There are few articles as firmly implanted in the fabric of OTE these days as the Power Poll. Going back to the days of BamaHawkeye and seeing that through Ted Glover, this has been a staple of our site. Why? Well, pretty simply, the concept is one of the best things out there. It combines ranking things - which we love to do, throwing in random pop culture references, and then combines them to get all of the pageviews. You know, because you're arguing about the rankings, or things, or something.
Anyhow, the best part of this series is that it means real football is just around the corner. While I still am kind of in disbelief that I have to come up with some new ideas for the year, I couldn't be happier with the knowledge that as of tomorrow, I'm going to be watching Big Ten football.
That in mind, let's get down to logistics. I'm going to try and do some new things this year as I figure out ways to deliver the power poll. I'd like to do better tracking for each team if people find that interesting, and I really want to give pertinent info. If there's something you'd like to see added, let me know.
This week, we'll follow last year's format more or less. Total points are calculated as 14 pts for a first place vote, 13 for a second and so on. I've listed total first place votes for teams that receive them, and total last place votes for teams that get those. I'll also include a high/low range so you can see where your team got its votes. (InsertName: Additionally, here are graphs of the voting distributions and a table of the averages, standard deviations, and our certainty based on ranking standard deviations) As a general point of order, there were 15 voters this week.
As to the topic at hand, this week I wanted to honor the journey that College Football beholds. From tailgates to home parties, stadium cheers to high fives in a bar, fandom requires a soundtrack. That soundtrack? Well, unfortunately, for most of us, it's still Jock Jams. Yes, ESPN's critically acclaimed gem from a good portion of our childhoods. I remember getting that Orange album and thinking it didn't get much better. In hindsight, that might of been my first CD. So... Let's get ready to rumble? (I'm so sorry... you will now have these songs stuck in your head forever) (Also, we're going with Volume 1 for this poll, so deal)
1. Ohio State Buckeyes: EMF - Unbelievable
210 Points || 15 First Place Votes || Highest Rank 1 || Lowest Rank 1
I hate to be the guy who pimps Ohio State because the Buckeyes have gotten more than enough praise this past year, but there's a reason people are picking them as a potential repeat CFP Champion. Sure, the solid postseason run is what is seared into most of our brains, but that was a young team ahead of schedule and they seemingly returned everything. Oh, and unlike most teams who are thinking, "I have to pray my QB doesn't get hurt," the Buckeyes have all sorts of insurance. This team seems unbelievable. Also, that performance at the MTV Awards is amazing.
2. Michigan State Spartans: 2 Unlimited - Get Ready for This
195 Points || High 2 || Low 2
Is there a top five team more under the radar than Michigan State? I don't know if people are prepared for the run the Spartans could make this year. Even at number two in this poll, you get a feeling that everyone thinks they'll just be a second fiddle to the Buckeyes. That said, Sparty fans should feel really good about the potential here. Anything short of a New Years Day bowl will be a disappointment, and the playoffs aren't completely out of the question.
3. Wisconsin Badgers: Snap! - The Power
177 Points || High 3 || Low 4
The Badgers certainly hope that new-ish coach Paul Chryst has the Power. With a solid returning defense, a great offensive line, and a star-in-waiting at RB in Corey Clement, Wisconsin could lose its first game and still be 11-1 going into the B1G Championship game. Will it happen? Well, that remains to be seen, but the potential is there.
4. Minnesota Golden Gophers: Naughty by Nature - Hip Hop Hooray
154 Points || High 3 || Low 7
"Some ask how it feels now, The deal is that we're real so we're still 'round"
Minnesota was down and out before Jerry Kill and Company came to town and now they're right towards the top of the Big Ten West, and are looking to do even more. So how does it feel now? Well, I'm guessing it feels pretty good. Now don't get thumped by TCU or lose a dumb game to CSU and maybe that hype can keep building.
5. Nebraska Cornhuskers: Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock - It Takes Two
146 Points || High 3 || Low 8
For the past few years, it seemed like there was the talent and potential for this team to ascend to the top of the conference, but weird losses, turnovers, and luck didn't always go their way. So what did they do after another nine win season? Fired their coach and got a new guy with a worst record. Makes sense. It's going to take more than just a happier coach and talent for this team to do something big in 2015. They're going to have to work together to move up these rankings. That said, in a mushy B1G West, that's possible.
