If Big Ten Teams Were Marvel Universe Characters, By Someone Who Has Never Seen a Marvel Movie

By Patrick Vint on May 2, 2018 at 11:22 am
Some dude
Some dude from Avengers (Youtube screencap)

I have never seen a Marvel Comics movie or read a comic book of any kind, so who better to compare Marvel superheroes to Big Ten football programs?

Apparently, there's something called "Avengers Infinity War" out now, and it has an amazing-or-maybe-horrible finish.  I have no idea what that references, beyond the existence of a movie starring Robert Downey Jr., presumably as Iron Man and not as his character in "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," which is a kickass flick. 

My Twitter timeline and Google News feed have been full of discussion of the ramifications of "Infinity War," a movie I will absolutely never see, because I've pretty much never seen any of them.  I've never seen a Spiderman movie, or a Superman movie.  I saw the first Batman with Michael Keaton when I was 8 years old, but that's the extent of those.  I've never seen an X-Man movie, or read an X-Man comic, or found out what an X-Man is except for former Supersonics forward Xavier McDaniel.  I know Robert Downey Jr. plays Iron Man because I saw about half of an Ironman while waiting for a game to start one afternoon, but all I know is that he wears an iron suit and flies.  I did see Deadpool one day, though.  That movie was fun.

But hey, it's the blog game, and we have to strike while the iron is hot, so it's time to return to a standard blogtrope: How a group of football things are similar to a group of non-football things.  For today, we're going to look at which Marvel Comics character each Big Ten football program would be, if Marvel handed Jim Delany a billion dollars and required all fourteen teams to become one.

Illinois:  The Thing

Take one look at The Thing, a 500-pound orange-and-blue monstrosity clearly capable of destroying just about any person who comes around it, and you'd expect it to be spectacular.  But The Thing never seems that committed to the whole superhero thing, can't hang with most of the more-prominent superheroes despite his inherent advantages, and would probably be happier and better off just playing basketball.

Indiana:  Nova

Like Indiana fans, Nova is perpetually pulled between allegiances to two teams, one far more successful than the other, and has since 1976.  Nobody is quite sure what his special powers are, but -- like Antwaan Randle-El, James Hardy and Tevin Coleman -- when he's using them, you know it.

Iowa:  Hawkeye

I mean, c'mon.  Sure, his only method of attack is through the air, which is the antithesis of all things Kirk Ferentz stands for, except the Marvel web page for Hawkeye is broken, which is actually more Ferentzian than running the ball 45 times a game and calling it 'balance.'   Also, dude's named Hawkeye and he was born in Iowa.  We're not doing brain surgery here.

Maryland:  Turtle Man

Some might object that Turtle Man is a DC Comics character and shouldn't be on a Marvel list, but Maryland was added to the Big Ten solely so we could get DC televisions Comics.

Besides the obvious affinity for turtles shared by both Turtle Man and Maryland, there are other connections.  Turtle Man moved very slowly and built a widespread criminal empire, which basically describes every season of The Wire.  He also set up a slow-motion bank robbery, and if Maryland in the Big Ten can be better described than "a slow-motion bank robbery" I haven't heard it yet.

Michigan:  Wolverine


Michigan State:  Luke Cage

Much like Luke Cage, Mark Dantonio uses his superpowers to take off handcuffs and get his friends out of prison.

Minnesota:  Namor

The obvious pre-P.J. Fleck choices for Minnesota were Thor and Winter Soldier, but in a post-Fleckian, "Row The Boat" world, we've got to go with the guy who has superhuman strength and stamina while in contact with water but turns into a normal guy when on land.  If you've watched Minnesota's offensive and defensive lines from last year, that pretty effectively sums it up.

Ohio State:  Crossfire

Did you guys know that Hawkeye beat Crossfire in New Avengers #55 AND in Avengers Spotlight #24?

Nebraska: Howard the Duck

Has been bouncing around since the 1970s, but truly came to prominence in the late 80s and early 90s.  Like Osborne's championship teams, affiliated himself with the Circus of Crime.  Practices a special form of martial arts only usable by water fowl, much like Scott Frost's Oregon offense.  And really, have you even thought about them as a superhero in the last 20 years?

Northwestern:  Mr. Fantastic

Widely considered the smartest man in the world, capable of expertly lecturing and practicing in all methods of science and technology.  Has made breakthroughs in time travel, computers, communications, energy etc.  Stretches the field on offense, and is always a difficult out.

And yet, when they make a movie around him, it sucks and nobody likes it.

Penn State: Daredevil

After 30 years as an independent, was repackaged in 1993.  Had settled into a pretty good job until some radioactive sludge fell on him, and everyone who knew him thought he would never work again.  Learned quickly to cope without 20 percent of his scholarships senses by hiring a good coach.  Has spent the last three years non-stop on ABC television, although most of Penn State's superpowers left with Saquon Barkley.

Purdue:  Lockjaw

Much like Purdue graduate Neil Armstrong or anyone flying into Purdue's own airport -- speaking of which, did you know Purdue has its own airport?  Because they'll tell you all about it!

-- Lockjaw has the power to transport himself and his friends to the Moon.  Also, if he grew a mustache, he would look a bit like Danny Hope.

Rutgers:  Human Torch

Human Torch is how a guy from New Jersey pronounces the name of New Jersey legend Bruce Springsteen's 1992 album Human Touch.  Also, Human Torch is a guy who sets himself on fire, which is basically what the Scarlet Knights do every Saturday during the fall.

Wisconsin:  The Great Lakes Avengers

Stop when this sounds familiar:

  • Live in Wisconsin
  • Has a mutant power to recover from otherwise-fatal injuries
  • Works with a person who "can morph into a super-obese powerhouse"
  • Set up their own branch of a brand that came to prominence in the 1980s
  • Was trained by Hawkeye
  • Feuded with Hawkeye, who didn't care for their use of his team's modus operandi

Marvel should just rename the whole series "Barry Alvarez" and pay him his royalty check.  Lord knows he'll accept it.

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