As we sit here a couple short weeks before the kickoff to the 2016 college football season, I can’t help but be overcome with hate. Not for the barren sports wasteland that is the end of summer. Not for my ridiculous electric bills that keep piling up in the heat, or for my moron of a neighbor who thinks just because it’s hot out he doesn’t need to mow more than once a month. No, I am overcome with the hatred for the one thing that all true Hawkeye fans have been raised to hate since the beginning of time. Purdue.
Friends, there are eight Saturdays standing between us and gameday in that wasteland of a town they call West Lafayette. This season will mark the fifth since we first learned how much we truly hated those despicable steam engines from Purdue and now that hatred seems so natural I often wonder how I could have missed it growing up.
Being that it is the tail end of summer and there really isn’t much else going on, this got me thinking. If I hadn’t known how much I hated Purdue all my life, who else don’t I know that I hate? What would I do if Purdue wasn’t in my life to despise so much? Who could possibly replace them as Iowa’s most hated rival?
The easy answers are there for the taking. Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois. Sure, we share a border with them and I generally despise each of them. They have terrible fans and have historically at least been competitive with Iowa, if not better. But now that our Big Ten overlord, Jim Delaney, has done away with the genius that was the Legends and Leaders (the marketing people that stole conference dollars to come up with that should be imprisoned for an eternity), those schools are all nicely situated where they belong within our own division. Much like Purdue, now we can hate them without any of them being our most hated crossover rival. That also means we can throw out those nerds from Northwestern that always seem to be a thorn in our side.
So who’s left? For the geographically challenged, let’s take a look. Michigan and Ohio State already have a hate-fest strong enough I don’t think they have room to actually hate us back. Penn State is kind of like fOSU and Michigan’s tag-along friend that thinks they’re as important as the other guys, but nobody pays attention to. We haven’t said hello to them since 2012 and the Hawks are 8-3 against the Nittany Lions this millennium. I just don’t hate them. Not even a little.
Indiana might seem like a semi-logical choice. They do share a state with our most hated rival. But that’s about all I got. Sure, they’re OK at hoops and we battle them for recruits from time to time, but I just don’t have that fire burning in my belly the way I do with Purdue.
Michigan State is a nice candidate. Between the player self-discipline from Mark Dantonio, the gut-wrenching way they crushed my dreams of a playoff berth last year or the sexual assault their basketball team perpetually commits every time we see them in action, I’ve really grown to dislike the Spartans. But it almost makes too much sense for me.
That leaves us with just the two noobs in the conference. The fact that they are, indeed, the new kids on the block gets me a little riled up thinking about Maryland and Rutgers. I mean, seriously, WTF are you doing in our conference? I get it, you guys help us make more money and money is good and all, but Iowans deal with enough east coast bias without having you punks join our league.
As I sit here, thinking about the two, it becomes more and more obvious who should replace Purdue. Maryland, I get it, you really like your flag. And to be fair it’s a pretty sweet flag as far as flags go. But you look like someone was using psychedelic pharmaceuticals when they designed your uniforms. You’re good at basketball and when it comes to football, well you’re good at basketball. And your mascot is a turtle. When it comes down to it, quite frankly, I like turtles.
Rutgers. The State University of New Jersey. Well why the hell didn’t you say so? I see a striking similarity here. Purdue, the state university in Indiana that nobody would ever know is in Indiana. Rutgers, the school that hides the fact they’re the state school so they can sound like some fancy private college. Guess what punks, you’re not. You’re a state school like the rest of us (shut up Northwestern!) and you’re in freaking Jersey.
You guys have funny accents and the audacity to call your state the “Garden State.” Yeah, when I think of New Jersey I totally think of gardens, not armpits. Who are you trying to fool? Now you want to sit there and pretend like you’re a part of the Big Ten? Sure you have some quality academics, but if we’ve learned anything from Nebraska, it’s that academics clearly don’t mean anything to this conference anymore.
You’re impressively similar to Purdue on the football field and haven’t even bothered to field a men’s basketball team. Your women’s team is coached by a former Iowa coach and your stupid mascot is overly descriptive. Who cares what color it is? In Iowa, we don’t see color. In Rutgers, sorry, New Jersey, apparently it’s important to note that the Knight is Scarlet. And why can’t you just say red? Probably the same reason you can’t just call yourselves State University of New Jersey. And the guy looks strikingly similar to the MSU Spartan with a creepier grin. Ugh. You people are seriously starting to disgust me.
Folks, it’s really quite simple. Purdue is terrible. I hate Purdue. Apparently I always have. But now we don’t have to be rivals with them. They’re in our division and we can hate them just the same. But these people at Rutgers. I’m telling you. These people cannot be tolerated. The only thing I need now is Jim Delaney to tell me it’s OK to hate them. Think on it for yourselves. I’m sure you’ll see that you too have always hated Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.