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The 2014 B1G Power Poll Week 11: The Marching Band Instruments Edition

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

In an ode to the great tradition of college bands the Big Ten has, we turn our Power Poll attention to the instruments that make up those bands. This week there were 11 voters, and we see a lot of interesting diversity in highs and lows across our voting decisions. Oh, and Ohio State is unanimously number one after taking care of business in East Lansing.

Points are about as normal as they get. 14 for a First Place Vote, 1 for a Last Place Vote, and the scale fits everywhere else. Each team has the total points listed, high placement, low placement, and last week's placement. Finally, as I seem to point out at many turns, I really should have let Cory do this one. Anyhow, let's get to it! Band People, please don't be offended when I most likely make a mockery of your favorite instrument. Somebody has to be Indiana...

1. Ohio State Buckeyes - Snare Drums

154 Points || #AllTheFirstPlaceVotesMSUhadBefore || High 1 || Low 1 || LW 2

I asked Cory to give me any input he could on this piece. His response? "Well obviously Ohio State is the snare drum. They make a ton of noise, they're annoying as hell, but at the end of the day they set the beat for the conference."


Note: The comparisons probably only go down from here...

2.Michigan State Spartans - Trumpets

139 Points || H 2 || L 4 || LW 1

I always thought of the trumpets as the flag-bearer of the band. You know, the group of musicians who played the melody the loudest. Of course, sometimes they just literally played the loudest so that you knew they were there and were important. When things are working out well, this group is about as good as it gets. If someone gets out of tune - or another DB loses contain - well, it gets ugly.

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3. Nebraska Cornhuskers - Flutes

131 Points || H 2 || L 4 || LW 3

Ultimately, this group probably reached their peak somewhere around the Revolutionary War 90s, but we're just gonna assume that they can skate by on name recognition for the time being. The funny thing about the flutes is that eventually, they just sort of reach their ceiling as the accent of a good marching band. They can obviously hold their own based on pitch alone, but sooner or later the drums and brass drown them out. Oh, and yes I'm alluding to my belief that Wisconsin wins this weekend.

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4. Wisconsin Badgers - Tubas

125 Points || H 2 || L 5 || LW 4

Let's see... Big and bad? Check. Arguably the cool kid in class who eats a lot of fried food and drinks a lot of beer but is considered cool because he carries a tuba? Check. Arguably lacking in dimensionality? Eh... check. The fact that we haven't said the line, "You know guys, Wisconsin really is the tuba of the Big Ten," disappoints me. In my mind, it just works so well.

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5. Minnesota Golden Gophers - Saxophones

111 Points || H 4 || L 5 || LW 7

You're kind of hard to place in the band right now as you're not quite as powerful as the trumpets, but arguably more important than all the other woodwinds. Sometimes we like to claim how great you are, and other times we just pretend you don't exist - generally when you're getting beat by an Illinois. The thing about the saxophone, however, is that people may write you off, but you know how awesome you are and when you're not on the field murdering Iowa, you're over on the sideline playing sweet jazz music. I'm not sure that fits, but I played saxophone from 3rd through 12th grade and I see myself as a cool kid on the sideline. Uh... let's keep going.

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6. Maryland Terrapins - Xylophone

100 Points || H 6 || L 8 || LW 6

While generally kept to the sidelines to watch the action on the field, you are still one of the more interesting non-incorporated elements of the band. Everybody would like to laugh at the fact that you're just kind of over in your own corner, but you're providing more melody than almost everyone above you. Yeah, there was that snafu where you lost where you were in the program and Wisconsin scored about a million points, but that is in the past and you're ready to move on. All things considered, you've felt like being here is a success, and that's a good thing.

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7. Iowa Hawkeyes - Trombones

86 Points || H 6 || L 9 || LW 5

You're the ultimate, "When you're on, you're on. When you're not, you really suck," instrument. Of course we can also make a joke about being up and down - or even sad trombone - but you get it. Last week you basically spent all day trying to figure out how to get the stupid slide to get going and once you did, it was just a sad sounding mess of Maxx Williams haunting your dreams. In better news, I expect a trombone solo this weekend as you seem to do well when nobody is watching - or there's no trophy on the line.

