Picture it, central Nebraska, 2019...
Sometimes, it’s difficult to come up with new ideas for Power Polls. It’s hard to think of something that has the right combination of mass appeal, multiple characters or angles for fourteen teams, a truly terrible option for Rutgers—especially when you consider we’ve been cranking out ~14 of these a year for a number of years now. But sometimes, the stroke of inspiration comes when you least expect it, sometimes in the comments section of this very site.
And thus, we have a Golden Girls Power Poll. Thank you, whichever soul-sister reader prompted this.
Golden Girls aired from 1985 to 1992, and has remained a beloved favorite ever since. The series was unusual for its time (and for this time, let’s be honest) for featuring four “women of a certain age,” and what’s more, depicting them as adventurous, sexual, and wise-cracking humans with unusually progressive social views. Two are a mother-daughter duo, who move in with two other unrelated women, forming an unconventional household made up of sarcastic Dorothy, ditzy Rose, sexually adventurous Blanche, and savage AF Sophia. The show has endured in popularity because of its depiction of female friendship and for the absolutely devastating humor the characters deploy against one another (in love, of course.)
Also, because there are few problems a shared cheesecake can’t fix—right Wisconsin?
So, let’s get to it, and see who winds up at Shady Pines! (Lol, you know it’s Rutgers.)
Ohio State - Sophia Petrillo (#1)
First Place Votes: 16 High: 1 Low: 1 Last Week: 1
All of the other teams on our list are going to refer to specific lines or scenes from the show. But not Ohio State. No, OSU gets the entire oeuvre of Sophia Petrillo, the wise-cracking octogenarian straight outta Sicily who gives absolutely zero f*cks if she offends someone (and she usually does.) Sophia apparently suffered a stroke sometime before the timeline of the show, and this may contribute somewhat to her uncensored nature, but really the truth is probably that Sophia is and always has been absolutely SAVAGE.
Sample quote (to Blanche): “Fasten your seatbelt, slutpuppy.” Blanche is justly terrified at what Sophia is about to unleash. And that’s how all of the teams in the Big Ten feel about OSU right now—justly terrified. OSU will cut you and carve you and leave you weeping and not feel even a little bit bad about the emotional carnage they leave in their wake. That just so happens to be Sophia’s MO. But hey, you don’t make it out of the mean streets of 1900s Sicily by being nice to people, and you don’t make it to the precipice of the playoffs
before losing randomly to a much lesser team by being nice either.
Here’s a glorious list of Sophia insults if you need some clever one-liners in your life.
Penn State - Covering Those Perky Bosoms (#2)
H: 2 L: 2 LW: 3
Remember how I said Sophia/OSU is savage? Yup. Here we have Blanche, icon of inexhaustible body confidence (get it, girl!) confidently deploying her charms. To Blanche, there’s no one more sexy, gorgeous, and worthy than herself. It’s admirable, in its way.
Except... there’s always someone there to take her down a peg. PSU and its fanbase are ever confident that they are the fairest babe at the ball, but everyone else is just not buying it quite as much. Sure, they’ve looked good this season... but their self-assurance has so far been outsized compared to performance. However, they’ve got chances ahead to prove if they’re really hot stuff, or if they’re all wet in a shallow tub.
Minnesota - In Dog Years (#3)
H: 3 L: 6 LW: 4
THIS IS NOT A DRILL. Minnesota—yes, THAT Minnesota—is somehow #3 in this terrible conference. They’ve not done a lot to earn that, except win all of their games, which, seven games in, is not nothing, I have to admit. Still, their achievements haven’t been quite as impressive as some of their fans seem to think, as they focus on the “undefeated” part and not the “against Georgia Southern, South Dakota State, and Nebraska” part.
Which brings us back to the Golden Girls, and Blanche’s tendency to present the truthkinda in as flattering of a light as possible... even if the others aren’t quite buying it:
Sure Minnesota. You’re 7-0. Good for you, it’s not nothing! But let’s face it, you’re being awfully crafty with how you’re presenting the facts here—and the rest of us can see right through it.
Wisconsin - Freewheelin’ Klingenspritzers (#4)
H: 3 L: 12 (wow, reactionary) LW: 2
Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Looking mighty unbeatable (at least by anyone in the Big Ten West), there was lots of talk about how Wisconsin might be “for real good” as opposed to the kind of “good” currently displayed by the team right above them on this list.
In one “very special” Valentine’s Day episode, the girls flash back to a February 14th of yore when Rose booked them all rooms at Sunny Meadows Resort, which she did not realize was a nudist haven. I mean, it’s happened to all of us, right?
Much like the unsuspecting Golden Girls, Wisconsin strolled into Urbana-Champagne expecting a pleasant weekend of leisure where they wouldn’t have to do much at all. Instead, the nation caught them with their pants down, as Illinois sprung one of the biggest upsets in college football history. Better read that brochure a bit more carefully next time, Badgers.
No word yet on if the boys from Madison will hide their shame quite this effectively next weekend when they take on Ohio State:
Iowa — Little Balls of Sunshine (#5)
H: 3 L: 6 LW: 6
Confession: I watched the first half of Iowa’s game last weekend. I thought it would be better and more compelling than Wisconsin-Illinois during that same time slot. It was not. OH MY GOD. I kind of thought Iowa fans were being dramatic (as dramatic as Iowegians can be, anyway, they’re a restrained people) about how awful their offense is to watch, but friends: they were not exaggerating. It is grim.
Also grim is the two-part episode arc where Dorothy finds out she has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a Very Important Episode(s) that highlights the difficulties of those suffering chronic illnesses and the tendency of doctors to sometimes disbelieve women about their own symptoms. However, Dorothy’s illness is never mentioned in the show again, because that’s how the 80s were, man.
In the B-plot, Blanche decides to write a romance novel because she has had more sex than pretty much anyone on earth. It turns out that the “research” is the easy part and the writing is harder than she thought, and it takes a physical toll:
Is this the problem with the Ferentzii, particularly Brian Ferentz? Is he overthinking the scoring part of an offensive scheme? Does he stay up all night thinking about new techniques, only to find that on game day, he’s hallucinating and unsure about reality? Does he see little balls of sunshine, or only thousands of yellow-clad, raging Iowa fans filling the stadium?
Who knows, but all Iowa fans know is that they’re definitely not seeing many balls in the end zone, unless they take it upon themselves to hallucinate.
Michigan - Pretty Women Go Shopping (#6)
H: 3 L: 9 LW: 5
This has not been a season of dreams for Michigan, and and as a result, tough questions have started to be asked in Ann Arbor—what happens when your perfect match, the Michigan Man of your dreams, turns out to be Mr. Pretty Good... but not Mr. Definitely Right? Although the season hasn’t taken the kind of grotesque turn that Wisconsin’s has, the results have been pretty disappointing, and rumor has it, Harbaugh is maybe thinking about a return to the NFL.
Vivacious and outgoing Blanche has also had her share of disappointment in terms of men not working out quite as she envisioned. However, she’s a resiliant soul, and never lets it keep her down for long. Instead, she has a simple mantra adopted by many a well-heeled Michigan booster:
If there’s one thing we know about Michigan, its that they have a healthy sense of self-worth. If they send Jim Harbaugh packing (or he takes his talents to the big leagues), there’s no doubt that the Wolverine faithful will have full confidence in their ability to heal through retail. But the question becomes... if you’ve run off your dream man, who are you going to get next?
Indiana - The Felonious Dairy Run (#7)
H: 5 L: 9 LW: 8
Poor Hoosiers—no one much cares about them, even their fans. This week, head coach Tom Allen cracked that the Nebraska fans would all be wearing red for Indiana this week, a no doubt lovely fantasy of having a stadium full of fans, as well as a really great example of reframing your circumstances (his therapist must be very proud!)
But no matter what Indiana’s fans situation is, the Hoosiers are actually sitting pretty right now. They’ve quietly made their way to a 5-2 season, one win away from bowl eligibility for the first time since 2016. What’s more, they’ve got three great chances to snag that last win: Nebraska and Northwestern in the next two weekends, and a battered Purdue to close the regular season. They’re at a moment of great import that will soon settle their fate.
It’s the kind of moment of import with which Dorothy Zbornak is intimately familiar. So fly by the seat of your pants, Indiana, and see if you end up in jail or at Dairy Queen (actually if you’re in Lincoln, go to Ivanna Cone, you won’t regret it. I cannot promise the same for the Lincoln Correctional Center.)
Michigan State - Hi-Ho the Barely-O (#8)
H: 6 L: 10 LW: 7
Late in the series, Dorothy decides to marry Blanche’s rich uncle, narrowly avoiding the machinations of her ne’er-do-well lout of a husband, Stan (I do not stan Stan, obviously), and Rose and Blanche serve as bridesmaids. Neither end up focusing on the bride as she walks down the aisle:
Like Rose, Mark Dantonio has seemed a bit checked out at times this year in the eyes of MSU fans. His stubbornness and resistence to focus on the changing times at hand baffle and confuse the fanbase, and there’s a sense that this season may be Dantonio’s last big event.
Also, this isn’t related at all, but Dorothy’s wedding dress in this episode is the single most ugly garment I’ve ever seen in my entire life, and I think it deserves to be listed here, alongside discussion of the Spartan’s spartan offense.
Purdue—Straight Talk with Blanche (#9)
H: 6 L: 12 LW: 9
Purdue had an exciting year last year: the surprise thrashing of Ohio State, the off-season battle to retain Jeff Brohm and his Honda Accord. Most Boiler fans spent months dreaming about how far Rondale Moore’s considerable abilities might carry the team this season. They were heady times.
But then the injury bug bit. Hard.
It’s not like Purdue has never seen this before—they are, after all, the earliest known smiting of the ACL Curse. But having seen it before only makes the dread grow deeper, because Purdue fans know that a season full of promise is now going to be a battle to stay out of the cellar of the West and make it to a bowl game. It’s a considerably less exciting battle than what they’d hoped.
Thus spake Blanche Deveraux:
Hang in there, Boilers. You’ve got Nebraska in two weeks.
Illinois— Better Late Than... (#10)
H: 7 L: 11 LW: 13
If I were significantly more motivated than I am, I’d look up how long it’s been since Illinois sniffed a ranking anywhere close to #10 on this hallowed poll. It’s been awhile, although we were mildly impressed to start the season, so perhaps it’s not been that long. Anyway, YAY ILLINOIS YOU GOT A NICE THING!
That nice thing, of course, was the Big Upset Win over (then) #6 Wisconsin. It’s the kind of game that Illinois hasn’t even been competitive in for years, and the kind of game where we all just figured that even if they had a chance, they’d blow it in some massively stupid way.
But they didn’t. And for that, they get to celebrate.
Also worth celebrating? In the immortal words of Blanche Deveraux...
F*ck yeah, Blanche. And F*ck yeah, Illinois.
Nebraska — It’s Frustrating (#11)
H: 9 L: 12 LW: 10
Uff-da. That’s pretty uncool, Nebraska, hanging out down here in the basement with the likes of NW and Rutgers and whatnot. This is not a great place to be, and every last Husker fan knows it, whether they’re in Scottsbluff or Beatrice or Iowa City. I’m not sure if you guys know this, but once upon a time, Nebraska won FIVE NATIONAL TITLES. It’s true, you can look it up.
The problem is that all that sexy glory was a long time ago. A really long time ago. I mean, not like Minnesota long time ago, but still. It isn’t recent. There’s not a kid on the football team that was alive the last time the Huskers got to celebrate the kind of euphoric release that comes with a National Championship.
So you’ll have to excuse us if we’re a little cranky, high-strung, and otherwise stressed out. Dry spells suck, and this has been a long one. And, not that you’ve noticed, it doesn’t look like it’s something that’s going to change in the immediate future.
My girl Sophia gets it.
Maybe the Huskers need a little of that Blanche self-confidence. Or maybe they need to, you know, just try to beat Indiana this weekend.
Maryland — Protecting Their Assets (#12)
H: 9 L: 13 LW: 12
Does Maryland have any small mercies to be thankful for? It was hard this year, not having Texas on the schedule to push around in the early weeks, and that notable whalloping of then-ranked Syracuse has lost more luster than Blanche’s flour-covered jewels now that the Orange are 3-4. Since then, they’ve lost to Temple and a banged-up Purdue, and been eviscerated by Penn State.
Perhaps destroying Rutgers is the cocaine the robbers left in this allegory.
(It’s actually flour—Blanche hid her jewels in the flour as an anti-theft deterrent in the days before you could install ten kinds of surveillance in your house. Still, the show is set in Miami in the 80s... you can’t blame Dorothy for going there.)
Northwestern — You Need the Headless Boy (#13)
Last Place Votes: 1 H: 12 L: 14 LW: 11
You see how I’ve titled this? It actually makes more sense than 50% of the words coming out of Pat Fitzgerald’s mouth in his press conferences these days. Yes, he had another weird outing this week following the Wildcat’s trouncing by Ohio State and fall to a grim 1-5 record. Let’s listen in:
When things aren’t going great and it’s a technology world that we live in, there are three magic buttons that fixes things: control-alt-delete. It takes all three things at once to work. It might be the best t-shirt I’ve ever come up with.
THAT’S the best t-shirt he’s ever come up with? Goodness Pat, do not quit your day job. (Or maybe do? Where we at with this, Northwestern people?) Anyway, Fitz’s erratic press conferences have been a topic of discussion for us this week, as well as the bizarre Big Boomer Energy he’s putting out (in spite of falling solidly within Generation X). How do you get, at age 44, to a point where you are more of a Boomer than Kirk “Is This a Smartphone?” Ferentz?
Anyway, Fitzy is nonsensical. The Wildcat’s offense is nonsensical, thanks to Mick McCall. Who else is gleefully nonsensical and seemingly born from a planet none of the rest of us are inhabiting? ROSE NYLUND, THAT’S YOUR MUSIC!
Straight out of St. Olaf, Minnesota, Rose’s down-home charm and apparent simplemindedness, as well as her bizarre and rambling stories about the strange customs of the St. Olavians, often give the impression to others that she’s only working with about half a deck. And given Northwestern’s struggles and the weird press conference behavior of Pat Fitzgerald, Wildcat fans are starting to wonder how far these similarities are going to go.
If next week’s presser refers to “Big Statue Country” or “The Festival of the Dancing Sturgeons,” you guys are screwed.
Rutgers—Fashion Advice (#14)
LPV: 15 H: 13 L: 14 LW: 14
Hi Rutgers. I see you. I feel for you. You’re dreadful at football, and this was supposed to be your big moment, the 150th anniversary of being #thebirthplace of this sport. Instead, there are numerous high school teams in the country who could beat you, and you are about to bring unimaginable shame on the conference by losing to Hive of Scum and Villainy that I decline to dignify with a name.
There is, it seems, only one thing left for you to do:
I mean, yeah.
Here’s the whole scene:
Dorothy/Rutgers: [Entering living room holding up two necklaces to her outfit] Ok, girls. Which goes better? The silver chain, or the pearls?
Rose: The chain.
Blanche: [Matter of factly to Rose while gesturing to Dorothy] An amateur’s mistake. Can’t you see that the chain accentuates the many folds of that turkey like neck?
Rose: [Stands up and walks over to Dorothy to highlight her rebuttal critique to Blanche] Well that may be, but the pearls draw attention to the nonexistent bosom.
Blanche: [Stands up looking Dorothy over again, saying to Rose] Yes, but, the chain leads the eye even lower to that huge spare tire
[pauses, motioning to Dorothy’s abdomen, then continues]
Blanche: jutting out over those square manly hips.
Dorothy: [Sarcastically and agitated] Why don’t I just wear a sign that says ‘too ugly to live’?
Blanche: [to Dorothy] Fine, but what are you going to hang it from, the chain or the pearls?
Dorothy: [Snapping back] Neither! I’m going to spray paint it on my hump!
Big mood, Rutgers. Big. Mood.
That does it for this week! Thanks for reading, and...
Thank you for being a friend/
Traveled down a road and back again/
Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant...
Who is your favorite Golden Girl?
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