The college football season is finally upon us. Much like Hank Williams Jr., I am both ready for some football and also jobless, so I decided to write something about the CFB season opening.
The Big Ten is the oldest existing collegiate association, with six of the original seven teams still in the conference. They’re highly regarded as premier research institutions, with high enrollment and high financial endowments, lots of living alumni, and a very large TV market. Their athletics, while sometimes disparaged, routinely rank high enough to earn them a spot as a power conference in nearly every sport. All in all, the Big Ten, for all its low-scoring foibles, is a force to be reckoned with and respected as we approach another college football season.
But forget all that. Let’s make their mascots fight.
ILLINOIS- A solid start with Fighting Illini. The Illini, another name for the Native American group known as Illinois Confederation or Illiniwek, were made up a major 5 tribes in the 18th century. Inside their lands were the Cahokia Mounds, a gigantic Earth-moving project that would create enough burly front-line types to make Bret Bielema rethink his receiving corps.
-Final Result: Performs admirably, dispatching much of the small game in the competition, but quickly dominated by the conquistadoresque force of Scarlet Knights.
INDIANA- A Hoosier is literally just any person from Indiana. They may have an extra fold of fatty skin in order to more easily escape predators, but it will take more than that to go far in this battle royale. Next.
-Final Result: First to die in a blaze of tears and urine stained pants, being slowly chewed up by a terrapin.
IOWA- Hawks would be a good mascot. Atlanta seems to get on nicely, and Seattle’s done some great things with a minor addition. They would fly high above this melee until swooping down as in Far Cry 4 to peck out some eyes, but unfortunately, they’re not just the Hawks. They’re the Hawkeyes. Iowa tries its best to have a neat mascot, with Herky threating to beat you up and steal your girlfriend constantly, but at the end of the day, they’re only a part of a bird. Not even Hawktalons. Tsk tsk, Iowa.
-Final Result: High above, safely nestled in a hawk’s skull. Only to be torn to shreds in a strange passing Cyclone.
|Herky's constantly shaking his fist at the bro hogging the beer bong|
MARYLAND- Although Testudo may appear a large and threatening Godzilla-foe of a tortoise, a terrapin is actually just a normal sized, “Hey kids come check out the creek” turtle. Much like the Big Ten, turtles are famed for their defense, but lack the striking power that this recent arrival will need to finish off any of its foes.
-Final Result: Captured by a Cornhusker, put in a terrarium, dies after his kid forgets to feed it for a couple days.
|Much cuter than Maryland's uniforms|
MICHIGAN- The wolverine is possibly the furthest thing from a Michigan Man an animal can get, which means that they’re in business. Sharp teeth, sharp claws, completely batshit insane all add up to be the first major animal contender in this competition, and that’s just Michigan's head coach. Sic a wolverine on an average person from Indiana, see how they handle it.
-Final Result: Manages a couple good bites to the calves of everyone, but Illini hunting expertise is too much for pure insanity to overcome. Every part is used.
|Wolverines are also called "skunk bears"... bub.|
MICHIGAN STATE- Back into the realm of humans with the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans are renowned for being an elite fighting force and martial society. They’re not so renowned for having pretty regular slave revolts with lots of massacring. Sparta really put all of their culture into the Honor tree in Civ 5. A fully armed and armored Spartan is going to be hard to beat.
-Final Result: A certain cross-state rival is just quick enough and small enough to get some nice bites in and do the Spartans in with a rabies infection.
|Because Spartans wore armor, not homoeroticism|
MINNESOTA- I would rather have an Indiana-esque Average Minnesotan on my side in a fight than a gopher. Sure, the gopher’s got those big teeth and burrowing ability, but have you seen the type of conditions Minnesotans live through? There’s got to be bonus points for that kind of cold-hardening. Unfortunately, it’s the big rodent that’s ending up on an Illini battle club or even mounted on a Hoosier’s wall.
-Final Result: Batted about between wildcat paws for eight minutes before being left at the side of the road.
|Then again, a gopher did blow up that golf course pretty good|
NEBRASKA- Once again, the Big Ten has put its chips into Blue Collar mascots that Joe Sixpack can relate to. A Cornhusker. One who strips corn of its husks. Not a great entry into this fight. However, both Herbie Husker and Lil’ Red have that special dead-behind-the-eyes look that mean they’ve already been in some fights like this, and I guess they managed to survive those. Look to Nebraska’s mascots to be a dark horse in this competition.
