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Squid Game: Big Ten Coaches Edition


New York Comic Con 2021 - Day 2
Unfortunately, this was the best we could do for a legally-used Squid Game photo
Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ReedPop

If you haven’t watched or aren’t familiar with Netflix’s Squid Game, you surely have at least heard someone talking about it. Squid Game is a Korean survival thriller in which 456 people in financial dire straits play a series of six different games in order to win a pot of 45.6 billion Korean Won (approximately $38 million U.S. Dollars). Failure in any of the games however, results in death.

Having recently binge-watched the most consequential Asian import to America since Nintendo, and with this being a bye week for Penn State, what better time than to write a post about how each of the Big Ten coaches would fare if they were in Squid Game?

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched the show in full and don’t want it ruined for you, please stop reading now.





Bret Bielema - Can you really imagine Bert making it the approximately football field-length course in “Red Light, Green Light” within five minutes? Yeah, me either.

Mike Locksley - (See Bret Bielema)

Jim Harbaugh - As long as he doesn’t get too excited during Red Light, Green Light and fails to stop moving after sprinting out to the front, it’s easy to see him making it at least to the marbles game, as he would make for one hell of a tug-of-war partner. He’d be the most likely to pick the first number in the glass stepping stones game though, practically guaranteeing elimination at that point.

PJ Fleck - He can row a boat, but can he carefully carve his selected shape out of honeycomb? Eh, not so sure about that...

Scott Frost - Much like every close game he’s coached in at Nebraska, he would likely find some way to screw up either in Red Light, Green Light or in the honeycomb round.

Jeff Brohm - Does he have a pulse? Yes. Let’s play squid game.

Paul Chryst - Much like his demeanor, it’s very difficult to get a read on how he would fare in these games. He could lose in Red Light, Green Light, or he could make it all the way to the glass stepping stones stage.

Kirk Ferentz - Since he’s the longest-tenured Big Ten coach by far, we’ll liken him to Player 001 (aka “the old man” aka “Il-Nam”). Surprisingly calm the whole time, he makes it all the way to the marbles round before being eliminated (or so we think).

Tom Allen - The “nice guy” who pleasantly surprises everyone with his skill sets, similar to Ali in the show. Unfortunately, just like Ali, Allen could make the mistake of being too friendly, as Ryan Day replaces his sack of marbles with stones.

Greg Schiano - Since we’re talking about a Jersey team with a Jersey-bred coach and Jersey is well-depicted for its mafia ties, perhaps the Deok-su character is the best comparison for Schiano. You certainly do not want to be on his bad side in the dorm riots, but he will eventually screw over enough people that it comes back to get him in the glass stepping stones round.

Mel Tucker - If he is able to utilize the transfer portal to make a middling Michigan State program look similar to the teams from the early-mid 2010’s so quickly, then it would be foolish to underestimate just how far he would make it in the squid games. At the very least, he would get to the marbles round.

Ryan Day - Cold, calculating, and cutthroat: It’s easy to envision him playing the Sang-woo role. It would be mildly shocking if he didn’t make it all the way to the squid game itself. Definitely somebody you want to ally up with during the dorm riots, at least.

Pat Fitzgerald - He could also play the Sang-woo role, given how he’s a graduate of an esteemed university like Northwestern, much like Sang-woo graduated top of his class in the best business school in Korea. Don’t be surprised to see him make it to the squid game itself.

James Franklin - Obviously, as a Penn State blog, we’re gonna be somewhat biased here, but James would be the best choice for the Gi-hun role (the series’ closest thing to a protagonist), which means he makes it all the way to the squid game itself for a showdown with Ryan Day for all the cash. Pretty much describes the Big Ten East title race for the last half-decade, too.