Roundtables are so gauche. Square tables are in. Or so my wife tells me. That's why we had to spend a grand on one for our kitchen.
So this week's Big Ten Blogger Squaretable is hosted by us. And please refer to it by that …
First off I don't take orders from someone that only gets his balls back from his wife once a week, damnit I'll call it a Roundtable and you'll like it junior! With that here are TNL's answers to this week's ROUNDtable.
1) We're all car guys here at BS. So your task is to assign your own program a vehicle. Is Purdue an all-terrain vehicle like a Jeep or a Hummer? Something befitting a brawny Boilermaker? Is Ohio State a slow, conversion van being passed by Corvettes with USC markings? Is IU a John Deere tractor with a hillbilly riding on it? Get creative and let us know both! What your school is if it's a car as well as assigning a vehicle to as many of the other Big Ten schools as you like. (I'd require you to do them all but I know attention spans are short and counting to 11 is hard.)
Cars are made to go from point A to B, get you around in the winter, and tow large heavy things. Now Bikes… they're for fun, they're exciting, we're Bike dudes here at TNL and we'll make no apologies whatsoever. With that in mind here is some of the Big Ten as bikes.
2008/09 Triumph Bonneville
It just so happens this is my bike and I can't think of a better match for Penn State. The Bonneville spent a decade as the world's fastest bike setting two land speed records just as Penn State spent a decade (80's) on top of the football world with two national championships in 5 years time. While both recently spent time in exile (the dark years for Penn State and a Bankruptcy for Triumph) both have surged back into the landscape. The Bonneville is a modern classic built in the same image as the 60's version, you could put it next to a 68 Bonneville and you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference – sound like a certain plain blue/white uniform we might know? While not overly powerful the Bonneville's engine is big enough and the bike is nimble enough to stay with the big boys (trust me going 100mph into a turn will keep you on pace with any bike – I know), just like Penn State's offense.
Some of the other teams in the Big Ten:
Honda Gold Wing
Big, powerful and doesn't make a lot of noise, just like Wisconsin's offense. Conservative approach to biking, it's sticks to what it does best – touring, just as Wisconsin sticks to what it does best – power running. Sure it can go fast it's got a large motor but its riders prefer the slow and steady approach just as Head Coach Bret Bielema prefers to protect the ball and keep it on the ground. Defense – sure Wisconsin's got it and the Gold Wing was the first bike to have airbags for Christ's sake – AIRBAGS!! On a bike! Just like Wisconsin in the landscape of college football though, Gold Wings (or Old Wings as they are callously known) get largely ignored in the biking community.
HD Sportster 883
Yeah it's a Harley and because of that it demands respect just like Ohio State. Conceived as a racing bike it was once the popular choice but just like its football counterpart the reality is it gets blown away by bigger competition. Sure it's fun to ride and will give you thrills on short rides but it's not smooth enough to go on long trips, just like Ohio State's inability to finish the year without getting blown away in a bowl game. In 2004 Harley Davidson put a new frame on the Sportster to accommodate a rubber-mounted engine to smooth out the ride and allow riders the ability to go on long trips. Ohio State has yet to make any changes.
Custom built from other bikes they sure do look great on the showroom floor just as Dick Rod and his spread offense attack was borrowed from others and sounds like a great idea to Michigan fans tired of boring football. Lots of shine and style on both and both pass the 'looks' test but they both come with a high price tag - $40 grand for a Bourget, lots and lots of baggage for Michigan and Dick Rod. While they both look nice and have the potential to go fast, in the end the performance isn't there. Bourgets can't make a turn faster than a Dodge Omni and Michigan doesn't have the personnel to come close to a horrible team like Notre Dame. Custom built, when they run they run well but when they break down (oh and they will break down) they do so in extraordinary fashion – that's true for both (see West Virginia's collapse circa 2007).
Ducati Monster 696
I can't think of a better way to describe a Javon Ringer-led football team than a Ducati. Fast and workhorse-like the Ducati Monster is a force to reckon with. Just as Michigan State's offense has been molded around Ringer the Monster is stripped down to the bare essentials for performance. The new Monster is more comfortable than previous models just as Michigan State fans are more comfortable with Mark Dantonio as their head coach. The only problem is, just like Michigan State, Ducati's are known to fall apart. Why else would a bike company be proud to announce they have 50% less maintenance costs on every 2008 model? Might be a red flag there.
Any bike ridden by Evil Knievel
Joe Tiller brought the high flying spread offense to the Big Ten and admit it, you liked it and a small part of you wanted to see it on your team, just like a small part of every kid wanted to be Evil Knievel. Just like Purdue's offense Knievel made people shake their heads in awe. Sure Purdue beat some good teams and sure Knievel made some breathtaking jumps but just like Purdue's games, more times than not Knievel's jumps ended very badly often in horrific fashion.
They did what they could with the parts they had just as coach Ferentz does with the recruits he gets. It is a very stable bike (if you can call it that) and has some nice features but just look at the thing - can anyone take it seriously? At first glance it does catch your eye but after a good look you walk away chuckling to yourself. The Spider does have a cult following just as Iowa truly has a 'cult' following.
Sure it's cute and sure it's smart, hell you'll probably get something in the neighborhood of 80 miles per gallon, but can you really take this thing seriously? You know what they say about fat chicks and scooters they're always fun to ride just don't let your buddies catch you doing it. How many guys openly admit they own a Vespa and how many guys open admit the root for Northwestern… oh, sorry LTP.
2) In Week 1 in the NFL, the New England Patriots learned how precious things can be when Tom Brady had his knee blown out by a former Boilermaker. Let's say your team wins out from here to the end and is in a BCS bowl game with a chance to do the school and conference proud – what ONE player on your squad would you most likely cry about having his knee blown out in the first quarter? That is, who is truly indispensable?
Been there done that when we lost Sean Lee. The defense has recovered but it remains to be seen if Josh Hull can be a serviceable replacement for Lee and the early results are not good. In four games Hull has amassed a total of 14 tackles. That's 14 on the year, Lee would have had that in one game. Illinois will probably attack the middle of Penn State's defense so we may get an opportunity to see how good Hull is Saturday.
3) Purdue plays Notre Dame this week and, well, we detest Notre Dame like probably no other program. Let's say I have the power to force you (maybe you lost a bet to me) to wear another Big Ten school's colors to an away game for that team. That is, you're wearing OSU colors to a game being played at Michigan, or something like that. And I'm talking, dorky, head-to-toe… goofy-ass sweatshirts and flat-brimmed, ridiculous-looking hats. If you have to choose, which program would you be able to stomach wearing? (Remember, you're going to an away game, so people won't like you and accept you and you'll be taking this abuse for a school you're not even affiliated with.) And by the same token, what program could you absolutely not EVER stomach wearing, under any circumstances?
Oh that's easy I would have no problem wearing Northwestern's colors to an away game – is there anyone that dislikes Northwestern? It's win-win, people like NW and they get the "smart" school brand so someone may actually think I'm intelligent. That'd be a first.
There's no way in Hell I'd go anywhere near an Ohio State jersey, not because I hate them but there's no team's fans more universally hated then THE Ohio State university.
4) I like big butts and I cannot lie. Share your embarrassing guilty pleasure music selection that you know other people might laugh at. Bonus points if you can send a YouTube video of an awful music video with it. Many/most of us grew up and/or went to college in the '80s and '90s so I know you've all got some Nelson
After The Rain on the iPod.
I've answered this before but the worst thing I listen to?
Abba Fucking Gold baby!Jesus it's even worse when you add video to it