...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
As we enter the last season of the Big Ten as a natural twelve-team conference (er…) it is only natural that we begin to question exactly who's a "real" Big Ten of the Big Ten, and who ought be "the other four." With media days under way across the Midwest and 2014 recruiting now in full swing, the Big Ten coaches have begun the annual rite of playing up their school as the epitome of this great conference. To separate the contenders from the pretenders, in the great tradition of teen magazines, I have created a sort of test. Answer these 20 questions and find out if your school is the Real Bee-One-Gee:
1. After you joined the conference people commonly started calling it…
a) the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives
b) the Western Conference
c) the Big [actual number of schools in the conference]
d) the Big11Ten
e) That league that's been arguing with Time Warner and running all those ads to call your cable company lately.
2. When it comes to finding a head coach the ideal candidate would be a man who…
a) was born into our program and will be content to stay here making $50k/year until his dying day.
b) can most plausibly be foisted on the fans without breaking the bank.
c) is the most Kirk Ferentz.
d) best embodies the traditions and ideals that contrast most sharply with the guy we just fired.
e) has already proven he can win at the highest collegiate levels, preferably coming off his obligatory two-year NFL excursion.
3. Our school is best known for growing ______.
a) leaders and legends in the weight room and in the community.
b) a new strain of pesticide-resistant turf
c) offensive linemen
d) pro-style quarterbacks
e) disillusionment in the NCAA, its rules, and its enforcement competency.
4. With 6 minutes left in the game you have the ball up a touchdown on your opponent's 37-yard-line, and it's 4th down and 7 to go. What do you do?
a) Run up the middle because that kills the most clock.
b) Punt and play defense.
c) Fake FG then pooch punt and to bury 'em on the 1.
d) Send in your kicker with thoughts of beautiful co-eds.
e) Send all your receivers on deep routes and tell your quarterback it's time to poop some magic.
5. You have just been informed that one of your players was ticketed for a DUI. Whom do you speak to first? (UPDATED)
a) The offending student.
b) The parents of the offending student.
c) The parole officer of the offending student.
d) The guy from the local police station who fixes these things.
e) The shady agent dude who sold you the student.
6. A fan of a rival school is Tweeting about how much your school sucks. What is your first/most typical reaction?
a) Tweeting? Is that one of those computer whatsit things? Sorry I don't have an iBay account.
b) Reference historical record against each other going back to that one period when your school was a national power.
c) Calmly explain that you take great pride in the tradition and history of your great school and the profound respect you have for this, the greatest rivalry in college sports in your opinion.
d) Demonstrate your unparalleled passion for your school: "YOUR/UR JUST JELLOUS!"
e) Wait, back up. We're rivals?
7. "Chicago's Big Ten team" refers to...
c) The University of Chicago
e) Notre Dame
8. The best example of a great rivalry trophy would be…
a) a piece of schlock we stole from the Paul Bunyan Museum that one road trip.
b) something we picked up at a farmers' fair 100 years ago, and had it bronzed when it started to smell funky (slab of bacon, whole pig, whole turtle).
c) something our "rival" left on the field (megaphone, shillelagh, spittoon, wooden bucket, water/Gatorade jug, house keys) when they skedaddled after that one time we beat/tied them.
d) an item we dug up at a Civil War site and have been fighting over since (tomahawk, top-hat, ship's bell, etc.)
e) something Jim Delany made up to explain why we have a protected game with someone 5 states away.
9. What is Notre Dame to you?
a) A great and important rivalry that dates back to the days of _____.
b) Another great university and football program with great tradition.
c) Mackerel-snappin' papists; after that Guy Fawkes incident I don't trust 'em. Heck, didya year they think "Bill Shakespeare" is a quarterback?
d) Any of several magnificent High Gothic cathedrals you will see on our world-class study abroad program to France.
e) A small, overrated private school for lazy rich kids in a train-stop rust belt town in Indiana, notable for operating since 1924 under the delusion that it's in Lower Manhattan.
