Warning: There are some extreme spoilers here for Season 4 of Game of Thrones. Like, I'm basically telling you major plot points to make funny jokes about each Big Ten team. If you intend to watch Season 4 of GoT and haven't, and if you are all like, "Man, it would really suck if I knew ____", now would be an excellent time to stop reading and just look at the rankings and such. Again, you've been warned. If I hear one word out of... /firstcommentwhiningaboutspoilers Deal with it.
This is our 16th edition of the 2014-15 B1G Power Polls. At some point in the next few weeks we will look back over the season and do graphs and fun infographics like last year, but this week, it's time for a different sort of thing. This week it's...
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.. sorry... got carried away there. Where was I? Oh right, I promised a Game of Thrones Power Poll during the preseason, and I have definitely not forgotten. I did want to give almost everyone a chance to catch up on Season 4, but like I said in the Spoiler Alert above, it's time we bring it on. Similar to our friends in Westeros, things were afoot this season. At times we both thought all was lost and that all men must die - or had died... sorry Illinois - but then a funny thing happened. Rights were wronged, the B1G came out looking good, and we have seen the enemy go down. Whether it was by giant scythe that rolled through a bunch of Wildlings or a Cardale Jones that went through a bunch of Ducks, it was a beautiful thing to behold.
As always, the Power Poll awards 14 points for a first place vote, 13 for a second, and so on. You know the drill by now, right? There were 10 voters, and remember, Game of Thrones is a TV show on HBO that is amazing and that you all should watch because dragons, swords, pretty people, violence, politics, sex, magic, and more storylines than I can keep up means it's probably the best thing ever. Got it? Sweet. Let's go.
1. Ohio State - Tyrion Lannister
140 Points || First Place Votes: All of them || High 1 || Low 1 || Last Week 1
In the very beginning, things looked pretty sketchy for you. You were wrongfully imprisoned early on, forced to prove at trial that you didn't actually commit a crime by losing to a lousy Virginia Tech, and even though everyone knew that you were probably innocent and should be in charge, you had to fight your way out. With an assist by the committees that be, you finally escaped that stigma and then decided everyone who got in your way must die. All things considered, you're sort of on top right now. I mean, at least for now. Oh, and let's not forget about the whole, "everyone was rooting for you" angle, because basically everyone here ended up rooting for you, which was weird.
2. Michigan State - Daenyrys Targaryen
130 Points || H 2 || L 2 || LW 2
You have definitely had your good and bad moments this season, but most of all, you were just... consistent? Sure, you're not on top yet, but you're slowly building an army and taking on all the headaches that come with being more than just an upstart. There is a strong argument to be had that you embarked on a political season this year. Make sure everyone knows you mean business, only lose to those unwinnable situations - games against the best really - and then talk a little trash about being disrespected. It works, but it might be building a blindspot in your defenses. Then again, maybe not. Who am I to second guess the team THAT HAS EFFING DRAGONS! (I don't know if you actually have dragons. I'm gonna assume no, but I'm gonna give a shoutout to Tony Lippett for sort of being a boss this season. That dude is gonna have a great future.
3. Wisconsin - Tywin Lannister
120 Points || H 3 || L 3 || LW 3
So there you were, taking something of a celebratory rest on the commode. It had been a good day, you had managed to get everything going your way, and people even thought you might actually be in charge of everything. Then out of nowhere, Tyrion comes and straight up crossbows you to death. WHAT WAS THAT?!?! I mean, everyone gets Urban'd once in a while, but that was getting murdered... with your pants around your ankles. Sure, you might bounce back from that, but let's just say that even with a little bounce back in the bowl, that loss will sting for a while.
4. Minnesota - Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish
105 Points || H 4 || L 5 || LW 4
You sly little dog. I mean, sure, nobody really thought you would do much. You were just that sneaky little Gopher sitting in the corner, doing what you were told, and making deals where you could. Then you more or less consolidated your power base, beat up a few teams unexpectedly, helped more or less knock off one of the old guard, and sent notice to everyone that you were on your way to prominence. In a lot of ways, I respect that, but damn... why you got to go do everyone like that? You shoved
Iowa your own wife out the moon door. You just really don't give a damn, do you. Seriously, though, congratulations on a great year. Good things are happening in the Vale Minneapolis.
4. Nebraska - Cersei Lannister
105 Points || H 4 || L 5 || LW 5
Remember those days when you were queen? Those were awesome. You were in charge, and everyone definitely loved you. Unfortunately, the second iterations in your family were a little hotheaded and prone to insanity. Oh, and there was that whole thing where you watched in horror as everything you loved was either pried away from you or murdered in front of you. Then I suppose we should probably throw in the fact that all the power you think you have is reserved for things like, "Hey man, why don't you give food to the pigs instead of the people," which is a really terrible thing to do and shows you really don't have that much power. Anyhow, you've been replaced by a prettier, more talented, and nicer version of yourself. Also, all that work to get back to prominence? Yeah, seems you still have a long ways to go no matter how you feel about yourself. Of course, on the upside, I'm sure you can just pour yourself another glass of wine and pretend everything's okay.
6. Rutgers - Arya Stark
79 Points || H 6 || L 8 || LW 8
When people talk about the B1G still not being a premier conference, they like to bring you up. Similarly, people in Westeros think you're dead. In fact, I'm pretty sure you should probably be dead right now. You've watched a lot of terrible things happen around you, and you would forgive us if we sort of wrote you off. But, there you are doing your thing to the very end. Sure, you've probably sold your soul to the devil at this point, but how great did it feel to take revenge on some unsuspecting victims by
a somewhat legitimate defense and an often competent offense shoving a sword through their face. I don't know what your future holds, but I think you're going to be a B1G player in the future.
