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B1G Power Poll, Week 4: Confusion Reigns Supreme

Off Tackle Empire looks at the state of the conference heading into week five.

Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

So I'm filling in for Ted this week on the Power Poll. Unfortunately, life got a little crazy the last few days (I spent a substantial part of one day stranded on I-90 in Wisconsin with a flat tire and no spare. That was fun.), and the Power Poll got delayed. But, better late than never, right?

And, it's not as though we'll look silly in the wake of tomorrow's action because the poll got published late. Truth is, we have no frickin' idea what the conference strength should really look like. We're blindly chucking darts here hoping they hit the board. Or, in the case of Jon, hoping they hit some annoying USC fans out in L.A. Whoops.

Because we're flying blinder than Ted after too much Captain Morgan, it was determined that an appropriate theme for this week's power poll would be most confusing movies. So read on to find out if Minnesota and Northwestern are for real, and if the top really is still spinning...

All twelve writers participated in this week's poll. Please note, the movies aren't necessarily in order from most to least confusing. I just matched them with the teams that seemed to work the best. Warning: some spoilers ahead.

1. OSU -- 129 points (8 first place votes) -- Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko Bunny discussion (via DevonLegrion)

I love this movie. Really, I'm not sure I know anyone in my generation who doesn't love this movie. Okay, maybe my old college roommate, but that's mainly because Frank the bunny scared the shit out of her. I really can't blame her for that one.

Anyway, I like Donnie Darko as a stand-in for OSU because it sort of feels like OSU is existing in its own splinter reality right now. They may be the best team in the conference, but they can't really win anything at the end of the season. Just like Donnie Darko might have been alive during the movie, but really, at the end of the day, it all meant nothing. Right?

2 (Tied). Northwestern -- 123 points (2 first place votes) -- Inception

Inception Rotating Hallway Fight Scene (HD) (via ROFLSoldiers)

What's a dream? What's not? Inception is all about dreams within dreams and not knowing when you're really awake. That's how I've felt watching Northwestern for most of this season. I went in not expecting them to be all that good, but now here we sit and they're 4-0 and tied for 2nd in the power poll. Given that their conference opener is against Indiana, it's easily possible they'll be 5-0 and #1 next week. But, while I'm proud of them for beating so many AQ teams, I can't help but hedge my bets. Have the Wildcats actually played a real team this year? Are any of those wins real wins? IS THE TOP STILL SPINNING?

2 (Tied). Nebraska -- 123 points (2 first place votes) -- 2001: A Space Odyssey

Hal wont Open the Pod Bay Door (via blondegal1957)

For the most part, what people take away from this movie is the opening sequence, a space baby, and HAL 9000. Which is fine, because quoting "I'm sorry Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that." really never gets old. But apparently this movie was about evolution and humanity encountering some sort of monoliths that accelerate their progress in leaps and bounds. Until we float in space as babies. Right. Well, Nebraska fans better hope that their defense is like humanity of this movie -- taking dramatic evolutionary leaps as they encounter new opponents. Other than that whole speedbump against UCLA, the blackshirts have been giving up progressively fewer points from week to week. Does that continue? Well, we'll see...

4. MSU -- 109 points -- Inland Empire

INLAND EMPIRE teaser (via Jonathan Janssen)

Way back when I was in college, I was a projectionist for the student run film society Doc Films at the University of Chicago. During one of my quarters, I was assigned to project a combined David Lynch and David Cronenberg series. That meant for several weeks, every Thursday night, I watched nothing but Lynch or Cronenberg films. Let me tell you, those guys are two confusing motherf***ers. No, seriously. The best of their movies only sort of makes sense, and the worst, like Inland Empire, are completely ridiculous. Inland Empire is a movie without a coherent plot. Oh, you think it has a plot. Sure, it seems like it's about some actress who gets a job on a cursed movie set and then starts suffering amnesia, making her think she's really her character. So far so good, right?

Except, at some point along this three hour ride, things just go off the rails. All of a sudden the entire plot from before is such a sideshow to little minor stories involving eastern European whores, a woman who is stabbed with a screwdriver, some really weird therapy, and talking anthropomorphic bunny rabbits (what is it with giant bunnies in confusing movies). At the end of the thing, you really have no idea what just happened. I feel that way about MSU right now. We thought they'd be the class of the conference coming into the season, and they did a mostly okay job of taking care of business in the season opener against Boise State. Central Michigan too. And then Notre Dame happened. After that three hours, I think I was just about as confused about the state of the Spartans as I was about the "plot" of Inland Empire. Week four's near death experience against Eastern Michigan didn't help any, kind of like how reading the wikipedia for Inland Empire doesn't do shit.

5. Purdue -- 89 points -- Total Recall

TOTAL RECALL TRAILER 1990 (via TheAlpacino921)

Much like Northwestern and Minnesota, Purdue definitely falls into the "Is it real or a dream?" category. So it's fitting that Purdue would be cast as another movie that deals with questions about reality. Except, in Total Recall, the subject isn't dreams but rather implanted memories. Total Recall is one of those movies that can seem relatively okay to follow, but leaves you with a final question of whether or not the ending is really the end. And if you watch it more than once, you can start to spot clues along the way that make you think that you maybe aren't getting everything you're supposed to. But, it's also enjoyable just as a straight up action flick. As one blurb on the movie put it:

It's a fast-paced case of interplanetary espionage with running, shooting, a three-breasted hooker, and a lot of broken glass.

