When I was but an undergraduate at the University of Western Ontario (before moving on to a superior school for graduate studies), my fellow engineering students would boast of the great pranks that engineering classes of yore had pulled, such as sawing a car in half, welding it around a flagpole, and rewiring it so that it could still start. But in the time I was there, the great pranks of yore were but legends, and we had been reduced to throwing paint filled balloons at buildings and calling pointless, needless, vandalism "pranks."
Such is also the case with College Football. In the halcyon days gone by, a prank against Big Football and Big Media would require complex planning resulting in stunning beauty: sabotaging a nationally televised card section stunt, for instance, or hacking into a PDP-8 computer in order to take over the game scoreboard. These days, such pranks consist of hacking a player's Twitter account or putting a sign that says "penis" behind Kirk Herbstreit on College Gameday. Though similar in spirit to the pranks of yesteryear, these efforts require little fortitude and little skill and will soon be forgotten by all except Google's cache.
But this devolution of pranking can be stopped, and the place where we make it stop is the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game. Much like Caltech objects to the Rose Bowl as a symbol of the perceived supremacy of athletics over academics, there is an institution in the Midwest that has the right to make the B1G Championship Game its prank playground. To put it in terms that geeks and nerds will understand:
Yes, the Big Ten's prodigal comrade, the triskadekic member of our conference and its Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the place where 65 years ago they cried "Enough!" and actually put academics ahead of athletics. The University of Chicago is the school with the brainpower, the deviousness, and the temerity necessary to restore pranks to their rightful place in big time college football. And what better place to do it than in Indianapolis, home to the headquarters of the moral turpitude that is the NCAA? And, seriously, Michigan State is playing. We need the possibility of non-Dean Winters related mayhem to have some reason to care.
As outsiders, we implore Chicagoans to take their rightful place as the kings and queens of Midwestern pranksterdom. However, we know that like all institutions, you may suffer from bureaucratic inertia that prevents you from forming new traditions. So, in order to help give birth to a new annual source of dread for Jim Delany, we humbly propose building upon your current traditions with the following.
For as true a scavhunt experience as we can provide, download the list in PDF or TeX format, or read it in HTML after the jump.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Under no circumstances should you attempt to undertake this scavenger hunt and we accept no responsibility for anything that happens to you should you attempt it.
- ____ Construct a scale model of the geography of the Big Ten in the style of the Game of Thrones opening credits. [+15 points]
- ____ We're going to need a sturdy table to hold all the models. This one should do nicely: http://cdn3.sbnation.com/imported_assets/886049/THROUGH-THE-TABLE.gif [+20 points]
- ____ A test or assignment from any course that is the equivalent to a course offered at Chicago, upon which one of the starting players of the championship game received an A grade or better. [+4.0 grade points]
- ____ An official game program from Chicago's last Big Ten victory, a 7-6 win over Wisconsin on October 31, 1936. [+13 points]
- ____ A tattoo from Fine Line Tattoos of Columbus, Ohio of any equation appearing in Michael Spivak's calculus textbook. Bring your receipt. [+5(n+1) points, where n is the number of integral signs in the equation]
- ____ There's no need to bring Urbana-Champaign into our community. Instead, bring us Urbana Champaign from Community. [+50 points]
- ____ Documents certifying that one of your team members has had his or her named legally changed to Thomas, Tommie, Thomasina, or any other name that can be reasonably shortened to "Tom." [+15 points]
- ____ It is said that Brian Cook's hair is like Samson's in that it is the source of his inveterate blogging prowess. Bring us his hair so that we can donate it to Locks of Love and a cancer survivor may develop the power to break down every second of Michigan football. [RPS +10 points]
- ____ The Big Ten Network has 168 hours of time to fill each week, and very little programming with which to fill it. Film and edit a pilot episode of "Maroon Sports Report" so that BTN fans can keep up-to-date on the accomplishments of Chicago's varsity athletes. [+22 points]
