I learned my new favorite thing on Tuesday: A University of Maryland sociology professor and three UMD seniors composed an op-ed for the Diamondback, the Maryland student paper, with this headline:
Ladies and gentlemen of OTE (well, mostly gentlemen, which I’m sure portends nothing good for the comments section), I am here to tell you: I’m totally fuckin’ on board.
First of all, the piece just brings some hot goddamn science to the equation:
The smaller size of Testudo’s tail, as well as Testudo’s more rounded carapace, support the conclusion that our terrapin is female; the bronze statues in places such as McKeldin Library, Stamp Student Union, and the football field are female, not male.
Then, it explains how the femininity of the terrapin has been colonized by male athletics:
Additionally, male athletic teams — mainly football — have made the most use of our mascot and have taken the lead in detracting from her primary role of representing the spirit and fun of campus life and athletic games. Now, she is portrayed as what CBS Sports described in 2014 as a “monstrous” Testudo that “will live in your nightmares.”
And then it drops the hottest piece of all: SCOREBOARD, YOU IMPOTENT MARYLAND MEN:
But athletic competitions are not won by scare tactics; they are won with talent, skill, intelligence, coaching, training, preparation, intense motivation and maybe by encouraging the competition to underestimate us. Our women’s teams have won three times as many NCAA championships as our men’s teams. Yet the Maryland Victory Song only refers to boys. What’s the deal with that?
I am totally on board with this. Make Testudo Female (Again?)!
And lest you think “Well, yeah, but YOUR school”? I am fully on board with Northwestern’s Willie (which, I mean, Wilhelmina?) being “feminine”. Hell, women have historically appeared in the Willie the Wildcat costume ,and Noted Best Northwestern Resource Hail to Purple avoids gender pronouns in its traditions and history of the Willie mascot. Why can’t we embrace that Willie is actually Wilhelmina Wildcat? Professor McGonagall was a woman who transformed into a tabby cat; the Sphinx and the Chimera were a lot tougher than any ol’ Nemean Lion to dispatch; and, as Very Reputable Source Modern Cat tells me:
Simhavaktra Dakini, the ferocious lion-faced guardian of Vajrayana Buddhism, is a female “sky-walker” who guides human beings along the right path and removes physical hindrances and spiritual obstacles such as pride and ego.
If there’s one thing I know about being a Northwestern fan, it’s that there’s nothing more accurate about fandom than not bothering to have an ego, because then you follow up a 9-7 home loss to Illinois State with a blown 18-point lead against Akron the following season. We need Wilhelmina Wildcat.
As such, what’s there to stop any Big Ten school from embracing the feminine identity of its mascot? A Brief List:
- Illinois Fighting Illini: One woman, Idelle Smith, apparently portrayed “Princess Illiniwek” in 1943. The Crow had a female chief; I don’t know what’s stopping the Illini.
- Indiana Hoosiers: Presumably “Hoosiers” can be men and women in all things except Mike Pence’s most feverish dreams. The brief tenure of “Mr. Hoosier Pride,” the ill-fated 1979 buffalo mascot [article may auto-download], is a quaint reminder of sexism gone by, as male and female buffalo can all have horns.
- Iowa Hawkeyes: Herky may have a claim to male-ness through some old link to “Hawkeye” being the “Indian name” of Natty Bumppo (read a book, people), but I find it dubious that the University of Iowa has checked for a bulge on the Herky costume. Doesn’t stop them from using male pronouns in their history of Herky. I see no reason Herky can’t be female. I mean, the bird’s got fucking teeth — we really gonna worry about its gender? Oh Christ, it gets worse:
“The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics hatched Perky as their mascot. She is Herky’s cousin and came to life in 2002.”
PERKY HAWKEYE. That’s the name Iowa went with. Perky. Sweet Jesus.
- Maryland Terrapins: We covered this. Testudo is female.
- Michigan Wolverines: Can you imagine what Jim Harbaugh would do if Michigan had a mascot and then announced it was possible it was a she? Jesus. Some states are ready for this; the Mitten State can’t even warm up for a football game without descending into anarchy. I dub Michigan Not Ready for a female mascot.
- Michigan State Spartans: Tougher row to hoe here, as Wikipedia tells me Sparty is a “Male Spartan warrior.” Checkmate, libs. There have been two women to play Sparty [that’s a great article: read it], and Spartan women took part in at least some of the military training of Spartan men, from what I can gather (pre-1000 history is just folklore anyways, do not at me). Give us a female Spartan, Michigan State.
