An Ode To The Big Ten Commercial
Ten years ago, before the 2014 college football season, the Big Ten expanded to include Maryland and Rutgers to jump to a 14-team league.
With two new schools in the fold, the Big Ten decided it needed to show how amazing and interconnected its teams were and created what would become the most iconic commercial in all of college football.
It’s the commercial titled “Big Ten Conference PSA: Maps.” If you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade and somehow don’t know what I’m talking about, please refresh yourself with this masterpiece of a commercial below.
It debuted for the first time back on August 29, 2014, and I don’t know about you, but this commercial is the definition of nostalgia. Whenever I hear this commercial come on, I think back to my time as a kid, sitting in my living room watching Big Ten football — especially the Nittany Lions.
Everything about this commercial is perfect. It starts with a shot of the Rose Bowl, the stadium where the winner of the Big Ten used to annually compete against the Pac-12 winner at the end of the season. It pans through the mountains and rolls through Big Ten country starting in the Midwest at Nebraska, going all the way to the East Coast when it reaches Rutgers.
The commercial shows off subtle hints as it goes across each university by showing Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium jumping up and down like students during games, a train moving for Purdue, and (as dumb as it is) people chanting “O-H! I-O!” next to Ohio Stadium.
One of my favorite details in the entire commercial is that it’s done perfectly. It’s exactly how it would be if you were seeing this on a map. Most of the schools that are in the Midwest are on flat land, while Penn State is next to a set of mountains, just like how it is in real life.
While the art and animation are great, the real kicker that makes the commercial go from great to amazing is the song in the background. It is a sample of a song called “Silver Lining” by Guards. I’ve never heard of this band before, but whoever was in charge of finding a song that matched the vibe of this commercial, you deserve everything in life.
The song has such an amazing vibe. It makes you feel like you’re in the commercial itself, floating across the country above every Big Ten campus. The lyrics “I want to live forever” perfectly match how fans want to feel when watching college football. You want to live forever and never lose that feeling.
Before the 2021 season, the Big Ten decided to change the song to “All Come Together” by Brian Colin Burrows. People hated it so much that folks took to social media to discuss that the commercial was ruined. Folks even started petitions to change the Big Ten’s mind and revert back to the old song, which it eventually did.
Unfortunately for fans, however, the commercial will likely have to either be changed or scrapped altogether starting next season. In the fall of 2024, Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Washington will join the Big Ten, and the conference will have to decide what it’s going to do for a new commercial.
Now I know what you’re saying, “Well, it’ll just update it with the four new teams that are joining the Big Ten. Easy fix.” For the people who say that, I say, “No, thank you.”
For starters, I have no idea how it’s going to make four West Coast schools fit in the commercial. Now that the College Football Playoff will use the Rose Bowl every season for playoff games, the traditional Big Ten-Pac-12 battle is over.
Even if it tries to make a similar commercial with all 18 schools, I feel that it wouldn’t be the same as the original. As much as I don’t want this commercial to go, all good things must come to an end.
“I hope that we can all want to live forever on a boat out in the sea. I hope we can all build a happy home, a home for you and me. I hope that we can all touch the silver lining that we’ll be shining everywhere. I hope that we can all live forever, I don’t care.”
So, Big Ten maps commercial, I say goodbye and farewell. I hope one day, I get the chance for someone to ask me why I love the Big Ten, and I’ll be able to respond by showing this fantastic video.
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