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Week Six B1G Power Poll: I Think You Should Leave (Skits)

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Why are you shouting? Why are YOU shouting?

Do NOT cancel lunch

Hang around this site long enough (or not that long, really), and you’ll come across a Letterkenny gif. There have been recent mailbag questions about stand-up comics and SNL Weekend Update anchors. And it was but earlier this season that BRT seamlessly presented the Arrested Development equivalent for each B1G school.

But it’s time to get serious (about comedy).

It is indisputable that I Think You Should Leave is the MOST B1G work of comedy out there. Almost every piece features social awkwardness and/or a character doubling down on irrational, even crazed, behavior. And there is a lot of indignant shouting, usually by people who are wrong. But there’s also the occasional quiet pathos, and you’re never far from somebody resigning themselves to the fact that, yes, the world (B1G football) really is just this stupid.

But the coup de grace is that Tim Robinson, the creator, is a Detroit native (you all should catch Detroiters, too, RIP) who clearly understands the nature of sports fandom. In fact, I have concluded that he is such a fan of B1G football that each team was the secret focus of a different sketch in season 2. Don’t believe me? Read on.

No. 1: Iowa Hawkeyes - Driver’s Ed

First Place Votes: 10; High: 1; Low: 3; Last Week: 2 (+1)

A harried driver’s ed instructor presents a set of videos that, sigh, he knows the students will find dated, but is part of the class. He’s been through this many times before, so he warns them that he does NOT want ANY questions about the tables. In the video, our driver clearly has a career built around tables in some way, but only in the third video does it become clear that her business is renting out tables to events like comic-cons and horror-cons, and that her increasingly manic anger at the fact that her tables are being returned rather dirty is a function of her not understanding the talent. [If you think the driver is overreacting, well, welcome to a world where Iowa coaches mock opposing teams for faking injuries.]

Look, nobody really understands how Kirk Ferentz has managed to create a very good program in a state more famous for corn than for producing high school football talent. (“Do you understand the tables are my corn?”). And fans of pretty much every B1G school, like our instructor, mostly treat Iowa’s consistency with befuddlement which quickly rises to rage any time we contemplate why our school can’t do the same given that the business plan (renting out tables/punting) is really pretty fucking simple. Additionally, it may well be the case that the Ferentzes do not understand how “to treat the (offensive) talent.” but with Phil Parker and sound special teams, they still manage to keep their house hot.

At the same time, keep in mind that these are driver’s ed videos, and there’s a lesson to them. Each video ends with our driver involved in an accident despite travelling at a low rate of speed, which pretty well captures what happens every time Iowa’s plodding approach ventures to a big bowl game.

No. 2: Ohio State Buckeyes - Calico Cut Pants

First Place Votes: 5; High: 1; Low: 4; Last Week: 3 (+1)

“Those ain’t piss dots. That’s got nothing to do with piss.”

Imagine you’re a man and that you didn’t properly shake off after urinating. But then a co-worker leaps to your defense pointing out that the moist dots have nothing to do with piss, but are the new fashion, daring your tormentor to check out a site (calicocutpants.com) featuring these stylish new pants. You’re grateful (I guess), but it’s kind of weird, right?

And then, what if you learned in quick succession that the site doesn’t actually sell pants (they’re all marked as out of stock), but that your co-worker is asking you to contribute (“you gotta give!”) to keep the site going because Rick, the guy who runs the site as a side gig, is basically underwater. And that your co-worker is prone to screaming at people to hold the door for him, but then walks at a slow pace to said door? And that maybe he’s actually the devil?

I mean, it’s pretty much Ohio State, right?

The Buckeyes pretend to come rushing to the aid of the have-nots (we gotta have a season in 2020!), but it’s always for ulterior motives. The entire plot is probably always about money (“Your wife’s rich, so I’m going to bleed you dry.”)—which is probably why management (B1G headquarters) ultimately allows it to occur—but it’s also always convoluted and stupid (like missing out on a chance to play for the national title in 2012 because you delayed probation to allow a team that ended the regular season 6-6 the chance to lose their bowl game).