Doesn't that sound like Purdue to you? I mean the Boilermakers are a fast-paced Big Ten team with running, passing, a three-headed quarterback, and a lot of torn ACLs. Clearly the same.

6. Minnesota -- 86 points -- The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects Ending (via rizor)

Like several of the teams that have come before them in this poll, the writers at OTE have absolutely no idea what to do with the Gophers. We seem to have marginally less confidence in their record so far than we do in Northwestern's, or in Purdue's, but that's not really saying much, now is it? At 4-0 the Gophers are definitely a team that can cause some serious head scratching. Well, at least until the end. Just like The Usual Suspects. A small time con-man weaves an elaborate tale to a police interrogator, getting himself off the hook and out on bail before the detective realizes it's all a pack of lies, mostly based on objects located in the interview room. Thing is, at the end of this movie, we know who Kevin Spacey's character really is. I have a feeling we won't have to wait until the end of the season to really know who the Gophers are.

7. Michigan -- 82 points -- Fight Club

Pixies - Where Is My Mind? Fight Club Soundtrack - Footage Montage (via mikestroudwank)

Is Fight Club a confusing movie? Hard to say. It's a movie about multiple personalities that takes viewers on a ride, but explains itself pretty well by the end. Michigan football seems to have two personalities. On the one hand, they get creamed by Alabama (expected), and look rather impotent on offense. Then, their offense looks great against Air Force and Massachusetts, but their defense raises questions. On to Notre Dame and now the defense is doing okay -- at least better than Michigan State did -- but the offense can't score a touchdown to save their life. Which is it, Michigan? Who are you? I really don't know. Just about the only thing I know is that when it comes to Michigan football, the first rule is you don't talk about arm punts.

8. Wisconsin -- 68 points -- Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Dr. (1/10) Movie CLIP - Dan's Nightmare (2001) HD (via movieclips)

I couldn't have a list with just one David Lynch movie in it. Listen, there's really only one reason that I'm willing to watch this movie. Well, one scene in particular. If you've seen this movie and you know a little bit about me, it won't be hard to guess what it is. Unfortunately, I can't link that scene here. We are a family blog, after all. Okay, so we're a particularly dysfunctional and salty family, but you get the idea.

Similarly, there's only one reason I'm willing to watch the shit show that is Wisconsin football. Because I'm totally into the Badgers. It looked like Wisconsin was going to cakewalk to Indy this year, with the only questions being about well the defense could hold up, and what the quarterback situation would look like. Then it turns out the offensive line is completely incapable of doing, well, anything they're supposed to do. Surprise! Mulholland Drive is like this. Oh sure, you think ti's going to be a movie about an amnesiac on the run from a squad of mob hit men, but then there's a naked cowboy, a creepy guy in a diner, and a mysterious blue box. Surprise! Do you ever get answers to how these things fit into that first plot? Nope. All you get is silencio.

9. Penn State -- 45 points -- Memento

Memento-Beginning At The End (via darkhorse76)

Memento is a movie about a man searching for his wife's killer... except, he has no short term memory. So he has to re-learn things every single day. Watching Penn State these days, it's like the Nittany Lions are relearning how to play football every single game. Unfortunately for Penn State fans, they still have their short term memory intact.

10. Iowa -- 40 points -- Vanilla Sky

Awesome movie scene #102 - Vanilla Sky (via awesomemoviescenes)

Oh Vanilla Sky. I've seen you twice and I still don't know that it all makes sense to me. Tom Cruise is a guy who experiences crazy hallucinations and who is tormented by his dreams. Or are they dreams? Or maybe a book he's writing? Or the effects of some really awesome drugs? Or THE FUTURE? I don't know. You can interpret Vanilla Sky in so many, many ways. This is in some ways like Hawkeye football in 2012. Is Iowa just a bad team? Have they been cruelly tormented by AIRBHG? Or are they underacheivers being held back by an enigmatic coach? You decide.

11. Illinois -- 22 points -- Videodrome

Videodrome - TV Scene (via HowlingMads)

Yeah. This was another one of those movies that I saw during my time projecting the Cronenberg / Lynch film series. I'll fess up.

I don't understand this movie. I will never understand this movie. I don't understand Illinois football. I will never understand Illinois football.

12. Indiana -- 21 points -- Pi

Pi (12/12) Movie CLIP - Max Drills His Head (1998) HD (via movieclips)

This movie is about math. And conspiracies. And Hebrew. And God. Really, it's about a lot of things. The takeaway is that at one point in the plot the main character drills a hole in his own head. After watching Hoosier football, you might be tempted to do the same thing. Is it basketball season yet?

So, there you have it. What's your power poll like? And what are your most confusing movies of all time?