- Minnesota Golden Gophers: Vintage MN Hockey, my source for all Minnesota Gopher-related questions, declares “Goldy Gopher has no gender,” but Goldy is noted at least once as a “he” on the U’s [very humorous] mascot bio. The Daily Gopher is likely involved in such a cover-up, as their resident historian opted not to comment on the gopher’s gender or the possible (but unverified) existence of a “Goldie Gopher” female mascot in the 90s. So it’s up to me to figure out if Goldy could be Goldy(female). I checked the articles “Use of External Characteristics for Rapid Identification of Gender of Pocket Gophers” and “Determining Sex of Plains Pocket Gophers by Incisor Width,” neither of which is porn, I swear. Unless anyone measured Goldy’s teeth or “gently blew on the fur along the ventral side of the pocket gopher, particularly adjacent to the back legs, to look for small mammae” (Baldwin and Meinerz 252), there’s no way we can be sure. Goldy should be a woman, damnit.
- Nebraska Cornhuskers: Ask BRT for a good book on Nebraska women and the history of the state; she’s practically written the book on it herself. Herbie Husker, though, is a ‘70s invention. But even Lil’ Red looks to be a young boy! What bullshit. Until the 1940s, at least, women played an active role in field labor. At the same time, I guess, you have Iowans like Henry Wallace expressing traditional Victorian fears of masculinity and hard work by playing up cornhusking champions and farming accomplishments. Whatever, say I. While Herbie isn’t female, the lack of a female counterpart is some bullshit.
- Northwestern Wildcats: Covered it. Moving on.
- Ohio State Buckeyes: I am just going to link to “The Bisexual State Tree of Ohio: The Buckeye Tree” and move on, because WOW, I learned a lot about Brutus today.
- Penn State: “Ugly” knows no one gender.
- Purdue: At a school with a 57-43 male-female ratio, should we be surprised at Purdue Pete? Not really leaving much ambiguity here. Women have historically worked in shipyards and are entering STEM at greater rates, Purdue. Be more inclusive.
- Rutgers: If Gaita of Lombardy could do it, Rutgers, so can you. The school’s evolved from Queensmen to Chanticleers (cocks, really) to Scarlet Knights—why not go one step further?
- wisconsin: with a full name of buckingham q. badger, our regressive friend between the lakes did once have a “female friend,” Becky Badger, complete with a bow in her hair and a miniskirt. That died in the 80s. Today, though, you look at bucky and tell me how you know he’s a “he.” NOT WEARING PANTS DON’T HAVE A GENDER, CHEESEFUCKS. In fact, all I can learn from a UK website devoted to badgers:
“It can be difficult to tell male from female badgers. Generally males are slightly larger and heavier than females and normally have a wider head and a longer, thinner and lighter coloured tail.”
...OK, so maybe bucky is an accurate representation specifically of wisconsin males. “Slightly” might be unnecessary here, though.
Don’t Watch This
Baylor Bears (4-3, 2-2 Big XII) at  West Virginia Mountaineers (5-1, 3-1)
6pm | FS1 | WVU -14 | O/U 67
 Appalachian St. Mountaineers (5-1, 3-0 Sun Belt) at Georgia Southern Eagles (6-1, 3-0)
6:30pm | ESPNU | AppSt -10 | O/U 48
Toledo Rockets (3-4, 1-2 MAC) at Western Michigan Broncos (6-2, 4-0)
6pm | ESPN2 | WMU -6.5 | O/U 68
Remember when we were told “Thursday Night Games are good again” by the NFL? Yeah, the Dolphins are in open revolt against Adam Gase. Fuck that noise.
You can watch a little fun triple option action on ESPN if you want, but the offense will be on FS1 and the U. Baylor and WVU are a long way removed from the 70-63 and 73-42 shooutouts of 2012 and 2013, but this is still a matchup which has failed to break 65 total points once since the Mountaineers joined the Big XII. Baylor is allowing only 218 passing ypg...until now. Will Grier is going to throw for 500 yards. I will watch. Hell yeah.
