Let's Welcome Nebraska

Well, today is Nebraksa's first day in the Big Ten, and we thought it would be neighborly of us to not only welcome them, but to show them around a bit.

So, welcome friends! We can't say we're big fans of your colors, but hey, at least you seem to call it just "red" and not something goofy like "crimson" or "scarlet." ("OOOh, scarlet! Do you like my lovely scarf! It's fan-TASSSS-tic! And it's scarlet! It makes me feel daring!")

We think you'll find the Big Ten a very nice home. We're mostly decent people and, as you're probably fairly used to, there's a lot of pride here. One thing about Big Ten people -- they are fiercely loyal to their school. And it's just that -- to their school, not necessarily to their conference. SEC dolts will cheer for other schools within the SEC and actually talk smack about it to people like us. That's something you won't find much of here. When OSU beats down another school, it's rare that a non-OSU'er would chirp about it.

So let us show you around...

Over there you'll see Northwestern. They're kind of like Kansas State. Oddly successful in a quiet way, but whenever they're on a bowl game stage, they make a sloppy mess of things. Last season: Played in a weird-ass, shared-sideline, one-direction football game in Wrigley Field.

Down there you'll see IU. They're kind of like Iowa State. Weakening program, listliss fan support, beating their rival (Purdue) sets off wild celebrations that make even us think, "Wow, for beating Purdue?" Last season: Took back the Old Oaken Bucket in one of the ugliest football games in recent memory. Still wasn't enough to save their coach, who threw his gum to the ground in disgust.

In that direction you'll see Ohio State. They might remind you of Texas. Kind of (unfortunately) the "crown jewel" of the conference, as the media likes to put it. And like Texas, they're always good and also always a lightning rod for criticism of the conference as a whole. Last season: Beat the SEC at their own games -- on the field and in improper benefits.

To the North is Michigan. They might remind you of Oklahoma. Loyal fanbase, proud tradition, packed house all the time, they also engender joy in others when they fall on their faces, probably because it doesn't happen all that often. Last season: Rode their coach out of town on a rail and brought in a slovenly doofus who will only call Ohio State "Ohio." Word has it the doofus can coach, though.

Michigan State might seem a little like Oklahoma State. Little brother syndrome, though often talented in their own right. Rises up and snatches big fish with some regularity, but also finds a way to fire a bullet through their foot, too. Last season: Tried to kill their own coach. Fortunately, a football team is no match for Mark Dantonio.

Way out East is Penn State, who is a little like Texas A&M in that they too have a proud tradition, a crazy loyal and vocal fan base... and there's a certain smug righteousness that eminates from there. Last season: Their coach turned 215 years old and has learned to Skype. Or at least stare at the talking picture box.

In the middle of nowhere is Iowa, who may remind you of Texas Tech. Other conference schools snicker at their education credentials and when it comes to football, they can certainly be good, but nobody really takes them seriously. On the basketball court, it's even more hilarious. Last season: Lost to Northwestern AND Minnesota, so how serious can their athletic programs be?

Wearing that creamsicle color over there is Illinois. They might remind you of Texas Tech during the Leach era. That is, sometimes potent offense, ability to beat up bad teams, completely insane coach. Last season: Muddled to a 7-6 record and the Zooker kept his job probably because everyone is worried about how he'll react if he's asked to depart. He's using the George Costanza patented "Look irritated and everyone will assume you're busy and doing great things" approach.

Up there playing in an outdoor stadium (and acting like it's a brilliant idea in Minnesota) is the Minnesota Golden Gophers. They refuse to admit they need to change their school colors and they may remind you a bit of Baylor: Once in a while, they're bowl-level decent, but never are they spectacular, except in creative ways to lose ballgames. Seriously, their fans will probably even admit this. Last season: Things got so bad their coach was fired after losing to Purdue.

Also way up North and playing outside is Wisconsin, who might remind you of Mizzou. Big, strong farm boys with annoyingly in-your-face alums, despite the fact that Wisconsin is always very close to contending on a national level yet never seems to get over the hump. When you and they play on Oct 1, it's going to look like one of your spring games, with color schemes remarkably similar, which might be confusing to Badger fans. Last season: Made some enemies around the conference after hanging 70 on Northwestern and 83 on Indiana, including a late passing touchdown. I think it's safe to say the rest of us will be pulling for NU on 10/1.

And us, well, we're Purdue. Some in our own conference don't even know where we are. Notre Dame tells us every year that we're not their rival, despite playing every season for 60 years. IU is technically our rival, though the Big Ten has decided that we hate Iowa as well, so we're doing our best to play along. We won't meet Nebraska on the field for a couple of years so you'll likely forget we exist, too. As for our football program, we only accept coaches with mustaches (a decree made in 1997 and continued to this day) and while our offense used to be referred to as "basketball on grass," right now we'd simply settle for slow pitch softball on grass. Last season: We don't want to talk about last season.

We will admit, at least for now, that we are in awe of the fact that Nebraska has had 19 double-digit win season since Purdue's last 10-win season in 1979. We also found it kind of amazing that from 1993 to 1997, NU went 60-3 (yes, that's right) including three national titles. Some point to Nebraksa having an "easy" schedule in many of those years and others intimate that there might have been some shenanigans going on under the revered Tom Osborne. Regardless, those numbers are nutty.

So again, welcome friends, we look forward to having you join us. And, in West Lafayette, we look forward to seeing you on the hardwood.

Enjoy Your Fourth

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