Is the Big Ten a Union conference?

Menexenus's picture
November 21, 2012 at 8:25p

     I don't know about you, but I've always considered the Big Ten to be a Union conference, by which I mean a conference from states who fought for the North in the Civil War.  The SEC is the Confederate conference and the Big Ten is the Union conference.  Do the rest of you have the same perception (or is it just me)?

    Coming from this perspective, it has been SHOCKING to me to hear people suggest that teams like Virginia Tech, Virginia, Georgia Tech, UNC, and Duke are on Delany's target list for expansion to 16 teams.  Tonight on the Big Ten Network, the guys were openly discussing Delany's desire to move the B1G's footprint into the southern states for demographic reasons.  I hope this is wrong.  If the B1G starts admitting teams from the old Confederacy, that would completely shatter my image of what this conference is all about.  And I am bewildered that the B1G's northern cultural roots being incompatible with the admission of southern schools is NEVER brought up in these discussions.

     Some people have complained that the addition of Mid-Atlantic schools like Maryland and Rutgers violate their image of the B1G as a Midwestern conference.  The addition of teams from Maryland and New Jersey didn't bother me at all, because I've never thought of the B1G as a Midwestern conference; I've always thought of it as a Union conference.  And Maryland and New Jersey were Union states.  So all is well (at least in my mind).  But adding teams from the old South would go too far.  I wouldn't know what this conference is about any more.  I fervently hope that expanding further south is not being seriously considered.  No Confederate schools in the Big Ten!

     Personally, I hope the B1G is done expanding (in any direction) for a long, long time.  I think 14 teams is a good place to stop.  But if expansion is inevitable, I hope we get one or more of Notre Dame (duh), Pittsburgh, Syracuse, or Kansas. 

     I know some people will say that restricting the Big Ten's expansion based on something that happened 150 years ago is irrational.  So be it!  There's not much about sports fandom that *is* rational.  The traditions that we value in sports have very little to do with rationality and everything to do with emotional commitment and sentimentality. 

     Ok, I'm done.  Go ahead and fire away.  Let me know what you think.

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SEC BUCKEYE's picture

I actually agree with your rational but the only issue is that Maryland was in fact a slave state. I think your point is dead on though. When do we stop sacrificing the values of the BIG at the expense of more money and power? I just hope that this whole expansion experiment works out for the advancement of the Big Ten values that has made it the best conference ever. Our conference is named legends and leaders for a reason and I hope we continue to function with these wonderful traits.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

BuckeyeinExile's picture

For what it is worth though Maryland did not secede, or rather was kept from seceding, and had more men fight for the Union than the Confederacy. They were a border state just like Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee who was also divided to a certain extant.

Johnny Ginter's picture

this is completely irrational and nonsensical but i agree with every word of it

CALPOPPY's picture

Your photo is completely irrational and nonsensical and I agree with every bit of it. Honestly, it's funny and I laugh every time I see it...and in a good way. Thank you for that.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

Nkohl13's picture

I've always thought of it more as 
B1G= North
SEC= South
ACC= East Coast
Big XII= Great Plains
PAC 12= West Coast
Big East= Appalachian Mountains

cplunk's picture

As a history buff, I am completely in favor of utilizing a game played by 18-22 year olds as a proxy for refighting our nation's Civil War. 
Much like the real Union, we've been losing a lot of battles because the South has better generals. But we've got our Grant here now, right in Columbus, and the long drive to destroy the South has begun. Or maybe he's our Sherman and shortly we'll see stadiums burning across all of Dixie.
Let freedom ring!

BuckeyeCrew's picture

Lol.. I know a lot of the commentary concerning political and social ideals, with college football, is in jest.  But in my opinion, the connection is far more "true" than most are willing to speak about. 
Besides, it should come as no surprise that sports, politics and culture are tightly intertwined.  And for those of you who want an example of a sport that is intricately tied in with national and international politics and culture.. look no further than soccer.  There are (literally) clubs that are associated with political parties, ideals and/or movements.  Some good, and others very (and I mean VERY) bad.  And if you are curious enough to want for an example, just Google: "Lazio facism".
ps- Lazio is a fairly popular Italian soccer team.