Meanwhile, raise your hand if you had Georgia Southern on top of the Sun Belt. Now put it down, you liar. Bill Connelly previewing a “quick rebound” in Jonesboro, but the Sun Belt’s Triple Option Team has rebounded even quicker than expected with a little luck (4.5 expected wins) and a borderline decent offense. QB Shai Werts has been capable throwing the ball (59%, 4 TDs to 0 INTs on 51 tosses) and dynamite running it (5.2 ypc and 9 TDs), and if Wesley Fields’s groin allows him to return (NO PORN), the Eagles have their full backfield to test the Mountaineers.
But...holy shit, it might not matter. Scott Satterfield’s club is that good, earning the 25th spot in the AP Poll (they’re 12th in S&P+, amazingly) with a balanced attack that is legit on both sides of the ball. If you haven’t figured out to watch App State yet, you’re missing out. Tune in to ESPNU and enjoy this one.
Grandstand (get it?) about baseball in the comments if you must, but here we watch football, and Thursday night we’re watching...
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Appalachian State-Georgia Southern
Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech
Dolphins-Texans, as I am shameless
Don’t Watch This
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (5-2, 3-1 C-USA) at Florida Atlantic Owls (3-4, 1-2)
5:30pm | CBSSN | FAU -3.5 | O/U 58
Miami Hurricanes (5-2, 2-1 ACC) at Boston College Eagles (5-2, 2-1)
6pm | ESPN | MIA -3.5 | O/U 49.5
 Utah Utes (5-2, 3-2 Pac-12) at UCLA Bruins (2-5, 2-2)
9:30pm | ESPN | UU -10.5 | O/U 55
Indiana at Minnesota on a Friday night. Jesus. No.
Anyways, LaTech-FAU will be a nice appeteaser to the night regardless of what your evening viewing pleasures are, and they should be Miami at Boston College, because teams go to die at the Reservoir and it is the weirdest stadium and I must take in a game there.
I have been down on the UCLA Bruins, but it looks like Wilton Speight might actually be a fit in Chip Kelly’s offense? The Bruins are still rebuilding, but the Michigan transfer returned from a back injury suffered in the season opener against Cincy and played error-free football, tossing 2 TDs in a win over Arizona.
On two straight Pac-12 wins, the Bruins will now play late-night host to the Utes, freshly-ranked and now that team nobody in the Pac-12 wants to play, because things get weird in Salt Lake City and Kyle Whittingham gives not one fig for the space-and-pace nonsense of the Pac-12. Put your big boys on the line, because if Tyler Huntley doesn’t beat you deep (and oh, he can), Zack Moss will barrel through you with all 5’10”, 215 of him en route to his 5.6 ypc clip. It’ll be a fun contrast and an excellent late-night dynamic.
Friday Night’s Alright For...
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It’s SATURDAY night, MNW
I understood this reference and am questioning everything I know about you, MNW.
Don’t Watch This
 Clemson Tigers (-17) at Florida State Seminoles [11am, ABC]
 wisconsin badgers (-7) at Northwestern Wildcats [11am, FOX]
Massachusetts Minutemen (-5) at UConn Huskies [11am, ESPNU]
Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at Nebraska Cornhuskers [11am, BTN]
Purdue Boilermakers (4-3, 3-1 B1G) at Michigan St. Spartans (4-3, 2-2)
11am | ESPN | MSU -1.5 | O/U 50.5
Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-2, 3-1 Big XII) at Iowa St. Cyclones (3-3, 2-2)
11am | ESPN2 | ISU -3.5 | O/U 56
Army Black Knights (5-2) at Eastern Michigan Eagles (4-4)
11am | CBSSN | EMU -1 | O/U 48
Gonna be a couple ugly ones on the analog channels this morning—NU-wisconsin could turn into a shootout, but blech, and Clemson should piss-pound Florida State.
I almost made Nebraska vs. Bethune-Cookman a watch just for the spectacle.
No, it’s Purdue-Michigan State, because now that Purdue’s got their big win, let’s see if they can build on it. When the last Harboring happened, the Boilers responded with an ugly win over Illinois before being positively flattened by wisconsin two weeks later. There’s no rest this time—can the Spartans’ defense clamp down on Rondale Moore and DJ Knox? Can...can they move the ball at all without Felton Davis and with an injured Brian Lewerke? Time for Dantonio to grind this game into the mud. I will be checking updates often.
