Seinfeld Meets the B1G

Seinfeld Meets the B1G

Submitted by saveferris on August 7th, 2014 at 4:07 PM

25 years ago a trifling sitcom starring a popular Tonight Show comedian debuted on NBC.  The self-styled “Show About Nothing”, started out as an afterthought amongst mega-hits like “Cheers”, “The Cosby Show” and “Rosanne”, but “Seinfeld” would go on to be the preeminent TV show of the 90’s.  It seems impossible that it’s been a quarter of a century since we were first introduced to Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, and George, considering the show seems ubiquitous in syndication, and for me, it never gets old.  So, as we approach the end of OT season and in celebration of the quasquicentennial of the debut of Seinfeld, I give you the Big Ten as characters from....



Michigan – Jerry Seinfeld

Much like Michigan, Jerry is the cool, rational voice of the Seinfeld world, observing the chaos around him with aloof bemusement.  Dubbed “Even Steven” by Kramer, Jerry navigates the perils of his world deftly, resulting in everything working out for the best, which we can only attribute to being The Michigan Difference.  Those who dislike Jerry, regard him as somewhat arrogant and undeserving of his station in life.  None of this bothers Jerry, who when Elaine angrily predicts that something bad has to eventually happen to him, replies self-assuredly, “No, I’m going to be just fine”.

Ohio State – Newman

Just as Ohio is the sworn enemy of Michigan, Newman is the sworn enemy of Jerry; who characterizes him as, “the Lex Luthor to my Superman”.  Evil, unscrupulous, slovenly, and amoral; Newman embodies everything we love to believe and hate about Ohio State.  Where OSU football players proudly proclaim they aren’t there to play school, Newman unrepentantly refuses to play postal worker, claiming less than 50% accuracy in his deliveries and not working when it rains.  Come to think of it, isn’t Postal Worker one of the Top 5 careers for an OSU graduate {rimshot}?   We can’t state definitively that Newman poops in beer coolers, because some things you just can’t show on television, but somewhere, deep in the hindbrain, you believe it don’t you?

Penn State – George Constanza

Neurotic, cheap, and beset with anger issues, George is the embodiment of the Penn State mentality.  Ever since they joined the conference and realized that they weren’t and would never be the Jerry of the Big 10 they’ve quietly seethed in rage.  Of all the schools in the Big 10, Penn State is the one that would travel halfway across the country to try and deliver a lame zinger long after the opportunity to effectively do so has passed (“The Jerk Store called, they’re running out of you!”).  Penn State is the ego-centric character of the Big 10, lamenting at how the world conspires against it achieving the success that they feel they rightfully deserve.  Of course, maybe hiring James Franklin is the equivalent of them doing the opposite…..

Nebraska – Elaine Benes

Defiant, stubborn, and not much of a dancer, Nebraska, especially under the leadership of Bo Pelini, fits Elaine to a T.  Whether they’re featuring Grandpa’s sports jacket or the Urban Sombrero in the J Peterman catalog, Nebraska doesn’t have to answer to you, because Mr. Peterman left us in charge!   While Nebraska is renowned as being the nicest of fans, you still get the impression that they would rip your toupe’ off your head and throw it out the window because you were stickin’ it to them.  And who else would whine about having to replace Joe Mayo’s fur coat although they are the one responsible for stealing it in the first place?  Yeah, Nebraska.  I guess as a conference we should be flattered, though, that Nebraska ultimately considered us “spongeworthy”.

Wisconsin – Cosmo Kramer

Why Kramer for Wisconsin; primarily for their penchant for success despite themselves.  If any one school could be accurately described as having a fantasy existence because they, “do nothing, fall ass-backward into money, and have sex without dating”, it would be Wisconsin.  Whether it’s winning the B1G Conference Championship and making the Rose Bowl because OSU was under probation or Ben Brust heaving in a half-court prayer at the buzzer to beat you, Wisconsin is Kramer.  Wisconsin might not scream “hipster doofus”, but that Jump Around thing they do at football games comes as close to a Kramer pratfall as anything I’ve seen.

Michigan State – Kenny Bania

Does anything parody the Michigan / Michigan State relationship better than the Jerry / Bania dynamic?  Where Bania seems to perceive that he and Jerry are peers and friends, Jerry regards Bania with a thinly-veiled disdain, dismissing him as nothing better than as a second-rate hack.  Ever clueless about his true place in Jerry’s world, Bania exerts an inordinate amount of effort soliciting Jerry to work with or spend time with him.  Nevertheless, despite Bania’s shortcomings, fate sometimes delivers him a gem (“That’s gold Jerry, gold!”) that lands him in the Rose Bowl. 

Maryland – Frank and Estelle Constanza

“You think you can keep us out of the Big 10?  We’re moving in lock, stock, and barrel!  We’re gonna be in the pool.  We're gonna be in the clubhouse. We're gonna be all over that shuffleboard court!  And I dare you to keep us out!”  Can’t wait to see the Maryland faithful strolling around Ann Arbor in their cabana clothes….what do you mean George sold them?!

Northwestern – Helen and Morty Seinfeld

Much like Helen and Morty adore Jerry regardless how many times his shenanigans get them into trouble, this is how I imagine Northwestern feels about Michigan.  We got you impeached because we bought you a Cadillac and prejudiced the deciding vote because we stole her marble rye?  No problem, because how could anyone not like Jerry?  This probably doesn’t come anywhere close to how Northwestern fans actually regard us, but it just seems like it should.

Purdue – J. Peterman

Why Jacopo Peterman for Purdue?  Because that giant drum could only be inspired from some heroin-induced hallucination suffered in some remote jungle of Myanmar (“but it will always be Burma to me.”). 





Rutgers – Jackie Chiles

Can we characterize Rutgers as a smooth-talking, ethically questionable attorney who rarely gets results?  Works for me; must be the Jersey angle that does it.  Jesus, I can’t believe these guys are in our conference.



Minnesota – Mickey Abbott

Back in the day, Mickey was a legend; he was the stand-in for Punky Brewster.  Back in the day, Minnesota was a player in the college football world, but that ain’t the case now.  And while Mickey and Kramer’s relationship doesn’t have the same enmity that Minnesota has with Wisconsin, they do fight a lot over women, which disease they’re going to play to med students, or whether it was a good idea for Mickey to put lifts in his shoes.

Iowa – David Puddy

Iowa is the dim-witted, grease monkey, face-painting, germophobe of the Big Ten?  “Yeah, that’s right”.  When all the schools get together, Iowa is the one walking around to the others saying, “Hey, High Five!”  I’m not certain that Iowa would share Puddy’s appetite for loud and unusual jackets, but they definitely only like hanging out with Elaine because of the sex.

Indiana – Susan Ross

If there was a Big 10 school that would suffer an untimely death from toxic envelope glue, it would be Indiana.  Lost a high-paying television executive job because you were caught in a relationship with George Constanza?  Indiana.  Turned to lesbianism only to later be talked into an engagement with George Constanza?  Soooo Indiana.



Illinois – Uncle Leo

Illinois is the addle-brained uncle of the Big 10.  I come to that conclusion for two reasons.  First, Tim Beckman, and second, because the greatest slight we can give to Illinois is to not stop and say “Hello”, when we run into them on the street.  Of course, the reason we don’t want to stop is because we don’t want to be regaled with one of their meandering, banal stories or because we caught them shoplifting books.  Nevertheless, Illinois is insulted, soooo insulted, because we couldn’t take the time to stop and say, “Hellllooo!”