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Don’t Watch This; Watch That: Neighborhoods and Reputations, the College Football Week 6 Schedule

Your favorite team’s stadium is in a neighborhood. How did that neighborhood come to be?

Back by unpopular demand, it’s a rundown of the Week 6 college football schedule where you actually have to learn something.

That’s right: It’s mandated. So you have to pay attention now. Sorry—I don’t make the rules (I definitely make the rules)—but sit there, be educated, click a couple links, vote in a couple polls, and then tell me what a bad person I am.

Today, we’re going to look at some of the stereotypes, neighborhood identities, and, in the process, historical processes that have affected the areas surrounding our favorite Big Ten institutions (and also Rutgers).

Judgmental Maps

When I do this in the classroom, I like to start with a (supposedly) fun exercise using Judgmental Maps. These are those hastily-executed MS Paint modifications of an existing map of a city which plot such hilarious things as “Couples BEFORE first divorce,” “Instagrammed pics of craft beer,” and “Couples AFTER first divorce” over neighborhoods of the city where you’d generally expect that to be true:

Judgmental Maps

It’s a fun chance—in Milwaukee, at least, it was—to talk about places you “wouldn’t go” or kids from Chicago to talk about which parts of the city they “wouldn’t visit.” (It is incredible, by the way, that some would say that with a student from that area in the class. People suck, and you should never forget that.)

We do this, too, with our own Big Ten schools: Iowa and Nebraska are in cornfields no one ever visits, Penn State is in a backwater hillbilly cousin-humping shithole, Purdue doesn’t exist. But even within those college towns, neighborhoods and community relationships are the result today of a long process of civic planning, negotiated urban identities, and, yes, race-based de facto segregation.

Redlining and the Big Ten

No, this isn’t a “let’s redline Rutgers” blog entry.

On second thought, this is totally a “let’s redline Rutgers” entry only if you can strip the word “redline” from its hideously negative connotations in American history.

Redlining, broadly, is the process of denying services and institutional opportunities to communities—usually of color. In the case of home lending this led to the drawing of lines around neighborhoods deemed to be “blighted,” then potential borrowers in those areas to be denied services—public transit, community institutions, personal lending—to buy and maintain homes.

This stemmed from—it’s important to note it wasn’t created by, but rather followed—the creation of the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) in 1935, which was asked to draw residential maps of over 200 cities across the United States as part of the National Housing Act of 1934, which was designed to stop a ton of bank foreclosures on people’s homes during the Great Depression. With the creation of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), government boards identified areas where they deemed it safest to extend credit to potential homebuyers:

  • Zone A (Green): “Best” neighborhoods
  • Zone B (Blue): “Still desirable” neighborhoods
  • Zone C (Yellow): “Declining” neighborhoods
  • Zone D (Red): “Hazardous” neighborhoods

“Hazardous,” in this context, didn’t mean for the people living there. It meant for the banks’ investments. And so the HOLC set out to draw lines and categorize neighborhoods in terms of the safety of banks’ investments, in the process disproportionately affecting communities of color across the United States. (This was not necessarily the HOLC itself mandating this—historians remain split on whether the HOLC set out to racially segregate, though Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law notes that an FHA manual cautioned against “incompatible racial groups” living in the same neighborhoods.)

We remember this today and, in my classroom, compare it to those Judgmental Map stereotypes, by looking at the actual redlining maps created by the HOLC. The University of Richmond created Mapping Inequality as a means of showing just how pervasive and targeted that system of redlining was.

Here’s what it looked like the vicinity of some Big Ten stadiums, both modern and historic:

Evanston, IL: Dyche Stadium (Ryan Field)

The B39 zone of Evanston
Mapping Inequality

Surprise, surprise: It was as nice to live in Evanston then as it is now. This is one of the only examples you’ll see where there’s some “A” property very close by (along the lakeshore), and Dyche Stadium was surrounded by “B” graded property.

Of course, in a Northwestern tradition (“Don’t go west of Ridge Avenue”), communities just south and west of Northwestern and the downtown portions of Evanston were redlined and remain more heavily African-American today.

