Oh, hello, my SEC friends. I didn't notice you there, lurking in the bushes outside of our B1G clubhouse like some kind of predatory villain from 48 Hours Mysteries or a Clive Cussler novel. It's nice to see you again, and it's especially nice to see you in a context outside of getting the absolute piss kicked out of ourselves by you in a January 1st bowl game.
I know that your despotic overlord Mike Slive has mandated that you no longer can schedule the likes of Southern Tennessee Metro A&M Tech and The Russ-Wilmington School for Troubled Youth for your late season filler games; you have now been directed to schedule at least one ACC, Big-12, Big Ten, or Pac-12 opponent on a yearly basis. I can understand the consternation that must cause you; after all, how long must Florida wait to avenge their narrow loss to longtime rivals Georgia Southern, a school that sounds made up for an Adam Sandler movie but actually is real?
Still, you're stuck with us. Sorry.
To make for that, I thought that it'd be prudent to give you something of a field guide to the Big Ten's soft underbelly, since God knows South Carolina isn't going to be scheduling the Buckeyes and Spartans year in and year out. And if it's soft underbelly you're looking for, boy howdy are you in luck, because our bellies are luxuriously soft and fleshy and unprotected.
Indiana is really a terrific pick for any out of conference opponent looking to get a sexy win over a supposed power conference. The Hoosiers allowed opponents to put up an average of almost 40 points a game last year, so your LSUs and Alabamas might be well served scheduling Kevin Wilson's ragtag group of misfits if ever they want to try and prove to (fool) the rest of the country that they have a functional offense. Another advantage is that the location of their football stadium is not disclosed to the locals, so whatever drunk redneck posse you decide to bring should have free reign of the place.
Keep in mind that Bloomington barely fits the definition of "civilization," and that any and all maps for the area list HERE THERE BE MONSTERS in every direction for about 30 miles. Just think of it like the Oregon Trail; you're probably going to lose a member of your party to snakebite or cholera, so plan for that.
Any team with a decent defense. Indiana can score points in weird bunches, and God help you if it's a night game and you can't leave early.
Purdue had one win last season, against Indiana State. They cracked the 25 point barrier once, against... well, the Hoosiers. All I'm saying is, if you want to play Middle Arkansas Tech without actually having to play Middle Arkansas Tech, you might want to schedule Purdue.
Your team will beat Purdue, so don't worry about that. Instead, worry about the psychic trauma that you and your team will sustain from the ghostly souls of furious Ohio State fans who died in a frenzy after seeing their season get inexplicably tanked in West Lafayette.
Bret Bielema's Razorbacks, because he's a wiener.
I had to look up Tim Beckman on Wikipedia to confirm that he is still, somehow, the head coach at Illinois. This is a team that did the world a moral good by beating both Miami of Ohio and Cincinnati in the same season, but beyond that it is a sad, sad little team that is just perfect for a gloomy, rainy SEC style IDGAF kind of football game that sets offensive gameplanning back 50 years and almost ends in a 6-6 tie. You can't throw the football at Memorial Stadium due to near constant hurricane force winds, but since you're an SEC team that won't even matter much! Just hunker down behind an offensive line that'll outweigh the Illini d-line by a metric ton, and bash their brains in for three and a half hours.
There is like a 45% chance that after the game Tim Beckman will shove his resume into your head coach's pocket and sob on his shoulder a little bit.
Alabama, because Nick Saban feeds on quiet desperation like some kind of bad football vampire and the bleakness of Champaign should sustain him for many, many years.
RUTGERS & MARYLAND
We don't know a whole lot about these guys, but they're probably bad.
Maybe might not be that bad? Haha just kidding, they will be.
Auburn, because it'd be kind of funny to see Gus Malzahn ring up 75 on them in their first few weeks as B1G denizens.
Finally, a "good" team. "Good" in quotes because they aren't really that good, but since you'll play them early in the season that veneer of competence probably won't have rubbed off quite yet. Fitz looks youthful and vibrant on the sidelines, Northwestern has some pretty slick uniforms, and the production booth can always throw in an establishing shot or five of Chicago to give the game some importance (despite most of Chicago being unaware that the Wildcats exist). It'd be a sexy matchup against a deceptively unsexy team.
They might actually beat you. How embarrassing.
Vanderbilt, so we can see what it's like when doves cry.
Finally, you can always take a risk and schedule the likes of a Minnesota, an Iowa, a Wisconsin, or a Penn State, but keep in mind that those teams have shown flashes of semi-frequent competence on the football field. All I'm saying is, we've got a narrative to protect, and scheduling Big Ten schools that might potentially beat your teams is definitely not in the best interest of the SEC.
Some additional tips:
- Don't look anyone from Michigan directly in the eye. That's taken as a direct insult and you'll have to have an annoying 20 minute debate about it online later.
- Unlike at your games, there is no dress code to subtly reinforce ingrained social attitudes about the superiority of certain classes or races. So wear sweatpants or something, because this is America, dammit.
- Go ahead and be an obnoxious turd. We definitely will be.
- If you happen to see white specks falling from the sky, DO NOT PANIC. Stay perfectly still and a local will be around to help you shortly. Do not attempt to operate a motor vehicle, bike, or your own legs probably.
And that does it, my SEC friends! Bring your cocktail dresses and pink polo shirts and gelled hair under backwards baseball caps up north, to where football is pure and honest and generally kind of bad! We welcome your folksy ways, and as long as you can avoid being not too racist and keep the irritating "S-E-C" chants down to a minimum, we will gladly take your money and send you back to whatever weird kind of society that you've cobbled together in the south.
Also, if you're dumb enough to schedule the Buckeyes for an away game... maybe watch a little Mad Max to get you in the mood for what awaits you.