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How You Like Me Now, Big XII?

What do payback and the scoreboard have in common? They're both a b***h.

"Football teams in the Big Ten Conference are similar to old movie rental places. They refuse to adapt and be progressive with the times (like live-streaming and the hurry-up offense). Only problem is, those stores are out of business, and the Big Ten is still around. Not sure which one I'd rather have stock in, but it sure as hell isn't a conference with the University of Iowa in it." -Wide Right & Natty Light, Nov. 4, 2014

The irony is rich, my friends. Two short months ago a disgruntled Iowan took to his keyboard and pounded out this gem of a report card/obituary for the B1G. His laments were nothing if not sadly predictable. He took the B1G cognoscenti to task, certain that our universities were content to rest on their piles o' Delaney Bucks. The B1G was backstroking through a sea of doubloons while its programs burned to the ground like an '84 Fiero on the shoulder of the Dan Ryan Expressway. The B1G was dead. Long live the Big XII and the SEC.

Oh, what a difference a New Year's Day makes. In the immortal words of the Great Bard, "How you like me now, b***h?"

Recall, if you will, that as the bowl season opened our beloved B1G was the national underdog. Not one team from the land of dinners-held-together-by-Cream of Mushroom Soup was favored in a bowl game. Ten games, ten dogs. Yahoo Sports (stop laughing) football expert Pat Forde (really, stop laughing) even dubbed our bowl slate the "B1G 0-10 Challenge." The B1G can't get no respect.

Mockery by a fan base whose mascot is a disaster that causes less misery than their football team felt like a record low. What's a league to do when things have gotten so bad? As Henry Rollins advises, "When life hands you lemons, say ‘Oh yeah? I like lemons. What else you got?'" Then proceed to win bowl games. Big bowl games. Beat the SEC West. Beat them again. Deny them a national crown. Beat the Big XII's One* True Champion in soul-torching, kicker-killing fashion. After all, Art "This is America" Briles loves him a good ol' fashioned head-to-head matchup, don't he?

In reality, I'm touched the folks in Ames took the time to remind us who we are in such insightful, colorful fashion. As the Big XII stares their two-win bowl season in the face, it seems only fitting to return the favor.

"Maybe it's time to file bankruptcy (like Blockbuster did), and start over. Only thing is, the Big Ten can't do that. They added Rutgers and Maryland, the epitome of BOTTOM, to the conference last year; and that was only for television markets, better high-class hookers and cash." -WRNL

There was a time when the Big XII(X) was the place to be. Sure, it wasn't as charming as the SEC, or as good. It wasn't as storied as the Big Ten, or as rich. Nor did have the gold coast allure of the Pac-12, or their glamorous locales. Okay, on second thought, the Big XII was really more of a place to be. Picture the conference as your nouveau riche neighbor's backyard cook-out. Sure, he didn't know how to use that big grill and his wife's Texas bean dip tasted like Fritos con Alpo. but it beat being on your own.

The problem was that the other folks soon realized that every cookout ended with Texas eating all the M&M's out of the Chex Mix, quoting Matthew McConaughey, and slapping nice moms on the rear end. So the good people took their tupperware and beat feet for better parties. Nebraska. Mizzou. TAMU. Colorado (bear with me on that last one). I don't know about you, but I'd rather own an old Blockbuster or two than a half-eaten bowl of pretzels, broken wheat Chex, those little breadstick thingies, and...Iowa State.

To add to the Big XII's misery (not Missouri, they left), the Big XII honchos decided to fix the problem by changing...nothing. Same old power structure. Same Texas rooting through the bowl for M&M's and leering at the wives. All they needed was a little new blood, right? Look, if the only guys willing to join your shindig are the ones who were eating Culver's on the hood of their car in Colorado Springs or some fella with a combover whose last party got broken up by the cops, you have a problem. Don't worry, I'm sure Memphis will bring a lovely Jell-O salad to the party, if they aren't too busy washing their hair.

