As we approach Saturday's showdown with our rivals from Evanston, it's been a common question asked from many different people. Who do we hate more than Northwestern?
The first thing that came to my mind is, "it depends." Based on previous experiences, people will have their own rankings of which teams they hate the most. We respect that here, and would LOVE to see your ranking of Big Ten teams from teams you love (Illinois), all the way down to teams you cannot stand in the comments below.
In order to add a scientific element to this, we developed a mathematical formula to determine how much hate should initially be applied to each school. It also should be stated for the record that this is for Football. Basketball season brings new rivalries and a different scale of hate toward different schools, so we'll be sure to highlight that once the Big Ten Basketball season rolls (or dribbles?) around. The formula is simply a scientific answer of how much we hate each team.
Lining up every team in the conference, I've ranked each overall record that the Illini have against each team. The worse the record, the more points awarded (out of 14). Also, the Illini's win % of games in opposing team's stadiums were ranked and scored according to the best and worst percentage. The higher the combined score, the more we should hate that team...scientifically of course.
*The formula and ranking system was not applied to Penn St, Rutgers, Maryland, and Nebraska as they have all faced the Illini less than 30 times and the numbers generated from those games throw off the system. So we sprinkled them in based on matter of opinion.
Before I start, this is strictly based off experiences/opinions. And at the end of the day, "I may not like you...but I will ALWAYS respect you."
Without further ado...here are my favorite Big Ten Teams:
1) Illinois Fighting Illini ~ SURPRISE!!!
2) Michigan State Spartans (13 pts/ 6th out of 9) Record:[17-26-2]
To figure out which team you'd like in your #2 spot, ask yourself, "Other than the Illini, which team would you like to see win a Big Ten Championship?" For me, it's Michigan State. The Spartans have been a Michigan killer as of late and the only team that's been able to hang with Ohio St in the east division. They also ended the Big Ten's Rose Bowl drought by beating Stanford last season. There was NO FREAKING WAY I was going to watch another team from the Big Ten roll into Pasadena and lose to a PAC-12 team. Add on that their band is one of my favorites in the conference, and you're looking at #2.
3) Minnesota Golden Gophers (14 pts/ T-7th out of 9) Record:[28-35-3]
Minnesota hats off to thee! After visiting Minneapolis in 2009 with some fellow MI Trumpets, we were treated with nothing but respect and class by the Gopher Band and fans. It was the season of Gopher football in TCF Bank Stadium, and it quickly became a favorite of mine. Open concourses, GREAT viewing lines, and an atmosphere that felt WAAYYY bigger than only 50,805 people. Tailgating near the Mississippi River and an Illini victory capped off a great roadtrip, and a newly developed respect for Minnesota (even though our history suggests we should hate them as much as Ohio St).
4) Wisconsin Badgers (10pts/ 5th out of 9) Record: [36-37-5]
Another team/program that I'd love to follow if I wasn't an Illini fan. The 4th Quarter Jump Around is awesome, the stadium is generally sold out/students fill the seats, the band "usually" behaves themselves, and the teams are generally pretty good. Maybe it's because I'm from "almost Wisconsin" Illinois, but the Badgers are a team that I will respect and associate Big Ten Football with for years to come. Now, if only they could win a bowl game...
5) Nebraska Cornhuskers (NR) Record: [2-8-1]
Adding Nebraska to the Big Ten was something I wasn't initially open about. But now that they've joined the conference, I've really been glad they came. That's a fan-base that's loyal to their team (mostly because there aren't any pro sports in the state) and sell out games. It also means we get to follow @FauxPelini during games
6) Penn State Nittany Lions (NR) Record: [4-17]
This is the point in the rankings where the "neutral" teams exist. Penn St is a see-saw with me. Their band was GREAT when they visited Champaign in 2012, they have one of the greatest home atmospheres in the country, but then there's the whole scandal from a few years ago, and the scale balances back to even...