Ryan Day certainly seems prone to shouting at people and Urban Meyer is pretty much underwater at this point. Oh yeah, the co-worker’s wife also eats batteries (“a little battery, like a circle battery, like a watch battery”), which pretty much sums up your median Buckeye fan.

No. 3: Michigan Wolverines - Diner Friend

First Place Votes: 0; High: 2; Low: 5; Last Week: 4 (+1)

If you’re a parent, you know that sometimes a little white lie is the easiest way to end a conversation you don’t want to have. Now, maybe you’ve done this and regretted the lie, but I can guarantee you haven’t regretted it to the extent that our protagonist has.

That’s because he turned to the patron at the next table over, winked conspiratorially, and had to watch in horror as Bob Odenkirk backs his lie about ice cream machines and then launches into a completely fabricated alternate version of his own life, one where he owns “every kind of classic car.” In fact, he owns doubles of each as you have to have a pristine one in storage. Better yet, he’s still wheeling and dealing. Wait, his deal went through and now he’ll have triples of the Nova. (“Triples makes it safe. Triples is best.”)

While he likes to drive alone on the open road, he DOES have a wife. “A model around the world...she was on posters.” She’s dying...but she’s going to get better.

And he doesn’t live in a hotel.

Was Michigan a Barracuda when Jim Harbaugh was QB there? A Road Runner? No matter. He wasn’t able to win a Rose Bowl and it wasn’t really classic. And anyway, in the here and now, the experience of being a Michigan fan—“are we ever going to beat OSU again?”—is akin to yammering on at the diner to patrons who really have no interest in your mostly made up stories. Half a national title since the Eisenhower Administration? You don’t have A Nova, much less triples, and we both know it.

No. 4: Penn State Nittany Lions - Blues Brother

First Place Votes: 0; High: 3; Low: 5; Last Week: 1 (-3)

Several people are gathered at some sort of second home for what is supposed to be relaxing time away. But it’s tense. A man and woman are trading insults over the lack of a trash hutch and the lack of cooking skills. Our protagonist has an idea, however, and he disappears momentarily to prepare his idea for how to save the party.

Unfortunately his idea is to do a Blue Brothers-themed dance routine, and the hat and sunglasses set off the (large) family dog into a barking fit. That, and the fact that our protagonist twice implores his girlfriend to turn the music even louder, drives everybody into a rage.

If I told you that the protagonist was wearing a t-shirt that said “Mr. Happy” on it with a smiley face, there’s no way you’d be able to deny this is about PSU, would you?

James Franklin is clearly awkward and cheesy, just like a Blues Brothers dance routine in 2021. But he’s also clearly well-intentioned. And, really, it’s obvious that a lot of the tension that surrounds his job performance isn’t really about him and was present before he began his tenure/routine. At the same time, the apparent owner of the house does speak for much of Nittany Lion Nation when it comes to Franklin’s 4th quarter coaching decisions in big games:

No. 5: Michigan State Spartans - Coffin Flop

First Place Votes: 0; High: 2; Low: 5; Last Week: 5 (-)

Probably because of the whole “little brother” thing, Sparty fans can be a contentious bunch. What if the the “disrespekt” they felt was over a beloved cable access show being canceled?

Welcome to “Coffin Flop.”

Coffin Flop IS a show, even if it’s just hours and hours of footage of real people falling out of coffins at funerals. That might not be your taste, but that doesn’t mean you pull Corncob TV off the air!

Maybe a team named “Spartans” would have unique practices with regards to the burial of the dead. Maybe not. But if they do—and I’m no classicist—I bet it might involve “a bunch of naked dead bodies with their spread blue butts flying out of boxes.”

What I do know, is that whatever it is that they want to do, MSU gets furious quickly.

Maybe it’s a remnant of the Dantonio years or maybe it’s just who Sparty is. Either way, if you like your aggression unrelenting and borderline insane, go ahead and say something questioning MSU’s 6-0 start.

