With Spring football out of the way, and a couple of new teams on their way in, I asked the OTE Writing Team to help me put together our Post-Spring, Probably-too-early, New B1G Power Poll. Of course, with 14 teams now, I've realized that getting these out is going to be even more difficult than ever. So, if you ever have ideas that can encompass 14 teams, I'm always up for suggestion. And yes, we will have a new GoT Power Poll next Fall.
With that said, it's Springtime in the Midwest which means we're all finally breaking out the grills and so to commemorate the beautiful thing that is cooked flesh (uh... that sounds weird), we're doing an All-Meat Power Poll. As a point of order, this weeks Power Poll had 15 voters and scoring now goes 14 points for 1st, 13 for 2nd, 12 for 3rd, etc. Also, I've included Agent of Chaos, Mike Jones's comments after each school because a) his voting is the reason MSU is 1st despite having half as many FPVs as OSU, and b) his thought process is flawless. So let's get to it.
1. Michigan State - 192 Points (4 First Place Votes) - The Prime Rib
Look, you're capable of being the absolute best when you're covered in foil and allowed to slowcook for hours on end while the world waits with bated breath in hopes of you not sucking. When prepared properly, you are the epitome of beauty that is Midwest beef. When not cooked properly - or given an offense that moves the ball forward - you are just another sad piece of meat that people begrudgingly admire despite knowing someone screwed up.
Mike Jones, Agent of Chaos: 7. Michigan State: This is the year the dorm-fights finally take a toll on Sparta.
2. Ohio State - 191 (8) - Pork Belly
Given all of the other types of meat out there, it's hard to argue that there is any better than the Pork Belly. More substantial than bacon, harder to screw up than steak, good on its own or with sides, you prove that having it all is pretty damn awesome. Of course, you're also still not quite at the top of the mountain right now after last year just ended with you feeling a little overrated. Maybe that's just the Tajh Boyd talking, but if you want to really be the top meat next year, you're going to have to learn to use your versatility to its maximum. Being a fancy bacon won't do.
Mike Jones, Agent of Chaos: 14. Ohio State: I just don't see how they can avoid those sanctions any longer.
3. Wisconsin - 166 (1) - Bratwurst
Sure, many people think of you as that cheap packaged stuff you get at any major grocery chain, but we know you better than that. You're a fine bratwurst made by only the best butchers in town. With a fancy blend of spices, and a healthy dose of Melvin Gordon, you will show the world why Beer, Cheese, and Brats are what makes Wisconsin great. You know, that or you'll give your fans heartburn and get ruined when you're going for the finish and somebody forgets how to remove the brats from the grill and then your friend tells you that its over and you all walk off the field sad. Yeah, that analogy isn't forced or anything...
Mike Jones, Agent of Chaos: 10. Wisconsin: Type II diabetes slow down the Badgers and force the students to show up even later than usual (they don't even show up at all).
4. Nebraska - 158 - T-Bone Steak
Remember that time you were the most popular steak in the joint? Yeah, that was when everyone had you as their choice dish. That time was also probably 20+ years ago and it seems like the only thing you can do these days is get the strip or the filet right. Never both. Nonetheless, you've stayed the course and managed to skate by on your name as of late, and with some actual talent on both sides, maybe you'll get it figured out this year. That or you'll ruin it and end up being fed to the cat. Lots of options here.
Mike Jones, Agent of Chaos: 8. Nebraska: I think their strange cat fetish will take a toll on the Cornhuskers.
5. Iowa - 137 - Pork Roast
You're best when prepared really slowly at a deliberate temperature by someone who doesn't want to do anything to mess up the end product. Sure, that might seem really boring - or at minimum remind you of your grandparent's style of football - but most of the time, it gets the job done. And hey, let's all be honest. Who doesn't love a well cooked Pork Roast? I mean, sure there's a chance that a fancy new chef might come in and try to spice up your exterior every once in a while, but at the end of the day, it will always be about the process.
Mike Jones, Agent of Chaos: 6. Iowa: It's Iowa so they have to be in the middle of the pack. It's in a contract somewhere.
6. Michigan - 134 - Lardons
You're similar to your not-so-distant sibling the Pork Belly, except you had your popularity peak a long time back, and mostly by a very specific group of high-minded people who thought they were better than everyone else. But seriously, you have a mostly-can't-lose profile of pork, fat, and more fat. It's excessive and delicious and if the new guy in charge can figure out how to not serve your QB up like a tackling dummy next year, maybe you'll even be competing to be the best. Of course, that's a lot of 'maybes' and I'm starting to think the pork fat bubble is ready to burst.
Mike Jones, Agent of Chaos: 9. Michigan: This is the year the Michigan men led by the Michigan Man FINALLY make the Detroit Bowl.
7. Penn State - 127 - Chicken
You're probably too hard to predict at this point. With the right composition and chef, you can be the base of the most amazing dishes in the world. Then again, you can easily turn boring and dry and really nothing more than a non-descriptive final product that leaves those in attendance with kind of a 'meh' feeling. Lucky for you, you have a very large following that will extol your praises and a secret weapon who can throw the ball really good. Um, not sure about the analogy, but Christian Hackenberg is really good.