6. Penn State Nittany Lions: Black Box - Strike it Up
138 Points || High 3 || Low 9
Let me start by saying the synth horn on this track is remarkable. Also, I cannot believe how great this whole album was. I need to go buy it again. Anyhow, Penn State is sort of an enigma. This is year two for James Franklin, and he needs to get an offense to balance that defense. I'm sure there's a "the Lions need to strike it up," pun in there somewhere, but all I can think is that this team will rise and fall on the shoulders of Christian Hackenberg. Time to put up or shut up I guess.
7. Michigan Wolverines: Gary Glitter - Rock and Roll Part II
121 Points || High 4 || Low 10
Basically, I just imagine the 'Hey' part in this song replaced with 'Harbaugh' and everything sort of falling into place. Honestly, seven feels about right for the Wolverines. There is blue chip talent up and down this roster and if Jim Harbaugh can do what fans think he can do, this team will be much better than last year. It will take a little while for that to happen, though. In the meantime, try not to hum this song for the rest of the day. Bum-bum-buuuum-bu-bum-bu-bum....
8. Iowa Hawkeyes: Tag Team - Whoomp! There it is.
95 Points || High 7 || Low 11
I have to believe that Iowa will be better than we have seen over the past few years, but that would also make me believe that Kirk Ferentz isn't past his prime. Whoomp! is probably the sound you will hear from the fans at Kinnick as Iowa punts within the opponent's 40 yard line this season in a close loss, and is also the sound of boosters dropping cash on the table to get a new coach. You know, that or this team is totally winning the Big Ten West and Ferentz and Company will flip everyone off. Either way, it's entertaining I guess?
9. Northwestern Wildcats: Technotronic - Pump Up the Jam
84 Points || High 6 || Low 12
Oh man, I'm sort of reaching on some of these. Anyhow, I think Northwestern is an enigma this year. They managed to be good enough to beat a decent enough Notre Dame last year, but were not good enough to beat a less than great Illinois. I know, I know, College Football. Still, this team was hardly good and yet I can't imagine them being all that bad this year. Also, that purple background makes me think that the Wildcats O-Line should make a parody video of this music video.
10. Rutgers Scarlet Knights: C&C Music Factory - Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)
84 Points || High 6 || Low 12
Not unlike the fairly underrated greatness of Everybody Dance Now on the original Jock Jams, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights are the team nobody wants to give any credit. Last year, not only did they outperform expectations, make and win a bowl game - against a P5 team even, they also seemingly looked competent at times despite injuries. Sure, there were hilarious moments of getting ran out of the stadium, but they were far from a bad team. The key to 2015 - for me at least - is if Kyle Flood can get through the year. I'm sure his current situation is making most fans sweat it out a little bit.
11. Maryland Terrapins: K7 - Come Baby Come
63 Points || High 7 || Low 13
You know what Maryland is excited for? Next year. The recruiting promises a lot of good things to come, and #TheMovement is about as interesting as it will probably get for the Terps in 2014, but until then, they still have to contend with the B1G East taking them behind the woodshed. You could probably talk me into Maryland lower than this spot. On the flipside, maybe they shock everyone and score just enough points to be dangerous. It's really hard for me to tell what they're all about.
12. Indiana Hoosiers: 69 Boyz - Tootsee Roll
58 Points || High 9 || Low 13
This song has the look and feel of a banger, but honestly, the hook is far better than the entirety of the track. Indiana is built that way. That offense has been - and will most likely continue to be - great. However, until Indian proves it can stop an offense from scoring at will, Indiana will be relegated to the also-ran pile. Sure, memorable at times, and it will be fun to think back to that time you watched a random Hoosier WR run past the opponent, but none of it will matter in the end.
13. Illinois Fighting Illini: 2 Unlimited - Twilight Zone
28 Points || 7 Last Place Votes || High 10 || Low 14
Before Illinois decided it would be fun to fire their head coach the week before the season, the Illini were much higher (sorta) in this poll. The chaos that ensues, however, made voters much less forgiving. For at least looking like they are living in the twilight zone, Illinois gets almost half of the last place votes and is down here. This was a bowl team last year people, and I would expect them to steadily rise. Or, you know, they'll crater as they wait for the next great MAC coach to save them.
14. Purdue Boilermakers: M.A.R.R.S. - Pump up the Volume
22 Points || 8 LPV || High 13 || Low 14
Be honest, you totally didn't listen to this track either. Purdue is last again, and until Coach Darrel Hazell can prove he should be a P5 coach, they'll probably stay down here. That in mind, the Boilers seemingly progressed throughout the year - before getting hit by the injury bug - and hey, there always has to be one team that punches above its weight class. Just like MARRS release like, one song in their history, maybe 2015 can be a hit for Purdue... or we'll just forget about them. You know, normal stuff.