Be my Valentine: What we love about every Big Ten school
Though we’ve sometimes been accused of being haters, it’s nothing but love for every Big Ten school here at Saturday Tradition.
To prove it, we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day by sharing something we love about each B1G member. Because they all make our hearts flutter.
Illinois: Orange Krush
We have a crush on the Orange Krush.
Though Michigan State and Purdue come close, for our money this is the best student section in the Big Ten. With Illini football being what it is, Illinois students pour their energy into making the State Farm Center one of the league’s toughest basketball venues, and it shows.
In special seasons — like this year, or in 2005 — an Illinois home crowd feels like something more significant than a sixth man.
Indiana: Candy-striped pants
Outsiders might think Indiana looks ridiculous when warming up for a basketball game, but true Hoosiers know the candy-striped pants are marvelous. They’ve been a program trademark since Bob Knight introduced them when he took over in 1971.
The stripes are so engrained in Indiana culture that the football team has even thrown a candy-stripe helmet into the rotation.
Iowa: The Wave
It’s nice to have something in sports that has any feel of purity, and few things deliver in that regard better than The Iowa Wave.
Maryland: Unfurling the flag
Do I understand the affection Marylanders have for their flag?
Not in the least. That thing is ugly as sin. But even ugly things deserve love. And the thing Terrapin students do with their beloved flag at football and basketball games is pretty damn cool.
Michigan: Winged helmets
There’s not a more iconic lid in college football. Maybe some are as iconic. (Including, quite obviously, Delaware.)
But nothing beats Michigan’s winged helmets.
Michigan State: Tom Izzo
Izzo, it should be noted, is the only human being to make it onto this list.
Sports Betting in Big Ten Country
There is big news coming to the upcoming 2022-23 Big Ten football season (and NFL season). Ohio online sports betting and Maryland sports betting are on the way.
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Personally, I have always enjoyed the visual of a 5-foot-9 man coaching a basketball team. There’s something inherently humorous about that.
But that’s not the reason Izzo’s on the list. Few coaches in college basketball history have done a better job of building teams that reflect their own personality.
Who else could Draymond Green have played for in college?
With Mike Krzyzewksi headed out the door, Izzo is set to become the grand old man of college hoops. He’s well suited for the role.
Minnesota: The Barn
There’s no venue in the Big Ten like Williams Arena, which is a full 35 years older than any of its peers. Few things can beat the sensation of walking into a place and feeling like it’s been trapped in amber.
The elevated court is just another thing that makes the place unique in cookie-cutter times. There’s something endearing about seeing coaches completely isolated from their bench and trying to coach from a stool.
Hopefully, Ben Johnson can turn the Golden Gophers into a program worthy of its surroundings.
Nebraska: Red balloons
This has become a hot-button issue, as the Nebraska student government recently voted to end the tradition of releasing red balloons after the first Cornhusker touchdown of each game.
Even though that resolution is non-binding, it seems inevitable that the balloon release will be deflated at some point in the next decade or so. And environmentally speaking, that makes sense.
But man. It really looks cool. And sometimes when things look cool, it’s easy to pretend there are no consequences.
Is this the last time red balloons will fly? If that’s the sacrifice at the alter we need to get Nebraska football back, I’m actually ok with that. #GBR #Huskers pic.twitter.com/6ZWK16Vp1P
— ChuckSinclair (@ChipnBogey) November 27, 2021
Northwestern: The Rose Bowl season
It’s hard to explain to anyone young enough to not have experienced it how singularly astonishing Northwestern’s 1995 season was. To this day, it remains my favorite individual season by any college football team.
There is no equivalent to what the Wildcats did that season, and few things would qualify today. Maybe Vanderbilt winning the SEC.
Northwestern was the dregs of the Big Ten for decades, then came out of nowhere to run the table in league play and reach the Rose Bowl. In a single season, the Wildcats snapped a 14-game losing streak against Notre Dame, a 19-game losing streak against Michigan and a 22-game losing streak against Iowa.
The shadow of that ’95 team has never really diminished, with star linebacker Pat Fitzgerald now leading the way as Northwestern’s coach.
Ohio State: Dotting the i
If you don’t like this, you’re a Michigan fan.
Penn State: Classic uniforms
Oregon can keep its neon nonsense. Penn State is where it’s at for uniform aesthetics.
The road all-whites are the best look of all, especially if the Nittany Lions are playing somewhere with natural grass. That is exactly what a football uniform should look like — bright white at the start of the game, but then covered with patches of green, brown and red picked up from the grass, mud and blood accrued over the course of 60 minutes.
Purdue: Purdue Pete
Some might consider the love of Purdue Pete to be a kink. I say let them keep judging.
Purdue mascot ‘Purdue Pete’ has been voted “Creepiest Mascot in America” in a recent poll. pic.twitter.com/GAaSfYPyAr
— CFB Kings (@CFBKings) August 23, 2021
Rutgers: The RAC (Jersey Mike’s Arena)
Despite being the second-smallest arena in the Big Ten in stature, the RAC is considered one of its loudest venues when at full capacity. Given Rutgers’ historical lack of basketball success, that level of intensity is a pretty astonishing feat.
Of course, the Scarlet Knights are pretty good these days, and the homecourt advantage is showing this season at the newly rechristened Jersey Mike’s Arena. Rutgers has home wins against Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.
The RAC feels like a bucket-list venue for any college basketball fan wanting an intimate, rowdy experience.
Wisconsin: Jump Around
Don’t ask us how a song by a group of Irish-American rappers from Boston became the definitive Wisconsin anthem. This is fun at its most unadulterated level.