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Last Call Drinks Lager, Reviews The Spring Preview Series

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It's true.  I'm blogging live from my new (temporary) home.  The City of Angels.  Los Angeles, California.

I'm here for the next two months as part of a summer associate position with a large law firm to spy on USC.  Amidst the sprawling beaches, fawning green canopies, and silver lights, I hope -- like so many -- to find my place in the professional world.

Still, the Midwest is ever close in my heart.  So, although my surroundings glimmer with the echoes of the legendary, I'm still very much a citizen of the rust belt.  In that spirit, tonight, let's take a look back at The Rivalry, Esq.'s Spring Preview Series.

Esq_bullet_medium Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar.  A lot of people have asked about our cigar ratings.  The best way I can explain them is to paint the following panegyric: imagine, you're embarking on a five day, six night golf vacation to a choice oceanfront destination.  Naturally, you fill your bags with the essentials: extra long tees, cold longnecks, and thick cigars.  

The ratings detail the number of sticks that make the trip.  Every sweet leaf less than five, is one day you won't smoke on the back nine. 

Get the idea?  Here's where the conference stacks up:

Five Cigars: 
Cigar_bullet_mediumCigar_bullet_mediumCigar_bullet_mediumCigar_bullet_mediumCigar_bullet_medium
After much deliberation, we've decided that no one in the Big Ten is firing on all cylinders.  While several squads nationally might have garnered the coveted five (Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, USC), none reside in the middle west.  Accordingly, we're playing short a club.

Four Cigars:

Cigar_bullet_mediumCigar_bullet_mediumCigar_bullet_mediumCigar_bullet_medium

These represent the relative creme de la creme.  I'll be shocked if one of these three teams doesn't win the conference.

Penn State, Iowa, Ohio State

Three Cigars:

Cigar_bullet_mediumCigar_bullet_mediumCigar_bullet_medium

The fact that five teams fall into this category should signal a resurgence of competitiveness in conference play.  As Bama Hawkeye has predicted, this stands to be a surprisingly close coil.  Any of these teams have a legitimate shot of playing on New Years Day.  If, that is, they can outlast their peers.

Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern

Two Cigars:

Cigar_bullet_mediumCigar_bullet_medium

Standing alone at this tier is an Illini team that has the pure playmakers to rise to its past Rose Bowl form, and is plagued with spotting inconsistencies.  If any squad will be the baron of upsets, it'll be this one.

Illinois

One Cigar:

Cigar_bullet_medium

Like other BCS conferences, the Big Ten is stuck with its wallflowers: programs that have consistently underperformed in the midst of excellence.  Count on these two to disappoint, especially out of conference.

Purdue, Indiana

If TRE had to predict the Big Ten standings at present, they would look as follows:

1. Ohio State (8-0)
2. Penn State (7-1)
3. Iowa (5-3)
4. Michigan State (4-4)
5. Michigan (4-4)
6. Northwestern (4-4)
7. Minnesota (3-5)
8. Illinois (3-5)
9. Wisconsin (3-5)
10. Purdue (2-6)
11. Indiana (1-7)

That's 44 wins, and 44 losses, for those of you keeping track at home.  Stay tuned for the Fall Preview Series where we'll update these metrics.

More self-effulgence when Last Call returns to the barstool...