Seriously, if you wanted to question this: Look at Area D2 in 1935 (south of the intersection of Green Bay Road and the North Shore Channel) and Evanston’s Ward 5 in 2009. And then read the description of the D2 neighborhood:

Sales have been very good where liberal financing terms are available, but on other sales mortgage financing is virtually impossible to obtain. This concentration of negroes in Evanston is quite a serious problem for the town as they seem to be growing steadily and encroaching into adjoining neighborhoods. The two family structures are in most cases converted singles and they likewise are overflowing with occupants; these buildings are rented as unheated units. The number of persons on relief in this district is probably heavier than in any other area long the north shore.

I didn’t say this would be fun.

Minneapolis, Minnesota: Memorial Stadium

Mapping Inequality

Just southwest of TCF Bank Stadium today, Minnesota’s Memorial Stadium was included on the Minneapolis HOLC map but excluded from the redlining (since it was University land). The areas of campus occupied by Greek life and immediately north of the stadium, though, were zoned C and D, while University Avenue east of the stadium—and running into Saint Paul—was either excluded as industrial or rather heavily redlined, save for small affluent pockets to the south and east of campus.

Madison, WI: Camp Randall

Mapping Inequality

In other cities, like Madison, the long-standing presence of the University was a deterrent to the “infiltration of” other communities (note that I’m not editorializing—that’s what the category is on the pop-out), like the ones in “D2”, the area south of the Capitol where students live along Washington and spill onto streets like Broom and Mifflin:

Most troublesome area in city. Predominating foreign population of Madison. Many Sicilians live in this area and are reputed as meeting their obligations fairly satisfactorily. The Italians resent being called Sicilians.

Duly noted.

Columbus, OH: Ohio Stadium

Mapping Inequality

There aren’t detailed descriptions (yet) for the areas around the Horseshoe—this could be because of availability, and it could be because they just haven’t been transcribed yet. But I’d be curious to hear Ohio State grads’ and Columbus residents’ opinions on the surrounding areas—particularly across the river—and how they’ve changed over time.

Lincoln, NE: Memorial Stadium

Mapping Inequality

Similarly, not the most exciting image, but a chance to think about what those communities and neighborhoods in the area look like today. And, as we know from the Omaha riots of 1919, not even Nebraska was immune from the challenges and pitfalls of integration.

Now plenty of Big Ten schools’ locations aren’t on there: Iowa City, Champaign-Urbana, both Indiana schools, Ann Arbor, Happy Valley, College Park (not sure how there), and Piscataway all escaped the redlining maps made available so far. And perhaps there are stories that you all know or would care to share regarding housing, neighborhood development, and urban renewal in various Big Ten communities. I certainly encourage you to go to Mapping Inequality and look at the maps for Detroit (particularly jarring), Milwaukee, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York, and Chicago, but also smaller towns from Altoona to Waterloo to Fort Wayne to Grand Rapids. As cities like Champaign or Iowa City have modernized, I know, it has sparked questions of how these cities develop—and for whom. Certainly the Evanston or Minneapolis or Madison of yesteryear is not that town today.

But as the stereotypes we hold from those Judgmental Maps—and as more serious scholars have shown in Mapping Inequality and countless works on redlining, housing segregation, and the New Deal, racial and socioeconomic imbalances have intersected with our Big Ten football teams—and our own lives—in more interesting ways than we often consider.

Oh right, there’s also football.

Thursday Night

Don’t Watch This

Saint Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves [4pm, TBS]
{WSOC} Rutgers at Penn State [6pm, BTN]
Georgia Southern Eagles (-10, O/U 45.5) at South Alabama Jaguars [6:30pm, ESPNU]
Minnesota Wild at Nashville Predators [7pm, NBCSN]
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks [7:20pm, FOX/NFL]
Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers [7:30pm, TBS]
{WSOC} Michigan at wisconsin [8pm, BTN]

Watch That

Temple Owls at East Carolina Pirates

7pm | ESPN | Temple -11 | O/U 47.5

We’re in that sweet spot of the year where the NHL is starting, baseball is getting into the playoffs (and Brewer hearts are already broken, which, lol), and the NCAA and NFL football seasons are steaming ahead.

That means it’s only a matter of time before I start performatively grumbling about Zach Parise’s contract and ignoring the Timberwolves, too. The Twins are going to break my heart and I hate it. I HATE IT.