-Final Result: Eliminates other human competition in soulless Jason-like intensity, but is taken down by a flurry of javelins from the Spartan.
|I'm a little scared about what he's implying through the|
combo of corn cob and hand gesture.
NORTHWESTERN- Wildcats are, other than a flash-in-the-pan offensive strategy, a small cat that is wild. Not everything is difficult. However, I doubt that the administration of Northwestern meant a cat the same size as a housecat that just happens to live in the wilds of the Old World, so I’ll assume they mean a generalized North American species. Fun fact: mountain lions, pumas, and cougars are all the same animal. Silent, fast, deadly, and surprisingly un-endangered, the mountain lion can become a force to be reckoned with if you take your eyes off of it. Also, can we start a petition to change the name to Feral Felines? It’s a synonym, you guys, everyone will still respect you.
-Final Result: Comes out to a quick start but is eventually distracted by a length of yarn and time-intensive NLRB court cases.
OHIO STATE- Buckeyes- literally a seed; a LOW seed in this bracket. Unless a cornhusker happens to step on one on concrete and slip, or something, buckeyes ain’t doin’ nothing in this competition.
-Final Result: Not dead, but not really alive either. Drafted in the third round for growth potential.
|Ohio State: Perennial favorites|
PENN STATE- Nittany Lions are actually just mountain lions, with the specific mountain being Mount Nittany. Penn State gets a small advantage over Northwestern’s wildcat due to the added warmth and comfort of that striped scarf.
-Final Result: Successfully dispatches many opponents in ferocious onslaught, survives mild fall weather with trendy scarf, and only cries about the loss of traditions twice. Only defeated by being run over by the Boilermaker’s train.
|i don't think we give penn state enough crap about their|
mascot looking like someone replicated a child's drawing
PURDUE- Big Ten, let’s have a talk. The SEC gets cool mascots like the Volunteers (Civil War veterans), the Tigers, the Tigers, the Tigers, and the Crimson Tide, which can either be a deadly sea algae bloom, or an elephant. The Pac 12 gets both Bears AND Bruins. The ACC gets the Hurricanes, an entire weather system that can decimate regions, and a bunch of Fighting Irish, which can do the same. Meanwhile, you’ve got three different teams that are just dudes, hanging out. At least the Purdue Boilermaker could bring a big wrench or something. -clang- That terrapin shell’s in pieces and you’re getting kicked out of PetCo.
-Final Result: Goes on strike to protest poor working conditions in the factory, met outside by Lil’ Red creepily singing a song in an alley. Never seen again.
|These men are both Purdue and Notre Dame mascots|
RUTGERS- The Scarlet Knights are either wonderfully dressed feudal lords in full armor, or extraordinarily feverish feudal lords. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. That full plate means a lack in mobility, but a boost in defense and buddy you got a Big 10 stew goin’. No wolverine jaws are getting through that armor. A lack of vision and solid metal shoes really puts a Scarlet Knight in danger of those buckeyes strewn about the ground, though.
-Final Result: Broadsword makes quick work of just about every opponent, and the plate armor is more than strong enough to handle challenges. Emerges victorious. Continues to have tiny TV market.
|"And I say verily, this is Definitely Not Plastic Armor"|
WISCONSIN- Badgers; Like a wolverine, but drunker. Less focused on sheer insanity, and more just willing to absorb every blow and coaching change to keep on nipping at the contender’s ankles. Whether it’s determination, stupidity, or a numbness from drink, badgers will not stop fighting until everything else has given up or they’ve been eliminated mathematically.
-Final Result: Badger resigns before fight, replaced by frightened Barry Alvarez who is quickly killed by the Scarlet Knight.
|A common Saturday in Madison|
So there you have it. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights have claimed victory over the Big Ten mascot battle, which, let’s face it, wasn’t very hard. Two crazy weasels and a complacent rodent, three normal humans, a seed, and a piece of a bird don’t make for difficult competition. Sure, there were vaunted warriors and large pumas, but he’s got it handled. Hold this victory high, Scarlet Knights. I’m sure you’ll be thought about at some point this season.