Happy Purdue Hate Friday.
This year we decided the Big Ten would take the reins for us.*
*Just kidding. BuffKomodo’s got y’all at 11am CT.
In more seriousness, there’s a certain beauty and poetry to Purdue—and most of the Big Ten West also-rans like Nebraska and Minnesota—finally reaching the 8-4 threshold, only to have this happen. (And I include Northwestern here, obviously.)
This wasn’t really the point of the discussion from this morning, but pursuant to what Green Akers said in that article...this might do it for my college football fandom.
That’s overly melodramatic. But, at least, it’ll make missing the occasional game or seven a lot easier to do.
Northwestern, if it wasn’t already a glorified legacy inclusion in the Big Ten for the last 50 years, is certainly that now. You too, Purdue and/or Indiana.
A super-conference doesn’t make my team any more relevant. All we are is a minor, inconvenient speed bump on the way to a Big Ten title for, now, a USC instead of an Iowa. Years in which Northwestern was good—probably past tense at this point—are an anomaly, a blip that can be sorted out in the Big Ten Championship Game (if we’re one of the best two records in the conference, which, lol) or ignored by the national media altogether. This is a conference to showcase Ohio State and Michigan and USC, then occasionally tell a nice story about wisconsin or Penn State or UCLA. There’s even less oxygen for Iowa; Michigan State already is heard from only when they run their winning streak against Harbaugh to 15 or whatever it’s at these days.
And it’s the bottom line! Money talks! I get it! You’ve not hurt my feelings or completely upended my life or whatever argument I’d made here by telling me that. Hell, I’m sure we’ll be back next week—originally America Week but now, fuck it, probably just “Expansion Week, Pt. Infinity”—with a few “Here’s what a 16-team pod system would look like!” article that’ll drive clicks and engagement and comments and whatever else we’re supposed to do.
But this move—throwing away any remaining pretense of the Big Ten being even a vaguely regional consortium of athletically-competitive schools—is just another signal to the have-nots of the Big Ten: we are, at best, now just a footnote, a name on a trophy base from some long-ago season, an accident of history that we’re here in the first place.
So I’ll enjoy watching my team play at the Rose Bowl, the only bowl game I told my wife “Unless we’re having a baby that day, I’m going,” knowing that it’s not quite as special as it used to be. It’ll be amusing to see the hastily-edited Big Ten expansion commercials. The Colorado-to-B1G rumors will be fun, the Notre Dame-to-B1G rumors will make me put a spoon in my eye.
And a little more of my interest trickles away until the day the conference looks around, realizes it doesn’t need Purdue—or Northwestern, or Indiana, or Minnesota—and finally just puts the pillow over our face.