7. Iowa - Mace Tyrell
78 Points || H 6 || L 9 || LW 6
So, you're respected for some stuff you once did, which is cool. Oh, and you're the
Dean of Big Ten Coaches on that tribunal for Tyrion, which is also cool? I guess? Look, let's cut to the chase. You're more or less an impotent version of something that was once proud. It's great that your coaching tree stretches out much further than any of us could have ever imagined, and I'm sure that the respect you're getting is because more than the name you seem to have built for yourself, but being overly conservative, assuming you can do the same thing over and over, and generally being aloof to the joke that you've turned yourself into is a bad look. Yes, you make a ton of money - that's both an Iowa and Ferentz reference by the way - but unless you do something cool with that money, like win, doesn't seem a bit hollow? Maybe you have some heroic run in your blood, but right now you don't look great.
8. Maryland - Oberyn Martell
76 Points || H 6 || L 9 || LW 7
In a lot of ways, your first foray into
the B1G Kings Landing had been pretty successful. You annoyed enough people to get your kicks, had a few trysts in the brothel, took a few hits to the chin, and made it known that your flash had a little bit of substance. Your reward for all of that hard work? Well, your reward was a trip to the ring with Stanford the Mountain. Leading up to this matchup, I'm sure you felt like you might be able to not die before it was all over, but no. You were very wrong. So wrong that OMGYOUREYEBALLSANDHEADJUSTEXPLODED!
(But seriously, in general, good job in year one of the B1G, and I promise that the future will only have a few head popping moments... Actually, no, I don't promise that. I'm going to just go ahead and assume your future is filled with those. Sorry, #B1GEastProblems)
9. Penn State - Jaime Lannister
65 Points || H 6 || L 10 || LW 9
One day, we may still read about your many great accomplishments in the
record books Book of Brothers, but until then, you're kind of a washed up team playing with one hand. I mean, your other hand has been great, and could probably beat six or so teams on its own, but sadly that missing hand - even with that prosthetic placeholder beautifully gilded with that signature Christian Hackenberg pattern - is just too much to overcome. Maybe I'm overstating its impact, and hey, at least you're alive, rich, complex, and probably more talented than a lot of other people, but come on, you have one hand. At least you have a built in excuse while Ohio State and Michigan State take the division for the next few years.
10. Michigan - Joffrey Baratheon
48 Points || H 9 || L 11 || LW 10
In a lot of ways, this was always how it was going to be. Suffocating and vomiting everywhere, turning purple, and exiting the stage in some of the ugliest manner possible. Okay, that's a bit hyperbolic, but after feeling like you were not only the biggest baddest guy in the room again, it was interesting to see you fall in such a horrific manner. While the IRL Michigan was done in more by its own blunders from both a PR and on-the-field product, it is still fitting that you die while your rivals start to seize more and more power. So while you'd like to have gotten the last laugh, your exit was necessary so that you might, I don't know, actually have some good in King's Landing for once. I will say that the Royal Line looks to be moving in the right direction, and maybe the next guy won't be like the last guy.
11. Illinois - Gilly
39 Points || H 10 || L 13 || LW 11
You got a couple of nice things this season. A) You're alive, so that's a plus... Let's call that a bowl win, okay? B) Uh... you're alive in a city where the gates are more or less broken down, and there's an army on the other side ready to murder everyone? Okay, one nice thing, but that's an improvement over past years. You've had sort of a rough run for, I don't know, always? We realize that you are probably not the worst team in the league, but you've also latched onto a joke as your savior, so you're going to get what you get.
12. Northwestern - Sansa Stark
32 Points || H 11 || L 13 || LW 12
You, like your good friend Illinois, have not exactly had a good run of things as of late. From fighting amongst your family, your friends, your city, your country, etc., you've pretty much only had terrible things happen this year. Despite the reality that you have a pretty exterior, are well educated, and probably have extremely good manners, you definitely have not gotten a lot of wins. Perhaps that will change soon, and you have proven to be more cunning than we give you credit, but right now you're in a weird city with a weird dude and I wouldn't plan on good things coming your way.
13. Indiana - Ygritte
23 Points || H 11 || L 13 || LW 13
Oh man Indiana... We had such high hopes for you. You were the hot redhead who was going to shoot arrows through people's hearts, literally. Unfortunately, you fell for the wrong guy, got betrayed, didn't kill him when you had the chance, dealt with some guy named Zander, lost so many games, and eventually ended up murdered by a kid. I don't know if that's exactly the timeline, but it feels about right.
14. Purdue - Reek
10 Points || H 14 || L 14 || LW 14 || YOU GOT ALL OF THE LAST PLACE VOTES GUYS
Let's see, you now have a whopping four B1G wins in three years. Considering three of those wins were three years ago, things aren't going so well. Which, is basically the story of Reek. Reek was once a somebody. A somebody who would go to parties and bowls and fun gatherings. He was a man who had all of his man parts. He was a man who was not embarrassed on multiple occasions on the football field. That man is now Reek. A man who is sort of a person but is probably more just a sad shell of something that once was. Sure, he'll show signs of changing from time to time, but as of right now, he is a very defeated person. So is Purdue.
Disclaimer Type Thing: Oh hey, you got to the end. That's awesome. Just a heads up, Game of Thrones is an awesome TV show that you can find on HBO. The names, images, descriptions, etc., are theirs and because they're so cool, you should go watch their show. I'm serious, too, because it's awesome and there are dragons. Dragons are flipping awesome. Game of Thrones will also be in IMAX soon which is also cool. Oh, and uh, it's based on a bunch of books written by George R.R. Martin. I think that about covers it, right? I don't know, just understand that it's something you should go watch and that I didn't make it up and I'm not claiming to have made it up. I think we're good now.