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Beano Cook is not dead. On the contrary, Beano still walks the earth. We mean walk, too: Beano doesn't own a car, and hasn't for years. His lack of wheels means he made this interview by phone, most likely, and most likely a phone that has a thick green cord and rings with a real, non-digital bell:

Dead...if you mean dead sexy.

"The Big Ten is going down faster than the dollar," longtime ESPN college football analyst Beano Cook said. "It's basically the fourth-best conference behind the SEC, Pac-10 and Big 12."

Beano's uncovered an important trend: the irrevocable damage the switch the gold standard has had on the Big Ten. Fueled by the gold of robber barons made rich through industries that thrive in the midwest--breweries, home suicide machine factories, and Sansabelt pant outlets, for examples--the Big Ten claimed 18 national championships between 1920 and 1971. Once gold became less essential to establishing value in the economy, the Big Ten has only won two championships since. (Penn State's titles during the period came when they were independent.)

The answer is obvious: re-establish the gold standard, and soon we'll all be proudly driving American cars and spending doubloons again to get to the game of the year for 2017: Minnesota versus Illinois, baby. Once Ohio State fans invade Kentucky and claim the booty at Fort Knox, the conference can ride to the greatness it once knew like Conquistadors ravaging the plains for oro! (BTW: Minnesota owned the Depression, winning four national titles between 1931 and 1940, presumably because everyone else was faint and dizzy from eating their own shoes. Walleye contains significantly more protein than a boiled pair of size 9 wingtips.)

The Subcommandante will be happy to lead the way, as long as you don't run too fast, man, because his foot is totally killing him and he would get it looked at, but insurance is expensive, and that ain't happening because he ain't voting for no Muslim chick for president. Freedom means his foot's gotta pull itself up by its own bootstraps man. Plus, he's gotta save up for his WoW expansion pack, and that, like freedom, isnt' free, man.

(Or it could just be the combination of cyclical downturn, a slow reaction to the sudden uptick in football spending by the other big conferences, a demographic shift towards the Sun Belt, and unfortunate matchups in bowl games. But the gold standard explanation is way cooler, because it involves whole bars of gold, matey! GOLD!)