Nothing says BIG TEN FOOTBALL quite like a rock and roll band from Possum Kingdom, South Carolina. (Hey, founding members/members Bear and Bryant “Bo” Rinehart were named after Bear Bryant, so it’s sports, okay?) You Needtobreathe fans have been blowing up my inbox* dying for guidance about which Big Ten football team to root for, and I would never deny aid to my fellow Breathers in their search for a team to call each one’s own.
So without further ado, BIG TEN TEAMS AS NEEDTOBREATHE SONGS:
ILLINOIS FIGHITNG ILLINI
Got a head coach in hot water not only for alleged player misconduct, but also for trying to pilfer another school’s players during a crisis, popping some chewing tobacco pregame, and nearly coming to blows with your defensive coordinator on the sideline? Bad vibes, man. Sounds like y’all just need a little faith to hang in there.
ILLINOIS IS: THESE HARD TIMES (2009)
Your football team lost it’s star running back in Tevin Coleman and is woeful defensively, but the good is, basketball season is right around the corner, right? Moving right along, nothing to see here.
INDIANA IS: MOVING ON (2007)
I think this box score speaks for itself:
IOWA IS: GIRL NAMED TENNESSEE (2009)
The University of Maryland made the move to the Big Ten namely for financial reasons, as the athletic department was reportedly in over $21 million in debt, not to mention another $52 million in fees incurred by cutting ties and contracts with the ACC as part of the move. Good thing Big Ten television contracts are so lucrative, right?
MARYLAND IS: WHERE THE MONEY IS (2014)
MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
The Gophers are on the verge of one of its greatest seasons in the modern era of college football, and it’s all thanks to one man: Jerry Kill. The head Gopher came from Northern Illinois and posted records of 3-9 and 6-7 before back-to-back 8-5 seasons (and beating my beloved Cornhuskers twice). Better yet, the Gophers look poised to make a further leap in 2015. Nice when one guy can make such a big difference, eh?
MINNESOTA IS: DIFFERENCE MAKER (2014)
Michigan has proven a tough school to win at. Despite loads of institutional support, a stadium that pulls in 100,00+ per game, a great recruiting presence, and a brand recognizable to someone from Jupiter, two pretty good coaches have failed there. This only serves to reinforce the notion already held by most Michigan fans: Michigan only be TRULY led by a Michigan Man™. Well fret not, Michigan fans, for you have hired Jim Harbaugh: Michigan alum, career winner, and the Michiganest of Men. Harbaugh has won at every level and inherits a roster full of great recruits. Your return to college football’s elite is inevitable.
MICHIGAN IS: RISE AGAIN (2014)
(B-SIDE: Harbaugh brings with him his Bo Schembechler-patented form of the power run game, known affectionately as MANBALL. Harbaugh has a gigungus offensive line, tough physical receivers, and a few grinding running backs . . . basically everything a MANBALL COACH could need. YOUR B-SIDE IS: Oohs & Ahhs.)
MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
Sparty, you lived for years in Michigan’s shadow, but now you’ve recorded eleven wins or more in four of the last five seasons, won the conference, and been to all the major bowls. Now YOU’RE top dog and get to rub it in Michigan’s face! Not bad for “little brother.”
MICHIGAN STATE IS: BROTHER (2014)
Nebraska. My people. I am one of you. We once stood head and shoulders above the rest of the college football world (national titles in 1994, 1995, and 1997, with top ten finishes in 1999, 2000, and 2001). Sadly, the great Corn Empire isn’t what it once was, having not claimed a conference title in sixteen seasons. Can new head coach Mike Riley wake this team up?
NEBRASKA IS: SLUMBER (2012)
I’ve never been to Evanston, but a quick survey of Google Maps leads me to probably-mistakenly assume it’s close enough to see the daylight break through the buildings of Chicago.
NORTHWESTERN IS: VALLEY OF TOMORROW (2009)
OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
Since head coach Urban Meyer arrived, the Buckeyes have held a strangehold on the Big Ten. Meyer has coached the Buckeyes to a 38-3 career record, with only an NCAA-adminstered postseason ban kept Ohio State from playing (and inevitably slaughtering) Notre Dame for the 2012 national title game. And neither the NCAA nor the loss of star quarterbacks Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett could do a thing to stop the 2014 squad from rolling through the inaugural College Football Playoff on the sizable arm of Cardale Jones. The Buckeyes are the undisputed kings of college football right now and that doesn’t look likely to change in 2015.
OHIO STATE IS: TYRANT KINGS (2012)
(B-SIDE: We would be remiss to ignore Meyer’s heart issues which led to his resignation from the head coaching position at Florida in 2010. We hope you continue in good health, Coach. YOUR B-SIDE IS: More Heart, Less Attack.)
PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
While the Jerry Sandusky scandal was shocking and tragic, I think the entire college football world agreed that the NCAA’s subsequent attempt to bomb Penn State football into the stone age with scholarship reductions and a postseason ban was a severe overreach. Eventually, the NCAA came around and realized that penalizing current coaches and players for the actions of someone no longer associated with the program was going too far and restored the Nittany Lions to bowl eligibility, but Penn State is not quite yet up to full scholarship strength. Until that day comes:
PENN STATE IS: PRISONER (2009)
Does Needtobreathe have any songs about trains? None spring to mind. So instead the Big Ten’s perennial punching bag, often the first one in line to die, gets a more somber tune. Although the Boilermakers might just have the pieces to break the six-win barrier and earn bowl eligibility this year, so keep your eyes on the light in that crack in the door. #BoilerUp
PURDUE IS: WASTELAND (2014)
(B-SIDE: You engineers and astronauts are probably pretty good at math, so YOUR B-SIDE IS: Multiplied.)
RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS
NEW YORK’S TEAM, the Scarlet Knights brag. But they’re in Piscataway, New Jersey, bless their hearts. Do . . . do they KNOW they’re in New Jersey and not in New York? We’re not sure.
RUTGERS IS: STATE I’M IN (2014)
Given that Needtobreathe doesn’t have any songs about the consumption of alcohol and bratwursts, we’ll instead honor the Badgers’ proud tradition of gazillion-yard rushers.
WISCONSIN IS: FEET, DON’T FAIL ME NOW (2014)
There you are, Needtobreathe fans: all your rooting allegiance crises have been solved. Keep your eyes open (Needtobreathe pun) for BIG TWELVE TEAMS AS DEF LEPPARD SONGS coming next week or maybe not.