T-No. 6: Nebraska Cornhuskers - Detective Crashmore (+ AOL Blast call back)

First Place Votes: 0; High: 6; Low: 13 (???); Last Week: 6 (-)

A trailer for a standard-seeming “cop who plays by his own rules” movie right down to the personal loss that drives his thirst for revenge and co-stars who are merely present for plot service. Add to this a later skit that show the three stars being interviewed, press junket-style, with the actor who plays Detective Crashmore threatening to walk off the set because he doesn’t like how the interview begins.

Pure Scott Frost. Pure Nebraska.

Nebraska always wants to play by their own rules (Chattanooga) and views itself as some avenging force always on the side of right. But THIS cop really doesn’t care. When his lover indicates that the villain threatened their lives, his response—“He might kill you, but there’s no fuckin’ way he’s ever killing me.”—pretty much reflects Scott Frost’s attitude concerning the transfer portal.

And when his partner suggests he doesn’t like the looks of the situation they’re investigating, Crashmore’s admission that “I don’t care if I die at all. Everything has sucked lately” is both a stand-in for how most Husker fans feel about what has become of their once storied program AND for how Scott Frost seems to approach game-planning (“What if they come out in an even man front, Coach?”).

But what really drives this home is the AOL blast segment, where the actor playing Detective Crashmore makes clear that, basically, he took the part for money. Now he has a quote (buyout), and one way or another, he’s going to get paid. He also shares his feelings about tattoos: he doesn’t really care, but they’re not good.

When Nebraska hired Frost, fans thought it was Christmas. But Santa turned out to be a surly sociopath who doesn’t give a shit about anything other than his bottom line.

T-No. 6: Wisconsin Badgers - Claire’s

First Place Votes: 0; High: 6; Low: 11; Last Week: 11 (+5)

“I was soooo nervous. The night before I made a mess in the bathroom.”

It feels like every year, Wisconsin puts together a decent-to-great season. They haven’t missed a bowl since 2001.

And every year millions of girls get their ears pierced, many at Claire’s.

What’s the connection?

Well, what if recent seasons in Madison have been mostly underwhelming? And what if, as I’m sure we all suspect, behind the facade of fatherly affect and word salad answers to press questions, there actually lurks in Paul Chryst a man racked by existential terror? What if this season drives him to some sort of break, like getting his ears pierced? And what if he volunteered to contribute his thoughts to the video Claire’s asks all customers to view?

Would he express concern about gastrointestinal issues? Given the average Wisconsin diet, almost certainly.

Would he cop to making Jib Jab videos? Hard to say, but his technological proficiency is probably stuck in that era.

Would he admit to the sheer terror of life?

“You know, if it’s true that when you die, you get to go back through you life and relive all the moments for eternity, then I want some moments in there where I’m just dying laughing! I fake laugh every day for ten minutes, so that when I die and relive life’s little moments, all I see is happy times. Ain’t that the fucking saddest thing you ever heard? I’m sitting in an empty room, laughing my ass off to trick my dead self, ‘I had a great life.’”

Definitely.

Existence is pain, and nobody understands that better than the coach who has made a practiced art of not saying anything meaningful in any public comment. If UW fans want to catch a glimpse of what has gone wrong lately, they probably should head down to Claire’s.

No. 8: Minnesota Gophers - Little Buff Boys

First Place Votes: 0; High: 6; Low: 11; Last Week: 7 (-1)

At the George X corporate retreat, the musical act ends and it’s time for the Little Buff Boys competition, evidently some sort of Mr. Olympia pose-off for pre-teen boys who are obviously wearing padding and muscle shirts. (Indeed, the emcee cops to “goosing” the participants’ physiques a bit.) The regional director is brought on stage and our emcee uses high pressure techniques to try to get him to pick a winner, something he is clearly reluctant to do.

Could anything better capture P.J. Fleck’s approach to recruiting?

Shouting at the “judge” is the spiritual equivalent of texting recruits every 30 minutes or so. Hell, get out the egg timer and yell at the recruit to make a decision on the spot. Every athlete who has decommitted from the Gophers (a not insubstantial number) knows exactly what our regional manager was dealing with.