Texas Tech-Iowa State for points. Alan Bowman like, died or something (his fucking lung collapsed!), and needed to be driven to attend the Tech-TCU game, and now he’s cleared to fly to Iowa State! This one is a battle of standout freshman QBs: Bowman faced Brock Purdy, the Cyclones’ QB who has thrown for 572 and a 75% completion rate in upsets of then-#25 Oklahoma State and then-#6 West Virginia. It’s gunslinging time.
Look, you should already watch Army because they’re the DWT;WT Official Team of Choice, but...if you missed the end of Army-Miami(OH) last weekend, you missed out. The Redhawks scored the last 14 points of the game to tie it at 21 and send it to overtime, with Gus Ragland tossing 53 passes for 329 yards and a 4/0 TD/INT day. In OT, though, the Black Knights rode the 137 yards of former Illinois QB Cam Thomas and bruising runs of Darnell Woolfolk (22 for 96, 2 TDs) to score a TD in the second OT after the two sides exchanged FGs in the first. Miami scored but elected to go for two, and Ragland threw a desperation pass to his RB right before being sacked, and the RB came up a yard short after running about 30 yards. It was wild.
Now the Black Knights head to the Factory for a battle on the gray with EMU, and it should be a wild one. The Eagles will yield some yards, but they’ve got Tyler Wiegers at QB chucking it around too. I can see lots of points in this one, a nice contrast in styles, and two causes (Army football for one, EMU always on the brink of institutional collapse for the other) worth supporting.
Good morning! Eggs and bacon for me, with a side of
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Texas Tech-Iowa State
I have no self-respect and will absolutely put on my foam corncob hat to watch Nebraska kick a tin can around Memorial Stadium. By voting for this option in the poll, I give up my right to speak glowingly of Nebraska football for five (5) days.
Don’t Watch This
TCU Horned Frogs (-13.5) at Kansas Jayhawks [2pm, FS1]
Kansas State Wildcats at  Oklahoma Sooners (-25) [2:30pm, FOX]
Arizona State Sun Devils at USC Trojans (-6.5) [2:30pm, ABC/ESPN2]
Illinois Fighting Illini at Maryland Terrapins (-18.5) [2:30pm, BTN]
Northern Illinois Huskies at BYU Cougars (-7) [2:30pm, ESPNU]
Cincinnati Bearcats (-10) at SMU Mustangs [2:30pm, CBSSN]
New Mexico Lobos at Utah State Aggies (-20.5) [3pm, Stadium/Facebook]
 Iowa Hawkeyes (6-1, 3-1 B1G) at  Penn St. Nittany Lions (5-2, 2-2)
2:30pm | ESPN | PSU -6.5 | O/U 51
 Florida Gators (6-1, 4-1 SEC) vs.  Georgia Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1)
2:30pm | CBS | UGA -6.5 | O/U 52
 South Florida Bulls (7-0, 3-0 AAC) at Houston Cougars (6-1, 3-0)
2:30pm | ABC/ESPN2 | UH -7.5 | O/U 74.5
Does it feel like we’re getting into the part of the year where there are more 2:30 games just because...well, there can be? I don’t need Illinois-Maryland at 2:30pm, BTN. That’s why regional/alternate channels exist. Do not subject me to that.
Saturday in State College is currently slated to be around 43, drizzly, and a light 8 MPH breeze out of the northeast. I’ll leave it to Iowa fans to explain why this means Nate Stanley is the best quarterback in the Big Ten, while Trace McSorley will struggle to move the ball.
Florida-Georgia will be wild and ridiculous and if you don’t know what the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is, I don’t know where you have been, but go read about it. A legitimate Top 10 matchup in Jacksonville is definitely worth a peep when Iowa punts for the 5th time in the first quarter and trails Penn State 3-0 at halftime.
When you realize “Hey, I would like to see a touchdown today,” this is your reminder that South Florida-Houston is on. Blake Barnett’s production has slowed down since his blistering start to the year, but given that Houston just allowed 36 points to Navy, I have a feeling the “run around and see what happens” approach to football will also work in this one. That means D’Eriq King of Houston and Barnett are going to put up some stupid video game numbers and some really boneheaded INTs. Tune in. Laugh.
