Big Ten and Pac-12 college football is gone for 2020. The ACC, Big 12 and SEC claim that they are all systems go and will be playing this year. We shall see about that, I hope as much as I’ve hoped for anything in my life that they do, but still, Coronavirus taketh and it taketh away some more.
So rather than sit in a pool of my own tears, trying to think of ways to fix something that has already been decided, let’s celebrate what makes the Big Ten and Pac-12 so wonderful, and what I will miss the most this season about these two conferences.
I suppose you could say that in the stages of grief, that I am already at acceptance. Not many mortal men would be at this point already but yet, here I am.
There is no particular order to this list, no rankings, I am just going to write whatever pops into my noggin.
I’m lucky enough to be fully a fully engulfed fan of both collegiate and NFL football. And if there is one thing college football crushes the pro game at, it’s tradition. Whether that’s a saying or chant. Something the whole team or crowd does at a certain point of the game in unison, it’s what makes college football the greatest.
It’s what your grandparents passed on to your parents, it’s what your parents passed on to you, it’s what you will pass on to your children.
In Lincoln, Nebraska if you go to a game you can expect to yell “Go Big Red” at least ten times, and whenever there is a big defensive play, you’re obligated to throw the bones.
I know at Ohio State, it is customary for someone to say “O-H” and for the other person to respond “I-O.” And not only that but one of the grandest traditions in the entire sport. The dotting on the i.
Only in college football do you find this. You can see how much this tradition means to not just the band but the fans. It’s incredible. That is gone this fall, canceled, postponed.
At Michigan I believe they say “Go Blue.” It’s either that or “Long Live Brady.” It’s one of the two.
Not only that but every team has certain traditions in game. I have been lucky enough to go to Madison, Wisconsin and Camp Randall Stadium and have seen Jump Around twice now. I do not partake in it, as the Badgers are not my team. Thus not my tradition. Respect honors respect.
At Iowa they just started a new tradition of waving to the children’s hospital that overlooks Kinnick Stadium.
At Oregon during home games their mascot comes riding out of the tunnel, leading the team on a motorcycle.
Or in Boulder, Colorado, nothing gets those idiots up more than Ralphie the Buffalo sprinting out onto the field as the team runs out.
Every school has traditions, I could go on and on and on, but you get the idea.
Again you don’t get these in the NFL. Some teams have songs they sing after touchdowns, like the Redskins and Eagles. Or the Vikings have the Icelandic, Viking clap, but no one has a pure fight song.
There are some good ones in the Pac-12 and Big Ten that unfortunately we miss out on. Even just watching on TV, when the team scores and you hear those first few notes of an iconic fight song, it makes you feel things.
God, that is Big Ten college football right there. A grey sky, a packed stadium, and almost 100,000 rabid fans belting out their schools fight song. This is what we’re losing and it absolutely SUCKS.
USC has a great fight song, one of the best in all of college football. Well see you next year.
Super catchy fight song for Stanford, and their band is known for dressing up in goofy fashions. Kinda cool I guess.
There is nothing better than the build up of the fans culminating into the team sprinting out onto the field. It’s when the adrenaline of the game is at it’s highest peak. Forget about if it’s tied late in the fourth quarter. The stadium is absolutely buzzing right before the home team runs out onto the field.
God damn watching that tunnel walk, which was the best part of that Ohio State game last year for Nebraska, makes me so damn sad. Just to think I won’t get to see or be a part of another one of those till 2021 is just absolutely heart breaking.
Rivalries are what make and define college sports. And I don’t just mean Ohio State and Michigan. And while it’s great that those two absolutely despise each other there are other fantastic rivalries.
In the Pac-12 you have what use to be known as the “Civil War” between Oregon and Oregon State. USC and UCLA hate each other with a passion as they battle for Los Angeles bragging rights. USC also has a bitter rivalry with Notre Dame that will not be played this year. And of course don’t sleep on the Stanford and Cal rivalry either.
Over in the Big Ten there is a rivalry trophy for just about every single matchup. Which makes it fun and exciting. But I’m serious, look it up, almost every game has a trophy which was more than likely started before your grand parents were even born.
Not only that but these rivalries define a fan base. In my own personal example, I hate Iowa. I don’t just despise their school, or black and yellow, or that logo, but I despise the state itself. I refuse to live in the state of Iowa. I just think their entire way of life is wrong. That is a rivalry folks.
11 In the Morning “Barnburners”
Well for some of you that live in the eastern time zone, it’s a noon kick off, but for many of us living in Big Ten country it’s an 11 am kickoff. But sometimes those games are what separates the true college football fans from the average.
I’m talking about Northwestern vs Purdue, Illinois vs Indiana, Iowa vs On a grey chilly October/November morning. College Gameday just finished up, Lee Corso put on the LSU or Clemson Tiger head. And you’re taken straight to Beth Mowins, who is about to call a game with the final score of 13-10, with seven combined turnovers and 15 combined punts.
I remember watching this game, as I was tailgating for a Nebraska one last year and my friend and I laughed at how predictable it was. 7-3 score at half. Two of Wisconsin’s three touchdowns were scored by their defense, Northwestern was inept and dominated all day long and yet never truly went away. That is true Big Ten college football my friends.
Pac-12 After Dark
The big games are all over. You’ve been drinking, watching football all day and lost all of your money betting from 11 in the morning to the primetime games. You keep telling yourself that you need to stop, that there is a full NFL slate tomorrow in which to do it all over again.
You flip on your television which is always set to ESPN and wait… what’s this? Arizona State is taking on Utah in five minutes? You have a chance to win some money back, go into Sunday on a high note, you can keep drinking, there is more football to watch.
There is just something different about a Pac-12 game with a late kick off. A majority of the time it’s going to be a wild torrid affair. Especially if there is a big time favorite involved.
Think of how many times you’ve gone to bed only to wake up the next morning to see on Twitter something to the effect of Oregon State somehow upset USC. And you missed it.
Just as sometimes those early Big Ten kickoffs are defensive slugfests that you hammered the under on. These games are Wild West shoot outs that cover the over by halftime and go into triple overtime.
“Pac-12 After Dark” is just different football and I will miss it.
Big Plays and Fans Going Bonkers
There is nothing better in sports than when a huge play happens and the entire, stadium and or arena explodes. It feels even better when you’re there in the stands when it happens, you’re jumping for joy, hugging and high fiving strangers. Which sure I understand right now, not great with COVID but still.
That is what college football is all about right there. I feel like I’ve said that ten times over in this blog but I can’t help it. Illinois, a team that is never in the Big Ten championship picture, let alone the national championship race and their fans still as passionate as ever about taking down a rival in an upset like Wisconsin.
This is what we are going to be missing here folks. It sucks, I will miss you Big Ten, and Pac-12 too I suppose. It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.