Additionally, with 2019 receding into the past, every subsequent stumble, especially a loss as a 31 point underdog, feeds the notion that Minnesota’s recruiting rankings may have been “goosed.” How long before Fleck cracks and admits that his entire approach to coaching—the showmanship and relentless positivity—owes itself to a secret childhood spent in the circus?

No. 9: Indiana Hoosiers - Insider Trading

First Place Votes: 0; High: 7; Low: 12; Last Week: 12 (+3)

Ostensibly centered around the insider trading trial of a couple of white collar workers, our story shifts as the prosecutor is having a text exchange between the defendants read aloud. Once “OMG, did you see Brian’s hat?” is read, we realize that this skit is about Brian, and the aforementioned hat, a fedora with safari flaps in the back.

Brian, who has never taken a stand on anything in his life, and who was spotted with a couple of dice in his pocket that he is evidently too ashamed to produce, decided that this is the hill he will die on. When his boss asks him to remove his hat, he does. But then he resists. Unfortunately, he only embarrasses himself in the process, getting grease on his hat and yelling at a co-worker (which he realizes was a bridge too far).

Candy stripes aren’t quite as stupid as a fedora with safari flaps, but you get the point. And covering up your conference logo/patch as a matter of principle IS pretty much as stupid as challenging your boss over your right to wear said fedora inside during an office meeting. Not surprisingly, Indiana’s Outback Bowl performance—and 2021 season to date—has gone about as well as Brian’s attempt to roll his hat down his arm, Fred Astaire-style.

No. 10: Rutgers Scarlet Knights - Crying Baby

First Place Votes: 0; High: 6; Low: 12; Last Week: 9 (-1)

A man is allowed to hold a baby at a social event. The baby cries. Reasons are offered and nobody makes much of it. Except for the man. He knows that the baby cried because the baby can tell that the man “used to be a piece of shit.” Other partygoers misunderstand this declaration. The man isn’t looking for sympathy or to be dissuaded. He KNOWS he used to be a piece a shit. He used to got to Truffoni’s to eat sloppy steaks with the rest of the Dangerous Nights crew. He used to slick back his hair and live for New Year’s. He can admit that. He seems to have changed.

[NOTE: The humor of ITYSL isn’t for everybody, and in my experience this skit has been as polarizing as any in season two. If you think it is unfunny to try to wring humor out of a baby’s ability to evaluate people and the concept of sloppy steaks is just dumb well, remember, we’re discussing Rutgers. In the B1G.]

I don’t know if Greg Schiano likes sloppy steaks, but I do know that he sends the D-line crashing into the line in kneel down situations. And I’m pretty sure Tom Coughlin thinks he’s a piece of shit. In building Rutgers the first time around, he certainly exuded a “no compromise” attitude that suggested little consideration for anybody outside his crew. (And even inside the crew in Tampa, if MRSA numbers are to be believed...which certainly can contribute to dangerous nights.)

But maybe it’s a kinder, gentler Greg Schiano who is leading Rutgers now. There certainly is a lot of F.A.M.I.L.Y. talk, though there was always that. If asked to hold a baby now, would the baby cry? The jury is still out. Rutgers fans, do you still want to be at this party?

No. 11: Purdue Boilermakers - I Love My Wife

First Place Votes: 0; High: 7; Low: 12; Last Week: 10 (-1)

Riding high, post-Purdue Harbor

Scott is playing cards with the guys at their regular game. It’s the usual. A couple of beers, a little busting of chops, and the occasional complaint about their wives. Scott joins in, but immediately regrets it. Cue a flashback to Scott’s foray into community theater and his loving wife’s unyielding support of his aspirations, in particular Scott’s struggles with Jamie Taco. You see, Scott’s role is that of a henchman and Jamie Taco, playing the other henchman, is always taking Scott’s lines. But then—oh sweet joy!—Scott manages to get to a line faster.

Scott knows that he loves his wife and shouldn’t have made even a jesting comment indicating otherwise. So, he’s not going to stay for the rest of card night, or the sleepover that is implied. He’s heading home to his wife.

