The invasion is near. By bus and by plane, by car and by train, they will travel. This fall, Buckeyes, Hawkeyes, Spartans and Scarlet Knights will swarm College Park in unprecedented numbers. Let them come. I, for one, welcome our new Big Ten overlords.
With long histories, large enrollments and deep loyalties, Big Ten alumni and fans are a different breed. We have seen hints of orange from Syracuse and Virginia, and traces of Virginia Tech maroon at games, but the upcoming season will attract thousands of opposing fans like never before.
This year, it is expected that many of the empty bleachers of recent years will be replaced with rowdy opposing fans, including alumni living in the area who haven’t been to games in years. Fans of opponents such as Ohio State could even potentially outnumber Terps supporters. The raucous fans will import their storied traditions from the heartland, just short of dotting the “I” in “Script Ohio.” Our key-jingling and newspaper-shaking might pale in comparison.
This summer, we experienced the FIFA World Cup, in which the blend of nations in the crowd elevated the excitement of competition. American sports typically emphasize home field advantage, but that hasn’t really been the case for Terps football lately. A temporary injection of foreign fans in the stands might not help assert the Terps’ long-term dominance, but it will create a new level of energy and passion, for now.
We enter a new conference with potential rivalries with Penn State and Rutgers, but these are not yet solidified. New rivalries will be formed only through memorable moments and climactic confrontations. What better way, after all, to find out who to love to hate, than by inviting over thousands of each candidate? Will the Michigan State Spartans fans become our nemeses? Or will their adorable accents and Midwestern charmwin us over?
You might say that there’s nothing to do in Iowa City, so those Big Ten fans have all the time in the world to obsess over the football team. It might be true that having less population density to Tinder-swipe gives them a lot of free time, but for just six fall Saturdays, we can follow their lead. The rest of the stadium might be sold to opposing fans, but the student section will remain our own. We must make it count, as Diamondback columnist Katie Stuller wrote last week.
Maybe the Big Ten only wanted the Terps to join to penetrate the Mid-Atlantic media market. Maybe the Terps won’t be playing in the Rose Bowl Stadium at the end of this season. But we will make our mark on the conference in more ways than just TV numbers and having a quality dairy farm on the campus. From R.J. Bentley’s to the All-American panels covering the Byrd Stadium garage, we have history to share and history to make.
So when the invaders march into our “livable community,” introduce yourself and offer a friendly Natty Boh. We have plenty to share. And know that no matter what happens on the stadium turf, our credibility on hardwood might turn the tables come winter. After all, will our school and town make a bunch of money from these Midwestern visitors? You betcha!
Daniel Galitsky is a junior economics and finance major. He can be reached email@example.com.