As we careen into the oblivion that is B1G 2016, I want to take a second to talk about something very near and dear to my cold, dead heart. Something that defines almost every relationship in the Big Ten, often between fans and their own program. Something that doesn't stop, unlike our Southern brethren, at bowl season or tournament time or Stone Mountain rallies.
Now, hate takes many forms: Internet screeds, piss-filled balloons, poisoned trees, defaced statues. Hate need not have a name or face or basis (though, let's be clear: I'm not advocating for violence, slurs, or threats). To hate in the Big Ten is to breathe, and we honor that here at Off Tackle Empire during B1G 2016.
So let's get that out of the way right now. Do you cheer for a Big Ten team? Congratulations, there exists a large subset of people who hate your team and its [insert idiot QB/shitty tradition/terrible performance/disgusting colors/ruining the conference tradition/being rutger]. Embrace it or at least learn to live with it, because everyone will take their turn.
Hate is a special thing, as I've mentioned before, to my unfeeling heart. I learned it from a young age as a Minnesotan. I hated Iowa because that's what my daddy and his daddy and his daddy's daddy before him did. We hate Iowa. It's what we do. Meeting Iowans only serves to reinforce that belief--they are truly terrible people (especially Stew and Mike Jones).
I grew. I learned. I met Wisconsinites. I attended a game at Camp Randall as an 18 year-old and had beer "spilled" on me, slurs hurled at me, and so on. But that only reinforced what I already knew: hate--the kind of hate that comes for a state which approximates a glorified monster truck rally where you watch your neighbor make a "clever" shape with their fingers, slam a Natty Lite, tell you just how drunk he is, and slap his second cousin's ass as she walks by. Ah, to be in Wausau again...
But I digress. We here at Off Tackle Empire extend that to each program, and I like that think that, if you really think about it, there's a reason to hate each and every one of your brethren. We all hate the SEC and Notre Dame and the ACC and whomever else, sure. But that's not the point. During Fridays in B1G 2016, we hate each other.
Maybe it's out of pity that no matter how hard a program tries to insist it will finally put the pieces together, it hires NFL coaches with next-to-no NCAA experience on the promise of "Excitement!" and then watches those coaches go Full Beckman just the second day on the job [HAT]. Maybe it's out of laughter that for all the BCS bowl games, playoff berths, and anything else, no one will ever spell your coach's name right and you'll forever be Little Brother to the school across the state.
And that's OK! Because it's your responsibility--your sacred duty here at OTE--to hate right back. Sure, you've won a national championship in the last decade. But that doesn't mean your coach isn't a prick or your players don't approximate half-literate tattooed fools making a mockery out of the NCAA. That's cool. Or maybe you're resting on the laurels of halcyon days gone by, when in reality you haven't done anything this century worth actually sitting up and taking notice of, instead looking for the next hip and happenin' thing to draw attention back to your program.
You know what? Let's say that last sentence just covered Nebraska, Penn State, and Michigan all at once. No one gives a fuck about your national championship(s) or success with bullshit or winged helmets. We just fucking don't. Accept that you're not that good anymore. Or don't! Because...
SCOREBOARRRRRRRD. That's right, you little piss-ants of the conference, there's hate for you, too! Talk about the Golden I or your increasing attendance or great new coaches all you want--there's still a hierarchy in this conference, and if people can even muster up the fucking hate to think about your program, they're just going to look down on you.
And maybe it's because you
are from the state of Indiana have barely had a winning record since the turn of the century! Pity is a form of hate, you know. And do we want to see you succeed? Maybe to an extent, but never to the point that you'll actually approach being a real competitor. Because those gains are eventually our losses, and that's just unacceptable. So we'll continue to hate you into mediocrity and wish ill upon your school.
Because you know what? If you haven't already, you're ruining this conference. We don't want to play you. We don't care about your weird traditions or new coaching hires or basketball team's success [note: only applies to Maryland. Not sorry, rutger]. Shut up, cash your check, and be thankful you're not stuck in some irrelevant conference being watched by dozens of people on fall Saturdays. If you want to leave, though, THEIR'S THE DOOR
Of course, why do you need others to hate on you when you can do it your damn self? We're an inclusive bunch here at OTE: we love self-hate! If I have to watch Pat Fitzgerald and Mick McCall run the speed fucking option on 2nd-and-11 one more goddamn time, then insist after the game that it's a great playcall, my head is going to explore. If I have to listen to one more shitty rendition of the Wizard of Oz from NUMB, I'm snapping someone's baton. If that old couple in front of me shushes me on third down, gives me side-eye when I chug Malort out of the bottle in the parking lot, or doesn't stand up for the fight song or Alma Mater, I'm hiding their Polident and changing out their boner medication with cyanide capsules. AND STOP SELLING YOUR SEATS TO OTHER FUCKING SCHOOLS. I'M SICK OF LOOKING AT GODDAMN "TYPICAL NORTHWESTERN FAN" PICTURES. FUCK.
I'm sure this is inadequate and only a taste of what to expect. No doubt some of you are reading this and thinking "Wow, you call that hate?" Don't bother posting that weak shit: "Lol 2/10 would not read again" goes on reddit or in the lounge, not on Hate Fridays. Hate back. That's what OTE Fridays are about--the rivalries; the passions; the visceral, nauseating, rage-inducing hate that drives us as college football fans to insanity. Tell fans of that other school exactly why they suck, and don't hold back.
We here at OTE expect Fridays in B1G 2016 to be the same shitshows they always are. And that's OK! Keep it clean(ish), avoid slurs and petty name-calling, and explain to that school why they're inferior/cheaters/hicks/bums/ruining the Big Ten. That's what Fridays are for. When it's your turn, dish it right back and remind others why their hate for you is unfounded and weak.
But know that it comes from our love for Big Ten football and our schools. And that love is worthless without that hate.
In conclusion: Get fucked, Ohio State. Fuck Michigan. Fuck wisconsin and Iowa and Minnesota and Sparty and Nebraska. You suck, Illinois, you embarrassment to the conference. Purdue and Indiana, for once would you just pull your thumb out of your ass and straighten up? No one gives a fuck about your #culture, Penn State. You're a team with a Not Very Good Football Coach hiding behind #SANKTIONS. Maryland and rutger, I still don't know why the hell you're here. And Northwestern, please do something right for a change?
Happy B1G 2016, Off Tackle Empire. Happy hate.