You have like, 15 different sports you could watch on Thursday. So what’s on?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Temple-East Carolina, obviously
    (31 votes)
  • 32%
    Baseball playoffs!
    (66 votes)
  • 16%
    The NHL is back!
    (34 votes)
  • 17%
    ...the NFL, as I love 17-14 shootouts.
    (36 votes)
  • 10%
    Professional curling on NBCSN Alternate
    (21 votes)
  • 3%
    Professional bull-riding on CBSSN
    (7 votes)
  • 3%
    Big Sky volleyball action on Eleven Sports Network
    (8 votes)
203 votes total Vote Now

Friday Night

Don’t Watch This

Tampa Bay Rays OR Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros [3pm, MLB?]
{VB} Michigan at Maryland [5pm, BTN]
Winnipeg Jets at New Jersey Devils [6pm, NHL]
{VB} Northwestern at Purdue [7pm, BTN]

Watch That

Dartmouth Big Green at Penn Quakers

6pm | ESPNU

Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees

6:07pm | MLB Network

#18 UCF Knights at Cincinnati Bearcats

7pm | ESPN | UCF -4 | O/U 60.5

New Mexico Lobos at San Jose State Spartans

9pm | CBSSN | SJSU -6.5 | O/U 64.5

When I decide I finally can’t take any more after Jose Berrios is chased in the third inning, thank goodness there’s some amazing football to fall back on. UCF might be coming ever-so-slightly back to the pack in the AAC, and the Bearcats are ready to reel ‘em in and terrify their viewing audience in the process:

You were so preoccupied with whether or not you could, Cincinnati, you didn’t stop to think if you should.

San Jose State is close to becoming a DWT;WT Team of Choice. They’re a fun underdog story, playing in front of dozens—DOZENS!—of people at Ceausescu CEFCU Stadium, with a potentially-explosive offense that has an upset of Arkansas to their name. Late, home, and favored against a porous New Mexico defense, it’s good enough for viewing as I drink myself to sleep muttering “James fucking Paxton” over and over.


Which Friday game would be most enhanced with BLACKOUT FIELD?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    (50 votes)
  • 36%
    Twins-Yankees, as if New York needed help winning this series
    (58 votes)
  • 12%
    San Jose State slips deeper into darkness
    (19 votes)
  • 19%
    (31 votes)
158 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Morning

Don’t Watch This

Utah State Aggies at #5 LSU Tigers (-27.5, O/U 72) [11am, SECN]
#6 Oklahoma Sooners (-32, O/U 68) at Kansas Jayhawks [11am, ABC]
Kent State Golden Flashes at #8 wisconsin badgers (-26, O/U 59.5) [11am, ESPNU]
Purdue Boilermakers at #12 Penn State Nittany Lions (-27.5, O/U 56.5) [11am, ESPN]
#21 Oklahoma State Cowboys (-10, O/U 63) at Texas Tech Red Raiders [11am, FS1]
South Florida Bulls (-11, O/U 51.5) at UConn Huskies [11am,—moved from 6pm]
TCU Horned Frogs at Iowa St. Cyclones (-3.5, O/U 45) [11am, ESPN2]
Boston College Eagles at Louisville Cardinals (-6.5, O/U 60.5) [11:30am, ACCNx]
North Dakota Community College Bizon at Illinois State Redbirds [12pm, ESPN+]
{EPL} West Ham United vs. Crystal Palace [11:30am, NBCSN]

Watch That

Tulane Green Wave at Army Black Knights

11am | CBSSN | Tulane -3 | O/U 44.5

#14 Iowa Hawkeyes at #19 Michigan Wolverines

11am | FOX | Michigan -3.5 | O/U 46.5

Maryland Terrapins at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

11am | BTN | MD -13.5 | O/U 56

USF-UConn got moved from a 6pm kickoff to minimize the risk of a mosquito-borne disease that’s been terrorizing the East Coast, apparently, which is just such a metaphor for UConn football.


Were you interested in Iowa-Michigan? Sorry. Wanted to see which of Maryland-Rutgers is the worst? It’s Illinois, stupid. CANCEL THOSE PLANS.

