As expected, the response to my Big Ten Valentines request has been strong. Although I haven't heard from every fan base, I wanted to post some of the best love letters before wrapping up for the day.
Nithin from Bloomington, Ind.: I love my Hoosiers because of the excitement surrounding this team in the upcoming years. Bill Lynch has departed, and Kevin Wilson has brought in an above average recruiting class. He brings a winning mentality to the Hoosiers, something that has been lacking for a very long time. We should be very good offensively and if our defense improves, we should make a bowl game this year!
Austin from Sioux Falls, S.D.: I love the Iowa Hawkeyes because of their passion to win each and every day. Lets face it, we don't get the top recruits year in and year out, but we always get players to the NFL combine. I love how the Iowa coaching staff develops their players. I love how lately, you can never count Iowa out of any game. Kirk Ferentz and his staff can prepare like no other team. After the suspension of "DJK" and Adam Robinson, who really thought Iowa was going to beat a top 12 Missouri Tiger team? Hawkeye fans did. Thats another thing, Iowa fans travel as well as any team in the country. I love the Big Ten because each and every year a team will come out of no where and have a shot at the big ten title. Two years a go it was Iowa, Last year it was MIchigan State. I love the Iowa Hawkeyes because of Kinnick Stadium. The atmosphere that Kinnick Stadium provides is just awesome! I'm 17 years old and drive the 6+ hours each and every Saturday, no matter who we play, just to be a part of the tremendous atmosphere of Kinnick Stadium. Remember the black and gold out vs penn state this year? That was just an amazing site to see! I love Hawkeye Football all the way from Kinnick Stadium, to the voice of the Hawkeyes Gary Dolphin, to down Melrose avenue and the taste of the big a$$ turkey legs.
Dave from Chicago: I want Kirk Ferentz to be my valentine this year...it wasn't an easy year to be a Hawkeye, but it rarely is. On the field disappointment and off the field scandals made for a pretty disappointing year, but somehow, someway, there is always hope and pride in Iowa City. Win 11 games or 4, it doesn't matter because of the attitude that has been instilled at the top of Iowa football. They use the term "break the rock" often. It's all about going out every day doing their job, working hard, even if the fruits of labor aren't immediately seen. Ferentz is one of the classiest guys in all of sports and is respected and revered among Hawkeye fans as a near deity. The way he projects himself works its way down the chain: to the assistants, to the players, to the University, and to the fans. I wouldn't change our leadership at the top for anything. Many Iowa fans probably wouldn't either. That kind of loyalty and faith in a program doesn't come along too often. And one of these days, that rock is finally going to break for Iowa football. And I can die a happy man.
Matt from Farmington Hills, Mich.: Adam, I love Michigan football! To me, there is no greater thrill than to see those winged helmets rush on to the field as the band plays, "The Victors". I love Michigan's proud history of football excellence. I love Michigan's iconic players who demonstrated toughness and talent, like Jarret Irons, Glen Steele, Sam Sword, Steve Hutchinson, Jake Long, Desmond Howard, Charles Woodson, Anthony Thomas, Chris Perry, Marlin Jackson, Mike Martin, and Denard Robinson. I love that Michigan football is a brotherhood of former and current players and coaches. I have always sensed that they truly believe that Michigan football is something special. That feeling is contagious for fans. At some point in our lives we have all stood in the presence of something great. Being around Michigan football for me means witnessing greatness. Bo Schembechler, rivalry, Bob Ufer, championships, The Big House, defense, and toughness... What could be better?
Bruce from Grenada Hills, Calif.: University of Michigan, How do I love thee? I love the family connection thou hast established. (Both parents, all 4 grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins among fellow alumni.) I love thy fellowship of greatness. (It's nice to be counted alongside names like Gerald Ford, Arthur Miller, Mike Wallace, James Earl Jones, Larry Page, Lucy Liu and Tom Brady.) I love thy standard of academic excellence. (Consistently ranked among top universities in the country.) I love thy continuing tradition of athletic achievement. (53 national championships in 12 sports, including 2010 Men's Gymnastics. Regularly among the leaders in the Director's Cup-Capital One Cup standings) Mostly, I love the memories thou hast given me. (Crisp Fall Saturdays at the Big House, late night studying in the "UGli", pizza at Cottage Inn, Winter nights "traying" in the Arb, intramural sports of every kind, Spring afternoons on the Diag.) Hail, Hail to you. Thou truly art the leaders and best.
Pumpkin from East Lansing, Mich.: From the bells of Beaumont Tower and passing by The Spartan Statue on a sunny afternoon. Walking along the winding Red Cedar, and strolling through the Beal Botanical Gardens. Seeing Spartan Stadium filled with Green and White, and respecting Magic's Statue outside Breslin Center. MSU's campus is truly one of the largest and most beautiful in the nation, those of us with Spartan truly cannot deny. GO GREEN!! GO WHITE!!! GO STATE!!!!
Andrew from East Lansing, Mich.: Michigan State: Whether it's the white Spartan Helmet over the actual green helmet, or Sparty roaming the sideline, there's nothing quite like MSU football. Having been able to watch Greg Jones from a freshman all the way to his graduation has been special and he will be missed dearly. However, there is still so much to love about MSU going into next season. Kirk Cousins, Bake, Cape, Bell, and Key all can make big plays. Conroy is one of the most underrated kickers in the nation. A new crop of young, talented linebackers are eager to step in and fill the big shoes with most of our secondary intact. But the piece de resistance has to be Coach D. Having experienced a year of John L. slapping himself, nothing better could have happened to MSU than to get Coach D. His teams have delivered some very frustrating performances and seasons, but you can't argue with a school record 11 wins. The only thing left to do is win some big games which we will have more than enough opportunity to do in the next few years ('Bama, Boise, WVU, OSU, NEB). Either way, my love will always go out to MSU.
