11 Things I Want To See In the Big 10 During 2009, Part 4 (Shawshank Edition)

#2 - I want some fireworks from the passing game

I guess there were relevant reasons for 2008's less than spectacular conference-wide performance in the passing game: Upheaval at the quarterback position, some great running backs, three disappointing veterans (Painter, Lewis, Boeckman)...But my oh my, the only cohesive passing game in the whole damn conference was in Happy Valley. Overall, Big 10 QB's combined for the least number of 2000 yard passers since 2004.

#1 - I want the conference games to be so extraordinary that I am inclined to celebrate like Andy Dufresne when he escapes from Shawshank

I guess I've always been one of those guys who LOVES the token noon Iowa-Illinois game that ESPN tries to bury on ESPN2 with Pam Ward and Ray Bentley. There is no hype, there aren't fun graphics to look at, I mute the volume for obvious reasons...But it's like I have a stock ticker in the back of my brain that's constantly running some combination of these messages:

"You are watching Big 10 football on a Saturday afternoon...You are watching Big 10 football on a Saturday afternoon...Why don't you get a beer...Oh, you have one already...My your life is nice..."

2265the_shawshank_redemption-22_medium

And those games didn't usually disappoint last year...Sure, Purdue let me down more than a deadbeat dad ("the checks in the mail, I promise, and we'll get ice cream next week"), but Northwestern, Michigan State, Minnesota, Iowa...They put on some memorable performances...On a sidenote, my favorite Shawshank lines...

  •  "I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight, and the Sisters let him be. I wish I could tell you that - but prison is no fairy-tale world."
  • "I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don't want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I'd like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can't be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it."
  • "I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope."
  • "I guess I just miss my friend."
  • "I'd like to think that the last thing that went through his head, other than that bullet, was to wonder how the hell Andy Dufresne ever got the best of him."

See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3...

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