For our inaugural conference power rankings of the season, we talked to a guy that was a big sports fan 10 years ago. However, this guy lost interest in sports shortly after the year 2006, and hasn't really kept up with what's going on in the sports world from that time on. This totally happened and this guy really exists and it definitely wasn't a gimmicky setup for a column!
So, we showed our friend the most recent Big Ten conference standings, and needless to say, he had some surprising perspectives.
Last week: Lost vs. Indiana, 79-72. Lost at Wisconsin, 79-57.
Guy who hasn't followed sports since 2006: "Wait... Rutgers? In the Big Ten? You guys took the 14th-best team in the Big East and added them? UConn must have already been taken or something!
Hold up. This means the Big TEN has FOURTEEN teams in it? And they still go by the Big TEN? I'm sure Jim Delany is no longer Commish - he never would've concocted a hare-brained scheme like this one!"
Last week: Lost at Ohio State, 78-63. Lost vs. Michigan State, 69-61.
Guy who hasn't followed sports since 2006: "The Gophers are struggling again, huh? I guess Dan Monson didn't work out for them. Didn't Monson coach at Gonzaga too? Speaking of which, Adam Morrison may have had a tough end to his collegiate career but he was destined to make a name for himself in the pros! I wouldn't be surprised if Charlotte has won a title with him by now!"
Last week: Lost vs. Northwestern, 81-72. Lost vs. Indiana, 79-69.
Guy who hasn't followed sports since 2006: "Nebraska? In the Big Ten? You've gotta be kidding - was the Bill Callahan era so bad that the Big 12 kicked them out?
Wait, you're telling me they still went 5-7 this season? I'd think Nebraska fans would be sick of this mediocrity and hire someone who would guarantee them at least nine wins and no more than four losses a year!"
11. PENN STATE
Last week: Lost at Maryland, 70-64. Lost at Michigan, 79-56.
Guy who hasn't followed sports since 2006: "Buddy, I may not have followed much sports in the past decade but even I know what happened at Penn State. Let's move along."
Last week: Lost vs. Michigan, 78-68. Lost at OSU, 75-73.
Guy who hasn't followed sports since 2006: "Well, that's a surprisingly rough start for the Illini - you'd have thought that Bruce Weber taking them to the Finals would set them up for years of success ahead. No way he could have left Illinois, right? That school has one of the most stable athletic departments around!"
Last week: Won at Nebraska, 81-72. Lost vs. Maryland, 72-59.
Guy who hasn't followed sports since 2006: "Always got this sense that Bill Carmody was just about to turn the corner with this team. I'm sure they've made an NCAA Tournament by now, right? Man, I'm sure there was jubilation in Evanston when they finally got that tourney berth after all those years!"
Last week: Lost at Purdue, 61-55. Won vs. Rutgers, 79-57.
Guy who hasn't followed sports since 2006: "I remember Bo Ryan really had some good teams up in Madison but they never could get far in the postseason. It would be a real shame if the Badgers got rid of him too early!
Hey, that Bret Bielema guy seemed like a great replacement for Barry Alvarez. Humble, not standoffish, and above all, very loyal to his school. I bet he's still there and has racked up plenty of Rose Bowl victories by now!"
7. OHIO STATE
Last week: Won vs. Minnesota, 78-63. Won vs. Illinois, 75-73.
Guy who hasn't followed sports since 2006: "Last I heard, Thad Matta was bringing in the greatest recruiting class since the Fab Five. If there was ever a guy who was a sure bet to have a prolonged pro career, it would be Greg Oden - that guy was the real deal! Any team would be foolish to pass him up in the draft! Almost as rock-solid as Jim Tressel avoiding NCAA violations!"
Last week: Won at Rutgers, 79-72. Won at Nebraska, 79-69.
Guy who hasn't followed sports since 2006: "Ahh, the Hoosiers! If I remember, they were in the midst of a few down years, but I'm pretty sure that Kelvin Sampson hire would jumpstart them right back to the top of the conference in no time. And hey, look at that - the Hoosiers are 2-0 and 12-3 on the season! I'm sure Kelvin must have gotten them back to at least a final four in the past decade - if not, then definitely at least an Elite 8! Hoosier fans must love Kelvin - he always struck me as an honest guy with plenty of morals, which I'm sure goes over well with their fans."
Last week: Won at Illinois, 78-68. Won vs. Penn State, 79-56.
Guy who hasn't followed sports since 2006: "Looks like they're starting the season well, but last I remember, the Wolverines hadn't been to a tournament in almost a decade. Such a shame. Always thought Michigan had such opportunity with hoops, especially with the Fab Five and the strong traditions there, but I don't think any coach could have turned around that program with the shape it was in 10 years ago!
I'm sure their football team has stayed steadily atop the rankings though. I doubt they'd ever force Lloyd Carr out, even if he did something really ridiculous, like lose to a 1-AA team at home!"
Last week: Won vs. Penn State, 70-64. Won at Northwestern, 72-59.
Guy who hasn't followed sports since 2006: "Well how about that - Maryland is in the Big Ten as well now! Did the Big East swallow up the ACC and leave the Terps aside? And how are Maryland fans coping with not playing Duke and UNC every year?"
Last week: Won at Wisconsin, 61-55. Lost vs. Iowa, 70-63.
Guy who hasn't followed sports since 2006: "It's always tough to follow in a legend's footsteps, but I'm sure Boiler fans got a good one in Matt Painter. He may be an alum but I'd guess if he did well there, he may have jumped to a blue-blood school or the NBA by now. Wonder how many more NFL-caliber QBs the Boilers have produced by now - I bet half the league has a starting QB from Purdue at the rate they were going!"
2. MICHIGAN STATE
Last week: Lost at Iowa, 83-70. Won at Minnesota, 69-61.
Guy who hasn't followed sports since 2006: "I remember Tom Izzo having some good tourney runs in the early 2000s. But the NCAA Tournament is such a crapshoot, so there's no way he could keep that up, right?
Hey, wanna hear something funny the guys and I would always say about MSU's football team? "Sparty, NO!" Because we always knew they'd find a way to screw a game up in the final minute and never win any big game! Ha! Kind of like Clemson always does too!"
Last week: Won vs. MSU, 83-70. Won at Purdue, 70-63.
Guy who hasn't followed sports since 2006: "Wow, quite a start for the Hawkeyes this year! I always knew Steve Alford would have that team near the top of the standings every season - Iowa fans must love his loyalty to the school, even though he played for a conference rival! Say, can you tell me where Kirk Ferentz is coaching now? I figured he'd just about worn out his welcome in Iowa City."