While all of college football was high fiving and crotch-on-crotch hugging each other with the return of Notre Dame to the top of the polls, Jim Delany and the Big Ten conference were up to some sneaky stuff. Namely, adding Maryland and Rutgers to their rich tradition of boring football and low scoring basketball. While on the Twitter (follow me @JCook32), I noticed that people were making jokes like “Is Ray Rice the greatest BIG TEN tailback of the 2000s (via @ourhonordefend)”. Of course, I chortled at the thought of Ray Rice running buckwild on helpless Indiana University, but then I realized that there were a few guys from both Maryland and Rutgers that were cheated by not playing in the BIG TEN.
E.J. Henderson – Maryland football – 1999-2002
If there was ever a guy that belonged in Iowa black and gold it’s Henderson. In the mold of super-productive college linebackers, much like Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge, EJ holds the NCAA record for most career tackles per game (12.5, which seems way too low), unassisted tackles per game (8.8) and most unassisted tackles in a season (135). I could definitely see him lining up TJ Duckett in the hole during a late October clash in Iowa City.
As a site note, I guarantee Delany told the Maryland AD to cut the crap with those ugly-ass unis. I wouldn’t be surprised if Delany hasn’t put Minnesota on watch for their disgusting red and dull yellow costumes they embarrass themselves in every Saturday. If you’re gonna be in the BIG TEN, you’re gonna play boring football and look modest doing it.
Brian Leonard – Rutgers football – 2003-2006
Fitting right in with the stereotype of gritty white running back (is there any other kind?), Leonard would have been accepted with open arms at Penn State (be better than Sandusky jokes please). As a hard-nosed running back, Leonard was first-team Big East in 2004 and 2005 before taking on fullback responsibilities to some little guy named Ray Rice. Talk about being a selfless teammate, he must have watched a lot of Rudy. Even though Leonard broke a whole bunch of Rutgers records, he’ll probably be most remembered by this:
Long story short, Leonard was an athletic bruiser in the mold of a Merrill Hoge (what, you expected Mike Alstott?). What makes him great is that he had no problem going from feature back to the hammer taking on middle linebackers on lead plays like he’s Jenna Jameson taking on a Subway footlong named Evan Stone. In his next life Leonard will be playing his Saturdays in the BIG TEN. By the way, how come nobody mentions the fact that Rutgers played the very first college football game ever, but then every year after that, they’ve really sucked?
Quincy Douby – Rutgers Basketball – 2003-2006
You might be shocked to learn that Rutgers basketball isn’t really steeped in history. Shocking, and Jerome Bettis is from Detroit. They’re like the Daniel Baldwin of college basketball. Again, not really sure why the BIG TEN wanted Rutgers at all, but nobody asked me, so back to Douby. He definitely could’ve filled it up while playing for Rutgers in the BIG TEN. He was the school’s all-time scoring leader so he’ll take his rightful place with Taylor Battle (Penn St.), Dave Hoppen (Nebraska), and John Shurna (Northwestern). Talk about a list of who’s who of college hoops. Douby wasn’t just a prolific scorer at Rutgers. In 2009, he led the Turkish Basketball League in scoring, averaging 23.6 points per game for the Darüşşafaka Cooper Tires. How very Stephon Marbury of him.
Lonny Baxter – Maryland basketball – 1998-2002
One of the best in the college basketball biz, Tom Izzo, has been known to toughen his Michigan State Spartans up by doing a bit of “cross-training”.
“”We played like a bunch of wimps,” Izzo said. “I told our equipment man, ‘Why don’t you get (football coach) Nick Saban to give you some football pads and helmets?’ It started out like what most people would think was a ridiculous scene. It turned out to be the greatest thing we ever did.”
“We rolled out the helmets and pads and jerseys. (Mateen) Cleaves was one of the few guys who knew how to put them on. We had some 6-9 guys who had no clue. I’m thinking, ‘Someone will write this if they find out, and I’ll get crucified.’ I wanted to do it because I was mad, but five minutes in, we were having so much fun that everyone was talking about it.” (Thanks Gary Shelton aka Craig Stadler, The Walrus)
As the certified bruiser for Maryland in the early 2000s, Baxter would have been an Izzo favorite as the too-short-but-kinda-fat guy who could do it all. Much like Spartan Draymond Green, Baxter did his best work come tournament time, being named Regional Tournament MVP in both 2001 and 2002. His fatness, combined with his modest scoring and rebounding numbers, would have fit the B1G Ten basketball conference perfectly.
Unfortunately for Lonny, he had a problem with loaded weapons. More specifically, he had a problem with firing said loaded weapons a few blocks from the White House. You get jail time for that, FYI. After that incident he must have wisend up and decided to give his guns away because he was arrested again for illegally shipping four guns via FedEx without declaring them. Goes to show, no good deed goes unpunished.
This was written by Hulkamaniac Jim Cook.