(UPDATED 8/5): New proposed IU logo added down below)
Special thanks to Gopher Nation for launching the first Big Ten Blogger Roundtable of the new season. And to think, the Big Ten Bloggers group basically started as a roundtable discussion group and has morphed into.... well, I don't know. A bunch of no-good, do-nothing, slackers who love college football/basketball and make obscene jokes all day.
Anyway, this roundtable focuses on rivalries. Below are our responses. (Well, my responses, anyway. Tim and b-dowd are too busy with "work" and other such nonsense. I am only busy dodging tropical storms.) Enjoy.
1. ESPN's Adam Rittenberg recently ranked the top 5 rivalries in the Big Ten and there were some controversial results (Illinois v Ohio State as #3?). Clearly Ohio State vs. Michigan is the #1 rivalry in the Big Ten, but give me your next three. Your school does not have to be included in this list, but regardless of who you choose defend your picks.
Well, I’m sure OSU and UM is the biggest to OSU and UM fans, but I think other schools might beg to differ. I assume we’re just talking about football here, because clearly this list is very different (and OSU and UM would be lucky to be on it) if we were including basketball.
To answer the question, yes, I guess OSU and UM is the “best” rivalry, although if both schools were having down years I wonder how great it would be. But yes, part of what makes it great is that they rarely do have down years and so often meet with a lot on the line for one or both.
As for the next three after that… well, I think that’s tough because I don’t think most conferences have all that many compelling rivalries. I mean, the ACC is known for basketball and we all know the Duke-UNC rivalry, but after that, who’s the second best? Kind of hard to think of, right?
For the Big Ten, in football, I guess I would agree with Rittenberg that Michigan-MSU is up there, too, since there in genuine hate and condescension in that one. Minny and Wisky is interesting, too, and would be more interesting if Minnesota could ever put together some sustained success. The proximity and long-standing nature of this rivalry is something that makes it almost worthy. Another I’d mention that doesn’t get much press is Illinois-Northwestern. Sure, it’s not some kind of “official” rivalry where they play for some old relic of an item, but again the proximity and cross-town nature of this one makes it on the cusp of legitimacy. Imagine if NW puts together one of their surprise years this year and Illinois can build on last year’s resurgence – suddenly, these two would have reasons to hate one another.
Of course, I’m biased, so I also need to mention one of the longest-standing rivalries in the country, Purdue-Indiana. This one, too, while borne of genuine despising one another, could be perked up even more of one or both schools would make themselves more relevant. When Purdue was climbing the national radar map (there’s a mixed metaphor for you), IU was simply terrible. And now IU is beginning to come out of the doldrums and Purdue is leveled off at mediocrity. If both programs were strong and/or one team came into the rivalry game NEEDING a victory for a magical season to continue, then I think this one would be on the national consciousness.
So will I rank them? Sure, if I must.
1) OSU-UM 2) UM-MSU 3) PUR-IU 4) MIN-WIS
(Also, silly Gopher Nation, Rittenberg has Illinois and OSU at #4, not #3 – equally ridiculous, though.)
2. Obviously winning every game is important and beating really good teams sends a stronger message than beating Minnesota. Assume every team is .500 this year and the outcome of your next two games means nothing outside of pride and a year's worth of bragging rights. Give me the two schools you would want to beat (in order) and why. What makes beating School's A and B significant?
I don’t think I’m alone in saying that the two schools we enjoying beating the most are Notre Dame and IU. And this question seems to be asking that if we had to pick two teams to beat and nothing else mattered (i.e., their strength-of-schedule, ranking, etc.), who would we pick? And this is significant, because in a year where Purdue has a shot at a New Year’s Day bowl, we’d of course want them to beat a one-loss OSU team more than a 6-loss ND team. So we’re talking pure fun of beating an opponent… And for that I say Notre Dame #1, because their arrogance, delusion and obnoxious nature make them more fun to destroy than anyone. And #2 is IU, because they’re IU, they’re in-state, they’re a historical rival (kind of like why the Montagues hated the Capulets or the Jets hated the Shakrs) and, well, crimson and cream is ugly.
3. Take the two teams from above that you claim are your biggest rivals and give me a new mascot for them.
Well, Notre Dame’s should seriously be retired because it’s offensive, obnoxious and stolen. And what should they be? Well, since they play in the depressing burg of South Bend, maybe they should be the Dust Clouds. Or the Notre Dame Fighting Manatees, after their genius coach.
As for IU, Hoosiers is actually kind of stupid already as a mascot because nobody really knows what it is. Locals will tell you a Hoosier is a person from Indiana. Okay, so they’re the Indiana People From Indiana. Hey, presto! There’s a new name. More to the point, you know? And easier to grasp for those with an IU "degree."
4. There are some new rules in college football this year. My favorite is the Big Ten experimental rule which states that after every win this year you get to pluck one player off their roster and bring them back to your campus. Looking at your schedule give me two players you would pluck (assuming a win), why you would take them and what would you do with them?
Is this only from games we think we can win? Or from any team on our schedule?
I’ll say Beanie Wells, for one, so we can tie him to a goalpost and pick on him for going by “Beanie.” Seriously, come on. Second, I’ll go with Jimmy Clausen so we can give him a tour of a school where quarterbacks go to be better quarterbacks. You know, just a service we’d like to provide.
Then we'll give him a wedgie and make him eat pickles until he pukes.
5. Brian at MGO was kind enough to post a diary entry which gives us and new coach Rich Rodriguez a list of Michigan traditions that maybe we were not all aware of. This has inspired two final questions...
5A - are there any Michigan traditions that he missed? (here is your chance for some Michigan cheap shots)
Having spectacular seasons interrupted by hiccups that make them non-contenders. You know, like starting 0-2 and then running off like 8 wins in a row. Oh, and crushing Purdue’s hopes and dreams. That's another tradition at Michigan that they probably didn't even know of.
5B - Are there any traditions of your school's rival that we should all be aware of?
At IU, they have a tradition where when they take the overhead photograph of the stadium for the media guide, they do it during a game against Ohio State or Wisconsin so that the stadium is full of people wearing red. That always makes me chuckle. Because it's so very, very sad.
In addition, thanks to reader Christopher who sent us this awesome new IU logo. Thumbs up!