Poison nuts's picture

That's Yeah this is a totally rediculous notion & I love it. Until you said it, I probably could never put my finger on why having a southern school in the conference bothered me, and maybe it shouldn't, but you may have hit the nail on the head.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

RBuck's picture

Union nor not, the B1G needs to develop the same attitude that Sherman had.

Long live the southend.

BuckeyeinExile's picture

There is actually a lot of credence to this. I was born and raised in Ohio, went to Grad School in Tennessee, and now work for the National Park Service at a Civil War Park in the heart of SEC Country. I had a conversation with my thesis advisor about this at one point and his conclusion was that much of the hatred of the BIG by the SEC stemmed from the Civil War and many Southerners probably had the mindset that "ya'll may have won the war, but we will continue to kick your ass on Saturdays." Judging from opinions I have heard when this has come up at work I think there are alot of southerners who think that way - just yesterday I was told we were only undefeated because we don't play anyone and that Old Miss would have beat us this year - yah, that is what I deal with on a daily basis down here.
I agree with the Union Conference concept - however I hate being called a yankee as I am not from New England. My usual reply is that I am not a yankee, but am from the Midwest, the region that won the war, and from Ohio, the home of Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, and Custer who all kicked the crap out of the south the last year and a half of the war. Needless to say I have to pick my time and place as this doesn't often go over well and people down here don't have much of a sense of humor about those kinds of things.
I don't have a huge problem with Maryland/Rutgers as I understand why it was done, however I would have liked us to get Missouri when we had the chance and Kansas. I would enjoy those as the BIG16 (if it has to come to that) not that Missouri would leave the SEC.
We are right in the middle of the 150th Anniversarry of the Civil War, there are alot of people down here that are still trying to fight it. Subconciously it may even be the biggest push behind the Big Ten - SEC hate, although for you other history nerds out there I do find it interesting that a region who seceded (committed Treason) and attempted to form their own country over "States Rights" (with slavery being the main right in that argument) would find such unity in the SEC.
As an old grad professor would say - "theres a thesis in that."
Nice discussion Menexus!

Riggins's picture

Yankee is such a subjective term.
If you're from England, a yankee is anyone from America.
If you're from the South, a yankee is anyone north of the Mason Dixon Line.
If you're from the Midwest, a yankee is anyone from the Northeast.

Brutus Forever's picture

Garfield wasn't having any of this secession business as we saw in today's article lol. The SEC NCG win streak may end this season, and if not, Urban will have the bucks there next year to end it. That being said, I am also one of the (somewhat crazy) guys that predicted the buckeyes start 26-0 in Urban's first 2 seasons. :)
happy turkey day!!

"I learned to dislike Michigan at a very young age.” – Urban F. Meyer

BuckeyeinExile's picture

My wife had to work yesterday so I was at home cooking Turkey etc., and in the spirit of the holiday weekend I rewatched the #1 vs #2 game. A few thoughts occured to me - if you would have told anyone in that stadium that the SEC would be so dominant in the coming years or that by the end of 2012 Nebraska would be playing for the BIG championship game and we would welcome Maryland and Rutgers into the conference you'd be locked up for certifiable insanity. A happier thought came to me as I thought for about the first time in a year about what Coach Meyer did to us in Arizona - how sweet will it be the first time he faces an SEC team as Coach of THE Ohio State University and lights up their world! I would imagine with him knowing the history firsthand that he would be inclined to put the pedal to the metal for four quarters for our sake and just bury whoever it is if possible.

FUqUespin's picture

It's a Union Conference as in SEIU, AFL-CIO, Teamsters, IBEW always vote democrat conference.  Even Indiana could barely get out if it's own way on Election day.

onetwentyeight's picture

The thing about this is, whether or not WE think the Big Ten represents the "Union" or the "North" or "damn Yankees" etc, it is without a doubt what the South (aka SEC) thinks of US. 
The South is absolutely 100% still fighting the Civil War over and over again through college football. Ever notice there's no other conference that chants their CONFERENCE name after bowl wins? There's a deep-seated, 150+ years in the making inferiority complex going on behind that. The most recent example they'll point you to is Aubun being shut out of the BCS NC that one year they went undefeated. 

Joshy614's picture

I hope it's not a union conference...unions are destroying America as knew it

faux_maestro's picture

Not true.

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.