Welcome back, my friends, to the poll that never ends. We’re glad you could attend; come inside, come inside. This week, the Power Poll will be heavily caffeinated, mostly hydrated, and probably on a sugar high before we’re done. For your amusement, enjoyment, and eventual argument, Off Tackle Empire presents: Big Ten Teams as brands owned by the Coca-Cola Corporation. There were 17 voters in the poll this week, and their efforts are compiled below.
1. Ohio State Buckeyes - Coca-Cola Classic
First Place Votes: 16 High: 1 Low: 2 Last Week: 1
The original, the dominant force, the primary reason the nation cares that the rest of us exist. Often imitated, rarely duplicated. Enjoy.
2. Wisconsin Badgers - Diet Coke
FPV: 1 High: 1 Low: 6 Last Week: 2
More popular in some circles, but just not quite the same as the classic. Fond of swooshing letters, for some reason. Fans of it will be happy to tell you all the reasons you’re wrong for not liking it.
3. Penn State Nittany Lions - Fairlife
High: 2 Low: 4 Last Week: 3
Blue, white, exceptionally proud of their dairy. Not exactly sure why they’re under this umbrella, but they’ve been here too long to really question it any more.
4. Iowa Hawkeyes - Mello Yello
High: 2 Low: 6 Last Week: 4
How Iowa City is feeling after the Cy-Hawk game. Also, probably Kirk Ferentz. Also, the color of Iowa’s uniforms. This comparison works on many levels, is what I’m trying to say here.
5. Michigan Wolverines - Coke Zero Sugar
High: 3 Low: 5 Last Week: 7
Like classic Coke, but a little less sweet. One might even call it the opposite of what you’re looking for with your Coke experience. Claims to be the real momentum driving the brand.
6. Michigan State Spartans - Sprite
High: 6 Low: 9 Last Week: 5
Pretty much the same flavor it’s always been, but has gone through some questionable experiments in recent years trying to freshen up the brand. Not something you want any part of after it’s gone flat.
7. Nebraska Cornhuskers - Surge
High: 6 Low: 9 Last Week: 10
Obligatory 90’s popularity reference is obligatory. Similar in many ways to Mello Yello, but lacks the same consistency and fell out of the spotlight for a time. More recently, experiencing a slow return in popularity, but is still limited compared to its heyday.
8. Minnesota Golden Gophers - Gold Peak Tea
High: 4 Low: 11 Last Week: 12
Formerly awarded for its taste, now just kind of rowing in circles. Major selling point is all right there in the name.
9. Northwestern Wildcats - smartwater
High: 5 Low: 13 Last Week: 13
Tries to brand itself as cooler than it actually is. Not terrible, but you’re probably not getting anything exciting here either. Originally introduced in the mid-90s.
10. Maryland Terrapins - vitaminwater
High: 7 Low: 10 Last Week: 6
A more recent addition to the overall brand profile. More flavors and colors than an artist’s palette. Very similar to smartwater, but less pretentious about how it’s made.
11. Indiana Hoosiers - Tab
High: 10 Low: 13 Last Week: 8
Has a cult following, for some unknown reason. Falls flat when compared to Classic Coke. More fun to watch others consume than to actually consume yourself.
12. Purdue Boilermakers - Powerade
Last Place Votes: 1 High: 11 Low: 14 Last Week: 9
Decidedly second place in its own market. Is committed to sports, kind of. Better in certain situations than Coca-Cola Classic, worse in other situations than smartwater.
13. Illinois Fighting Illini - Simply Orange
LPV: 6 High: 9 Low: 14 Last Week: 11
Begin preparing the mimosas for Thump. It’s gonna be a long season over there again. Also, #branding.
14. Rutgers Scarlet Knights - New Coke
LPV: 10 High: 12 Low: 14 Last Week: 14
An experiment. An old shame. Only exists in 2019 because television willed it to be so. Does any more really need to be said?
Which comparison was best?
This poll is closed
Ohio State and Classic Coke
Wisconsin and Diet Coke
Iowa and Mello Yello
Michigan State and Sprite
Rutgers and New Coke
Another comparison that I will laud in the comments