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Big Ten Power Poll, Post Week 4 HBO Original Programming Edition


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...

I had a good one for this week, then a blogger over on one of the other sites I write for coincidentally and unintentionally used it as a reference for his predictions story on Friday.  I didn't want to be perceived as ripping off someone's good idea, so I'll have to put it in my back pocket, to be used later in the season.  It might be better for conference play, anyway, so we'll come back to that one in a month or so.

But that left me in a quandary for this week.  Then I remembered somebody suggested in one of the OTE threads that I compare teams to HBO original programming (maybe from the Game of Thrones power poll--but I couldn't find it--so if it was your idea, please take credit below).  So, good readers of OTE, your wish is granted.

After the jump, of course.

1.  Wisconsin, 144 Points (12 First Place Votes)--The Sopranos


The king of cable TV original programming.  Bret Bielema is in many ways like Tony Soprano--no one really likes him, even his own family, but you will respect him.  His actions have caused countless hours of therapy for Bucky fans, and much like the series finale, last season's Rose Bowl finale left fans going what the fuck was that?

2.  Nebraska, 131 Points--Game of Thrones


The newest series on HBO is also one of the best.  It comes from a solid storyline written well before it became a series, and as we progressed into the first season, we come away wanting more.  Going to need to see a few more episodes, and maybe another season or two before we can declare it the best, though.

3.  Michigan, 110 Points--John Adams


John Adams was an excellent mini-series about one of America's most dynamic founding fathers.  And much like the miniseries, Michigan seems to be about one guy.  Facts are stubborn things, as Adams would say.  Interesting note--Adams had season tickets for Michigan, and was alive when the Wolverines won their last unshared national championship, back in 1799.

4.  Illinois, 101 Points--True Blood


You just don't know what to make of this series.  At times it has potential to be very good, like the first season was, but then it devolves into this mediocre morass of stupidity.  But then it rallies.  But then it sucks again.  So you tell me, is it good, or is it not good?  We're about to find out.

5.  Michigan State, 99 Points-- Boardwalk Empire


I think this is a good story, but I'm not sure.  It's only got one season under it's belt as a prime time program, and it had it's stops and starts last year.  Every time I thought it was going to start to get really good, it slipped, and slipped badly.  And although Steve Buscemi is a great supporting character actor, he might be miscast as a guy that can carry a series.

6.  Ohio State, 85 Points-- Deadwood


This was a great show that was out of control, set in the frontier town of Columbus Deadwood where the rules were that there were no rules.  It had memorable villains, flawed good guys that walked on the wrong side of the law when it was convenient for them, and when it was over, all you could say was 'Wow, what a ride it was.  But I think I need to go take a shower.'

7.  Iowa, 78 Points--Rome


This was a solid TV show that focused on two average Roman Centurions who rose above their pre-ordained social class and ended up making a big impact on the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.  This show had some bad moments, but for the most part, it was a really good TV show that was enjoyable to watch.

8.  Penn State, 66 Points--Big Love


Just as Penn State can't decide on a quarterback, the main character in this show couldn't decide on a wife, and as a result was married to three women at once.  If you have two quarterbacks, you have none.  If you have three wives, eat a gun.  And both the show and the Penn State QB situation are a jumbled mess, with storylines you can't follow and a Frank Harlow in the background, trying to run things but probably causing more harm than good at this point.

9.  Northwestern, 53 Points--Six Feet Under


This was a really good, under rated series that had a run longer than most people expected when it first came on.  The main show focused on David Fisher, who inherited a dying (pun intended) family run funeral home business that had been neglected for a long time.  David put in a lot of time and effort to get the home back to respectability, but to do so he had to overcome one challenge after another.

10.  Purdue, 35 Points--The Larry Sanders Show


The Larry Sanders Show was a light hearted comedy about a late night talk show that didn't really exist.  Larry Sanders was the fictional host, played perfectly by Garry Shandling.  But the show was real, and it was real funny.  Larry Sanders, much like Danny Hope, really didn't seem to know what he was doing, and you wondered how he got to be a late night talk show host. 

11.  Minnesota (20 Points), 12.  Indiana (17) Points--Cat House: The Series


Minnesota and Indiana follow pretty much the same pattern, week in and week out.  Somebody comes to their house, points at them, they go into a back room,  and then they are summarily degraded and abused for the next couple of hours.  You want to turn it off, but you're continually amazed at regardless of how different the opponent is, the result is still the same...they were owned, fucked hard, and the opponent walked out with a goofy smile on their face, no matter how ugly they were.  It's definitely a show you don't want your kids or wife to catch you watching, that's for sure.

And so ends our non-conference portion of the schedule.  We think we know who's good, we think we know who might be good, and we have a pretty good idea on who isn't any good.  But that can all change in the blink of an eye, so stay tuned.