Ever since last year's World Cup I have really started watching a lot more soccer. My Saturday morning guilty pleasure this past winter was watching EPL on both ESPN and Fox Soccer Channel. I relish that Tuesday afternoons, since I work only a half day then, often had a UEFA Champions League match on. I haven't quite picked a favorite EPL team yet, but I am leaning towards Man City, Spurs, and Blackpool before they got relegated. Europe-wide I have always had a passing interest in Bayern, but that comes from visiting Munich with my high school German Club and loving the city.
My point in this is that we in the Big Ten should adopt some of the fan practices in international soccer. We already have some great ones. I consider myself an Ultra because I always travel conspicuously in Gold and Black when on the road. I have participated in mass marches to the stadium (with disastrous results for Miami-Louisville in 2006). We can adopt a lot more.
I love hearing the chants and songs during game play, and I think that would be a lot more distracting from a basketball student section than the generic white noise they generate. We already have great names for our student section, but we don't have the corresponding Hooligan Firms that represent the more crazy fans of each school.
Hooligan firms are based more on violence and fighting the opposing fans. I think we can step away from the violence and return to the good, old-fashioned pranking that college used to be all about. these fans will be the elite of the elite. They will serve as the premier road ambassadors for each school. They would also be so good they can get away with harmless pranks that would build even more school pride.
Imagine if some Navy SEAL-like students snuck onto Michigan State's campus before a big Michigan-MSU game and decorated the Spartan statue in Maize and Blue. What if some Purdue students painted "The Rock" Gold and Black? What if Iowa stole Pete's hammer? These are the kinds of things that Hooligan firms would be responsible for, not the violence and right-wing antics that the European thugs get away with that give hooligan firms a bad name.
We can redeem this name. We can make it the expert group for visiting fans. All we need is the inner cadre of each basketball student section in the conference to go into training.
Student Section Name: The Orange Krush
Hooligan Firm Name: The Chief's Commandos
Many Illinois fans are still upset that Chief Illiwinek can no longer be found at football and basketball games. What better way to pay tribute than to revive him, stealth-like, in the form of his elite commando unit that can prank with the best of them in the Big Ten? This group is already good at infiltration, as profiled on The Journey Earlier This year. With a little more training they could steal both the Spartan Statue and the Boilermaker Statue.
Student Section Name: Crimson Guard
Hooligan Firm Name: The Secret Assembly
First off, IU really needs to change the name of their student section to something that doesn't sound like a feminine hygiene product. Second, their hooligan firm sounds mysterious while linking it with their arena. Their special skill would clearly be infiltrating the homes of celebrities for their giant head pictures. To please the fanbase they could also petition Congress to permanently make it 1987.
Student Section Name: The Hawk's Nest
Hooligan Firm: Kinnick's Undercover Crew
Our most hated rivals worships two things: Nile Kinnick and wrestling. I suggested that our new rivalry trophy be the Trophy of Badassery and feature Kinnick wrestling Neil Armstrong on the Moon. Obviously the Undercover Crew is profiecient at hand-to-hand combat, but they struggle to land planes with mechanical failures over water. Let us hope they never kidnap Captain Sully.
Student Section Name: Maize Rage
Hooligan Firm: Bo's Brigade
Bo Schembechler is practically a god in Ann Arbor, even though he never won a National Championship. As long as the Brigade's job isn't to win a Rose Bowl they will be fine. That limits them to cold weather infiltration skill. Just imagine what a group like this could do if turned loose on Columbus. They would solve the Tressel/Pryor exercise in malfeasance by planting even more evidence. Their obvious goal would be to have Ohio State relegated to NAIA Division II within four weeks.
Michigan State Spartans
Student Section Name: The Izzone
Hooligan Firm: The 300
Sparty continues to get mileage out of King Leonidas, so why not form an underground legion of pranksters that can have success against the rest of the league despite overwhelming odds. These guys could infiltrate any arena in the league and take over regardless of size. If someone tried to force them out it would be a pyrrhic victory to get them to leave. These guys are like ten times as loud as a regular student section.
Student Section Name: TubbyTown
Hooligan Firm: The Burrowers
It is time for the Gophers to embrace their mascot's home and start burrowing like the Gopher in Caddyshack. It is about the only thing that would have helped their football program under Tim Brewster, and in basketball maybe they can finally get the Demon Wood of Xibalba at The Barn to collapse for the good of the league. Based on our recent struggles, this group may be in action already. Robbie tore his ACL the first time at Minnesota and the second time when they were in town for football. Coincidence?
Student Section Name: The Red Zone
Hooligan Firm: The Reapers
First of all, if you're going to be in the Big Ten it is time to get a real student section name. This "Red Zone" crap isn't going to cut it. At least call yourself the cornballs or something. Second, The Reapers would be ruthless. They can combine the joy of husking corn with the infamous blackshirts and come dressed as the grim reapers. Talk about intimidation! As we learn more about our new conference brethren we can figure out more about this mysterious group. Maybe they are really ninjas.
Student Section Name: The Wildside
Hooligan Firm: None
First, nerds can't be hooligans. Second, you don't get a Hooligan firm until you name your student section (Ed Note: Rodger Sherman of Sippin' On Purple informed me that the name of the Northwestern student section is The Wildside. He does agree that nerds don't deserve Hooligan firms. I trust him, since nerds end up ruling us all in the work place anyway). I don't make up the rules here. Oh wait, I do.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Student Section Name: Buckeye Nuthouse
Hooligan Firm: The Nutcrackers
For all we know Ohio State may already have a Hooligan Firm and they are undercover covering up the litany of illicit activities that go on within the athletic department. They could be engaged in a secret underground war with Bo' Brigade all while listening to the Dead Schembechlers. They are the reason we haven't heard about the secret Columbus brothel or the number of Dead Hookers that Tressel had in his trunk. My estimate is 24 dead hookers, 5 of them male and 4 of them midget trannys.
Penn State Nittany Lions
Student Section: Nittany Nation
Hooligan Firm: JoePa's Goombas
There is a reason hat Paterno keeps coaching well into his eighties. Running the Goombas on the side as his paramilitary organization keeps him young. JoePa is an overt Republican and they generally against stem cell research, but it's because the Goombas are behind the scenes taking all of the stem cells to keep JoePa young. You'll see it in 30 years when he will actually look younger than he does now.
Student Section Name: The Paint Crew
Hooligan Firm: The Pumpkin Shuckers
We're going back to one of our old nicknames from the late 1800's for this one. We clearly have an edge in transportation with the Special, so we can go anywhere. We also have our NASA connections to make our plans of intergalactic domination bear fruit. That includes the use of satellites to scope out or targets well in advance. We cannot be stopped when we decide to invade an opposing arena from space. Just try and stop us from landing the Space Shuttle on your campus. That, or we threaten with our own Death Star.
Student Section Name: The Grateful Red
Hooligan Firm: Legion of Pain
The most famous thing with Wisconsin is House of Pain's "Jump Around". Therefore, they have their own legion of enforcers that will take over opposing campuses with cheese and beer. These people cannot be stopped. They are impervious to even heart disease with the amount of sausage, cheese, and dark beer consumed within the state. If they can beat heart disease no one else stands a chance.
Since this will hopefully attract crowds from all over the Big Ten I welcome you to chime in about the activities or better names of your own school's Hooligan Firm.