The Opiate of America
The book 1984 may well have been written with today’s college sports conference realignment in mind. With schools changing conferences like there’s no tomorrow, who is a fan of a given team supposed to hate from year to year? I’m a Mizzou fan, and I’m still trying to find some sort of historical pretext on how someone in the state of Mississippi did us in the Show-Me State dirt a century and a half ago so I can work up seething hate for Mississippi State University and the once every two years they and Mizzou will play.
The latest is that Maryland and Rutgers are set to join a 12-member conference whose name is “Big Ten,” thereby swelling its population to fourteen. Football? Maybe. Math? Needs work. Though their football needs work, too: The best team in the conference this year is ineligible for post-season play because long gone players got tattoos. Though compared to what happened with another Big Ten team one state over, that’s small potatoes.
What does all this mean? I can’t wait for that Minnesota-Rutgers rivalry to develop into a classic. Also, that sound you hear is half the world rushing to Wikipedia to find out what a “rutgers” is, in case they might get the wrong idea and say that their life is stuck in a rutgers.
Kansas State University’s athletic recruiting tagline is “Every Man a Wildcat.” I guess the University of Maryland’s is “Every Man a Turtle.” When your mascot is an animal that travels at 0.1 mph, I doubt they have a good track team.
Note to the ADs of Maryland and Rutgers: Big Ten football defensive coordinators don’t have the best of reputations these days. Keep a sharp eye on any curious interactions between your defensive coordinators and nine-year old boys. You might think you’ll experience good butt whoopings in your first few years in the Big Ten, and you probably will. But only on the field, only involving consenting adults.
Maryland: Do you fashion yourself a legend or a leader? Rutgers: Same question. Considering the conference you’re joining, it’s not a dumb question.
“Today is a watershed moment for the University of Maryland,” said university president Wallace D. Loh in a release. “Membership in the Big Ten Conference is in the strategic interest of the University of Maryland.”
Loh added it would “ensure the financial vitality of Maryland Athletics for decades to come,” and offer opportunities to boost the “education, research, and innovation” of the university.
“Financial vitality,” IOW, it’s about the money. That’s how you know this press release is truthful. That’s also how you can tell that the athletic department’s public relations trolls didn’t write this, because you DON’T read the words “student-athlete,” “realize” and “potential.” (*) Whoever the hell “Wallace ‘Don’t Call Me George’ D. Loh” is, he must have won the right to spit out the official press release by winning arm wrestling matches over the entire PR staff one by one, or maybe he won a game of spin the live turtle. Doubt PETA would have been happy with that.
(*) – There will be plenty of time for cliches when Maryland actually does join the Big Ten and Four Spare Tires. For instance, whoever coaches the Terps should memorize these lines: Gotta bring our A-game, gotta give 110%, because at the end of the day, it is what it is.
Also, if you think I’m kidding about that other thing, click here.