Sports tend to create emotions that run high, and sometimes these emotions produce the most bizarre variety of speaking eloquence there is: the sports rant. I am a connoisseur of these, and I can only imagine that the type of pressure and scrutiny faced by major sports figures makes them want to just blow up when the right questions are asked. Yes, in a perfect world, they'd always be perfectly courteous and respectful and polite and informative, but we live in the real world and sometimes the filter just disappears. I have no doubt I'd crack in some of these situations and say some outlandish things, so I can't judge these people solely on this, but I can appreciate that it's funny to watch a person get that one button pushed just the right way.
The best part is that sometimes, when the pressure makes that filter pop right off, the naked truth comes out and it's not always what people want to hear. Below, I've associated each school with a sports rant that applies to their current situation. Sadly, I've had to omit some gems, but I tried to find things that sum up the present state of mind. There were 15 voters this week, all of the charts can be found here.
1 Ohio State Buckeyes - Jim Mora "Playoffs?!"
204 Points || 9 FPV || High 1 || Low 2 || LW 2 || Change +1
Many consider Ohio State the best team in the conference. Many consider this to be the best sports rant ever. Although these Buckeyes are faring better than Jim Mora's Colts were, I'm sure that OSU fans, disheartened by turnovers and mysteriously poor quarterback play, do not want to hear about the playoffs. They still have a full Big Ten slate to play, and OSU fans are likely more concerned with whether or not the offense can function smoothly enough to cruise to a win in Bloomington than who they'd be favored against in the Playoffs. Don't talk about playoffs. You kiddin' me? Playoffs? They just hope they can win another game!
2 Michigan State Spartans - Earl Weaver vs Bill Haller
201 Points || 6 FPV || High 1 || Low 2 || LW 1 || Change -1
MSU is flying as far under the radar as a national #2 team ever has. The media and the refs have it in for them again! Disrespected and slighted once more due to Meyer and Harbaugh getting all the attention, MSU is a touchy, angry, paranoid, diminutive man. Don't you touch Sparty! You're a big liar!
3 Wisconsin Badgers - Mike Gundy is a man!
164 Points || High 3 || Low 7 || LW 4 || Change +1
With the defense firing on all cylinders, Wisconsin fans are sick and tired of hearing about quarterback deficiencies. Where are we at in society today when you can just tear down Joel Stave, just because he does everything right and may not play as well on Saturdee? He has a 24-8 record as a starter, so GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT.
4 Northwestern Wildcats - Dennis Green "Crown Their Ass"
162 Points || High 3 || Low 6 || LW 3 || Change -1
Ball State must be kicking themselves for letting the Cats off the hook. Northwestern may indeed be the dark horse some among us thought they were, and they are making that thought look more and more credible by the week. Ball State played em in non-conference, who the hell takes the fourth game of the non-con like it's bullshit BULLSHIT! The Cats...are who we THOUGHT they were. That's why Ball State took the damn field. Now [smack] if you wanna rank 'em, then rank their ass. But they are who Ball State thought they were, and they let 'em off the hook!
5 Iowa Hawkeyes - Jim Fassel "Ante"
160 Points || High 3 || Low 7 || LW 5 || Change 0
One of the reasons I love this press conference is because Jim Fassel makes such an exciting and bold proclamation with such boring, dry delivery. It puts a face on the internal conflict within Iowa fans right now who have been hoping the Ferentz era would end gracefully but are now excited about a 4-0 team with a functional offense...coached by that same Kirk Ferentz they wanted to just go away. Still, they look better than they've looked in years. Is it time to nervously push all the chips into the center of the table?
6 Michigan Wolverines - Richard Sherman "CAPS LOCK"
132 Points || High 4 || Low 8 || LW 7 || Change +1
MICHIGAN FOOTBALL IS BACK, WE GOT THE BEST COACH IN THE GAME, DON'T YOU EVER TALK ABOUT HARBAUGH! OR I'MA SHUT IT FOR YOU REAL QUICK! MICHIGAN MAN! ALL YOU PEOPLE WHO SAID HARBAUGH WAS A TERRIBLE HIRE ARE DEAD WRONG! BOOM! IN YOUR FACE! KHAKIS WITH AN INTENSITY UNKNOWN TO MANKIND!
