Big Ten Country

Big Ten Country was the second book published by the famous sports author Bob Wood. Released in 1989, the book follows the 1988 Big Ten conference football season by visiting each of the ten universities over ten successive weekends. Just as in his first book, Dodger Dogs to Fenway Franks, Wood rates the universities and their towns on everything from restaurants and bars to mascots and tailgating fans.

Schedule and highlights for each chapter

1. Notre Dame at Michigan State. Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan. September 17, 1988.

Highlights consist of a nostalgic look by the author back at his days as a Spartan undergrad. First of 842 references to "crisp" fall weather. He also interviews and profiles various members of the marching band in great detail. The author additionally alludes to a womanizing and beer drinking past whilst listening to Frank Sinatra tapes.

2. Northern Illinois at Minnesota. Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota. September 24, 1988.

A visit to the long since abandoned and forgotten original football stadium for the Golden Gophers. Wood bemoans the fact that the Metrodome is not a good environment for a college football game. He additionally visits the infamous Dinkytown area made famous by Bob Dylan.

3. Michigan at Wisconsin. Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wisconsin. October 1, 1988.

Wood raves about how "Madison!" the town and college are. Exclamation points run rampant throughout the chapter. He discusses the infamous pranks pulled by the student government and describes a lovely and historic campus. A great deal of time is spent on the marching band's "5th Quarter" celebration after every game. Wood also tries and fails to explain a rivalry between the P and O sections of Camp Randall Stadium.

4. Michigan State at Michigan. Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan. October 8, 1988.

The author visits several barber shops and gift shops in Ann Arbor and overcomes his hate for U of M. Wood's highlights include a barber smock that features a U of M logo and a restaurant that places "An entire bottle of Heinz Ketchup on the table!"

5. Michigan at Iowa. Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa. October 15, 1988.

Wood runs wild through Iowa City with the "Beer Band" the night before the game. The band plays fight songs at ten different bars in exchange for beer. The author also attends a pre-game breakfast pep rally where coach Hayden Fry describes how Bob Stoops's dad was buried in a Hawkeye football jersey. Wood is also highly complimentary of the Iowa fans and their tailgating skills.

6. Michigan State at Illinois. Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Illinois. October 22, 1988.

Wood discusses the history and love fans have for Chief Illiniwek. His attempts to interview him after a pep rally however prove unsuccessful. After the game Wood visits the graves of two former Illini coaches, one of which is Robert Zuppke, and sees an orange Illinois balloon drift down from the sky and then blow away.

7. Iowa at Indiana. Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Indiana. October 29, 1988.

The author spends most of the chapter on IU basketball, his love for Bobby Knight, and his fruitless attempt to interview his hero. The football stadium is described as bland and the IU fans are belittled for not having good tailgating skills. Wood however is happy when he finds a restaurant in Bloomington that places an entire bottle of Heinz Ketchup on the table.

8. Michigan State at Purdue. Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Indiana. November 5, 1988.

Wood describes West Lafayette and Purdue as being boring, but he does highlight the great history of Purdue quarterbacks with Len Dawson, Bob Griese, and Jim Everett. He additionally spends a great deal of time with the Purdue band and their Boilermaker train mascot. Wood raves about Purdue's natural grass field. At the time it was the only grass field in the Big 10. Sadly, he is once again frustrated to find weak tailgating skills with the Purdue fans.

9. Purdue at Northwestern. Dyche Stadium, Evanston, Illinois. November 12, 1988.

Wood spends a cold, creepy night with a sorority pledge master named Verna at The Rock on the Northwestern campus. He attempts to explain the odd tradition of painting the rock at night by any group that desires to do so. The author also describes a cold wet game with so few fans that, "It felt like a high school contest." He visits with several die hard Wildcats fans that had suffered through a record setting 34 game losing streak. The chapter also focuses on the high academic ratings of the Northwestern players and how they had the only female Sports Information Director.

10. Michigan at Ohio State. Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio. November 19, 1988.

The chapter covers the Woody Hayes legacy and the intensity of the Michigan and Ohio State rivalry. Wood spends time in Papa Joe's Bar in Columbus and interviews the member of the Ohio State Marching Band that dots the "i" in the script Ohio at the game. The chapter and the book concludes with Wood receiving his first press credential and being allowed to sit in on Bo Schembechler's victorious post-game press conference.

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