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...
Well, if you're a political junkie, you are in one of two camps today--elated that your guy won, or crushed that your guy lost. And like so many elections do, the outcome hinged on, in large part, what happened in Big Ten country-Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
So what kind of campaign would your B1G team run? Could they win the presidency, or would they be relegated to the footnote section of American history? Let's find out.
1. Ohio State, 108 Points, (9 First Place Votes), Richard Nixon, 1972:
Most everyone hated him with the exception of his most ardent supporters, and his opposition lived to do nothing more than destroy him and dance on his grave. True, he was up to some no good nefarious shit that he eventually paid a steep price for, but he crushed the competition and won the election in historic fashion. Was it worth it?
2. Nebraska, 99 Points, Ronald Reagan, 1980:
Early in his career, he left one conference for another, but for awhile wasn't much more than a B rate team. When the campaign got under way, no one really gave him much of a chance. And as the race hit the home stretch it looked tight, but there's a good chance the entire B1G will go Big Red come election night.
3. Michigan, 86 Points, Gerald Ford, 1976:
Still saddled by some problems from his predecessor and an economy that had no real passing game, Ford fought the good fight but ultimately came up a little bit short. He gets a pardon for being the only Michigan Man who wasn't from the state of Ohio.
4. Penn State, 80 Points, Bill Clinton, 1996:
Clinton did a good job beating up unequal competition, but some reckless indiscretions lead to some really bad press and sanctions. Years later, though, he's well thought of by most people.
5. Northwestern, 72 Points, Michael Dukakis, 1988:
More than a few people thought he had a good shot after 8 years of Reagan, but his candidacy was fairly overblown. One look at him trying to play defense in a tank, and you knew it wasn't meant to be. But it was entertaining as hell.
6. Wisconsin, 64 Points, George H.W. Bush, 1992:
Had a big win in '88, won the Gulf War, and had the highest approval ratings ever. That seemed to set him up for an all time great presidency, but he tried to cruise into a second term based largely on reputation. That didn't really turn out to be, and he failed to win re-election. It's the quarterback, stupid.
7. MSU, 57 Points, Bob Dole, 1996:
Dole toiled near the top of his division for years, but never could break through. He was second fiddle on the Ford ticket in 1976 and in 1996 he couldn't get it done. That campaign never got off the ground, and he is remembered as a perpetual runner-up. Or little brother, if you will.
8. Indiana, 43 Points, H. Ross Perot, 1992:
You really don't belong, but some people are making a lot of noise that you do and coming up with wild scenarios of you getting to the Pasadena White House. Ain't happening, though.
9. Minnesota, 34 Points, Hubert Humphrey, 1968:
Humphrey had a lot going against him in 1968, and the Presidency was always going to be an uphill climb. But he fought the good fight, did well in his home state, and stayed competitive until the end.
10. Iowa, 31 Points, Adlai Stevenson, 1956:
One of the most forgettable Iowa teams in a generation perfectly matches the lifeless, going through the motions campaigns in political history. Stevenson had a hard time connecting to voters on the campaign trail, probably because of his stoic expression and (unwarranted) reputation for being an aloof egghead. Oh, and his campaign coordinators sucked, too.
11. Purdue, 17 Points, George Wallace, 1968:
Wallace was a darkhorse candidate in 1968, but more than a few people thought that the two guys at the top of the division were both fatally flawed to the point of being ineligible. Then Wallace could sneak in through the back door. Wallace was shot, however, rendering both ACL's useless for the rest of his life.
12. Illinois, 10 Points, Alf Landon, 1936:
Landon got his ass kicked at a level that is difficult to comprehend, and the only victories he could claim on election night were the equivalent of a couple of FCS-level states that were minor victories, at best. Illinois also believes the Republican Party Fool's Gold theory that trips into Pennsylvania will bear fruit.