Suddenly, a certain fanbase feels pretty confident. America groans.
7 Minnesota Golden Gophers - Mike Leach after a win against Baylor
117 Points || High 5 || Low 8 || LW 6 || Change -1
It seems like this team that lost its top two offensive weapons might have thought that being the mighty 8 win Golden Gophers who hung in there with TCU, they were just a little too good to play Kent State or Ohio. Don't you know, Maxxxxxxx Williams made that play, David Cobb made that play, not you. The Mighty Golden Gophers, woo hoo f***in' Ohio, f*** you, f*** me, and f*** everybody!
8 Indiana Hoosiers - Herman Edwards "You Play To Win The Game"
107 Points || High 5 || Low 10 || LW 9 || Change 1
A 4-0 Indiana team might have to remind the rest of the conference why you play the games. Sure they have close wins against lower-tier teams, but ultimately you play to win the game, and they've done that every single time, so maybe it's time to give them a little bit of credit. Good job scheduling Alabama, Wisconsin, but you lost. Hello? You PLAY to WIN the GAME.
9 Nebraska Cornhuskers - Lee Elia
106 Points || High 7 || Low 10 || LW 8 || Change -1
They're really behind you around here. The connection here is maybe more of an ode to Bo Pelini than anything, as this sounds like what Bo would say if he were managing an underachieving Cubs squad. Nevertheless there are current connections as well. Right now, Nebraska has as many losses as they have wins, and then they have to deal with the stigma of Wisconsin scored again and all that other shit. It's a disheartening f***ing situation they're in right now, but the talent is there. They'll hit that groove, and it'll flow. There's 8 regular season games left to be played, a lot of season left for Nebraska to prove that this is a better team than their record.
10 Penn State Nittany Lions - Bobby Knight "Disappointed"
80 Points || High 7 || Low 11 || LW 10 || Change 0
I admittedly was searching for an excuse to put in a Bobby Knight clip, but I tried to put myself in the mind of a Penn State fan, trying to talk calmly and rationally about what this team still has to improve, and maintaining my composure [remembers losing to Temple in week 1] god DAMMIT!
11 Illinois Fighting Illini - Jerry Burns
60 Points || High 10|| Low 12 || LW 11 || Change 0
There are a number of parallels here. For instance, a lot of you probably haven't seen this clip. A lot of you probably haven't seen this Illinois team. Then there's a somewhat befuddled head coach after a strange, somewhat embarrassing win describing a team full of guys that are talented and good people, but just didn't execute very well. If I were told this was actually Bill Cubit's postgame press conference, I'd believe it.
12 Rutgers Scarlet Knights - Hal McRae "Sick of all this"
41 Points || 2 LPV || High 11 || Low 14 || LW 14 || Change +2
Rutgers fans can certainly empathize with Royals manager Hal McRae. They've got to be sick and tired of answering all these stupid-ass questions every night. This is a man who just can't deal with having to stare down the same old infuriating questions week after week. Sound familiar? Next rounds on me, Rutgers. My deepest condolences for your tire fire. That's just no fun. Congratulations on soundly proving that someone's in worse shape from a football standpoint though.
13 Purdue Boilermakers - Dan Hawkins "Intramurals"
30 Points || 2 LPV || High 12 || Low 14 || LW 13 || Change 0
Look, I understand that they're in year 3 of a rebuild and that they lost some contributors and are having a hard time settling on a quarterback, ok, but here's my point.
IT'S DIVISION 1 FOOTBALL!
IT'S THE BIG TEN!
IT AIN'T INTRAMURALS!
At some point, enough is enough and you have to make some progress towards climbing out of the cellar, lest you end up like Colorado after Dan Hawkins. I thought beating Illinois last year was that turning point for Purdue, but they have yet to build on that.
14 Maryland Terrapins - George Brett's story
21 Points || 11 LPV || High 12 || Low 14 || LW 12 || Change -2
Just listen to George Brett's story. Does it sound kind of like a metaphor for Randy Edsall's game in Morgantown? Maryland has shit everywhere, they shit all over themselves.