I want to say something here about the burgeoning practice of planting a flag at the center of a college football opponent’s field after a victory. Have you noticed that this nonsense is generally perpetrated by perennially second-rate teams that get lucky and beat a good team that performed uncharacteristically poorly? Planting the flag is a classless, “in yo’ face” maneuver that, I suppose, provides instant gratification for a group of live-for-the-moment losers who will go on to lose the next week. Grab the glory while you can, idiots, because it will be short-lived.
It happened in the Illinois — Michigan State game. Perennial loser Illinois, who hadn’t won a Big Ten game in two years, finally won one, and it was on Michigan State’s home field. At the end of the game, a scuffle ensued as the classless Illini rushed to the center of the field to “plant the flag.” The Spartans should have just ignored this ridiculous gesture of pseudo-superiority, but they, too lowered themselves to the sewer level of sportsmanship by abandoning discipline and “defending their turf.”
Contrast that hooliganism with Michigan’s recapturing of the Little Brown Jug in Minnesota. The Gophers had won the Jug last year when they acted like kids in a candy store, running over to the Michigan sideline to grab the jug, planting the flag and making complete assholes out of themselves. This year, Michigan won. At the game’s conclusion, the Wolverine seniors and captains marched arm-in-arm over to the Minnesota sideline and calmly retrieved the symbolic jug. It was a classy act, which had been discussed and decided upon before the game.
I don’t know who started the obnoxious flag planting stuff, but it has no business marring what used to be friendly competition. There are schools where respect and class are integral parts of the program, Penn State and Michigan being two such institutions. While there will always be rogue students who deviate from the general classiness of these great schools, I hope I never see the day when such behavior is regarded as acceptable at Penn State.