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Fandom in the Big Ten, part 2 (of at least 2)

Hey!  Look at that, the economy didn’t turn around overnight, which is weird.  I was totally expecting that it would.  Oh well.  Bad news for the United States is good news for you because that means I have more time to consider how cool being a fan of the Big10 is. (Here's the link to part 1.)

Let’s see, last time I presented 4 reasons, so, a quick slide of the abacus… carry the 1...

5. The Nicknames: Bulldogs? Gators? Longhorns?  Trojans (giggity)?  PAH-LEASE!  BORING!  You want some mascots?  I got your stinking mascots...      

          Nittany Lions: Plain old lions are boring. They can’t play defense, they can’t play offense, and they wear something called Honolulu Blue.  But a Nittany Lion… one word, R0AR!  According to Wikipedia lions once roamed near State College on Mount Nittany.  Anybody can name their team the Lions… only one team can be the Nittany Lions!               

          Buckeyes: Wouldn’t it be weird if they were the Ohio State Aesculus Glabras?  If they were, Ohio State would still be represented by Brutus, whose head is meant to resemble the nuts that fall from the buckeye tree (aesculus glabras).                

           Wolverines: The wolverine is the largest land-dwelling species of the weasel family.  Wikipedia says that the wolverine "is a stocky muscular carnivore, resembling a small bear."  SOLD!  If THAT doesn’t sound like a sweet mascot, I don’t know what is.               

          Spartans: These guys are, um, named after… um, you know… Spartan warriors.  Does Michigan State, or East Lansing, Michigan have some kind of ancient link to Sparta?  Not that I am aware of.  MOVING ON…               

          Hoosiers: How cool is Wikipedia? According to them (it?), a person from Indiana would never call themselves Indianan, they would only refer to themselves as a Hoosier, which is obviously precisely why the state university’s mascot is the Hoosier.  What exactly is a Hoosier?  Also according to Wikipedia: "there are many suggestions for the derivation of the word "Hoosier," but none are universally accepted."                

          Boilermakers: In my opinion, one of the coolest nicknames out there.  A boilermaker is another name for a steel fabricator or a drink including beer and a shot of whiskey.  Either way, that’s probably something you don’t want to mess with.               

          Wildcats: Apparently Northwestern didn’t get the memo about cool nicknames, but I have heard that they have a nice law school.              

          Fighting Illini: (Wikipedia is getting a workout from me today.)  The Illini (or Illiniwek) were a group of Native American tribes in the upper Mississippi River Valley.  However, the origin of how this exactly played into the nicknaming of the University of Illinois athletic teams is a bit convoluted (at least for me during my research, which ONLY includes Wikipedia).  I can tell you that the involved moving parts include the tribes, a fictional character named Chief Illiniwek, and the Illinois student newspaper.  In any case, they are FIGHTING… and I think we can all agree that’s a good thing.              

          Badgers: Another member of the weasel family, badgers are "short-legged, heavy set carnivores."  Sounds like several people that I know from Wisconsin.  I have also learned that "badgers catch most of their food by digging."  In other words, three mole rats and a cloud of dirt… not unlike the Badgers offensive attack.               

          Hawkeyes: The Black Hawk War was fought in the Midwest in the 1830’s, and there was also a Chief Black Hawk.  A man named James G. Edwards owned a newspaper which he named "The Hawk-Eye and Iowa Patriot" in tribute of Chief Black Hawk.  Judge David Rorer then also separately suggested that "The Hawkeye State" be adopted after reading "The Last of the Mohicans," as there is a character in the book named Hawkeye.  What does all of this have to do with football?  I’m not totally sure, but Hawkeyes is a way better nickname than just Hawk (sorry Atlanta).               

          Golden Gophers: Unfortunately, in the wild, it appears that badgers may actually feast on the likes of actual gophers, but let's ignore that in athletics.  Minnesota is The Gopher State, named after a cartoon from 1857 that satirized nine local politicians heads on gopher’s bodies, pulling a train.  The cartoon was in reference to a controversial $5 million railroad proposal in Minnesota… somehow the University picked up the name later.  The Golden qualifier was added in the 1930’s by radio announcer Halsey Hall who called the football team the Golden Gophers because the squad wore all gold uniforms.  It was an easy time to call the Gophers golden, because from 1932 to 1941 Minnesota won 5 national championships.  Regular Gophers be darned… we’re the GOLDEN Go