Mike Jones, Agent of Chaos: 2. Penn State: Finally, Penn State has a coach who "gets" what it means to coach at Penn State. Unlike that other guy. And that guy before him. And that guy who apparently didn't exist for years.
8. Minnesota - 106 - Pork Tenderloin
First off, it's not lost on me that Minnesota and Iowa come from pigs. Floyd... I'm sorry.
You are a really nice, classic, and okay piece of meat. Most people find you as a very acceptable iteration of meat, if not slightly overrated at times. You need to become a little more consistent in preparation so that people take you seriously before you move on to bigger and better things, but all of the pieces are there to be a bigger player in the future. Hopefully the guy in charge can keep this thing moving in the right direction. If not, you'll end up dry and inedible.
Mike Jones, Agent of Chaos: 12. Minnesota: I imagine the Great Northern Lutefisk Shortage of 2014 will force the Gophers to quit caring sooner or later.
9. Northwestern - 90 - The Filet Mignon
I'm sure that you're probably very good and that pricetag reflects exactly how amazing you can be. Oh, and I'm pretty sure that all of your fanciness is not a sign of being overrated in the least, right? But here's the deal. You're generally missing that wonderful, fatty, excessive beauty that is marbled fat - or consistent winning... there's also that - and even though you were getting some pretty good hype last year, you ended up sitting at home wondering what went wrong. Now you have to deal with these workers who are trying to Unionize and the guys in charge do not like that one bit. So uh, good luck with that?
Mike Jones, Agent of Chaos: 4. Northwestern: WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE.
10. Indiana - 73 (1) - Bacon
While it may seem terrible of me to have Bacon rated so low, let's take a look at the situation for a moment. Your strength lies in one thing and one thing alone - being a salty, delicious, fat. You're less substantial than Lardons and Pork Belly, and for the most part, almost anyone can - and probably has - used you as a quick add-on to the schedule. But, that one thing you do? You probably do it better than anyone else. Now if you can figure out how to become a little more well rounded - like maybe upgrade to something other than just a puddle of grease that opponents run past on first down - then we'll see you rise to the top. Until then? This is probably a good spot for you.
Mike Jones, Agent of Chaos: 1. Indiana: Indiana has the greatest offense the Big Ten has ever seen. Matters not that this league requires defense and Kevin Wilson is going to be unemployed in a couple years due to him ignoring this fact.
11. Maryland - 72 - Crab
Look, we're letting you in because we were told Crab is really meat and will bring us more fans, but we're not sure if that's true. Sure, you have a fancy exterior and while it seems like you were just a pile of broken limbs last year, you promise that was just a fluke and you're going to turn that mess into some delicious crab cakes. I'm not sold on your Old Bay - or the chuck-it-to-Diggs - technique, but you gotta do what you gotta do I suppose. All I know is that you better bring crab cakes to tailgates. It's really your one job at this point.
Mike Jones, Agent of Chaos: 11. Maryland: The schemes of Francis Underwood have taken their unfortunate toll on the leadership of the Maryland football club.
12. Illinois - 54 - Hot Dogs
Unlike your friends in Evanston, you're kind of the opposite packaging. We're not sure if you can have nice things, we're not sure if anyone can take charge and make you special, and while there is certainly some precedent - Hot Doug's has proven that - we would like to see this current iteration prove something other than 'loses conference games like it's our job' before we believe in you. Lucky for you, you might be upgrading the quality of ingredients, and word on the street is that you're more than 50% real
college football team beef. So hey, moving on up.
Mike Jones, Agent of Chaos: 3. Illinois: I don't know why but I really think Illinois just might be the 3rd best team in the MAC.
13. Rutgers - 46 (1) - Spam
Again, we're not sold on what exactly we bought in the store when we picked you up. Sure, I'm told that you're totally 100% real and we shouldn't worry about what you can do. Your shelf-life is amazing and once you get past having a crazy person as your marketing mouthpiece - or, you know, AD - it will be all good. I'm not so sure that it will be all good, but you keep doing you and maybe your salty, congealed mess will turn into something amazing. Then again, I've had a fried spam sandwich and it was decidedly awful. So maybe things are what they are.
Mike Jones, Agent of Chaos: 13. Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights are going to need Ray Rice to clean up his off the field troubles before they're considered a viable football team.
14. Purdue - 29 - The Soy Burger
Can we be really honest for a moment? You are really just a fake meat product trying to act like a real meat product and failing at it. Sure, it has the same look, almost the same texture, and you can even grill it to feel like a real burger. But, when it gets right to it, you're more of a cardboard cutout of the real thing. I know this seems harsh, but last year was a disaster and while some of us though it might be a fun thing to
try to watch you play football try a couple of bites, I think we all realized just how far off from the real thing - you know, football - you are. We hope you get better this year, and maybe you'll upgrade to the Black Bean Burger, but we're not holding our breath.
Mike Jones, Agent of Chaos: 5. Purdue: This is finally the year when Purdue makes it back to the days of winning 4 games.