10. The following word/phrase shall never depart your lips without the reverence of a thousand angels with very long trumpets:
d) [Name of school]
e) The Percy Harvin role
[Jump: 10 more questions and scoring]
It's still July, barely, which means stories like Michigan banning seat pads from the Big House — while season ticket holders, as if they haven't dropped enough dough, are provided the option to lease an official Wolverine Seat for $35 per season — still move the needle around these parts. Like many of you, I've owned an officially licensed U-M seat cushion, but not the AD-approved permanent rental, and used it at games for years. Those are now worthless, right?
Not so fast, says the M-Den. They're dual-purpose, you see...
A kneeling pad with a handle? This is innovation, not a blatant money-grab. American ingenuity at its finest. In that vein, we crowdsourced some ideas for alternative uses for these totally useful hunks of branded foam.
Looking for something to toss around the Diag? Look no more! The handle provides an easy grip for throwing, and the soft foam interior ensures that nobody's hurt when your toss inevitably lands nowhere near your intended target.
EMERGENCY FLOATATION DEVICE
Why are these women so happy to be jumping out of a doomed plane? With their officially-licensed floatation devices, they know that as long as they survive the impact with that large, rapidly-approaching body of water, they'll be floating in style while waiting for the Coast Guard.
[HT: BiSB and @MikeSmuz]
Dave Brandon himself was kind enough to model the latest in Michigan-branded winter fashion. Perfect for staying warm during November football games or going incognito when the fanbase finally turns against you in full, penniless force.
VERY STYLISH HAT
— Mike Randazzo (@TremendousSW) July 31, 2013
Lookin' good. But if you sit on it, they will shoot you.
MY VERY OWN MGOPANIC ROOM
Provides extra padding for the next time you're waiting out a commit watch/unwanted Buckeye visitor.
ANN ARBOR—Citing the ominpresent threat of terrorism, the Michigan athletic department has announced that all spectators entering Michigan Stadium will be issued blindfolds.
"In our modern age, it is just too risky to allow terrorists the privilege of sight," said athletic director Dave Brandon, "unless they pay a twenty-five dollar fee that drops five dollars per quarter. Twenty-five dollars is our most patriotic fee, until next year when thirty dollars will be our most patriotic fee."
Research shows that terrorists quail at the idea of playing patriotic fees, while Americans do not. This will allow Michigan to easily identify anyone who is a terrorist and shoot them. Anyone removing a blindfold without paying a fee is probably also a terrorist and will be shot. Other people will be shot randomly because the athletic department feels like it can get away with it.
"I don't see what the big deal is," said some guy on a message board who hasn't been to a game since 1982 but enjoys being a prick to people.
In a clever twist, the department has replaced the "n" and "d" in blindfold with a block M on the luxury silk, custom made "bliMfolds," because they have the power of marketing. "Just look at all this concentrated marketing," said marketing whatsit Hunter Lochmann, who marketed himself as "Lochdogg" on the internet for a rather long time, "it is marketing concentrated."
Brandon apologized for the patriotic fees, but stated that someone had to pay for the blindfolds, which are really quite nice. He also conceded that discounts will be offered for games where Adidas issues special uniforms.
In a separate move, the department banned seat cushions because terrorism America love it or leave it.
It is a day after National Signing Day and the Big Ten has inked yet another lackluster group of mostly 3-star recruits. Fearing a further drift toward mediocrity, representatives from each relevant school have secretly gathered together. Their goal: rescuing the competitive future of their once mighty conference!
A prayer is offered to AIRBHG and thanks given unto BHGP for allowing me to rip off their format.
Scene: A little-used back room of the Palmer House in Chicago, its walls lined with trophies honoring the conference's academic achievements, and tasteful sweaters. A group of men and a duck mill about, most huddled around a smartphone showing walrus porn. One is eyeing the gilded stand lamps, apparently wondering if they're bolted down. They are watched by a shadowy figure in a ski mask. JIM DELANEY enters…
: It's the…no, Brady we're not doing the thing.
[More. Oh so much more, after the JUMP!]
National Signing Day still ongoing, but we already have a pretty good idea how things are going to play out.
6:00 a.m. - The sun has yet to rise in College Station, Texas. A lonely fax machine sits in Kevin Sumlin's office. There is no way for it to know the hell it is about to experience. It can't comprehend such things. It is just a machine.