Jeff Brohm has been a hot coaching commodity, and there have probably been moments where he offhandedly denigrated the Purdue position, thinking that maybe greater things awaited. However, it seems like he realizes that he’s pretty well supported in this position and he’s grateful to have it for as long as he does. The Jamie Tacos of the world may usually beat him to the best lines (recruits), but every so often, Purdue has a Rondale Moore, and they have a moment, a splendid 49-20 moment.

[Not coincidentally, after Scott’s “star turn,” Jamie Taco somewhat menacingly declares to Scott that he’s “going to get that line tomorrow” while stuffing his face with a slice of pizza, proving that Purdue is capable of creating sad pizza moments of their own on occasion.]

No. 12: Maryland Terrapins - The Conference Room

First Place Votes: 0; High: 7; Low: 12; Last Week: 8 (-4)

Look out for the big wave!

Office meeting and the boss leaves. One brave soul hops on the table and pretends to be surfing. Others join in. Suddenly you have seltzer cans opened as surf spray, shark fins on foreheads and spinning chairs as whirlpools. What fun! The good times even win over the most reticent employee, who, to join in, announces “here comes the big wave!” and flips the table on its side, sending people flying and causing all sorts of mayhem.

Not only does this seem par for the course for Mike Locksley, if you go back to his time at New Mexico, but the entire chain of events seems to encapsulate Maryland football. In September, when B1G bosses are away, the Terps have a lot of fun. Soon enough, though, a big wave hits. Namely, conference season starts, injuries occur, and the fun stops suddenly.

Given the ferocity of certain Terp fan flag stans, one might attempt to blame this all on the unstylish and unfortunate gifting of some “chode jeans,” but we know better.

No. 13: Illinois Fighting Illini - Prank Show

First Place Votes: 0; High: 12; Low: 14; Last Week: 13 (-)

In the prank show in question, Everything is Upside Down, host Carmine Laguzio puts on a body suit and a ton of makeup and latex to transform into Karl Havoc, who is “a lot.” Heading into the Fairfield Mall to play pranks and, um, cause mayhem, he stops short. Initially he objects because “there’s too much fucking shit” to his costume and he can barely move. It’s so hot and the chin kills. But this physical anguish gives way to a deeper lament: he just doesn’t enjoy what he’s doing. In fact, he “doesn’t want to be around anymore.”

As a comment on the shittiness of hidden camera prank shows, and the soullessness that ought to be felt by those who participate in producing them, this skit is pitch perfect. It really captures—

Speaking of Illinois football, and Bret Bielema, I’m sure it seems like a lot of fun to come back to the B1G. And Bert definitely is fond of pranks. There was the loophole in kickoff rules he exploited against PSU in ‘06. And who can forget when the card told him to go for two late in a blowout against Minnesota. The man loves to cause havoc!

And after a season-opening win against Nebraska this all seemed like a great idea. Now, though? I’m not sure if Bert want to be around anymore, but I strongly suspect most Illini fans don’t. Nothing encapsulates Illinois football fandom like standing in the middle of a mall food court, sweating profusely, wishing you weren’t around, waiting for basketball season to start.

No. 14: Northwestern Wildcats - Parking Lot

First Place Votes: 0; High: 13; Low: 14; Last Week: 14 (-)

Man who has places to go backs out of his parking space only to get stuck behind somebody who doesn’t know how to drive. Literally.

“What is your problem man? Do you know how to fucking drive?”

“No.”

The skit is a short and not-so-sweet representation of the ire-inducing struggles of trying to be a Northwestern football fan this year. You pride yourself on winning ugly and frustrating the opposition. It’s worked well before, but now you realize the flaw in the plan: how do you win an ugly, low-scoring game when your new DC apparently has never coordinated a defense before?

Of course, our incompetent antagonist responds by levelling an implied threat in true Northwestern style: in a year from now you could be going to a job interview and I’m the boss. Wouldn’t you regret having yelled at me then?

Can’t function in society but they’re your boss anyway? Go Northwestern.