Your (almost) daily dose of good-natured, Ohio State banter.
Even though Ohio State opened up their season with a Big Ten game, the Buckeyes will now be in conference play for the rest of the regular season. If Ohio State wants to have any chance at the College Football Playoff, they’ll have to handle their business against hated rivals, as well as some opponents that are a little easier to stomach.
As much as we have been conditioned to think otherwise, not all the other teams around the Big Ten are evil. Michigan and Penn State are absolutely evil, but the jury is still out on a lot of the other teams that fill out the conference. Some schools have done some good to Ohio State over the years with their contributions to help the Buckeyes clinch championships in the conference because of upsets they have pulled.
There are plenty of reasons why another member of the Big Ten Conference could get on your good side. Maybe a former Buckeye transferred to the program and found success. Maybe you followed Ohio State on the road and saw a game there and had a good time at the stadium and with the locals. Or maybe that school just does a really good job at beating Michigan. Who can’t bond over hatred of the Wolverines?
Today’s question: Which Big Ten team aside from Ohio State do you root for the most?
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s answer: Iowa
I’m pretty sure that I’m contractually obligated to say Iowa here because of what the Hawkeyes did to the Buckeyes in Iowa City a few years ago. Watching your favorite team get absolutely decimated 55-24 is something that you don’t easily forget. All I could do is tip my hat to the Hawkeyes. Urban Meyer and his team really earned that loss that day.
Next week when the Hawkeyes host Penn State, you better believe I’m going to be cheering for Iowa. Not only because I want to see Penn State lose as much as possible, but also because Ohio State really needs to face a 12-0 Iowa team in the Big Ten Championship Game if the Buckeyes have any hope of making the College Football Playoff. If Ohio State is on the outside of the CFP heading into the B1GCG, a win over Iowa could tip the scales in favor of the Buckeyes.
Another reason I don’t mind seeing Iowa do well is because they do have a lot of great fans. While every fanbase (Ohio State included) has their fair share of knuckleheads, the Iowa fans I’ve encountered are for the most part not only great people, they are also very knowledgeable when it comes to their team and the game. If you are going to try and take a run at Iowa fans, you’d better have your facts straight since they can make you look silly.
Meredith’s pick: Northwestern
So I’ve got to go with the Northwestern Wildcats. The reality is that Ohio State is rarely the underdog, so when I find myself generally cheering for a Big Ten team outside of the Buckeyes, I like to go with the little guy. Every conference has a Northwestern. For the ACC, it’s Duke; in the Pac-12, it’s Stanford; the SEC has Vanderbilt and the Big 12 has…well, the Big 12 is an exception. It’s the private school with high academic standards that’s much smaller than the rest of the schools in the conference, and often the one that gets trounced by the rest of the conference.
Northwestern defies that expectation. While there were some rough years in their past, the Wildcats have become an exceptional football program under head coach Pat Fitzgerald. They’ve made two of the last three Big Ten Championship games as winners of the Big Ten West. They might not recruit the same players we see at Ohio State, but Fitzgerald and company do a lot with what they have.
It doesn’t hurt that the school has high academic standards, so players are smart — and play smart. And those players have started to make their way into the NFL, including with two first-round selections in 2021 alone.
Unlike Iowa, a win in the Big Ten Championship over Northwestern likely wouldn’t do a lot for the Buckeyes. However, during the regular season especially, it’s hard not to smile when you see Northwestern slay giants in the conference.