Tuesdays with Torbee
It’s exactly 13 days until Iowa’s football season kicks off and I awoke in a crummy mood because it’s gray and gloomy and a Monday and we are still two weeks away from football.
My mom always told me if I have nothing nice to say about someone, I should say nothing at all. But I don’t always listen to mom and like I said, I’m in a grouchy mood, so we are going to rank all 13 of Iowa’s Big 10 opponents in descending order of hateitude. (I just made that word up, but you can use it.) Think of it as an Advent calendar of detestation as we count down the long, dog days until September 1.
1. Nebraska – I am actually a bit loathe to rank Lil’ Nebby this high, simply because it feeds into their fan base’s mass delusion that the Cornhuskers are still relevant. But man, are they so, so easy to hate. Alongside the aforementioned mass delusion, Nebraska fans exhibit a toxic mix of entitlement, cluelessness and arrogance that makes them extremely grating to be around.
I have been told that “in person” at Memorial Stadium, they are a pretty polite and friendly bunch. I, however, have no desire to spend money in Lincoln, so I will never find this out. I do know that their fans online are among the most deplorable I’ve come across. I also know based on my Twitter feed that they don’t like me, either. The feeling is mutual.
2. Ohio State – If our Hawkeyes are the Rebel Alliance – the pesky resistance always outnumbered, outgunned and reliant on guile, a little luck and out-working our enemies, Ohio State is the big bad Evil Empire. The largest and most successful professional sports franchise in the state of Ohio, THE Ohio State doesn’t care if you know they cheat, lie and steal their way to championships; they revel in throwing it in your face. Some might say it is just jealousy speaking and that I am embittered because the Hawks only manage to beat OSU about once a decade. To this I say, you’re d—n right!
3. Wisconsin – This one is a bit of a sibling rivalry. When not drunk and antagonistic toward Iowa, Badger fans are a lot like Hawkeye fans. They enjoy an adult beverage or seven, love food, especially with copious amounts of cheese on it, and cheer hard for their teams through thick and thin. The problem is, you are very unlikely to ever come across a Badger fan at a sporting event involving Iowa where they are NOT drunk and antagonistic. And unlike Nebraska fans, UW fans tend to be worse in person than online. Boorish would be a polite word to describe them in their native environment around Camp Randall. Dangerously hostile might be more accurate.
4. Illinois – You may be surprised to see the hapless Illini ranked so high on the haterade scale, but despite their team’s terribleness, Illini fans still manage to be insufferable. They are sore losers, sore winners and always blame the refs. Despite being in the lamest college town in the middle-of-nowhere that smells like cow feces, they somehow always find it necessary to mock Iowa fans for being agriculturally based rubes. They are also the most fair weather of fans, at least here in the Quad Cities area, where one sees nary a blue and orange item of clothing unless and until Illinois actually wins something (so we haven’t seen much over the past several seasons).
5. Michigan – They think they’re better than you and aren’t afraid to tell you. Entitled, arrogant, wine-and-cheesy: this is Michigan. Sure, they run clean programs compared to the dirty Buckeyes down south, but the whole “Michigan Man” mystique and trying to act like an Ivy League institution instead of a really good public school gets old fast. Also, they cheer for Jim Harbaugh and he’s a creepy weirdo.
6. Minnesota – They hate us because they ain’t us. Truly. Minnesota fans should probably be more an object of pity than hatred, but you hear enough jabs directed at the entire STATE of Iowa and it gets your dander up. Gopher fans think the make up for the awfulness of their sports teams by living in a high-brow, cosmopolitan metro area that is the envy of millions around the world. Shh, no one tell them that nobody on either coast thinks Minneapolis is any different than Des Moines.
7. Penn State – At the height of the Paterno scandal, I would have Penn State fans as a strong number one. And truthfully, middle of the pack is probably way too low for apologists of this type. But when not blinded by insane loyalty, PSU fans are actually pretty decent to hang out with. Sure, they may be cultish, but what do you expect from a fan base stuck out in the middle of rural Pennsylvania? You have seen the Deer Hunter, haven’t you?
8. Maryland – College Park as a college town is basically a big city suburb that happened to have a campus built in the middle of it. Imagine someone dropping a quad into the middle of Schaumburg. Considering the best “college bar” on campus is a Buffalo Wild Wings and there is an IKEA within walking distance of the college entrance, Maryland fans are understandably a bit ambivalent about big time college sports.
9./10. -Indiana/Purdue – If it were basketball season, I’d have these schools up higher. But since it’s football season, let’s just say they are plucky little underdogs who often have more Iowa fans in their stands when they play the Hawkeyes than fans of their own team. That makes it hard to gin up a lot of hate.
11. - Michigan State – It’s weird, I can’t stand Mark Dantonio or Tom Izzo, but I’ve never met an actual MSU fan that I didn’t like. Before and after the 2015 Big 10 Championship game, they were to a person congenial, friendly, respectful and fun to hang out with. Pumping gas dejectedly the next morning in Indy, one of them actually thanked me and Iowa for “giving us such a hell of a game.”
12. Rutgers – I refuse to acknowledge that these jabronis are even a Big 10 school, so as far as I’m concerned, they are not worthy of disdain.
13. Northwestern – I’m sure if they had fans, they’d be hateful. But they don’t, so.
Follow me on Twitter @ToryBrecht and @12Saturdays.