- ____ Indiana high school quarterback Gunner Kiel has reopened his recruitment. Commit a recruiting violation whilst trying to convince him to attend Chicago. [+10 points]
- ____ A group of at least four Northwestern students living together in violation of Evanston's "brothel law." [+(n-3)2 points]
- ____ Nebraska's greatest cultural achievement, Carhenge, is for sale. Purchase it and convert it into a real life Angry Birds level. [+30 points and 3 stars]
- ____ Iowa's Hawkeye Express needs a new car. Paint a Metra car black and gold to get a head start on its refurbishment and repurposing. [+25 points]
- ____ Chicago football legend Andy Wyant was nicknamed "Polyphemus" for reasons that seem to be lost to time, as pictures clearly indicate that he had two eyes. Prepare an origin story for his nickname. Points determined according to the amount of entertainment the Judges receive. [+5 points]
- ____ Hang Time! Running together. Hang Time! Did you know they made 104 episodes of that show? We wonder what happened to the cast. Please tell us "where are they now?" [+5 points per cast member]
- ____ On U.S. Route 41 between Chicago and Indianapolis, re-enact the classic cropduster scene from North by Northwest. [+10 points, +41 points if you actually dust crops during the re-enactment]
- ____ The most recent newsletter for the Quayle Vice-Presidential Learning Center in Huntington, Indiana has a wish list of items that the Center would like donated in order to improve its programs. Deliver them an item from their wish list. [+c/20, where c is the cost of the item in dollars]
- ____ SOCKFACE!!!!! C'mere, you little scamp. [+20 points]
- ____ At the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, take pictures of the plaques honoring every member of the Hall of Fame who is not a white male. [+2 points per picture]
- ____ Construct a drum larger than Purdue's Big Bass Drum. At Judgment all the constructed drums will play together in a drum circle and then be unceremoniously destroyed, because EVERYONE HATES DRUM CIRCLES. [max(0,S-16π), where S is the surface area of your drum in square feet]
- ____ In November 2009, WTHR-TV exposed health violations at Lucas Oil Stadium (L.O.S.). Bring us a picture of your team's logo next to some mouse droppings in the stadium. [+2 points per dropping]
- ____ Change the team names on any L.O.S. scoreboard to "Archers of Loaf-crosse" and "LAXshmi Singhers." Stay out of the...DANGER ZONE! [+184 points]
- ____ Program the retractable roof at L.O.S. to open and close seven times, to the rhythm of the opening riff of Seven Nation Army. If time permits, continue playing the rhythm of the main theme from the first movement of Bruckner's Fifth Symphony. [+777 points]
- ____ Identify the lab in Europe from which Peyton Manning received his experimental stem cell treatment, and obtain a phial of stem cells from them. [+666 points]
- ____ While Mark Emmert was president of the University of Washington, he was too busy planning his next job as president of the NCAA to fight the state's 50% cut to education funding at UW. Remind him of this failure of leadership by taking a 50% cut from the sign outside NCAA headquarters. [+167 points]
- ____ A link to a thread on the Red Cedar Message Board that avoids the use of profanity (as defined by George Carlin). [+1 point per profanity-free post, -5 points if any post contains a naughty word.]
- ____ Scale the Gus Grissom Monument in downtown Mitchell. [+10 points]
- ____ Photograph your team outside Jay Cutler's childhood home in Santa Claus. Be good. That is part of the arrangement. [+6 points]
- ____ The Arizona Cardinals' jerseys are just faded second-hand Chicago Maroons jerseys. We would like them back. [+1 per replica, +5 per authentic, +50 per game-worn. 3 jerseys max.]
- ____ To prevent such a laundry disaster from happening again, photograph a team member presenting a container of color-safe bleach to a player or coach for the Cardinals. [+5 points]
- ____ We will bring the lensgrinders. You will bring the prescription. Grind a pair of eyeglasses for Dan Capron. [+21 points]
- ____ Chicago's top secret plan to re-enter and dominate the Big Ten is nearing completion. Draft blueprints for a new football stadium for U of C, to be located in Jackson Park. [+50 points]
- ____ Famous Indianapolis steakhouse Charles Mulligan's has closed. Bring us the famous poster of Charles Mulligan. [+ all the bacon and eggs we have]
- ____ Prepare a one-man or one-woman show explaining all the ways in which I have violated the spirit of scavhunt, designed a road trip through Indiana that makes no sense, and otherwise spit on traditions that are not my own. [+0.001 points]