It seems these last few years have seen a dramatic convergence between the world of sports and the world of politics. Before you start warming up your liberal or conservative rage, I don’t want to touch any of that kind of stuff with a 10-foot pole. But GEOPOLITICS! Hey, this could be fun!
I’m not sure if it was real logic or the sort of true enlightenment brought about by several Jack Daniels (I swear I only drink on days that start with ‘T’*), but this latest bout of conference realignment got me thinking about what a solid collective security agency the Big Ten Conference has become. With the ever-growing red(neck) menace that is the SEC threatening to expand well beyond its historical borders and ruin college football as we know it, the world needs a strong counterbalance to maintain peace and order. Enter: B1G NATO. This collective of like-minded members, both big and small, have long been a group dedicated to further not only themselves, but the alliance as a whole and world peace while we’re at it. We all have disagreements from time to time, and often a good level of hate between members, but with that hate comes some baseline of mutual respect. From that (often minimal) respect has grown a solidarity that a threat to one of us has become a threat to ALL of us. Does some ACC puke want to disrespekt Maryland? HAHA, FUCK MARYLAND, BUT FUCK YOU ACC LAX BOI JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE, I HOPE YOU LOSE EMBARASSINGLY TO SOME NOBODY IN THE USEDTIRES.ORG BOWL. MARYLAND HAS INVOKED ARTICLE FIVE AND NOW WE’RE GOING TO SCHEDULE AND STOMP YOU AS ONE OF OUR CUPCAKE NONCONS.
*Days starting with T identified as Tuesday, Thurday, Today, Tomorrow and Thaturday
Aside from our group identity, the B1G has truly become a source of security for its members. Could Ohio St bolt and join whatever superleague may develop? Sure, but I think they value their history and traditions (and are currently swimming in cash with the current format) that sticking with the B1G is just as good. For almost everyone else, the need to be in one of the Power conferences has become essential to their survival. Once upon a time we had 5 Power conferences and there was a lot of space to prosper. One of those conferences put together a superior organization and TV network combined with quality product to elevate their success . One of those conferences sold their soul to bagmen and ESPN and rode their top-heavy strength to national prominence. Two of those conferences failed to really do either, and one had 2 teams running the show who eventually decided they didn’t want to carry dead weight. This has produced the current landscape where membership in one of the two Power conferences is needed to guarantee the relevance of one’s football program moving forward. The B1G NATO is left firmly positioned against the WarSEC Pact in the battle for college football’s future. At least Kevin Warren is closer to Ronald Reagan than Bob Bowlsby ever was.
Maybe you read that intro, maybe you’re skipping down to the meat here. So which NATO member is your B1G team?
Ohio St- USA No need to sugar coat things, the US does most of the heavy lifting for NATO, and tOSU has been our biggest torch bearer of late. Whether you want someone to police the third world(drop 45 in the 1st half vs a G5) or square off against the toughest opponents anywhere on the globe, the US (OSU) is the choice
Michigan- UK As the UK is the clear #2 in NATO, Michigan is probably our next biggest face. Once upon a time, they were THE pre-eminent global power, but recent times have seen their star fade and their accomplishments either compared to or in the shadow of the US (OSU). Boris Johnson is out now, but could’ve drawn lots of odd/creepy comparisons with Jim Harbaugh.
Michigan St-Belgium If the UK has a little brother, its probably Belgium. Still generally a solid contributor to the cause, but almost always overshadowed.
USC/UCLA- Sweden/Finland Welcome to our newest members, USC (Sweden) and UCLA (Finland)! Both nice additions in terms of quality and tradition, very helpful in containing that redneck menace. Still only inserted into the middle of the B1G NATO pack. USC gets to be Sweden because of the babes.