7) Maryland Terrapins (NR) Record: [0-0]
The Illini haven't played Maryland just yet, so I'll slot the Terrapins right in the middle. See you in 2018!!!
8) Rutgers Scarlet Knights (NR) Record: [1-1]
Same deal. Welcome to the conference, and we look forward to ending our 1-1 series tie in 2016!!!
9) Purdue Boilermakers (8pts/ 4th out of 9) Record: [43-40-6]
Just thinking about the "Boiler Up" chant makes me cringe. Most of my distaste of the Boilermakers comes from basketball and volleyball, but nothing much from football. The AAMB is wonderful and they were wonderful guests in 2010 (not to mention, they have a big drum), and their fans usually are very good. It's just frustrating that we can't ever seem to be consistent against them...
10) Iowa Hawkeyes (3pts/ 2nd out of 9) Record:[38-29-2]
Somewhere, Primiano is jumping out of his chair in disbelief. First off, the formula shows that Iowa is our second favorite team as the Illini have a 38-29-2 overall record against the Hawkeyes, and our road record against them is 18-16-2. Kinnick is one of my favorite stadiums in the Big Ten, and simply because their fans are quite brutal on social media do they make it this far down the list. Hopefully, we can find a trophy to add to our newly re-kindled rivalry game (no chairs...)
11) Indiana Hoosiers (2pts/ 1st out of 9) Record:[45-23-3]
That's right people, Indiana SHOULD be the least hated team in the Big Ten. But like Purdue, most of my distaste comes from basketball. And for those of you who argue about the names of both school's stadiums, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.
12) Ohio State Buckeyes (14pts/ T7th out of 9) Record:[30-66-4]
Now, Ohio St is low on my list simply because they've never been able to win the big game, and the glove story. Those of you who have heard the glove story know what I'm talking about. Those of you who haven't, ask me sometime and I'll gladly tell it. With the exception of the 2010 Rose Bowl, I still associate them with the National Championship blowouts in 2007-2008 and the other losses in BCS games in the past 10 years. Throw in the Terrelle Pryor scandal and there's a giant hole too big to climb out of. Now, I will also say that I do like Urban Meyer and I think he has the program headed in the right direction. I also think they have a wicked good marching band, even though there were some "issues" this past off-season. But overall, they fit quite well at #12.
13) Northwestern Wildcats (6pts/ 3rd out of 9) Record:[54-48-5]
Throw out statistics...Hat.
But seriously, I love Northwestern's campus. I've been given many opportunities to travel there and every visit has been great (shout-out to the NUMB and the Sinfonia guys...y'all rock my socks). The only thing I hate about them is sports related. We always struggle with them in basketball when playing in Welsh-Ryan, football against them has been a grind lately, they have a REALLY annoying marketing slogan (but it has helped build the rivalry), and they biffed up the endzones at the Wrigley Field game (but hey...we still beat them!).
Go Illini, go get that hat back.
14) Michigan Wolverines (18pts/ 9th out of 9) Record:[23-69-2]
No explanation needed...it's Michigan.
So there you have it...my list of favorite Big Ten teams from top to bottom. But what about non-conference opponents you ask? Well, allow me to explain who I hate more than Michigan (in order of hate)...
- Oklahoma Sooners Record:[1-0]
Almost turning into the "Notre Dame" of the Big 12. Talks a lot of smack, overrated early in the year, can't finish a season.
- Florida State Seminoles Record:[0-0]
War Chant every down, and some questionable ethics at Quarterback make them easy to hate.
- Florida Gators Record:[0-2]
Not as annoying since they've struggled, but still well down there on the hate list.
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish Record:[0-11-1]
Guaranteed to be ranked in the pre-season Top 25 every year regardless of talent. It's always a great day when the Irish lose.
- USC Trojans Record:[2-11]
Rose Bowl '08. Band, fans, anyone from SC was disrespectful to us. When USC and Notre Dame play each other, I root for a bomb to hit the stadium (respectfully of course).
Which teams do you like/dislike? Did I miss any teams?
Let us know in the comments below!