My daughter started walking this week.
It’s a really strange sentence for me to write because (a) I have a daughter, and (b) she is walking, but it makes me realize that a year has gone by since writing the introduction to the 2016 Big Ten Spring Position Rankings. In that year I moved across the country, switched jobs, wrote about seven articles - approximately - and watched my daughter learn to walk.
Insanity. Absolute insanity.
Of course, that’s not why we’re here. I just figured I would fill you all in on my life and give excuses for not actually writing*.
*although, I do find myself watching more games... coincidence? I think not
And, to cap it all off, we are officially in the offseason of football. You know, that strange world between Signing Day, the Super Bowl, and Spring Practices. Of course, that also means that it is time for us to start down the path of argument-inducing offseason content!
For the first time in the history of this series, we have the same naming convention repeated. I generally argued for switching it up again because it seemed like tradition, but Graham overruled me. If you haven’t been around these parts in February - where we pretend it’s Spring - the gist of Big Ten Spring Position Rankings is this... We rank each positional group and argue about it in the comments. I know, it’s pretty complex.
In true Spring Position Rankings tradition, I’d like to continue answering questions from the imaginary audience. You all have done such a great job at trying to clarify what we’re trying to do here that I can’t help but give a little back. So here we go...
Jesse, I don’t understand what this series is because I don’t understand context or words. Help explain what you’ll be doing here!
Each day* over the next few weeks* the writing team* at Off Tackle Empire will be providing you with the best* most reliable* rankings of players. I believe we start with some of the offensive skill positions, but we will also look at specialists, coaches, mascots... Okay, maybe not mascots, but you get where we’re going.
*all terms and time periods are relative
Wait, why aren’t you doing mascots?
Fine, I’ll run through the Top 5 quickly.
(1) Sparty - This could have gone two ways. 1) Dudebro dressed up in ‘Spartan’ gear, or 2) Giant, plush, ridiculous mascot that waves a lot and hits on cheerleaders. The second won out.
(2) Goldy - Negative points for all anthropomorphized animals, but Goldy is legit in my book. Definitely think his wardrobe is meritorious on its own. Also, apparently the University of Minnesota considers the student who is Goldy a Student-Athlete and I respect that.
(3) Herky - Mostly because I read this Wikipedia Entry on Herky:
On November 22, 1997, during a below freezing Iowa 31-0 football victory over Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium, a Golden Gopher drummer had a cup of water thrown on his face by Herky after the drummer used his drumstick to tap Herky on his shoulder pad. As Herky skipped away he was tackled from behind by the drummer. Rather than take a hand offered to help the mascot to his feet, Herky broke the drummer's glasses with a punch to the face. The end result of Herky's assault on the drummer was the breaking of the historic 40-year-old cheer-bird's head. Members of the Minnesota band took small trophy pieces of the broken helmet back to Minnesota. The helmet was re-made of Kevlar for the 1998 season.
I mean, I don’t even know what’s happening here, but I like it. For that, you get third place in my book, Herky.
Sidenote: If anyone knows this drummer, let me know. I want his side of the story.
(4) Boilermaker Special - Purdue Pete is Satan, but that train is cool
(5) Nittany Lion - I have a soft spot for terribly cheap looking mascots
That was an interesting list, Jesse. You should do those more often.
Why thank you invisible person. I like compliments and you can keep sending those my way anytime.
Don’t get used to it. Anyhow, remind us of who you picked last year.
QB: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
RB: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
WR: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
TE: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
OL: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
K: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
P: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
DE: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
DT: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
LB: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
S: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
CB: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
KR/PR: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
AC: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
HC: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
JESSE, I CAN LOOK THIS UP YOU KNOW. WHO DID YOU REALLY PICK?!?!?!
QB: JT Barrett - Ohio State Buckeyes
RB: Justin Jackson - Northwestern Wildcats
WR: Jehu Chesson - Michigan Wolverines
TE: Jake Butt - Michigan Wolverines
OL: Michigan Wolverines (Unit)
K: Griffin Oakes - Indiana Hoosiers
P: Cameron Johnston - Ohio State Buckeyes
DE: Chris Wormley - Michigan Wolverines
DT: Malik McDowell - Michigan State Spartans
LB: Northwestern Wildcats (Unit)
S: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines
CB: Iowa Hawkeyes (Unit), but... Desmond King - Iowa Hawkeyes
HC: Mark Dantonio - Michigan State Spartans
There was some real Michigan Wolverines love... so that’s a thing.
Okay, so what next?
Well, for now? Argue about the mascot thing, but be prepared to ask the writers to show their work on Quarterbacks tomorrow. It’s Springtime in the Midwest! Let’s rank some people.