Seriously, though. I like Tulane by a score in this one, but Army’s at home and should push around an undersized Green Wave line. Watch Justin McMillan—whose passing line at Houston was 186 yards and 3 TDs to 0 INts...on 7/20 passing—and backfield threats Darius Bradwell and Corey Dauphine give Army all they can handle with their speed.


Good morning! As MNW is stumbling back drunk from Oktoberfest, what should he slap on the TV?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    (13 votes)
  • 48%
    (118 votes)
  • 10%
    (26 votes)
  • 26%
    My different Big Ten team is playing at this time, meaning I do not care what he watches
    (64 votes)
  • 2%
    West Ham-Crystal Palace
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    NDSU-Illinois State
    (1 vote)
  • 6%
    Maybe the Twins have another playoff game they can lose this morning.
    (17 votes)
244 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Afternoon

Don’t Watch This

Eastern Michigan Eagles (-6, O/U 54) at Central Michigan Chippewas [2pm, ESPN+]
#7 Auburn Tigers (-3, O/U 47.5) at #10 Florida Gators [2:30pm, CBS]
Bowling Green Falcons at #9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-45.5, O/U 61) [2:30pm, NBC]
#11 Texas Longhorns (-10.5, O/U 61) at West Virginia Mountaineers [2:30pm, ABC]
Ohio University Bobcats (-3, O/U 51.5) at Buffalo Bulls [2:30pm, ESPN+]
Baylor Bears at Kansas State Wildcats (-1.5, O/U 50) [2:30pm, ESPN2]
Illinois Fighting Illini at Minnesota Golden Gophers (-14, O/U 58) [2:30pm, BTN]
Virginia Tech Hokies at Miami-Florida Hurricanes (-13.5, O/U 47) [2:30pm, ESPN]
Marshall Thundering Herd (-4, O/U 56.5) at MTSU Blue Raiders [2:30pm, Facebook]
Memphis Tigers (-14.5, O/U 64) at ULM Warhawks [2:45pm, ESPNU]
Northwestern Wildcats at Nebraska Cornhuskers (-7.5, O/U 48.5) [3pm, FOX]
North Carolina Tar Heels (-10, O/U 48) at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets [3pm, ACCN]
Troy Trojans at Missouri Tigers (-25, O/U 65) [3pm, SECN]

Watch That

Arizona Wildcats at Colorado Buffaloes

3:30pm | Pac-12 | Colo -4.5 | O/U 62.5

Western Michigan Broncos at Toledo Rockets

2:30pm | ESPN+ | Toledo -1.5 | O/U 68

Arkansas State Red Wolves at Georgia State Panthers

2:30pm | ESPN+ | ArkSt -7.5 | O/U 70

Air Force Falcons at Navy Midshipmen

2:30pm | CBSSN | AFA -3.5 | O/U 44.5

Balls Tate Cardinals at Northern Illinois Huskies

2:30pm | ESPN3 | NIU -4.5 | O/U 55.5

I’ll admit to having a soft spot for Auburn among the SEC teams—their fans are weird and Gus Malzahn is an interesting enough coach—but that can’t convince me to watch them play fraudulent Florida.

We’ve got the opportunity for both more good, smashmouth football in the non-ground leg of the Commander-in-Chief Trophy series, and we’ve got the opportunity for lots of stupid MACtion and FUNBELT play on the various ESPN channels.

Chief among those is the Battle for the Bronze Stalk, the definitely-important, definitely-real rivalry between Northern Illinois and Ball State:

Let’s have a good, clean, wholesome, heavily-subsidized game out there, boys.



This poll is closed

  • 38%
    My Big Ten team is playing
    (71 votes)
  • 23%
    (44 votes)
  • 2%
    (5 votes)
  • 19%
    Air Force-Navy
    (36 votes)
  • 16%
    I will flip through MACtion and FUNBELT, desperately scanning for touchdowns and blown coverages.
    (30 votes)
186 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Evening

