While I don’t comment on Penn State football like I did in previous decades, I am paying a little more attention of late. In fact, my wife and I even took our oldest to his first game against Big Ten rival Rutgers.

The end of the Big Ten as we know it

Being a long-time Big Ten program, Penn State welcomed new members University of Nebraska Lincoln, Rutgers University and University of Maryland over the last decade. While Nebraska wasn’t as big a stretch geographically , culturally and athletically for conference admission, it was a apparently a stretch academically. Well, maybe for football too!11

Of course, the Nittany Lions and Cornhuskers, who have some history, barely play each other in football. Kind of a disappointment. Actually, a big disappointment given how fun it would beating up on them now they are down.

Rutgers and Maryland, while being more frequent opponents from adjacent states and better academic fits than Nebraska, were clearly a craven grab for East Coast TV markets. New York, Washington, Baltimore are the 1st, 9th and 29th markets overall. That’s a lot of cable subscribers. Or at least, it was2 for the Big Ten Network. Aside from being natural “rivals” the entry of these I-95 corridor programs prompted the Big Ten to create a television commercial that showed off these big markets.


Onward State celebrated this borderline iconic commercial as the end of the 14-team Big Ten era closes. 

That’s right the Rose Bowl, long-time destination of the Big Ten champion starts off the ad. It’s also, by the way, the home of UCLA Bruins, one of four new Big Ten programs joining in 2024. Their neighbors, just down the 110, USC Trojans are also joining. It’s conceivable that an updated ad just lingers over L.A. a little longer, adds some university buildings and the Hollywood sign. Next, shoot up the 5 a thousand miles over to University of Oregon. I don’t know if Portland’s skyline gets included, but you know Seattle gets thrown in along with the Husky navy or whatever its called for University of Washington. It’ll probably include the mascot drinking coffee. Then they can shoot back to the Midwest and resume the ad.

At the very least, the Penn State vs. USC games in Happy Valley will be sartorially spectacular. Also, I’m using this Alumni Association photo because I’m a life member and attended the university for 9 semesters and one intersession (out of state tuition). My dues are paid.

The conference picked up the 2nd, 13th and 23rd biggest TV markets3 with these new programs. That’s 13 of the top 30 markets and 17 of the top 50. Not too shabby.

Don’t screw this up BIG!

The music

That delightful song is “Silver Lining” by Guides. It’s from 2013 and I’ve only heard it in this ad. Enjoy it in its entirety:

How great this little tune? Maybe I need to get curious about this band from a decade ago.

Let’s hope the Big Teen, as I saw it referred to on Uni Watch, just updates the commercial and leaves this in rotation forever. If “Jump Around” can live in Camp Randall Stadium forever and if Beaver Stadium forces “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Sweet Caroline” (damn you PS4RS!), no reason “Silver Lining” can’t be a tradition too.

Back to the gridiron

Football schedules or Columbia House advertisement? By 10 CDs for the price of one! Torpedo your credit score too!

I don’t even try to follow along much any more other than what’s the next game on the schedule. The divisional lineup is gone and whatever the conference came up with in its place requires more effort than I can make to understand. For a while, at least, new intersectional games for the Nittany Lions and the expanded playoff means that hey, maybe we’ll see the Nittany Lions make a real title push instead of just beating almost everybody who isn’t Michigan or Ohio State. Hope springs eternal! Also, no protected games because Penn State astutely brands themselves as “UNRIVALED.” When your natural options are Rutgers and Maryland, it’s the only way to go. 


  1. Matt Rhule, Penn State letterman and State College native – false flag operation? ↩︎
  2. ESPN Has Lost Almost 4 Million Subscribers and MLB Network Has Lost Over 11 Million Subscribers in the Last Year as Cord Cutting Grows Cordcutting News ↩︎
  3. No love for the San Francisco Bay Area TV market though? I wouldn’t have minded, even though it would have made it the Big Twenty. Oh well, Cal and Stanford in the ATLANTIC COAST Conference is teh absurdity that college football thrives in? ↩︎

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