The graphic below, of which we are uncertain the origin, serves as the centerpiece of this post. We first saw this on The Big Lead, many years ago, but that link is now dead.
Enjoy as we try to decipher why certain Big Ten football programs were assigned certain characters, and others…well, we really have no idea about the analogy.
Michigan Wolverines – Mr. Burns
The most natural, obvious and well thought out of the analogies. The richest and most powerful characters in this story, and pretty much the oldest as well. UM has been playing football about as long as anyone, hence their cumulative victories total, and Mr. Burns is north of 100 years old.
Regarding the old money angle, there’s two points.
1.) Michigan is a notorious safety school for wealthy, privileged east coast boarding school kids who were rejected by the Ivy League.
2.) UM’s Golden Age coincided with the apex of the auto industry, i.e. when the state was at the height of its importance and relevance.
Michigan St = Waylon Smithers
They’re just picking someone submissive to Michigan, continuing the Little Brother jokes. That bit worked Pre-Mark Dantonio era, but then it stopped making sense. (Remember, this graphic is pretty old). Under Mel Tucker, MSU might go back to being little brother again.
Bumble Bee Man = Iowa
Same colors?! Hay es un gato mal odoroso!
Disco Stu = Indiana
Again. No clue.
Martin Prince = Illinois
UI is as fine an engineering school as you’ll find, and Prince is obviously the best around in math and science. That’s my story here and I’m sticking to it.
Barney = Wisconsin
The state is known for beer and UW is often at the very top of the party school rankings.
Maryland = Turtle
ok, they just took the path of least resistance
Rainer Wolfcastle = Nebraska
I guess because he looks so much like the mascot?
Fat Tony = Ohio State
Both rich and powerful and feared. However, Columbus doesn’t really have much of a reputation for organized crime.
Moe Syzlak = Penn State
Well, he is the creepiest character on the show, and PSU is synonymous with the two creepiest people in the history of the conference. I think that’s where the author was going with this one.
Ralph Wiggum = Minnesota
OMG! That’s just too funny.
Whiny voice lawyer guy = Northwestern
HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA. This guy is what the stereotype of a NU grad grows up to be after graduation, I guess.
Grandpa Abe Simpson = Rutgers
This might be the second best one behind Michigan/Mr. Burns. RU played in the first college football game, versus Princeton, in 1869, so they’re the oldest in the room. Plus, they’re utterly lost and confused and showing little cogency for what they’re doing these days.
Milhouse = Purdue
Hmmmm. Got to think about this one.
Paul M. Banks is the Owner/Manager of The Sports Bank and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”