1. The Reach/House Tyrell= MICHIGAN STATE
Like the fertile lands of the Reach, Michigan State is blessed with a beautiful campus, and has had some recent success in battle so-to-speak (Big Ten Championship anyone?). Both have been smelling roses lately, and anyone endowed with the wit that the Gods gave a tree stump knows the Reach is too vital to the Seven Kingdoms to be counted out (same goes for the nation’s pioneer Land-Grant University). The lords and ladies of Highgarden speak highly of their home, and some would say that MSU is like a hidden gem in the Big Ten. Beware of Tyrell-men and the Spartans alike, because even the dullest of the Lannisters are wary of their power. Like the Reach, MSU is growing strong.
2. The Iron Islands/House Greyjoy= PURDUE
Iron men through and through. You can’t help but shiver at the sound of their drums, but small wonder why no one can take the Iron-Born or the Boilermakers seriously. Multiple factions have had their way with these people over the years. The only way they can score a victory is if they press their advantage against a wounded house. Fierce in the heat of battle, they don’t give up so easily, and their followers are loyal to the breaking point. Their successes, while few, are reputable. Both Purdue and the Ironmen are often known to worship idols that are either unknown or forgotten to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, ‘seems these guys are always getting the shaft.
3. The Storm Lands/House Baratheon= OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes have the same flaw as their Andal counterparts…everyone thinks they’re a king! Some like to point to the Storm Kings’ countless victories to boast their strength (like the older fans love to recount the records of Tressel and Hayes). Outsiders are oft to say they’ve only usurped (cheated) their way into power. Whatever the case, the fact remains. Both the Storm Lords and the OSU faithful COMMAND the respect of their opponents and allies. Nothing stands tall like Storm’s End, no different than the tall columns of the thundering Horseshoe. Tradition and Skill in Battle rules these lands, however the odds haven’t been ideal as of late. Some are beginning to doubt the importance of “The Game” between U of M and OSU just as the smallfolk are beginning to doubt the legitimacy of a king with Baratheon and Lannister blood.
4. (*Empire Pending*)/House Targaryen= PENN STATE
This is not meant as an insult, but by now everyone should know that in both cases of PSU and Targaryen, all it took was a couple of madmen to bring the whole empire down. Luckily, there are plenty of great people left to make a difference. They might be struggling now, in literal or proverbial exile, but make no mistake that both these powers are likely to return stronger than ever. Both the Nittany Lions and the Dragons of old are a proud and noble type. They are rapidly growing their support, and their recent successes can’t help but make us cheer. It’s safe to say that everyone is rooting for the likes of Daenerys and the men in the Dark Blue to make a comeback.
5. The North/House Stark= WISCONSIN
Minus the fact that it’s a bit chilly up there, the North is considered by many to be the greatest Kingdom in Westeros (or team in the division). You can get 80,000 screaming fans to “Jump Around” just as easily as you can bring 20,000 proud northerners to scream “King in the North!”, each with its own resounding effect. But it’s not so easy when its time to go someplace sunny. Disregard the fact that they always seem to escape with a victory in the midst of wartime (or regular season). Whenever the wolf hunts south, it always seems to end in death. Whenever the badger goes poking around Pasadena, it usually ends in a long journey home. But if television has taught us anything, it’s that these guys both show a lot of good character, and winning is more than about glory. It’s about protecting what matters most: family.
6. The Wall & The Gift/The Night’s Watch= MINNESOTA
Often left out of the picture, and almost always underestimated, these northerners fight to the bitter end, even when both of their beloved leaders have had some ill curse befall them. Other factions are likely to forget they even exist on the map (let alone on the season schedule for the Golden Gophers). For all their faults, they are still an admirable bunch. Both are known the world over for their defense, and though they play second to Wisconsin/House Stark in terms of glory, count on the Gophers and the Black Brothers to turn laughable odds into a thrilling come-from-behind victory.
7. The Vale/House Arryn= IOWA
Kinnick Stadium is NOT an easy trip for any opponent, and finding the red zone is often as easy as passing the Bloody Gate. They’ve had their ups and downs. True, these guys tend to go missing when the time comes for the “big dance”, but as sure as the mountains of the Vale are treacherous, neither Hawkeyes nor Falcons will go down without a fight. Pity the foe who stands against these tried and true warriors.
8. The Others/White Walkers= RUTGERS
Not much is known about these guys, except that they could be dangerous.
9. The Riverlands/House Tully= INDIANA
Like the proud Lord Edmure, Indiana strikes with surprising offensive ability, but sadly, Hoosiers and Riverlords alike have become content with letting other factions come into their country and do as they please. Indiana has been harassed time and again by other B1G teams, and the Tullys have maintained a less-than-glorified tradition of marrying off their royalty in order to sustain a small scrap of influence in the Seven Kingdoms. Make no mistake, however. There are plenty of “blackfish” among the more complacent Hoosiers coming in the form of explosive athletes and hopeful fans. Similar to Riverrun, the campus is no small marvel as well.
10. Kingdom of Dorne/House Martell= NEBRASKA
The Dornish were late to join the War of Five Kings, just as the Huskers only recently made their debut in the Big Ten, but already both powers have had a major effect. With Dorne, King’s Landing has a powerful ally. With Nebraska, the Big Ten has a legendary football powerhouse that has already claimed a division title and is well on its way to a second. Just like in Cornhusker country, the people of Dorne are very likable. They are clearly different from the factions around them in terms of tradition and how they treat their fellow man (friend and foe). Both Dorne and Nebraska have their arch-rivals, particularly in the state of Michigan. U of M (House Lannister) has wronged them before, and a tense history with MSU (Tyrells) doesn’t exactly help keep the peace in terms of unity among the conference (or Realm). Lincoln and Sunspear both bring their own special brand of awesome to the table, but don’t expect that Huskers or Martells will fight fair when push comes to shove.
11. Dragonstone/House Baratheon(Stannis)= NORTHWESTERN
We had such high hopes for these guys, but sadly, their flames have dimmed low as of late. Lannisters and Wolverines alike pulled through when least expected in their respective battles, and as a result, Dragonstone and Evanston have become a laughingstock. There are still a handful of fearless leaders who will stop at nothing to see that glory is restored, and that their rightful place in the lore of Westeros and the B1G is assured.
12. Beyond the Wall/Wildlings= MARYLAND
True enough, the Terps are a force to be reckoned with, as is the wilding host of 100,000-strong under Mance Rayder, King Beyond the Wall. That being said however, a keen eye will see that this rag-tag band of heroes is an absolute mess.
13. The Neck/House Reed= ILLINOIS
Wise men know the strategic importance of these lands. To get to the north, one must take The Neck. To complete the schedule, one must come out with a “W” in Champaign. Neither of these are simple tasks, as both Illinois and the swamp-dwellers deliver a powerful punch. Unwary factions (teams) will almost always fall victim to their traps. Like the Crannogmen, the Illini may be humble, and their importance be discounted as farce, but their spirit has never lost its luster.
14. The Westerlands/House Lannister= MICHIGAN
They are the champions of the west. They are leaders and legends. They have too much money, and no idea on what to do with it. They have good people and bad people among them, but ultimately, both U of M and the Lannisters are in a lot of trouble. Lately, things have NOT been going too well for either of the two. Being embarrassed by practically every other faction (B1G team) and being upstaged by the Tyrells (MSU) seems to have taken its toll, and its apparent that the end of their once-great empires will soon be upon them. Granted, there are a few favorites in the bunch, but its safe to say that not everyone is sad to see these guys go.