Ok so full disclosure: I meant to get this posted last Thursday or Friday. You know, before New Year's Day and the big bowls when the Big Ten fell flat on its face. But because of family commitments, work, and holiday laziness, it didn't happen. Still, a few days after the BCS bowls are done, and we await the national championship Monday, Big Ten fans are licking their wound after their schools got beat on the big stage. As Gopher fans we didn't have a team to root for, but our pride is a bit wounded as OUR conference got its ass kicked. Again. As members of the Big 10, we're inclined to root for our conference brethren this time of year, in a one-for-all and all-for-one mentality where B1G teams winning bowl games is somehow good for Minnesota.
I get that, I really do. I understand why you'd want to cheer for your conference and how it's great when they win and hurts a bit when we lose. But one thing I'll never understand is how Gopher fans can cheer for Wisconsin and Iowa in bowl games...
Last I checked, these were our two biggest, most hated rivals (checking again just to be sure...yep, they still are). The only time I could possibly consider rooting for either of these schools is if it somehow helped Minnesota, but I would hate myself the entire time I had to do it. For some Gopher fans, something changes during the bowl season and they feel obligated to cheer for the Badgers and Hawkeyes because they're in the Big Ten.
For the life of me, I just don't get it. It'd be like cheering for the White Sox in the World Series because they're an AL Central team, UND in the Frozen Four because they're a WCHA team (at least for one more year), the Canucks in the Stanly Cup Finals because they're from the Northwest Division (2012 can't come soon enough so the Wild can get the hell out of that division and back to the
Central Norris where they belong!), or the Packers in the Super Bowl because they're from the NFC North. Makes no sense whatsoever in those situations, yet somehow it does for college bowl season? Heck, even in college hoops I'm not cheering for Wisconsin (I'm omitting Iowa because they never make it anymore) in the Big Dance just because they're from the Big 10.
What is it- and I'm really, truly, honestly asking here- for people who do this? How can conference affiliation trump rivalries? And not only does it turn my stomach to even THINK of cheering for Wisconsin or Iowa, but how can you not see that their success in bowls HURTS the Gophers, not helps?!? That's the argument that really baffles me, the one that says "the Big Ten's success in bowl games- and that includes Wisconsin and Iowa- helps Minnesota." Ummm... how is that again? Please explain.
Wisconsin and Iowa winning bowl games doesn't help Minnesota recruit better players- it helps Wisconsin and Iowa recruit better players. And last I checked, Wisconsin doesn't need any more ammunition against the Gophers in recruiting. Iowa? They could use a bowl win or two considering Minnesota beat them this year. The Badgers and Hawkeyes are our two biggest rivals on the field and in recruiting, and them winning bowl games helps them a lot more than it may help the Big Ten, and it doesn't help the Gophers at all.
Again. I love the Big Ten, and I love that the Gophers are apart of it, and it pains me when the B1G struggles in bowl games like they did this year. But no matter how much I might like to think it helps the image or prestige of the conference, as a Gopher fan I cannot and will not cheer for Wisconsin or Iowa in bowl games.