Penn St-Turkey B1G NATO’s ugly stepchild. Not an OG, but has a lot more history in the alliance than many members do. Occupies very important strategic territory, yet oddly disposable. Any time there’s talk about kicking someone out of the league (mostly somewhat kidding), its usually about the newbies and/or the poor performers. "Get rid of Rutgers (or insert any number of teams)" and you may have some argument that the league is better off. Everyone hates Ohio St and Michigan. As an Iowan, I hate Wisconsin and Minnesota. But I can’t imagine nor do I want a B1G moving forward without any of those teams. I hate Nebraska, and I’d be OK dropping them from the conference, but I don’t feel like that’s giving up very much. Penn St occupies some small intersection of a Venn diagram where a program provides a very significant benefit to the conference, yet a lot of people would be ok dropping that benefit. PSU hasn’t taken active steps like Turkey has to consider a dismissal, but I just find it interesting that they might be the one program that provides a concrete plus to the group yet we’d potentially be willing to do without.
Rutgers-Greece Ah the birthplace of college football (western civilization), so at least there’s that. Greece was so broke they almost wrecked the whole EU, and that’s not an unfair comparison to St Ruger’s contribution to the B1G.
Indiana and Purdue- Estonia/Latvia/Lithuania Like the Baltics, generally indistinguishable from each other. No way that most people could correctly label Bloomington vs West Lafayette or the Baltic countries on a map. One of them is usually good at standing up to the bear, but at any given time, its anyone’s guess to which one it actually is.
Maryland-Romania Romania is part of NATO? Maryland is in the B1G?? To an outsider, these facts may come as a surprise. Romania does contribute a little to the alliance, and at least MD has allowed us to laugh heartily at Texas. But we need to be honest, the benefits of this relationship are mostly a one way street. Without B1G NATO, Romanyland probably wouldn’t exist in its current form, and Maryland football might be speaking Big East-ese or worse.
Illinois-Spain In theory, should be a major contributor. In reality, is, uh, physically present? Retains a lot of potential to make a difference. Rota is a fantastic city that lets NATO (JK, its really just the US Navy) project power in the Med, not unlike what Chicago does for the B1G.
Iowa-France I couldn’t really think of a great comp for Iowa, so settled with France. In the big picture historical sense, Iowa hasn’t been nearly as relevant as France. Iowa/France do contribute to the alliance, but sometimes struggle to get out of their own way. Does the little things well, but in almost every major battle you can think of, they’re on the losing side. For a WWII reference, I can’t think of anything more Iowa than betting everything on your defensive line only to have someone apply some small bit of strategy and completely bury you.
Minnesota-Canada No imagination needed here, Minnesota and Canada are already the same thing. Moving on.
Nebraska-Germany For a 5 year period, Nebraska (1990-95) and Germany (1938-43) were the most feared entity in the world. One had a cultish leader who skirted ethics to achieve success, and the other had a cultish leader who personified evil to achieve success. Not so clear who is who when phrased that way, is it?? Anyways, the rest of the world is happy that was all a very long time ago. Presently, both have a very big presence but not much substance to show for it. Have promised quite a bit toward the cause in Ukraine, but actual equipment unit deliveries are able to be finger counted by every Nebraskan.
Northwestern-Luxembourg Essentially a city-state, doesn’t contribute much except maybe that one time. Has the highest population of butlers per capita in the group.
Wisconsin- Poland If you couldn’t choose any of the big dogs to fight in your stead, Poland/Wisconsin might be one of your next best bets. They might be your first choice if needing a partner in a drinking competition, especially if its vodka or brandy old fashioneds. Had a Polish coworker who got married a few years back, she said they went through 70 bottles of vodka at her reception. I asked how many people were there, she said "about 100." Wow. There were women and children in that count, and a contingent from her non-Polish husband’s family, and whatever non-vodka drinks were consumed. My liver shuddered at that. I’ve also met several Wisconsonites who I’d estimate their resting BAC to be in the neighborhood of 0.15. Growing up behind the Iron Curtain/northern Wisconsin must’ve really been rough.
In true OTE fashion, I am infallibly correct and wish for terrible things for all of your teams. Unless those terrible things weaken our standing vis a vis the Evil Empire, then I hope you stand the fuck up and act respectable. The fate of the CFB world depends on it.