7:10 a.m. - Brian Kelly receives his 100th Letter of Intent for 'Lennay Kekua,' to go along with 37 for 'Manti Te'o's Fake Girlfriend' and 6 for 'That Catfish chick.' "Very original, jackass," he thinks to himself. Kelly looks in his mini-fridge, but finds it empty. He calls up Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick, and threatens to leave for the NFL if Notre Dame doesn't pony up breakfast.
7:13 a.m. - An out-of-breath Swarbrick arrives with an Egg McMuffin. Kelly grunts a half-hearted, "okay I'll stay."
Om nom nom
7:44 a.m. - Out of absolutely nowhere, damn near every five-star recruit in the country commits to Ole Miss. Yep. Ole Miss. This is in no way suspicious. Stuff like this happens occasionally; the best players in the country will sometimes all decide, basically at the same time, to attend the same school, even if that school hasn’t won its conference since the Kennedy Administration. Why are you so suspicious of this? Just because Ole Miss is 13-24 (and 4-21 in conference) over the last three seasons? Or because Ole Miss has never been ranked higher than 15th in Rivals’ rankings? Or because one of their five-star recruits tweeted out a picture of a pile of cash recently? That’s all just circumstantial evidence, man.
8:02 a.m. - Michigan blog circles awaken, but unlike most are unconcerned with the events of this day. For you see, Michigan is different than the other schools, who view the purpose of recruiting as stockpiling talent and accumulating star ratings. Michigan is not concerned with such things. Michigan attempts to accumulate Michigan Men. Men who think only of the team. The team, the team, the team. And though they are few in number, their moral standing and forthright character will make them superior athletes, scholars, and gentlemen at the end of the day. Some players may be more highly ranked than these Michigan Men, but those rankings do not capture the essence of teamsmanship and sportitude that make these Michigan Men special. And though those more highly ranked players may choose other schools, in doing so they demonstrate that they are, in fact, not Michigan Men, and were therefore unworthy to don the winged helmet. Those who stay, gentlemen. Those who stay.
8:12 a.m. - Word hits Michigan blog circles that Derrick Green has submitted his LOI. Michigan fans respond with a "WOOOOOOO FIVE STAR RUNNING BACKS BABY!!! OUR CLASS KICKS YOUR CLASS'S THREE-STAR ASS. SUCK IT, DANTONIO. NUMBER ONE!!!"
8:54 a.m. - A kid with discernable football talent sends his paperwork to Colorado. All are confused.
Did… did you watch the last few years?
9:10 a.m. - ..."What is this madness?" wonders the poor fax machine. He has not stopped churning for a moment. He is on his third drum of toner and sixth ream of paper, and there seems to be no end in sight. There is no time to contemplate the greater meaning, however, as another fax is coming in...
9:36 a.m. - A bright-eyed and talented young running back from Iowa beams ear-to-ear as he hands his paperwork to his high school athletic director. "Send this to the attention of Kirk Ferentz at this number, please," he says. As the fax machine starts to whir, the young man feels a strange twinge in his right knee, and he suddenly senses that someone, or something, is behind him. He turns, but nothing is there. He shrugs and laughs it off. Alas, it is too late for him already.
10:01 a.m. - Urban Meyer enters his office to gaze upon the hundreds and hundreds of LOIs on his desk. Seemingly every major recruit in the country, including those who already enrolled early at other schools, has sent their pledge to Ohio State. Meyer feels a touch of guilt for having not explained better to all of these young men that most of their offers were not "committable." Meyer sifts through the pile for the letters from the 21 kids he really wanted, and places the rest of them in the recycling bin.
11:53 p.m. - Mark Dantonio picks up... you know what? No one really cares.
File Photo. I think. I didn’t look very hard.
12:01 p.m. - Brian Kelly calls Jack Swarbrick and and informs him that he is considering leaving to coach the Baltimore Orioles, and that he is rather hungry.
12:07 p.m. - Swarbrick arrives with a chicken carbonara sandwich from Quiznos. Kelly reaffirms that he is still completely devoted to Notre Dame.
