From a Former Midwesterner: The Fun B1G Road Games

Don Marsh Editorials

As a transplanted Iowa Hawkeye, I thought it might be fun to pass along a few thoughts (irreverent ones, perhaps) on some of OBD future opponents from the Midwest and beyond. I was able to pull Mr. FishDuck from his fun with roobet crash game to hear his enthusiasm about our upcoming B1G games, and meeting their fans.

Starting with Northwestern, think Stanford. Higher academic standards and not very good football usually, though the Mildcats did surprise this past season, especially considering the alleged hazing incidents and the dismissal of former Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald.

The alumni tailgate is mostly to make business deals or create new client contacts. It probably wouldn’t take much for Duck fans to dominate, but if the game is in November–bring parkas and galoshes (A Midwest term from my youth.) Winter weather in Chicago is better suited for curling and snowball fights.

Rutgers and Maryland still don’t seem like actual members of the Big 10+ to me. They entered the league long after I had departed for the Left-Coast.

Rutgers seems like the school you attend if you couldn’t’ get into the Ivies. I have no idea what the gameday experience is like at SHI Stadium, (Hope they aren’t missing a letter there) but be forewarned if you plan to attend as …noisemaking devices, balloons, laser pointers, pets (except for service animals), balls, weapons, sticks/poles, containers, fireworks, and any other items deemed dangerous or inappropriate … are not permitted.

The Knights did take down Mario in their December encounter at Yankee Stadium in the Pinstripe Bowl.

SECU Stadium at Maryland has an interesting end zone. (Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics)

Maryland. What the heck is a Terrapin? They are referred to as The Terps? Their mascot is Testudo? Certainly, no match for Puddles. Terps played Michigan tough, and totally handled Auburn in Music City Bowl. They claim a national championship from 1953 though a bit of a dubious claim as they lost to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl that season. Feels like a game where the Ducks need to pay attention, but should win.

Purdue, Indiana, and Illinois remind me of Cal. Always in some sort or rebuilding mode. A Bloomington, Indiana trip in the fall would be a good one, as the Indiana campus is as good as it gets…think movie Breaking Away. A loss on the road to anyone of these three would not be a “good” loss.

Madison, home of the Wisconsin Badgers, feels a little like going to the Palouse. Weather could be nasty, like the fans. Tough road environment. Luke Fickell will put together a competitive program. I don’t get their 4th quarter “Jump Around” though that is probably what they would say about “Shout!” Madison is a great college town and I need to let Mr. FishDuck know about the abundance of brew pubs there.

Michigan and the Big House. No doubt about it, this is big-time college football. What’s the comparison? Not sure there is one. Big Blue is Big Blue.

Minnesota and Nebraska feel a little bit like road games to ASU or UA in the desert. Anything can happen. Feels like PJ needs to add a motor or sail to that rowboat. Matt Ruhl may finally be the right hire for the Huskers. (Bo Pelini’s .713 wasn’t good enough) Hostile fan environment both places but especially in Lincoln.

Michigan State probably could be included with Gophers and Huskers. Going to East Lansing will never be a “gimme” game. Great college town and probably not a bad road trip option for Duck fans. Of course, there is now the Jonathan Smith storyline. I wouldn’t schedule a late November game there though.

Join the OBD group going to the famous Penn State White Out in 2025!

A night-time Penn State White Out in Beaver Stadium is probably about as intimidating environment as there is in college football. Feels like going to Husky Stadium with possibility of real snow rather just cold winds off Lake Washington. Every trip here will be a challenge.

Of course, there is Ohio State and The Shoe. This will be every bit the challenge of Husky Stadium and then some. This feels like the beginning of another great rivalry game for OBD.

Saving the best (defense) and worst (offense) for last, the Iowa Hawkeyes. Kinnick Stadium, the home of the Hawks, can be an intimidating environ. (See top photo) Iowans love their Hawkeyes no matter how bad or inept they may be. The good news is that one touchdown wins the game, and two constitutes a blow-out. The nepotism situation with Head Coach Kirk Ferentz and his kid Brian as the Offensive (Offensive, indeed.) Co-Ordinator has finally, finally come to a merciful end, so do not be surprised if Iowa gets into double digits in some of their games next year.

A special tradition at Iowa games is The Wave, as the end of the first quarter as 70,000 people rise to wave and give hope to the patients in the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital overlooking the stadium. Try to read about it here, and not get a lump in your throat and get a little misty-eyed. My Iowa brothers and sisters are good people, like I’ve come to know in Oregon.

A Fall trip to Iowa City would be a good road trip, and I can put together a great itinerary for anyone interested. As a place to visit and explore, Iowa will surprise you.

The only first-hand viewing experience I have is Iowa City, Iowa and Champaign, Illinois. I welcome input and thoughts in our very special free forum from folks who have been to any of these venues that will be new to many of us.

Go Ducks.

Don Marsh
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Tim Schoon of Iowa Athletics

New 2024 FishDuck Publishing Schedule….

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In mid-August of 2024, we will go back to the seven-days-a-week of articles during the football season as we did in the football season of 2023.

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