Don’t Watch This

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (-3.5, O/U 44.5) at Old Dominion Monarchs [5pm, ESPN+]
#3 Georgia Bulldogs (-24.5, O/U 51.5) at Tennessee Volunteers [6pm, ESPN]
Massachusetts Minutemen at FIU Panthers (-26.5, O/U 67) [6pm, ESPN3]
Vanderbilt Commodores at Ole Miss Rebels (-7, O/U 63.5) [6:30pm, SECN]
California Golden Bears at #13 Oregon Ducks (-18, O/U 46.5) [7pm, FOX]
Pittsburgh Panthers at Duke Blue Devils (-5, O/U 48.5) [7pm, ACCN]
Liberty Flames (-5, O/U 60.5) at New Mexico State Aggies [7pm, FloSports]
Oregon State Beavers at UCLA Bruins (-5.5, O/U 65)

Watch That

Rice Owls at UAB Blazers

6pm | ESPN+ | UAB -8.5 | O/U 43.5

#25 Michigan State Spartans at #4 Ohio State Buckeyes

6:30pm | ABC | OSU -20 | O/U 49

Tulsa Golden Hurricane at #24 SMU Mustangs

6:30pm | ESPNU | SMU -13 | O/U 62

UTSA Roadrunners at UTEP Miners

7pm | ESPN+ | UTEP -1.5 | O/U 46

  • For quality: Probably OSU-MSU, but that’s kind of a wager either way. If Ohio State blows ‘em out, great, lol@Sparty, we move on. If MSU keeps it close, we have the excitement and the potential schadenfreude. You can’t go wrong.
  • For #IntellectualBrutality:

Rice is not nearly as bad as its record suggests and should’ve beaten Louisiana Tech. Plus: INTELLECTUAL. BRUTALITY. YES.

  • For points: SMU is ranked, somehow, and Sonny Dykes is forever going to be a resting bitch-faced grump of a coach who’s slinging it around with Texas transfer Shane Buechele and actually looks pretty fun doing it.
  • For hilarity: UTEP snuck by Houston Baptist and has been hilariously non-competitive since. UTSA hasn’t cracked 14 points in a game against FBS competition yet, and it’s not good when those teams it failed to score on are Army, Baylor, and...North Texas.
    This game will end 44-41 in double OT, and we will be all the richer for it.


Saturday night! What’s on?

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    Michigan State-Ohio State
    (152 votes)
  • 3%
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    (1 vote)
  • 3%
    (7 votes)
  • 3%
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    (2 votes)
  • 8%
    Something else entirely
    (17 votes)
193 votes total Vote Now

It’s late and I’m drunk...

Don’t Watch This

#15 Washington Huskies (-16, O/U 52.5) at Stanford Cardinal [9:30pm, ESPN]

Watch That

Eastern Washington Eagles at Sacramento State Hornets

8pm | Eleven Sports Network

San Diego State Aztecs at Colorado State Rams

9pm | ESPN2 | SDSU -7.5 | O/U 51

#16 Boise State Broncos at UNLV Rebels

9:30pm | CBSSN | Boise -23 | O/U 56

You might be thinking “Why is Oregon State-UCLA in Saturday Evening but EWU-SSU in ‘It’s late and I’m drunk,’” and if you are, I can say you’ve never actually watched Eleven Sports Network, because that shit’ll drive you to drink. But it’s football that supposedly reaches a national audience—probably more households than Pac-12 Network.

Colorado State is (1) not terribly good, but (2) has a decent offense, especially at Canvas Stadium. The Rams have been held below 20 points at home once since it opened in 2017, and only two of those 14 home games have not hit at least 51 points total. Take the over (I’d stay away from the line), grab a beer, and enjoy.

Boise-UNLV is one that I think I’ve just learned to love over the course of this stupid conceit of a series. Boise should blow the Rebels out of the water with their superior athletes, but in the last week I’ve also stayed up and live-tweeted a Hawaii football game. So I think it’s clear that I make pretty bitchin’ life decisions.

Shut up, that’s the only possible conclusion.


What can we put on the TV for ya, Norm?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    San Diego State-Colorado State
    (12 votes)
  • 4%
    Boise State-UNLV
    (8 votes)
  • 20%
    (33 votes)
  • 20%
    Playoff baseball, as I am boring
    (33 votes)
  • 10%
    "You get Eleven at this bar?"
    (17 votes)
  • 36%
    lol i passed out hours ago
    (59 votes)
162 votes total Vote Now

Enjoy the games.