. Boiler up!

Best. Answer. Ever. You’re right, LTP, we do rule.

Happy Hour Valley challenged us thusly, and I don’t really get it:

And if you need me to write out which school’s clothing I would refuse to dress up in, then perhaps you should stop calling yourself a “Big Ten Guy.”

Really? PSU is the least rivalry-affected school in the Big Ten. And I call myself a “Handsome Guy.”

ES decided to start talking like they’re in Fargo or something:

ES would wear da purple of N'western or da Red of Wisky... but would never wear blue and yeller for da Yeller Bellies.

PTTO would tolerate MSU but has this to say about what they would never tolerate:

What could I never stomach? Iowa IOWA Iowa. I lived just across the river from Iowa most of my life, and have had to deal with those loud pink-faced sunburned attaboys too many times.

TOGTM wears IU willingly but has this to say about OSU:

I would never wear Ohio State gear, but had an awkward experience involving Greg Oden during which I had to pretend to be an Ohio State fan. I vomited violently afterwards. I don't understand how Ohio State fans can stand that taste. Seriously, it's like cabbage and cigarette butts.

Jeez, did you have to give him a BJ or something?

ZN also tolerates IU colors and thinks few people hate them, but interestingly thinks Michigan is the most hated team in the land:

But I could never wear Michigan garb. Everyone hates them, hands down. More than Ohio State, more than Wisconsin.

The Michigan blogs agree that PSU and OSU fans are a-holes – surprise!

VB:

Schools whose gear that I really wouldn't want to wear to an away game are those like Ohio State and Penn State, since their fans are generally assholes to visitors, and the favor would likely be returned to me.

M&BN:

They [Penn State] are most certainly not [tolerable]. If you see one, or a pack of them, walk away or try to ignore them. They are not like your Sparty or Buckeye fans who, at least for the most part, have only one brain cell floating around and are very easy to confront and out-wit. Penn State fans are from Pennsylvania. Do you know what else there is to do in Pennsylvania besides watch, live, breathe, eat, drink football? Exactly.

Wow, that’s a shot. Not one I necessarily disagree with, but a shot all the same.

4) I like big butts and I can not lie. Share your embarrassing guilty pleasure music selection that you know other people might laugh at. Bonus points if you can send a YouTube video of an awful music video with it. Many/most of us grew up and/or went to college in the '80s and '90s so I know you've all got some Nelson After The Rain on the iPod.

LTP: Whitesnake. I admit it, I listen to this one, too.
Happy Hour Valley: Cannonball, by the Breeders. Not bad, not bad.
ES: Little River Band.
Paint the Town Orange: Get Busy, Sean Paul. Not old, but yes, terrible.
TOGTM: Poison, baby! Bring me back to middle school dances!
Varsity Blue: Take on Me, by A-Ha. One of my guilty pleasures, too. About died when Family Guy did their take.

Zombie Nation thinks we’re all old:

Unlike those geriatrics, I went to college in the 21st Century. So I'll go with the ridiculous techno music from the early 2000s, like Castles in the Sky, Sandstorm, and Heaven. That shit was orgasmic for us 18-20 year olds.

I guess in the early 2000s, LSD and techno was one way to divert attention from Penn State football.

Maize & Blue Nation: A little GnR. Nicely done. Another one that takes me back to slow-dancing without moving my feet.

The Nittany Line: Abba Gold. Thus taking the award for gayest. Well-done.

G0EL: Enrique Iglesias. Okay, fine, so TNL has competition.

BHGP: Pearl Jam. They’re like the Sum 41 of the ‘90s.


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And that about does it. Thanks for sticking with this long enough to reach the end. For that, you get a cookie. Just remind the next time you see me.

Get Ready.

Nation's No. 1 RB still has Purdue in the running

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