No. I won't go.
Sorry. I am a traditionalist of sorts and others who are similarly burdened know my pain.
A road trip to Madison just isn't the same as one to Columbia. Champaign instead of Stillwater? I have "Great Plains" pedestrian tastes.
Where's the pizzazz in "Illini." (Besides what self-respecting school would stoop so low as to restructure their official name to get their nickname?)
Wasn't there a TV character named Hawkeye? I don't remember him playing football.
I am telling you, I am not going.
As it now stands, we are the only "NU" in our league. This new grouping doubles that number. And the other one plays football in a city. In the shadows of skyscrapers. Worse yet, Northwestern's website announces their intent to play a game at Wrigley Field.
Yes, that's right. The Wildcats at Wrigley. Somewhere Papa Bear George Halas has got to be sick.
Wait. The best is yet to come. Ever notice how all of the games between those northern universities have a "trophy" at stake? Minnesota-Wisconsin: Paul Bunyan's Axe. Michigan-Michigan State: Paul Bunyan's Trophy. Illinois- Purdue: The Old Oaken Bucket. Minnesota-Michigan: The Little Brown Jug.
Evidently these folks spend their time drinking or chopping.
I can't wait for the Nebraska-Iowa trophy: The Dried Silk Ear.
Not only am I not showing up, I might not ever leave my house again.
You want to talk academic excellence? Why join a group of esteemed institutions who refuse to correctly reflect their membership in their title?
Now with twelve, what name will fit? Can't use the Big Twelve. Out of reverence for the deceased.
Might pay to divide the conference membership in half - calling the Eastern bloc The Pick Six and the Western front The Deep Six.
And the other sports - minor in this discussion as they are - what about them?
Baseball season? Probably opens when the sap starts to run.
Volleyball competition will be limited to one game, Penn State/Nebraska.
To be played at Wrigley Field on Thanksgiving.
Men's basketball? Well there will be new gyms in which to embarrass ourselves. That's a plus. No. Not really.
I suppose the yet-to-be-created divisional football championship game will have a catchy crown title too.
The Ox Tail Trophy. Blue. It'll be blue, no doubt.
Don Cunningham of Fremont is a regular contributor to the Tribune's Opinion page.