“Life is made up of meetings and partings.” -Kermit the Frog, “The Muppet Christmas Carol”
As life is made up of meetings and partings, so too is football season. Not all meetings and partings are equal, though. I can’t quite top last year’s “Home Alone” breakdown, but in honor of this week’s holiday festivities/the upcoming playoffs, I’ve decided to do a highly scientific breakdown of which character each Big Ten football team would play in the great holiday classic “The Muppet Christmas Carol.”
Narrators Charles Dickens (Gonzo) and Rizzo the Rat: Rutgers and Maryland
I mean no disrespect to the Great Gonzo or Rizzo, my little rat king, but in this particular film, you would quite literally forget they were there if they didn’t announce themselves on occasion. Rutgers and Maryland occasionally do something memorable (like when Rutgers put up a fight against OSU this year), but mostly they show up, and everyone is kind of like, “Oh yeah! Forgot about those guys!”
Ebenezer Scrooge: Ohio State
“Christmas is a very busy time for us, Mr. Cratchit. People preparing feasts, giving parties, spending the mortgage money on Playoff Tickets.” -The Ohio State Christmas Carol
The main characters in both “A Christmas Carol” and the Big Ten (and I’m not saying that as a homer — I’m saying that based on numbers) both tend to be quite greedy when it comes to sharing wealth. This can be a real thorn in others’ sides, especially because they are good at what they do. This year, in particular, Ohio State — much like Scrooge — needs to have a Come-to-Jesus moment if they’re going to get anywhere in the playoffs.
Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit: Northwestern
From very early in the movie, it is obvious that sweet Kermie is just getting kicked around by Scrooge. He tries to stand up for himself by getting Scrooge to close the office on Christmas Day, and though Scrooge relents, it’s for entirely selfish Bah Humbug reasons (all the other businesses are closed, so he won’t be able to get anything done, and doesn’t need to pay Bob to do nothing).
As the movie progresses, it’s clear poor Kermie-Bob needs some help. But you know what? That doesn’t stop him from working hard and giving it his all. Northwestern seems to try so hard – and sometimes they come pretty close to being successful (like the OSU game this year, with a little help from the wind), but at the end of the day, their fate is in the hands of their enemies.
Maybe one day this will pay off for them like it does for Kermit.
Fred Scrooge: Indiana
Indiana is made up of a bunch of very nice people who always seem to be inviting you to a party you don’t want to go to. I do hear they throw a good party. I’m never gonna find out though!
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker: Nebraska
My guys are out here collecting money for charity and Scrooge poo-poos them. He wants nothing to do with what they’re selling. In the movie, this is a Bad Thing, but in football, this is a Good Thing. OSU doesn’t feel bad for resident Big Ten charity case Nebraska. We’re here to turn them out and kick them to the curb as Scrooge does to these two.
Statler and Waldorf as Jacob and Robert Marley: Iowa and Michigan State
A cautionary tale of what happens when you don’t get your ducks in a row. Iowa’s really messed things up for the Buckeyes in the past – remember 2017? Anyone old enough to remember the time when Michigan State and OSU used to flip-flop on wins, or when MSU beat OSU in the 2013 Conference Championship? How the mighty have fallen. They’re cranky, and they’re here to warn us about what happens when you get sloppy between seasons.
Ghost of Christmas Past: Penn State
Now it’s getting good. The ghosties are starting to show up. The skeletons are coming out of the closet. For the first seven years that Penn State was in the Big Ten, this matchup was a Top 25-team game, with at least one of the two in the Top 5. Then we had the Tressel years. There were some ROUGH games in there – I don’t need a ghostie bringing me back to these painful games because they seem so far in the past now that I have been able to repress those memories. They’re but a faint and fleeting thought, but when they come to mind, they’ll make you uneasy.
Ghost of Christmas Present: Michigan
Low-key, getting to be a ghost on the wall in their locker room/practices would be a great help in the Buckeyes having their needed Come-to-Jesus moment. But mostly, this is a storyline with present-day potential to make us sad. We already lost to them this season, and the potential for a rematch is just lurking there, much like the visions of Bob Cratchit’s family haunt Scrooge in this movie. We’ll have to fix some things on our end if this Christmas is going to be a success.
Miss Piggy as Mrs. Cratchit: Illinois
As it is Miss Piggy, she’s not gonna pass up a chance for the spotlight. She will find ways to be a diva with flashy moments. But her main storyline is that she’s strugglin’. She’s stuck at home caring for the family with barely enough money to make ends meet. Illinois similarly has flashy moments, small glimpses that make them seem like the real deal. Mostly they just need help though.
Robin the Frog as Tiny Tim: Minnesota
Poor Tiny Tim is having a really rough go, what with being sick and all. It’s really throwing a wrench in his plans for the future. Minnesota, similarly, had their hopes and dreams derailed by star running back Mohamed Ibrihim’s injury in October. Ibrahim missed only one game this year – a mid-season matchup against Purdue.
Yet without him, Minnesota lost 20-10, a game that ultimately cost the Golden Gophers a Big Ten Championship berth. Much like Minnesota’s hopes and dreams died that day, the Cratchit Family’s hopes and dreams have died in Scrooge’s trip to Christmas Future, where poor Tiny Tim is no longer with us.
Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come: Wisconsin
We gotta keep our eye on this one. Full of bad omens and scary things, Christmas Yet to Come tells us that Tiny Tim has died and things are sad. Could this be the tale of Wisconsin and Minnesota in the Big Ten West as Wisconsin looks to keep improving? I’m not saying next season – but in the near future, we could see them upending their division and putting the nail in Tiny Tim/Minnesota’s coffin. Bleak, man. Bleak.
Old Joe: Purdue
Old Joe is a gigantic spider who creates a fence, a barrier through which it is hard to pass. Purdue is often that. We all write them off, and yet, they were in the Conference Championship this year, and even in their off-years, they are ready to stand in the way for at least ONE team. Nothing more than an inconvenient fence.
Happy Holidays from everyone here at LGHL. Wishing you and yours a safe, Buckeye-victory-filled break!
*Author’s Note: I did not forget about Fozziwig/Mr. Fezziwig. Literally no one in the Big Ten is cool enough to be Fozzi Bear. No one.