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Big Ten Teams Avatar Characters Would Root For

Happy Avatar The Way of Water Digital Release day! Today, Off Tackle Empire (me) celebrates this joyous occasion with a special off-season piece. So for those of you who may have the misfortune (or fortune) of following me on Twitter, you know that I have been going HARD for Avatar since the movie came out. That’s nearly three and a half months. And now that I can watch it at home?? Hoo-boy.

My previously, mostly Rutgers and sports-themed Twitter has single handedly become an Avatar stan account. However, it is the off-season, and thus, it is a time for fluff pieces, so I thought, hey, no better fluff piece than me combining my Avatar obsession with Big Ten sports. By the way, I saw the movie eighteen times in theaters, someone out there ask JamCam (James Cameron) to notice me, please.

Anyway, Avatar, now franchise-strong with TWO movies to its name and three more along the way has a robust suite of great characters. Yes! The movies are, in fact, more than just nice visuals. Each character has a distinct personality.

So let’s assume that the Big Ten still exists in the middle of the 22nd Century. I imagine it’ll be the Big Ten with 32 teams by then, or sixteen to twenty teams assuming most remaining universities have given up college sports by then, given the money sinks that they all are. And we also assume that major Big Ten sports games (Football and Basketball) are broadcast to Pandora via Superluminal Communication.

What teams would our characters root for?

(Mild spoilers if you haven’t seen the movie [awful]. Characters chosen may or may not still be alive in the movie’s canon, but were important enough to assess what team they’d root for!)

Jake Sully

Determined, stubborn. Doesn’t always have a plan. But deeply loves those close to him. Vibes with the Spartans. Wants to pick a winning team, but definitely not Ohio State and Michigan. He wants to root for a team that presents more as a ‘winning underdog.’


Has no idea what Sky People sports are. Doesn’t care to know. When Jake presses her to pick a team she rolls her eyes and picks Penn State because it’s mascot looks like a Palulukan (Thanator) which she has been one of the few Na’vi to ever ride, and she rode it into battle.

Miles Quaritch

Human Colonel Quaritch was an SEC fan. Was severely misguided. His Recombinant form has begun life anew— new body. Younger, taller, bluer. Moderately enlightened and can embrace the superior Big Ten conference, but is still deeply misguided. Michigan fan. Also, I can fix him.

Grace Augustine

She went to Stanford and is a Stanford “fan” but was one of those academics who never really cared for the athletics side of universities. When pressed she admits she could probably root for Northwestern as another elite private academic institution.


Loves nature. Is one with Eywa and Pandora. Very powerful in ways she does not even understand. She likes Ohio State because she found out the mascot for it is a nut. A seed. Something that grows into something green.


Rebel. Loner. Underdog. Doesn’t feel like he can live up to his older brother or dad’s expectations. Is always messing up. Rutgers fan because he was told a lot of people hate or are indifferent to them. Is down to root for a team that’s hard to root for and that everyone tries to talk him out of being a fan for.


Member of a highly intelligent species of ocean-going, whale and seal-like people of Pandora. Definitely could have and perceive of a favorite Big Ten team. When asked, he simply returned Tulkun noises. Lo’ak doesn’t translate.


Neteyam, Jake’s perfect son. Claims that he likes Michigan State because of the mascot’s cool helmet and forest green color, not because his dad likes Michigan State. Lo’ak rolls his eyes.

Spider Socorro

Even though he is a human, he doesn’t really care for the concept of human sports. Picks Ohio State blatantly because Kiri did. But he doubles down on his decision after finding out that Quaritch, his “father,” picked Michigan and that Ohio State is its rival and beats them most times.

Tuktirey (Tuk)

Jake Sully and Neytiri’s youngest daughter. Spunky, tenacious, adorable. Also likes cute things. Picks Minnesota to root for because she finds the mascot adorable. When she sees Goldy on the sidelines she says that she, “loves him.”


The sweet welcoming daughter of the Metkayina leaders, Tonowari and Ronal. Doesn’t have any strong opinions on these Sky People school teams. Picks Maryland because she likes the pretty colors and likes the terrapin, a cute looking animal that swims, like her.


Brother of Tsireya. Finds Sky People sports to be silly. Doesn’t understand why they would be, or how they even could be so brutally physical with one another. Picks Indiana because he liked the logo, it sort of looks like a weapon? Kind of like a crossbow that he uses to hunt fish with.


The strong leader of the Metkayina people. Picks Illinois because their team has the word “Fighting” in it. Appreciates beings with the tenacity to label themselves as fighters from the get-go. Figures them to be mighty warriors. Has no idea of their sports program history.


She is incredibly busy being the Tsahik. Has a baby on the way. Couldn’t care less about any of these stupid Sky People sporting teams. When pressed to a pick a team, she lets out a huff, and just picks Iowa because its symbol makes it out to look like a team associated with a noble animal.

Norm Spellman

Is a scientist and a huge nerd, doesn’t really like sports at all. Knows nothing about Nebraska as a team. Picks them to root for because of the “N” for Norm. He could have chosen Northwestern, but he appreciates a mascot dedicated to agriculture in the face of global environmental collapse.

Max Patel

Has lots of family in what remains of a sea level rise flooded New Jersey. Rutgers fan.

Lyle Wainfleet

The dedicated right hand man to Colonel Quaritch. Wants to get kind of into college football because his Colonel is. Decides to just pick a team. Doesn’t have a great affinity for the Wisconsin Badgers, but likes the cool “W” for Wainfleet.

Parker Selfridge

Parker isn’t really a “fan” of any teams for these types of sports. Prefers golf over big team sports. Picks Purdue because their mascot represents industry to some degree, the train signaling the taming of a frontier. Wants to see the RDA build trains on Pandora one day.

The Recoms

Wal-Mart Wolverines. Every last one of them.

Who’s YOUR favorite character from the Avatar movies and who would you pick for them to root for?

The way of water has no beginning and no end. Our hearts beat in the womb of the world. The sea is your home, before your birth and after your death. The sea gives and the sea takes. Water connects all things: life to death, darkness to light.