12:47 p.m. - Bo Pelini receives a letter of intent from a highly touted defensive lineman. Pelini immediately calls the young man and berates him for 20 minutes for his inexcusable penmanship.
YOUR Fs LOOK LIKE F***ING Ts. AND HOW THE HELL IS THAT A D?
2:17 p.m. - In Tuscaloosa, a dozen non-contributing underclassmen and a handful of oft-injured juniors are asked to load all of their equipment onto a truck as part of a "new drill." They don't suspect anything, despite the fact that their first task upon arriving at Alabama had been to unload about a dozen sets of football pads and other equipment from a truck very much like this one.
2:58 p.m. - A Tennessee commit tells local reporters how excited he is to compete for an SEC Championship. No one has the heart to tell him.
3:39 p.m. - ... Too much. This is simply too much. His motherboard smoking, his outer shell warped from the heat, the poor fax machine longs for the sweet release of death. They are coming slower now, but the short break between letters only offers cruel hope that maybe, just maybe, the the previous letter will have been the last. And yet, each respite is interrupted by OH COME ON, WHO THE HELL NEEDS THIS MANY WIDE RECEIVERS?
4:11 p.m. - In West Lafayette, Darrell Hazell hears the knock on his office door that he has been dreading. Brady Hoke enters, walks to Hazell's desk, and picks up Hazell's pile of LOIs. Hoke thumbs through them slowly, removes one from the pile, folds it neatly, and places it in his pocket. Hazell starts to protest, but realizes the futility. Danny Hope had explained to him about the natural order of things. Hoke adjusts his wizard hat and leaves without a word. Hazell vows revenge, but deep down he fears he may just be fooling himself.
6:41 p.m. - Gus Malzahn once again checks the connection on his fax machine. Had he given his recruits the wrong fax number? I mean, he DID have some commitments, right?
Ostensibly because they simply don't have the resources to keep Lane Kiffin from tweeting recruits every five nanoseconds, the NCAA this week announced they're getting rid of those limits altogether. They're also planning to let schools send as much mail as they want.
If you're a big school like Michigan who can afford to pay a guy to do nothing but send mail and text people wonderful Michigan facts, this is horray. But if you're a young football player upon whose skills rests the future employment of a hundred highly motivated collegiate coaches, prepare for the USC Legion of Owls…
What can you do to fight back? Well it's not like recruits don't have options, and I'm not just talking about picking a hat. You, young sirs, are for this brief window the sole source of information for a voracious, massive, and more than a little creepy information vacuum. Collegiate hopefuls of America's high school, I tell you today you can approach the recruiting process with poise, intelligence, humility, and maturity, or you could wield that which has ever been the tool of your kind—troll them.
Now some of you have tried this before—demanding your program have a good medical school to sound academically inclined, making up fake visits to Notre Dame, making up fake dead girlfriends, even committing to big schools sight-unseen to drum up internet interest *cough*DeQuinta Jones*cough*—I call such sad attempts sophomoric. Inspired in part by DeAnthonthy Arnett, in part by a conversation with Ace when Michael Ferns announced, and with help from Brian Cook, here follows a handy list of ways the nonpareil prospect can pique the system, discomfit the coaches, and have a little fun at the expense of all those strangers hanging on the bell.
==Idiot disclaimer: I am not actually advocating any of this.==
Remedies for the Coach With the Iron iPhone:
You are a running back whose backflip hurdle over a defender hit YouTube and now Bob Stoops is waiting at your car after the game: "Hello." But wait, now Mark Stoops climbs out of your back seat: "Hello." And now here's Urban Meyer's helicopter landing in the middle of the parking lot with a Corvette and dealer plates: "Hello." Suddenly your lower body trembles and a purple thing emerges, its face reconstituting into that of Brian Kelly: "Hello." Lane Kiffin taps you on the shoulder. "Hello." Lane Kiffin has surgically implanted himself into your shoulder. "Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello." What do you do?
