Which Kentucky Derby horse should every Big Ten team bet on?

Ah, the grand spectacle of the 150th Kentucky Derby, live at the bizarre time of 6:57 PM Central. There are few sporting events more outside the norms of the Big Ten’s cultural footprint in the Midwest than the Kentucky Derby. It’s in Louisville, there are big and crazy hats, and it’s a bastion of chic Southern aristocracy in the high country. But it’s also just across the river from Ohio and Indiana, so in the spirit of gambling and bourbon, let’s just cross the Ohio River and compare all the Derby Horses to the 18 Big Ten teams ahead of the race on NBC. .


Yep, that’s definitely Ohio State. Can’t you see the puffed-up Ryan Day thought himself furious as he shouted, “I’d like to see Lou Holtz right now!” after winning the Derby?

Catching Freedom:

Nebraska. They tried to grab freedom by leaving the Big Ten in 2020. In the end, they only caught Covid. And they have that silly Freedom Trophy that they’ve tried to turn into a rivalry with Wisconsin.

Always young:

Great Bob Dylan song! Unfortunately, this has to be Iowa. Kirk Ferentz has been coaching lives in Iowa City for a number of years, and yet the man still looks quite dashing for almost seventy years.


When the new B1G commercial comes out, it will have to happen quickly or that ad spot will drag on endlessly from UCLA to Oregon and all the way to Rutgers.

Phantom track:

While Washington won the title game last year, they lost their coach and most of their roster. They look like a ghost of their former selves going into this season.

Domestic product:

Much has been made of Bret Bielema’s strategy to recruit all the local kids from Illinois to come to Champaign. And Bret is also a domestic product, hailing from Prophetstown, IL! And its belly is probably also the result of a domestic lager or two.

West Saratoga:

This is pretty clearly Rutgers. They are technically west of Saratoga! And they are the closest school in upstate New York, at least I think so. I don’t understand the geography of New Jersey and New York.

Plain steel:

What do the Boilermakers work with? Trains, planes, shuttles and boilers. Just steel indeed.

Honor Marie

TO Password:

Just a matter of atmosphere, but Maryland feels like the kind of program that 1234Password would use as credentials for the system.

Sierra Leone:

Sierra Leone is Spanish for Lion Mountains. Sounds like the Nittany Lions to me.



Minnesota. Resilience sounds like an upcoming PJ Fleck motto when he finally retires the Row The Boat.


Just a touch:

It’s Michigan State and former coach Mel Tucker. I’ll leave the rest of the joke to you all in the comments.


Where else but Indiana and the Indy 500 would you find catalytic converters?


Only Northwestern graduates would use the word deterministic in a sentence.

Society man:

Ah, the man from high society. Looks like a man from Michigan, but also with the pomp and circumstance befitting a society man from Ann Arbor. (My wife, Mrs. Ohio Otter, rolled her eyes at this one)

Mystical Dan:

Welcome to the club, Mystik Dan Lanning and Oregon! Mystik Dan could also be the name of a Steely Dan cover band based in a dive bar in Eugene.

Epic ride:

Like a Harley Davidson from Wisconsin, UW had an epic ride in the Big Ten in the early 2010s. And then the epic ride took a detour after Paul Chryst crashed the damn thing into Lake Monona.


Encino is a fun neighborhood in Los Angeles known for the 1990s pop culture reference Encino Man. Just like USC, a beautiful campus in Los Angeles and known for the 1990s pop culture reference OJ Simpson.

These are all really terrible. I’m sure you can all do better in the comments below! And may all your Derby bets win and may all your juleps be cold.