clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Column: If Big Ten schools were characters from ‘The Office’

Just in time for a new season.

Cast members from ‘The Office’ from left to right; Steve Car Photo by Francis Specker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

We have just a few short weeks until the start of the college football season. In the Hein household, we’ve been filling the football-less void with the extended cut of The Office on Peacock.

In the spirit of the new (football) season starting, here’s a list of what characters from The Office each Big Ten school would be.

As a bonus, the NCAA is Toby. Kevin Warren is David Wallace. Obviously.

Ohio State: Jim Halpert

Let’s kick off with an easy one. Yeah, maybe I’m biased, but Ohio State is undeniably the top of the conference, so why wouldn’t they be the coolest guy in the office? Jim is one of the few characters in the show to appear in every single episode, which feels like a natural correlation with Ohio State being in every conference championship conversation.

Nebraska: Ryan Howard

Individually, the youngest VP in company history has a lot in common with Scott Frost, the most baby-faced coach in the Big Ten. Every season, Nebraska seems to have so much potential just like the rising star that is Ryan, but they just let you down. It doesn’t help that Nebraska had recruiting violations, just like Ryan misled the shareholders and committed fraud.

Michigan: Dwight Schrute

In short, they’re clowns who occasionally make good sales. They also got Jim that one time in Classy Christmas, even though Jim really owns the prank battle tally. Jim might have even been 15-1 leading up to that episode.

Wisconsin: Meredith Palmer

They like to party. Also, badgers are believed to be an important secondary host of rabies.

Michigan State: Andy Bernard

The Spartans are a leading character in the annual Big Ten East drama, but they tend to get overshadowed by their sibling. They’re never the leading salesman, and sometimes they disappear to anger management (or just into the abyss).

Northwestern: Oscar Martinez

Like Oscar, Northwestern is the smarty pants of the conference. Also like Oscar, they also wear a lot of purple, actually.

Iowa: Creed Bratton

Kirk Ferentz has been at Iowa seemingly forever — just like Creed at Dunder Mifflin. Also like Creed, the Hawkeyes rarely make a big scene, but when they do, it’s impactful. Usually, though, they’re just lurking in the middle of the standings.

Minnesota: Phyllis Lapin-Vance

The most northern team in the conference could use some knitted goods to keep warm in the winter. Look no further than Dunder Mifflin’s resident senior. And while her friend can probably not fit in a rowboat, she probably supports rowing the boat.

Penn State: Karen Filippelli

Karen and Penn State have a lot in common. Like Penn State, there’s really nothing wrong with Karen, but as fans of Jim and Pam, it’s easy to irrationally hate her. Really, though, there was that one time Jim screwed Karen over — kind of like when Ohio State got picked to the College Football Playoff over the Big Ten East champ Nittany Lions. Unlike Jim and Pam, that didn’t work out so well for the Buckeyes.

Purdue: Katy

They’re the hot team like once per season, but otherwise, it’s like they’re not even in the show.

Indiana: Jan Levinson

Like Michael’s former lover, the Hoosiers are often totally erratic. They got a significant enhancement to their offense in recent years, but after last season, the Hoosiers looked more like Jan at the end of Dinner Party.

Maryland: D’Angelo Vickers

They arrived late in the game and really only wanted to play basketball.

Illinois: Gabe Lewis

Sorry, Illinois, but the Illini are about the most milquetoast program in the conference. There was also that time everyone thought Gabe was dressed like Abe Lincoln, which I guess could connect him with the Land of Lincoln.

Rutgers: Kevin Malone

The third team added to the conference is like Dunder Mifflin’s third accountant. The other employees of the office tend to take care of all the business, leaving Rutgers to eat M&Ms, shred things and occasionally make chili that no one gets to eat.