Let's be honest. Two of the easiest columns to write (and get feedback from your readers) are 1) the power rankings column and 2) the pop culture comparison column. Much like that magical day when somebody got their peanut butter on my chocolate (or did I get my chocolate in her peanut butter?), it was predestined that one day these two great columns would be brought together...
Everyone has a short list of movies that if you come across, you stop and watch. Doesn't matter where in the movie, 5 minutes in or 5 minutes left, you stop and watch until it's over. Last week's topic makes my list, as does a few others, like Shawshank, Caddyshack, and for me, the LOTR trilogy. All of them. And I've obviously been living under a rock, but I just heard a few days ago the first of the Hobbit trilogy movies will be coming out in December. Can't tell you how geeked up I am about that. And last night, as I was laying in bed flipping channels, unable to sleep because I couldn't think of a topic for this week's Power Poll (that's right, I lose sleep over this shit), what do I come across but
Baby Dolls Behind Bars on Skinemax LOTR: Return Of The King.
BOOM, problem solved. Oh, and Frodo? He's not in here. Can't stand him. He's a whiny douche, like the ESPN of the series. Deal with it.
1. Michigan (3 First Place Votes), 154 points: Samwise Gamgee
He's short, a little pudgy, and no one really takes him seriously at the beginning of the movie. They have him pegged as maybe the fourth or fifth best character, but by the end of Return Of The King he's arguably the most formidable and accomplished in all the Fellowship.
2. Ohio State (10), 153 Points: Aragorn
Went into a sort of exile over what his ancestors did, but he roamed the countryside kicking a lot of ass and trying to regain his family honor. You get the feeling he'll be king one day. Sooner rather than later.
3. Nebraska, 127 Points: Theoden
When the B1G wizards reached out to him, he was under the evil spell of Grima Wormtongue and Saruman, which is Latin for 'Dan Beebe and the Big XII'. Once rescued, he flourished, although he can't play defense for crap.
4. Wisconsin (1), 121 Points: Boromir
Kind of loud mouthed, kind of arrogant, he was a good fighter, but not really good enough. When the first big battle came for the Fellowship of the Ring, he got killed. One does simply not lose twice in a row at Pasadena, bro.
5. Penn State, 107 Points: Gollum
Once a well respected member of society, corrupted by power and now living in what seems like a permanent exile. Can still reach up and bite your finger off if you're not paying attention, though.
6. Iowa, 104 Points: Gimli
A tough little bastard, Gimli doesn't have the natural skill and ability that a lot of the other members of the Fellowship has, but he can go toe to toe with any of them. And he's ill tempered and ill groomed, like most Iowans.
7. Northwestern, 93 Points: Gandalf the White
Really, you think it could be anyone else? Pat Fitzgerald: Wizard. Although Iowa would have you believe he's Saruman.
8. Michigan State, 81 Points: Denethor The Steward
A fairly dour man, he likes to think he's King, but he's merely a steward and will never be king. When the battle for Middle Earth hung in the balance, and the stage was biggest, he basically self-immolated.
9. Minnesota, 48 Points: Bilbo Baggins
Many years ago, he was formidable, and great books were written about his deeds. Your grandpa might remember them, he might be able to tell you how awesome he was, but you have no recollection.
10. Purdue, 47 Points: Faramir
A likeable enough guy, I suppose, but he's no tactician. When he leads an attack on what is a superior force, the home folks weep as he takes the field, because they know he's going to get his head handed to him.
11. Indiana, 38 Points: Peregrin 'Pippin' Took
Peregrin Took is just kind of there. I never really think he's much more than a peripheral character in the story, and he's featured only because he's in the Fellowship. His nickname is after a prominent basketball Hall of Famer.
12. Illinois, 16 Points: Farmer Maggot
The name says it all. You live in the middle of nowhere, raise mushrooms, and are as wholly insignificant as your name sounds. Other members of the Fellowship run through your fields with impunity, and you can't stop them.
For the week, all 14 staff writers voted, with one writer not voting for Ohio State or Penn State due to NCAA sanctions.
All characters are based on the Lord of the Rings trilogy by author J.R.R. Tolkien, and all three movies based on the series were distributed by New Line Cinema.