1. Hold "hair ceremony" instead of hat ceremony. Display toupees modeled after your finalist coaches.
2. Skype video invite to Brian Kelly, Les Miles, and Urban Meyer so they all think you're calling to commit to them, then do hat dance between three schools and "lose connection" to video. Repeat following week. (Please record this)
3. Flip to your former chosen school's most hated rival, and in so doing read the same exact statement a guy going the other way did last year.
4. Tell him you'll commit, but only because you believe the rumors saying he'll be replaced with Ron Zook in a month.
5. Insist on being called "future major violations case."
6. Claim you're a package deal with your team's kicker, provide name and phone # of least athletic person you know (it's not like anybody ever gets film on a kicker).
7. Invite coach for an in-home visit; once he's seated ask if he'll watch your baby sister while you run out real quick.
8. Demand your final two schools prove they will know how best to deploy your talents by playing each other on NCAA using created teams made up entirely of you.
9. Suggest to Ole Miss that they text your dad to "work out a deal." Provide phone number of friend/co-conspirator/NCAA enforcement agent.
Remedies for the Reprobate Recruiting Reporters
So many sites today promise subscribers instant information on the latest whims of recruits considering their schools. Mention interest in a visit and you'll instantly have seven dudes from seven services camped out in your shower. Here's how you flush 'em:
1. Call recruiting services and continually ask them if they have a top five list. Refuse to offer any information unless the reporter announces his favorite schools. Follow-up: If reporter changes those schools, tell him he's dishonest and drop him.
2. Announce you will only talk to recruiting reporters under 16.
3. Only answer recruiting questions with boilerplate quotes that have strong sexual double-entendre.
4. Pick recruiting service. Respond to all inquiries from recruiting service with quotes from "Baby Got Back". Pick different recruiting service. Respond to all inquiries from recruiting service with quotes from Robert Frost. Pick third recruiting service. Respond to all inquiries from recruiting service with obfuscated C programs that print "Baby Got Back"/Robert Frost mashup quotes.
Describe the recruiting process for you so far? "I'm tired of magazines."
Is distance a major factor for you? "Like men we look too near."
How did you feel when you got that Ohio State offer? "You say you wanna get in my Benz?"
Would you consider other offers if your coach takes that NFL job? "My homeboys try to warn me, but I have promises to keep."
Bonus: "Take the average black man and ask him that" as a reply to most recruiting questions will make an interviewer really uncomfortable until they figure out what you're doing.
5. Insist that your name is Lee Fucking Corso.
6. Insist that people call you Lee Fucking Corso even though they know that's not your real name.
7. Hold hat ceremonies every Tuesday. One of the hats is "Decision Next Tuesday." Eventually you'll call it Walt, so every press conference ends with you pickin' ol' Walt.
8. Commitment ceremony has five hats. Each hat reveals a different cheese. Describe your favorite cheeses. Pause. Say "but I'm going to have to go with.... PORT SALUT!!!!!!!!" and eat 10 oz in one bite. When done, stare at assembled crowd. Pause again. Say... "what, I like cheese."
9. Game of Thrones gambit: Tell five different journalists, in confidence, that you're silently committed to a different school, wait and see which one gets leaked. Follow-up: Announce you are committing to the Lannisters.
Remedies for the Message Board Morans
Who us? We're annoying?
1. Go on message boards to solicit video testimonies from fans as to why you should go to their school of choice. Publish the best of them.
2. Announce press conference for "big announcement," where you play Catlab dubbed over with french noveau vague and film noir soundtracks, occasionally turn back to audience and explain "You see? You get where I'm going yet?"
3. On your announcement day, proclaim you have buried your decision in a box you've geocached based on some obscure statistic, but which coordinates are actually in the middle of the hippo pen at your local zoo.
4. Find some annoying person on the fan site for the top team you didn't commit to, claim it was that person's posts that made you choose the other school, watch that person get devoured.
5. Do the same with whatever the last protest was at that school. "I was going to commit to Michigan but then I saw they were protesting to save the whales, and I hate whales."
6. At your hat ceremony, stick a large wad of cash under one hat you were about to discard. Act surprised, try to cover it, then say you're canceling the ceremony while you think things over a bit longer.
7. Hold your hat ceremony in a hat store.
8. Answer all questions as if you were being asked about your NCAA dynasty.
(Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments)