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Week 9 Power Poll: Bad Ideas

What's the worst decision a Big Ten fan can make? Read on to find out!

Nobody lives a regret-free life, no matter how many memes they post to Facebook declaring their intention to live for today and regret nothing. That's a nice thought, of course, but it's crap. All we can do is make the best decisions we can with the information and wisdom we have at the time and hope we learn from it if it turns out to be a mistake. On the other hand, sometimes we cook up an idea so obviously terrible that when we follow through with it, we're later astounded to find that we could have ever have missed the crystal clear warning signs about its utter irredeemability.

Anyway, we'll all make mistakes in life. This week, in our efforts here at OTE to bring you not only thoroughly uninformed Big Ten sporting information, but knowledge for your life, our football teams bring you fourteen Bad Ideas we've already vetted for you and found to be definitely bad in order to save you from yourself. You're welcome.

Power Poll Graph Nate Peterson

(All graphs, as always, done by Nate Peterson)

1. Wearing White to a Wedding In Which You Are Not The Bride--Michigan

Michigan Power Poll

Look, everyone on the planet knows this is a bad idea. And yet…it still happens. There’s often that one girl who goes ahead and does it anyway, whispers and dirty looks be damned. As Kelly Kapoor once explained when confronted about committing this faux pas: "I look really good in white." Actually, you just look like an asshole. To pull this off, you’ve got to be so full of yourself that you’re either completely blind to improprieties, or simply don’t care. Michigan, this is you. We’re not inviting you to our wedding, because we KNOW you’ll arrive in some vulgar little white number so you can grab the spotlight. It’s so something you’d do. And also, though we’re loath to admit it…you do actually look really good in white. Ugh, we hate you.

Angry Bride

Across the room, the bride spots the faux pas in white. That he has paired a white minidress with khaki pants in a bizarre display of attention-seeking only adds to her displeasure. She will have her revenge, she vows.

2. Giving Out Little Boxes of Raisins for Halloween--Ohio State

OSU Power Poll

As far as long-term consequences go, giving out raisins for Halloween is unlikely to cost you much beyond a nice evening scrubbing egg off of your garage door…but it’s still a bad idea. Look OSU, people are Buckeye fans for one reason: desperate compensation for the emptiness of living life in Ohio they like a winner. It’s fun to cheer for a juggernaut. OSU is supposed to be the house giving out the full-sized candy bar assortment—it’s what your fans expect and demand. But after losing in lackluster fashion to Greatest Coach of All-Time James Franklin and looking less than dominating against Northwestern this past weekend, it’s like you’ve gone on some righteous campaign against childhood obesity, and frankly, that sucks. Give the people what they want, OSU. Hint: it’s sure as shootin’ not raisin boxes and close wins against Northwestern.


Now imagine these as Reese's peanut butter pumpkins...what are you even doing with your life, OSU?

3. Harem Pants--Wisconsin

Wisconsin Power Poll

You read somewhere that harem pants were back in and a trendy fall look, and you’re ready to embrace this wholeheartedly—after all, pants that are cool AND that allow maximum comfort while eating cheese curds and drinking beer? Sign you up! But you were lied to, Wisconsin. Harem pants are always a bad idea. The discomfort from overeating while wearing skinny jeans? That’s temporary. Photos of you on Facebook wearing harem pants? That’s forever. Still, as bad ideas go, this isn’t fatal—you’ll feel a bit silly (like you did when a supposedly clownfraud trash Nebraska team took you to overtime), but you can overcome the shame and move on to a successful and fulfilling life. At least, you should be able to, because your schedule from here on out is cake. Which you can comfortably eat in harem pants… but you must resist, Wisconsin.

Harem pants

Pictured: A Wisconsin bro makes a sartorial choice for which generations of his descendants will mock him.

4. Attempting to Get Your Picture on the Wall of a Restaurant By Eating An Obscene Amount of Food--Nebraska

Nebraska Power Poll

In theory, this sounds more bad-ass than bad idea… but rest assured, it’s the latter. The appeal is clear: a potential free meal, your photo on a wall to be admired by the multitudes, the pride and approval of Ron Swanson. But then the challenge begins, and about a third of the way through your 3-lb burger with side of bacon and a dozen onion rings and a t-bone steak with ghost peppers, you realize that you’ve made a huge mistake and you just might be in over your head. This is sort of how this season has felt for Husker fans. It’s exhilarating, sure, and the prospects of glory tantalizing, but this was all coupled with a growing unease that that pretty ranking was a setup for a disaster of epic (or 70-31) proportions. In a departure from analogy though, the Huskers made it most of the way through that insane burger in Madison, doing much better than most expected. You didn’t get your picture on the wall, but hey, they half-comped your meal in recognition of a job fairly well done. Tums are on us, Huskers.

Ron on Wall

Good job, MAN.

5. Over-sharing on Facebook--Penn State

PSU Power Poll

Probably no one has noticed this on his or her own Facebook timelines in the past year or so, but some people just don’t know what not to say on social media. Not observing the unwritten rules of social media is a bad idea, as it gives too much information to unintended parties and also, makes your friends and family hate you. The over-sharer is feeling pretty proud of themselves and what they support, and they would like you to know allllll about it. Or maybe they’re the cryptic over-sharer—the purposefully vague "Stressed that Some People can be so RUDE!!!!" just begging you to ask them for more details. Both of these types of people are annoying and both of these types of people are Penn State fans. Following an upset win over Ohio State and a MONUMENTAL victory over Purdue, PSU has declared themselves #Back. And they’re telling you all about it, over and over again, loudly. The only upside is that it’s momentarily decreased the amount of REFS!!!! posts (if you were curious who could be so RUDE!!!!!!, it was the refs.) Since we can’t unfollow them, we’re stuck hoping that one of their remaining opponents springs an upset of their own.

Laura is terrible

Laura unfriended the ref. Big day for her. Obviously.

6. Hitting a Police Car While Texting--Northwestern

NW Power Poll

Getting the obvious out of the way, texting while driving is always a BAD IDEA. It really should be at the bottom of this list, because it’s needlessly stupid and exceedingly dangerous. So don’t do it. But, the only way to make it even more of a Bad Idea is to get so absorbed in your texting that you run into a police car. Funnily enough, I added this item to a working draft of this article about a month ago, but 19-year-old Miranda Radar, a Texas A&M student took the idea and ran with it last week, rear-ending a police cruiser while attempting to send her boyfriend a topless pic on Snapchat…while intoxicated. So for those keeping track at home, that’s a pretty solid rap sheet for one night. What’s this have to do with Northwestern? To be honest, nothing really, but it was a Bad Idea come home to roost that deserved to be shared.

Texting and driving

I realize it's not the point of this photo in any way, but why is she holding the steering wheel like that?

7. Getting a Lower Back Tattoo/Cartoon Character Tattoo/Kirk Ferentz Tattoo--Iowa

Iowa Power Poll

While there are certainly many instances of beautifully done, meaningful tattoos, there are probably many more instances of tattoos that were just Bad Ideas, a monument to poor judgment indelibly inked on the regret-filled’s skin. Maybe it’s getting Hawkeyes on Your Belly. Maybe it’s a lower back tattoo that has since obtained rather unfortunate cultural connotations. Maybe it’s the Marvin the Martian you got when that was all the rage in the 90s. Maybe it’s Kirk Ferentz’s face. Maybe it’s a cartoon Kirk Ferentz face on your lower back. I don’t know. But what I do know is that the only thing more permanent than a bad tattoo is Kirk Ferentz as Head Coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Kirk Tattoo

Two men in Iowa are happy about Kirk's new contract--one is Kirk, and the other is the gentleman attached to this leg.

8. Calling Casserole "Hotdish"--Minnesota

Minny Power Poll

Like some earlier entries on this list, calling the Great American Freezer Staple Properly Called A Casserole by the silly term "hotdish" isn’t a bad idea that will haunt you for the rest of your days—unlike those poor Iowegians and their Kartoon Kirk tattoos, every casserole-based conversation brings an opportunity for you to repent of your wrongness. But seriously—hotdish? This sounds like when you let your three-year-old name her new kitten and you end up with a cat named "Kitty." It’s lazy and uninspiring. And, if you’re eating something composed of tater tots and cream of mushroom soup, you really should seek elevation where you can. It’s just so literal. I mean, why not "stuff-from-the-freezer-aisle-and-some-old-canned-crap-in-a-9x13"-dish" if you’re really dedicated to the idea that food names must literally describe the food? Anyway, this is a Bad Idea, and possibly so was hiring Tracy Claeys, and both of these bad ideas are the sole responsibility of your state.


Oh look! Minnesota's other state dish, colddish.

9. Trying to Pet the Lion at the Zoo--Indiana

Indiana Power Poll

They are superstars at the zoo, and pretty cute too—I mean, we’ve all been influenced by The Lion King. But as cool as they are to see stalking around their cage and staring down the man with the fanny pack, it is a BAD Idea to try to pet the lions at the zoo. It will, in all likelihood, end very, very poorly for you. Unfortunately for Indiana, they know all too well what a very, very poor ending looks like, having experienced one four out of the last five games prior to this past weekend. Having now finally finished a game without disaster, has Indiana finally learned their lesson about petting the lion? With Rutgers on the docket this weekend, Indiana may avoid getting bitten in the immediate future, but a date with the (Nittany) Lions the following weekend may find them with their hands stuck perilously back into the cage.

Nice kitty

Believe it or not, that's an Indiana sweatshirt.

10. Talking About Politics at Thanksgiving Dinner--Maryland

Maryland Power Poll

You have a vision for how this could go—maybe everyone can civilly express their disappointment in the current political climate and discuss it like adults over pumpkin pie. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea. HA! Stop right there. It WOULD be a Bad Idea, and you should not do it. Like Maryland football early this season, there was a brief moment in time where it seemed like maybe it all wouldn’t be so bad, that it could all work out rather nicely after all. But then Uncle Phil brought up Hillary’s emails (and Maryland got thumped by PSU), and Cousin Lucy started denouncing Trump’s Russia connection (losing to Minnesota and Indiana), and before you know it, people are screaming and throwing beets and pie hasn’t even been served (Michigan and OSU are your next two games). Maybe just call it a day and order takeout this year, Maryland?

Thanksgiving fight

Won't someone think of the cranberry sauce?!?

11. Adopting that 17th Cat So The Others "Won't Be Lonely"--Michigan State

MSU Power Poll

I love cats, but let’s face it, adopting "just one more" starts to veer into Bad Idea territory around three, let alone 17. At the point of adopting the 17th, you’re firmly in BAD IDEA territory, because you’re probably breaking many local ordinances, and also, you look very crazy. Like someone slowly making a case against any accusations of good judgment one furry friend at a time, MSU has been making a case for being totally off its rocker this year one dazzlingly bad game at a time. Though the Big Game against Michigan had a surprising number of sane moments from the Spartans, it was capped off by Mark Dantonio switching Bad Idea Mode to full power and electing to go for two while down seven with one second left in the game—resulting in a fumble recovered and returned by a Michigan player. Sorry Mark, but that’s 17-cats crazy.


Eighteen cats here. Perhaps this is MSU after next week.

12. Eating Gas Station Sushi--Illinois

Illinois Power Poll

Sushi, properly prepared and fresh, is a very nice thing. So it only makes sense that the only sushi that Illinois has is neither of these things. Sure, it may seem like just the thing while you’re re-filling your Big Gulp—sushi connoisseurs have long noted the surprisingly complex and satisfying way that tuna rolls pair with Mountain Dew—but Illinois, if we’ve told you once, we’ve told you a thousand times: you must ignore the siren song of sushi from Git-and-Go. It is a BAD IDEA. There is not a single person on this planet who has ever felt good about their decision to purchase and consume gas station sushi. It is literally the only subject on which Republicans and Democrats agree in 2016. And here you are, Illinois, buying a tray of sushi and a king-sized Twix bar for the road and pretending that this isn’t going to end horribly? Then again, if anyone is prepared for the nausea-inducing thrill ride that is eating gas station sushi, it’s probably Illinois fans.

Bad sushi


13. "Joking" With the TSA About Weapons in Your Luggage--Purdue

Purdue Power Poll

Picture it: it’s just another boring security line, inching along slowly but surely. You, Purdue, finally reach the front. You send your backpack through, and then your neatly packed carry on luggage. You step through the machine that is creepily able to see through your clothes, and then…"Sir, what’s this?" Now you, Purdue, have two choices: A) "It’s my body wash. I’m very prone to chafing and thus quite particular about my brand, and had to decant it into a smaller bottle." Or B) "Haha, it’s a bomb! Right? Hey you guys, I was just kidding…" Purdue, you unfortunately chose (B), which was a BAD IDEA, and now you’re going to pay by missing your flight and answering questions from ill-tempered airport employees for the next seven hours. This is much like how you played perfectly well with Penn State for part of the game, and then just made many wrong choices and lost by almost 40 points. Anyway, we’ll try to bust you guys out of jail in time for basketball season… maybe.

TSA luthero @ Deviant Art

Your jokes hold no value here.

14. Sleeping with Your Wife's Sister--Rutgers

Rutgers Power Poll

This is it—the big kahuna. The mother of all terrible ideas. The F-dash-dash-dash word of bad ideas. I cannot emphasize enough that this is a VERY BAD IDEA. The ramifications of such immense error are manifold, but let’s focus on two big ones: First, this action will hurt everyone you know when it is discovered what you have done, and second, the ramifications of this decision may well tear apart all facets of your life, leaving you an empty, broken shell with nothing and no one. There is not a single redeeming point in favor of making this choice, and following through with it will likely leave you with a lifetime of regret.

But enough about choosing to be a Rutgers fan. #14 on the list of Bad Ideas is Sleeping with your wife’s sister, which is also a terrible idea. Don’t do it.

Just Say No

Pictured: Nancy Reagan holding a personalized Rutgers jersey to teach kids about making responsible choices about Rutgers.

As always, thanks for reading!