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T8. Michigan Wolverines - French Horns

69 Points || H 7 || L 11 || LW 9

Quick, somebody tell me what the French Horn actually sounds like. Nobody? Well, the band types, but anybody else... No? See, the French Horn is actually a 17th century instrument kept around for the kids who don't play trumpet to feel like they have something unique to do. I'm sure there was a great peak back then, but it's been a while and I'm pretty sure we've just stuck you with the worst brass player we could find. I suppose we should applaud the fact that you're still around, but we're not into that sort of thing. I'm just going to assume that French Horn and "Beating Northwestern by 1 in the worst game ever" are synonymous and move on. Yes, I look forward to band hate mail later.

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T8. Penn St. Nittany Lions - Clarinets

69 Points || H 7 || L 10 || LW 8

The less cool saxophone, right? But seriously, you're another instrument that has it's roots in the past and just haven't seemed to find your niche in the marching band yet. I'm sure there's a home for you, but until you figure out how to project some volume and actually allow your quarterback to not die every time the ball is snapped, you're pretty much screwed.

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10. Rutgers Scarlet Knights - Glockenspiel

51 Points || H 8 || L 14 || LW 11

You're sort of like the portable version of the xylophone. A little more brash, a little higher pitched, and probably a little less vital to the cause. We had almost no hope for you when this whole thing started, but you've proven that on occasion you can rise up and be pretty good. Then again, maybe you've just proven that you're really inconsistent, look awkward when you march, have a mediocre coach, and can't stop the run to save your life. Let's say somewhere in the middle because it's late and I don't want to get into it right now.

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11. Purdue Boilermakers - Cymbals

50 Points || H 7 || L 12 || LW 10

You're really good at making a lot of noise, which is interesting because last year you were just two metal plates getting banged against the curb. While you're still a sideshow to the general big picture, you have proven you belong and we wouldn't be surprised to see you step up and do one of those really cool dance moves where the cymbals make cool whooshing noises and you intimidate the other band, just like in Drumline. Appleby is Nick Cannon in this scenario.

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12. Northwestern Wildcats - Wood Block

29 Points || H 10 || L 14 || LW 12

On one hand, you definitely have a place here. You've got a nice clean sound, akin to what a computer metronome sounds like, and people mostly like you. Then again, you're pretty much as bad as anyone when you get off beat - which lately is basically all the time - and if it all comes down to it, you're pretty forgettable. Oh, and who likes to be the guy just hitting quarter notes on a piece of wood as they march? I'm sure there's another cheap shot with regards to Trevor Siemian being about as useful as a block of wood in here somewhere, but that's just not very nice and it's not like he's getting a lot of help from his coaches and... well, it was a tough week for the kid. Let's just keep moving along.

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13. Illinois Fighting Illini - Piccolo

26 Points || H 12 || L 13 || LW 13

The thing about a piccolo is that although they have their place as the highest, most obnoxious part of the composition, they also manage to always be out of tune and make people's eardrums explode. I'm sure that there is someone out there who makes piccolos awesome and perfect, but that person is not Tim Beckman, and so this comparison works. I'm beginning to wonder if I should have made Cory do this so that when I hit publish, the piccolo and clarinet players of the world wouldn't get together to set my car on fire. Hmmm....

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14. Indiana Hoosiers - The Triangle

20 Points || H 11 || L 14 || LW 14

There's something so tragic about the triangle. It has a really nice sound and all, and we all feel bad that it's wasting it's potential Heisman campaign by running pretty much unnoticed in the back of the percussion section. The thing is, that's just kind of what we have to do right now. We don't trust you to do too much more without completely imploding. I'm sure that you started the season as something cool and sexy like the Quad Toms or something, but after completely imploding, you're left here. Sorry about that. Better luck next year?