An inferiority complex is endemic in sports. Every March, NBA fans turns into art snobs and decide the fun of the NCAA is worth it to be spit upon. Every June, NHL fans are feeling like, "Oh come on, those overpaid dunking guys aren't worth a plug nickel when it comes to the brutal grace of hockey."
People hate when you prefer the company of others to your exclusive company. And if you think football season isn't a place for it? Thanks for reading these eighty-some words, I'm sure there's a piece that will be for you coming up soon. But if you want to talk about the Stan Gable to your lowly nerd? Here we begin.
The good news about being the bottom of the barrel? There is no reason to feel inferior. You're staring at zero, all you can do is get better until one of the popular kids notices you and kicks sand in your face. So, hooray?
I'll admit it. The Badgers had a tendency to run up the score on the Hoosiers. Since a 41-24 win in 2005, the Badgers have handed an average beatdown of 38 points to Indiana. And when you consider the Badgers only won 31-28 in 2009, the average is closer to 44. There's hope in Bloomington, but until the Hoosiers beat Wisconsin, it doesn't matter. (Though they are going wagons east in the realignment.)
While Kirk Ferentz's 6-8 record against Iowa State has come with several stinging rebukes from the Cyclones (2002 and 2005 are both memorable), the fact that Iowa and Nebraska have turned this into a trophy game has turned a series where Nebraska's been roughly twice as good as Iowa into something where there's something tangible on the line. Considering expectations, I'm sure Iowa's going to call Nebraska fans stupid jerks.
Michigan: Ohio State
This is a rivalry that waxes and wanes. If there were whiz-bang blogs in the 1990s, the script would be flipped. But you have a school that's been giving your school what for on a semi-regular basis, and your one win was entirely too close against a .500 team and a defensive bro as head coach. It's less cute that they don't say Michigan University in Columbus when you're 1-8 since 2003 and Jim Bollman put up 34 points in your only loss.
Michigan State: Ohio State
The Buckeyes are going to be a theme. Michigan State has closer rivals (Michigan and Notre Dame) that it doesn't have anything but recent success against. As such, they have to go to Ohio State for the sad Peanuts music to be played during the highlights. A 10-7 win in 2010 is the Spartans' only win this millennium. Of all the realignment mishagoes, the Spartans getting the Buckeyes every year only hurts.
As of now, the rivalry's gone fallow. Dormant. The Gophers have gone 2-16 since their last win in Madison. Not to say that the hatred still isn't fully there in other sports, but for football, the Badgers are the bullies. The Gophers are the bullied. And until they stop it, we'll drink their milkshake.
Yeah, it's still a non-conference game that makes Nebraska fans feel worst. Since Texas and Nebraska crossed paths in the Big 12, Nebraska's only won once. Despite having generally solid teams, Texas has always found a way to just be a little better. The Longhorns have won nine times. Seven were by a touchdown or less.
Northwestern: Penn State
There may be eight seasons that don't count, per se. But there's been a brutal amount of efficiency when Penn State meets Northwestern. Penn State's 13-3 since joining the Big Ten against the Wildcats. Even during Northwestern's run of quality in the 2000s, it gets taken by ever-winning Penn State team. Useless qualifier stat? Northwestern's 1-11 in games against a Penn State that ultimately finished over .500
Ohio State: The SEC
Now this is a conference-wide malaise, but if you put up Ohio State against every historical SEC team or any SEC traditional doormat? Ohio State's a career 1-11-2 against the SEC. Well, the non-Kentucky-Missouri-Texas A&M-Vanderbilt aspect of it. Ohio State can beat the so-called littler fish very well.
Penn State: Michigan
I know what you're saying. What about the jokes? Haven't they heard them all? Don't they make them sad? No. Thing about hearing bad jokes, you get angry. You're in the mood to punch them. Only really being able to beat the Lloyd Carrs and Rich Rodriguezs of the world make you feel sad. Mention the Wolverines. Then make your stupid jokes. You'll get away with it.
Wisconsin's been feasting in Indiana recently. While it hasn't put up near the points of the Hoosier explosion, the Badgers have been brutally dominant since Kyle Orton fumbled in 2004. Seven straight wins. No game was closer than 21 points since the 2006 game. Heck, Purdue doesn't have a home win since 1997.
Wisconsin: Ohio State
While there have been great moments, (1992, 2002 and 2010), recent history has involved a series of unfortunate losses to Ohio State. 2007 was one of those classic nightmares, 2011. Oh man. 2011 has made me sad to this day. Then there was last year and, man, I know Matt Canada redeemed himself in the title game. But this is opening some sorrowful feelings.
So yeah, there it is for you to get into your weekend properly. The teams that make us feel the worst in the Big Ten.