Amanda from Fort Rucker, Ala.: There is so much to love about being a Nebraska Cornhusker! As a member of the military currently in the heart of SEC country, getting together with other Nebraska fans for every game, and seeing a number of Husker flags and stickers on the cars around post on a daily basis makes me so proud to be a Cornhusker! And I love that whenever someone sees me in my Husker attire (which is pretty much every day when I'm out of uniform) they love to stop and talk football and there's always some game we played in that they remember, whether fondly or not! I love being a fan of a team with such tradition and history!
Ron from Shelby, Mont.: Why do I love the Nebraska Cornhuskers? Hmmm. What an interesting question! I love the Big Red because they are just like me. They come to work (class, practice, and games) with an attitude and desire that they are the very best! The Huskers will work hard every down, and win or lose, those boys will stand proud that their very best was left out on the field. Did I mention walk-ons? You know, those home grown boys that step out and try their very best to wear that helmet with the red "N" on the side. Names like Makovicka, Schlesinger, and I.M. Hipp. These men knew what a dream was, and they chose to follow that dream all the way to the football field. This is what drives Nebraska and all of America. Finally, I love Nebraska Football because they represent my upbringing and my values. On the stadium wall it says, "Not the victory, but the action. Not the goal, but the game. In the deed, the glory!" Cliche', but it speaks volumes about the legacy left by every football players former position holder. It is about turning boys into respectable and responsible young men! GO BIG RED!!!!!!!
Scott from the Quad Cities, Ill.: Why I love my team: Northwestern Football - A team with a first class head coach who recruits players with outstanding character. A coaching staff that teaches them to be true student athletes and leaders on and off the field. Winning with high academic standards at a world class academic institution while earning their degrees and graduating prepared for life not necessarily in the NFL. A team that never givies up or gives in and earns their successes via an applied work ethic and determination. A team with momentum and direction. What more is there to love? Go 'Cats
Sam from Indianapolis: What is not to love about Northwestern? Our leader, Fitz, is one of the greatest up and coming coaches in the nation. We have produced the best QBs in the Big Ten in Persa, Kafka, Bacher and Basanez. And most of all, we NEVER forget the most important thing: character first, winning second. GO CATS!
Ryan B. from Mansfield, Ohio: I love the Scarlet and Gray. I love walking across High St and seeing the sea of mostly scarlet attire. I love yelling out O-H and hearing I-O, every time. I can be in Florida wearing an OSU shirt and I will hear O-H. Every vacation, every location, it happens. I love going into the Shoe with 105k of my closest friends and cheering our Bucks on to victory. I love singing Carmen Ohio after the games. I love Jim Tressel's sweater vest, even though I'd personally never wear one. I love the goosebumps, the tingle, every time I go to a game. I love everything about my Buckeyes, and although summer is my favorite season I count the days down to the beginning of autumn, and the beginning of the next Buckeye season. Go Bucks! O-H!!!
JD from Columbus, Ohio: I love Scarlet and Gray. I love Woody Hayes. I love the only two-time Heisman winner. It's about 6 Heisman winners with 7 trophies. It's about having offensive lineman finish in the top five of the Heisman voting (Pace, Hicks). But it is so much more. The walk to the Horseshoe on Saturdays. The smell of tailgaters, grilling their Brats and Burgers. Cracking one open at the Varsity. Seeing friends that I wouldn't normally see any other time of year. Watching my daughter wear her Buckeye Cheerleading outfit. And spending one more Autumn afternoon with my Dad and Mom, sharing in all things Ohio State.
Mike from Kingston, Pa.: Hey Adam. I'm a Penn State Alum that unfortunately was there during the "dark period" the early 2000's. I witnessed the 6-4 Iowa game. I digress...I'll give you 5 reasons why I love Penn State: 1) Joe Paterno. The icon of our program and college football. I'll be sad to see him go. 2) Game Day Experience. I challenge any Big 10 team to beat us on game day experience. From tailgating, to the old school blue busses dropping the team off, to our student section, to our White Outs that other schools try to copy. (though I will give some props to Madison for Jump Around). 3) Fans. Passionate and loyal. We travel as well as anyone too. Our student section is outstanding. 4) Uniforms. Love them or hate them. I'll take the former. 5) WE ARE... PENN STATE. Any Penn Stater knows this one. 110,000 fans screaming it across the stadium at each other means its kickoff time in Happy Valley.
Logan from State College, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University, I don't know how to put my feelings into words so that you could truly grasp the enormity of my love for you. Grwoing up watching football games from 2 years old on (even listening to games on the radio for those few games that didn't make it on TV), wearing blue and white every Saturday (even when it's not football season), knowing the words to the Alma Mater before I learned my high school's song, you were the only place i applied to for college, you've given me more than i could ever give back. When we win, the town rejoces, when we lose, we go into mourning. It isn't a game, it isn't a school, it's not a mascot, it's our community... It's LIFE! We are not normal, WE ARE PENN STATE
Mark from Indiana: I love Purdue because it's tough to love Purdue right now. We wouldn't enjoy the highs if we didn't also have to go through the lows.
Grant from Los Angeles: Adam, My Valentine's Day love goes to Wisconsin, which manages to take its football and basketball teams further than any rating of their squads' collective talent attempts to predict. They aren't flashy, but they get it done