The holidays are upon us, and if you’re anything like me, that means you’ve spent an obscene amount of time watching and rewatching the 90s classic “Home Alone.”
During my most recent rewatch, I realized that there are some pretty strong parallels between the characters we know, love, and love to hate, and the Big Ten football programs we know, love, and love to hate. And so, I present to you: Big Ten schools and their “Home Alone” counterparts.
Illinois: Fuller McCallister
Fuller is known for one thing - if he drinks too much, he wets the bed. And since we’re keeping this PG, Illinois is the most likely to metaphorically “wet” the bed. Also, have you ever been to a party at U of I? Spend a night drinking at KAMS and people will respond a lot like Fuller’s cousins and siblings look at him while he sips his Pepsi.
Much like Johnny, the gangster with a tommy gun in the fictional film “Angels with Filthy Souls,” Indiana sometimes seems scary when you see them on television. In real life, however, they pose no real threat, though sometimes you can use them to your advantage to make yourself seem scarier.
Iowa: Uncle Frank
This guy is just so annoying and full of himself, with very little reason to be. Yes, they finished 1st in the B10 West, but nearly all of their games were close calls, so it wasn’t like they were dominating in any way that warranted the trash their fans talk. Uncle Frank lacks all self-awareness, but he still gets to ride his brother’s coattails all the way to warmer weather. Iowa in the Citrus Bowl this year? Big Uncle Frank vibes.
Purdue: Old Man Marley
Old Man Marley kind of hangs out in the background and spends most of his day shoveling snow off the sidewalk. But when he does show up, he makes an impact. Similarly, Purdue has the potential to show up in impactful ways in big games, but most of the time, the Boilermakers are just kind of there, shoveling coal.
Maryland: Aunt Leslie
Oh, sweet Aunt Leslie. She tries so hard to be helpful, but it’s not her house, so she’s never really in control of the situation. Everyone kind of walks all over her while she tries to be the responsible adult. Maryland, similarly, gets walked all over every time they take the field. They always seem just a little out of place playing with the big kids.
Minnesota: Gus Polinski
Minnesota just has the ~energy~ of a guy who travels around the Midwest in a van playing polka songs, feeling like he’s acquired some semblance of fame and popularity when in reality, no one knows anything about him.
Listen, Nebraska is the best 3-win team we’ve seen in a long time. They have so much potential to ruin a season for their opponents. Much like Marv has so much potential to be one of the all-time great bandits. But ultimately neither Marv nor Nebraska has the follow-through. You’re not really rooting for them - they’re technically the villain/an opponent, but there is a teeny tiny part of you that kind of wants them to do well because you feel just a tiny bit sorry for them and know they could use a W.
Wisconsin: Kevin McCallister
Kevin is smarter than he looks, he’s frequently underestimated, and he is so annoying about it. The whole time he is running his little house of horrors and taking on Harry and Marv, he’s taunting them, adding insult to injury. Wisconsin fans are the type that would sit at the top of the stairs yelling in sing-song, “Over here, you big morons!” Which is even more annoying because sometimes they’re genuinely good and you can’t shut them up or they’d just point and say “Scoreboard.”
Michigan State: Peter McCallister
Peter McCallister is supposed to be the man of the house, and yet he faces just enough mishaps that he can’t handle (including a power outage and an inability to figure out how to shave in a foreign country), and as a result, he accidentally leaves his child behind. No resilience. No grit in tough moments. Michigan State has it together in the day-to-day, but when they face a real obstacle, inconvenience, or challenge, they would definitely accidentally forget their child.
Northwestern: Linnie McCallister
Linnie McCallister is the McCallister child who famously tells Kevin he’s “what the French call ‘Les incompetents.’” Big Northwestern energy. She’s kind of in the background for most of the movie, but she does have this memorable moment. The Wildcats, similarly, kind of skate by in the background, but they usually have a few really memorable games each year, and on the whole, they’re definitely smarter than the rest of us.
Rutgers: Little Nero’s Pizza Boy
At the beginning of the movie, the delivery boy from Little Nero’s stands in the front hall of the McCallister house for at least 10 minutes while many family members run right past him, completely unaware of his existence. Rutgers is the Little Nero’s pizza boy of the Big Ten. He’s there, he’s waving, he’s trying to get our attention, but we just keep running past him, forgetting that we’ve called him in and completely oblivious to their existence on most occasions.
Penn State: Buzz McCallister
Penn State isn’t the real villain of the Big Ten. But they are annoying in the “older brother who picks on his younger sibling” kind of a way. Buzz is so terrible to Kevin that you kind of want to sock him. Sure, he comes around with one nice moment at the end of the movie, but that doesn’t make up for all the mean things he does in the first five minutes! Penn State would eat your pizza on purpose, but they are still kind of a small potatoes villain at the end of the day.
Harry is the true villain of this movie, much like Michigan is the true villain of the Big Ten. Nothing would make me happier than to drop a paint can down a flight of stairs straight into Jim Harbaugh’s face. Harry has moments of brilliance - he wins a few battles in this movie, particularly when he heads off Kevin in the neighbor’s basement. But in this season, where Michigan shone, defeated the Buckeyes, demolished Iowa in the Big Ten Championship, and now head to the playoffs, it’s important to remember that Harry wins some battles, but he never quite wins the war.
Ohio State: Kate McCallister
Did you think I was going to say Ohio State was Kevin McCallister? Sorry to disappoint you, but the Buckeyes are in fact his mother, Kate (especially this year). Kate seems like she has it all together, she really does. And in moments of crisis, she tends to pull it together enough to come up with a scrappy plan. But she’s still just irresponsible enough to lose her child (aka lose to Michigan). Not to mention, she tried to trade rings for plane tickets, which does smell a bit like Tattoogate.