An April Fools' Day storyline for every B1G football team
As the college football world thaws out from a miserable 2020 and spring practices kick into gear, there’s a refreshing sense of normalcy around Big Ten facilities these days.
It also means time for some April 1 shenanigans. Here’s an April Fools’ Day satirical news bite — or nightmare, perhaps, depending on your allegiances — for every B1G football team this spring.
Citing draft stock slippage, Justin Fields decides to return for senior season
The rest of the conference thought they were done with this guy. Can you imagine a hacked-off, motivated Fields with a full season at this point? While his stock has suffered some, his future looks awfully bright — thankfully for B1G defenses everywhere.
Michigan announces lifetime extension for Harbaugh
If you can get a 4-year extension when many powers that be are calling for your job, why wouldn’t your employer just go all in? Because this is Michigan, and while Harbaugh is a Michigan Man, no one fellow is bigger than the snoozing giant lazing about in Ann Arbor.
Indiana unveils candy-striped football pants as part of 2021 alternate threads
Actually, they should probably seriously consider this. Not that the darling of the B1G in 2020 needs much aesthetic help — especially with all those ball-hawking defensive backs returning.
‘Kirk Smirk’ goes viral
Iowa’s football coach still thinks of TikTok as merely the sound coming from the grandfather clock in the corner of his Iowa City office. But since the Hawkeyes’ social media manager posted a series of Kirk Ferentz’s patented smug expression — after going for it on 4th down in a tight situation or running up the score against a rival, for example — users the world over have begun capturing and posting their own impressions of the “Kirk Smirk” in front of famous landmarks. You never know what’s going to catch on these days.
Nebraska receives special waiver to add 13th game — against Alabama
Think the Big Red, which tried to move its game against Oklahoma so it could play Old Dominion or New Mexico State, is dodging anybody now?
“Many thought we were just in this for the extra TV money,” Huskers AD Bill Moos could have said. “Others have said it’s a move made solely for the good of the Lincoln economy. The real reason, though, is we’re just gluttons for punishment.”
Fleck kicked out of silent retreat after 5 minutes
The Golden Gophers coach thought a silent retreat in rural Minnesota would be the perfect way to prepare for the season. But he was asked to go back to the Twin Cities after interrupting the retreat leader’s opening speech several times.
Michigan State football jumps on sponsorship bandwagon
Much like its hoops counterpart, the program will now be known as the Little Caesar’s Michigan State Spartans brought to you by the Ford Motor Company.
Live turtle to lead Maryland’s football team onto field in 2021
Move over, Bevo. Ralphie, let’s race. Uga, sit. Meet Loafer, the live terrapin that will lead Maryland onto the field at home games starting this fall. Just get to your seat early; the entrance now takes over half an hour.
Wisconsin defensive coordinator tinkers with 11-linebacker formation
Jim Leonhard figured he might as well put all those linebackers to good use. The scheme features zero down linemen and works best against an offense that neither runs or passes very well (which is why it looked so good during the Badgers’ spring workouts).
New train transports injured players from Ross-Ade Stadium to locker rooms
Much has been made of the arduous golf-cart journey out of the stadium to where the locker rooms are located in a separate building. But that’s no longer an issue thanks to some of Purdue’s brightest engineering students.
Bielema mentor has inspiring words for Illini ahead of spring scrimmage
“Don’t mess this up,” mumbled Bill Belichick, Bret Bielema’s former boss with the New England Patriots whom the Illinois coach invited to speak to his team before its spring game.
Northwestern center Sam Gerak banned from trivia night at Evanston bar and restaurant
Apparently those higher academic standards are a double-edged sword. Venue ownership apologized for taking such drastic measures but upheld the ban “because we just can’t afford to have one guy getting every question right. Like, every question. It’s not good for business.”
Rutgers institutes rules from 1869 for spring game
It’s the Scarlet Knights’ claim to fame, that first-ever college football game they played in. Perhaps you’ve heard about that. But in case you haven’t, Rutgers won’t allow carrying or throwing the ball during its spring game.
Penn State unveils 2021 team motto: ‘Maybe this year, we’ll finally break through’
Nittany Lions coach James Franklin is often noted for his fire and enthusiasm. But he’s traded that in for brutal honesty and monotony with the t-shirts he had made for his players, the placard he had placed outside the locker room and the graphics on Beaver Stadium’s video boards during spring practice. That’ll happen when you’re constantly chasing the shadow of a program like Ohio State.