Far be it from us to malign you for inviting all comers to your backyard. Clearly we take the "epitome of BOTTOM" here in the B1G. Like, what is Rutgers, anyway? I mean, besides a team that has posted as many bowl wins in one season for the B1G as TCU and WVU have given the Big XII in three seasons combined. Say, remember when TCU won 4 games last year? Cool, so do we.

"While Jim Delaney and the Big Ten Network have been reaping in big television profits, they forgot to take care of the product on the field." -WRNL

Sorry, what was that? I was watching Tony Lippett take 3 years off some Baylor guy's life. Oh, the product on the field, you say? Have you met Michigan State? Sure you have. Baylor's kicker definitely has. Come on, you remember! They're the guys in green who ruin your marquee teams' bowl experiences.

"While the SEC has been skull-f***ing Big Ten opponents in January bowls, the Pac 12 and Big 12 have slowly moved up in the ranks." -WRNL

Look, Big XII, you seem a little Dazed & Confused these days. Think about it. Your big cheese is a guy from Texas who hasn't achieved anything since his heyday almost decade ago. He hangs out with the younger kids and tries to play the slick, even though most of them can show him up these days. You all enjoy picking on the defenseless (because none of you have a defense). You've got the nerdy kids desperate to be cool, though every time they take a swing at somebody they end up on the ground wondering what went wrong. Heck, you've even got a real live Texas high school coach making a nuisance of himself in public. Yes, Art, we know this is America.


"Now the media has proclaimed the Big Fourteen, I meant Eleven, I mean Ten as one of the sorriest of conference football leagues. It's been that way for a long time; they just didn't realize it until now." -WRNL

Speaking of numbers, there's really only one thing you don't have: a championship game. Or a decent bowl record. Or a team in the playoffs. Oh, that's actually three things? Sorry, we make a habit of under-counting here in the 14-team B1G, as you pointed out. We understand that it confuses outsiders. Let me put it in Big XII numbers for you. Ahem...there are really only five things you don't have: a championship game, a decent bowl record, or a team in the playoffs.

"But football society has shied away from longevity and the camaraderie of tradition, and turned into a What-Have-You-Done-For-Me-Lately culture." -WRNL

Good point, ISU guy. What has the Big XII done for me lately? I'm just going to pause for a moment so you folks at Lesser Iowa Iowa State and the broader Big XII can look up "hoisted by your own pétard."

All caught up? Good. Now you know why we write "Front Toward Enemy" on claymore mines. See, I taught you one new thing today. I'm pretty sure that's good for an associate's degree from K-State.


It occurs to me now that the Big XII's McConaughey milieu extends to his more recent work Interstellar. Your inflated self-image has such gravity that it bends spacetime in ways we can't fully understand. You just went 2-5 in bowls. You had no shot at a national title. Your name doesn't match the number of teams in the conference. Most of your premier programs ended the season on a loss. Mother of've become the Big Ten four years ago. Somehow you slipped into a wormhole and leaped into the not-so-glorious past. You're...the old us! (Enjoy that walk in the wilderness.)

"The rest of the conference smells worse than dog shit. Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, Purdue, Rutgers, and Maryland are all horrible. Minnesota is very comparable to an ISU program, Iowa is decent, and Penn State is improving under a first-year coach. I haven't seen a conference this lopsided since Kansas won the Big 12 in basketball for the umpteenth time last year." -WRNL

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Big XII. You are what the scoreboard says you are. Of your last ten titles, Oklahoma and Texas have accounted for seven. Four of your ten teams finished below .500 this season. Perhaps you should pass the hat and send Washington a thank you note for keeping Okie Light, and your conference as a whole, one notch above loserdom.

Look at the bright side, though. At least most of you live close enough to Jerry's World to see B1G play for the national title. Except the folks in Ames, who I assume just drive to Iowa City to see good teams play.

Happy New Year, Big XII. Don't have one true champion? It'd be a whole lot cooler if you did.