Pick from among the mediocrity:
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World’s Largest Outdoor Cock [/runs out of breath] -tail Party
What even ARE those other games
Don’t Watch This
 Washington Huskies (-12) at California Golden Bears [5:30pm, FS1]
 Texas A&M Aggies at Mississippi St. Bulldogs (-2.5) [6pm, ESPN]
 N.C. State Wolfpack (-2.5) at Syracuse Orange [6pm, ESPN2]
 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-24) at Navy Midshipmen [7pm, CBS]
Boise State Broncos (-9.5) at Air Force Falcons [6pm, CBSSN]
 Texas Longhorns (6-1, 4-0) at Oklahoma St. Cowboys (4-3, 1-3)
7pm | ABC | TX -3.5 | O/U 59.5
 Wazzu Cougars (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) at  Stanford Cardinal (5-2, 3-1)
6pm | Pac-12 Network | Stanford -3 | O/U 53.5
Tulane Green Wave (2-5, 1-2 AAC) at Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-6, 0-3)
6pm | ESPNU | Tulsa -2.5 | O/U 50
Golden Panthers Sunblazers (5-2, 3-0 C-USA) at WKU Hilltoppers (1-6, 0-3)
6:30pm | beIN | FIU -3.5 | O/U 54
Go take in how Western Kentucky lost to Old Dominion last week:
Don’t bother trying to convince me that FIU, a team with another legit offense, will be any less fun. No game can beat this ODU-WKU’s absurdity, sure, but FIU-WKU can try, and I just bet they will.
Similarly, Tulane-Tulsa will either end 48-45 or 13-7, and you owe it to yourself to find out which of those it is.
If anyone is going to save us from Texas being Back, it is Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State. Have they lost stupid games to Iowa State and Kansas State since we all tripped over ourselves to declare this was the year they put it together? Yes! But Gundy teams aren’t meant to play with a lead. They’re meant to lose to Central Michigan on a play that shouldn’t have happened and then beat a ranked, and also Back, Texas. I’ve convinced myself—my mortgage on Oklahoma State to win. Don’t tell my wife. Or the mice.
Would I ever recommend a Pac-12 Network game unless it was to watch Mike Leach? No! But Washington State lost its damn mind for Gameday last weekend, and damnit, we’ve got to chase that dragon as long as we can. Stanford is going to try to make this game as stupid as possible, and Wazzu will definitely give up a couple big K.J. Costello to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside pass plays, but I want to see if the Cougars can make this fun. I bet they can.
No Harborwatch this week: What’s the evening game?
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I thought you couldn’t piss me off enough with beIN games, MNW, and now you recommend Pac-12 Network.
Tulane-Tulsa?! That’s what you’re onto now?! For chrissakes.
Don’t think I didn’t notice the beIN recommendation. Fuck you, MNW.
I am a shit person: Notre Dame-Navy.
I’m Awake and Drunk, What Should I Watch?
Don’t Watch This
 Oregon Ducks (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12) at Arizona Wildcats (3-5, 2-3)
9:30pm | ESPN | UO -9.5 | O/U 65
Hawaii Warriors (6-3, 3-1 MWC) at Fresno State Bulldogs (6-1, 3-0)
9:30pm | ESPN2 | Fresno -24.5 | O/U 59
San Diego State Aztecs (6-1, 3-0 MWC) at Nevada Wolf Pack (4-4, 2-2)
9:30pm | ESPNU | SDSU -2.5 | O/U 47.5
Is this is a cop-out? Perhaps. Just a little.
Fine, asshole. These games, ranked in order of watchability:
- San Diego State-Nevada
But I wouldn’t make you choose! That’s the beauty of these night games!
Look, given what we saw last week, any one of these games could blow up on us, but they could also be hilarious. Fresno should be able to put up points on Hawaii, and while the Rainbow Warriors can score with their spread-out offense, Cole McDonald has been hurt and the Bulldogs have clamped down on most marginal offenses. Nevada just won at Hawaii and plays a fun, up-tempo style, but they’re a secondary Mountain West team, and San Diego State tries to drag most games into the mud. Oregon is fast and should roll Arizona, but Rhett Rodriguez acquitted himself well for the Wildcats in a tight loss to the Bruins, so who knows?
Let’s get drunk and watch bad football. That’s what this piece is all about. Enjoy the games, and write your AD—your university president—your congressman!—about the disturbing lack of gender equality in Big Ten mascots. Bring on Wilhelmina Wildcat!
What’s your night game of choice?
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Whatever the bar has on
San Diego State-Nevada
...lol i passed out hours ago