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Week One Power Poll: Aging Hipster Playlist

Mope with us through the Big Ten.

Death Cab for Spartie

Greetings friends! I am slammed AF with work right now, which is why this list is a whole day late! It be like that sometimes. But never fear—today I’m here to make fun of your team, and everyone else’s, to the moody, folksy, slightly obnoxious strains of Hipster Classics of the late 00s and early 10s. Niche? Yes. But what else would you expect from a Power Poll called “Aging Hipster Playlist”?

I’ve been feeling kind of old lately, mainly exacerbated by these facts:

  1. I teach college, and the freshmen were born after 2000
  2. I’m realistically old enough to be their mother—just barely, but still. It’s a sobering moment.
  3. I’ve noticed many of my favorite songs came out like 15 years ago.

I know, I know. It just gets worse and everyone dies in the end. (This is not a comment explicitly about Purdue, but it’s fun how it could be, right?)

Anyway, now that you’re properly prepared, sweep your hair into a man bun, oil your beard, and grab yourself something artisanal to munch on, because we’re going to gently rock your socks off in a vaguely melancholy way like it’s 2011.

Here’s your soundtrack. (clickity click)

“Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol — Ohio State (#1)

First Place Votes: 15 High: 1 Low: 6 Last Week: 1

We’ll do it all


On our own

We don’t need


Or anyone

Do you know which team is consistently the most boring to write about? It’s Ohio State (honorable mentions to Penn State and Maryland). Anyway, they were predicted to be first, they are first, their fans are probably faux concerned with how they played, but they’ll roll through the Big Ten without much trouble or maybe a surprise upset, but again, I cannot emphasize how little it will matter.

Can I just skip writing about them the rest of the season?

“Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities — Wisconsin (#2)

FPV: 1 High: 1 Low: 4 LW: 5

I could lift you up

I could show you what you want to see

And take you where you want to be

You could be my luck

Even if the sky is falling down

I know that we’ll be safe and sound

We’re safe and sound

I could fill your cup

You know my river won’t evaporate

This world we still appreciate

You could be my luck

Even in a hurricane of frowns

I know that we’ll be safe and sound (safe and sound)

Wisconsin is certainly safe and sound, thanks to Jonathan Taylor Thomas and also playing a team that probably isn’t very good. While there may be parts of Wisconsin’s play that are a bit cringeworthy, it’s nothing as bad as the lyric “a hurricane of frowns,” so the Badgers are sitting in good shape heading into Week Two.

“Fake Empire” by The National — Penn State (#3)

High: 2 Low: 11 LW: 3

Tiptoe through our shiny city

With our diamond slippers on

Do our gay ballet on ice

Bluebirds on our shoulders

We’re half awake in a fake empire

We’re half awake in a fake empire

Every week, we’re never really sure if Penn State is “for real” or if they’re a fake empire, and yet, they keep managing to win. A major contributing factor to this is presumably playing Idaho, so we’ll see if they’re still waltzing with bluebird accompaniment mid-season, or not.

“Out of My League” by Fitz and the Tantrums — Michigan (#4)

High: 2 Low: 9 LW: 2

And you were out of my league

All the things I believed

You were just the right kind

Yeah, you were more than just a dream

You were out of my league

Got my heartbeat racing

If I die don’t wake me

Cause you are more than just a dream

So many ways to interpret this one! For a time, this could be read as an expression of joy in the average Michigan fan’s heart that their beloved and desired Jim Harbaugh came home to them. But now, other questions of “being out of their league” arise... and they’re less pleasant. Michigan was never in real danger in Week One, but the discerning Wolverine fans found a few things about which to fret. Is finishing higher than third in the East “more than just a dream”—or will it always be out of Harbaugh’s league?

“The Sound of Settling” by Death Cab for Cutie — Iowa (#5)

High: 4 Low: 7 LW: 4

Our youth is fleeting, old age is just around the bend and I can’t wait to go gray

And I’ll sit and wonder of every love that could have been

If I’d only thought of something charming to say

This is the sound of settling

This is the sound of settling

To be fair, aside from the first glorious half, settling for the same old, same old didn’t look too bad on Iowa last weekend, as their glorious old Skipper Ferentz, assisted by Gilligan Ferentz led them to the kind of victory one should have over Miami Hydroxide. Settling for more of the same shouldn’t hurt Iowa this weekend, as they take on Rutgers, a team whose accomplishments in settling for less are frankly legendary.

“Float On” by Modest Mouse — Michigan State (#6)

High: 5 Low: 8 LW: 6

I backed my car into a cop car the other day

Well, he just drove off - sometimes life’s okay

I ran my mouth off a bit too much, ah what did I say?

Well, you just laughed it off and it was all okay

And we’ll all float on okay

And we’ll all float on okay

And we’ll all float on okay

And we’ll all float on anyway, well

There’s probably a “Thugtans” joke here with that opening line, but my point was really how this song is about being a hot mess most of the time and still managing to skate by (or float on) against all odds. “I backed my QB out of range of an F G the other day/ Well we just laughed it off and made the other team pay.” I don’t know, I’m not a songwriter any more than Brian Lewerke is an effective quarterback.

“Electric Feel” by MGMT — Maryland (#7)

FPV: 1 High: 1 Low: 11 LW: 12

All along the eastern shore

Put your circuits in the sea

This is what the world is for

Making electricity

You can feel it in your mind

Oh you can do it all the time

Plug it in, change the world

You are my electric girl

I think this is about something far sexier than should ever be associated with Maryland football, but it’s undeniable that they delivered quite a shock to poor Howard last weekend. Will it change the world? No, probably not. Will it change the trajectory of Maryland’s season? Also probably not, but we’re about to find out, as the Terrapins face a much spicier opponent in Syracuse, who is fresh off doing the Lord’s work by beating the snot out of Liberty. It’s the kind of East Coast battle for which Big Ten fans notably clamor.*

*Source: Jim Delany

“Mushaboom” by Feist — Nebraska (#8)

High: 7 Low: 10 LW: 8

Helping the kids out of their coats

But wait the babies haven’t been born oh oh oh

Unpacking the bags and setting up

And planting lilacs and buttercups oh oh oh

But in the meantime I’ve got it hard

Second floor living without a yard

It may be years until the day

My dreams will match up with my pay

Nebraska’s vision for the future is incredibly beautiful, and even some national media types bought into the Pinterest vision board in the off-season. But an opening weekend game that was a confusing affair of underwhelming offense and better-than-expected defense left most Nebraska fans realizing that their happily ever after hasn’t arrived quite yet. Can they take a step toward realizing their dreams when they travel westward to the thin air of Boulder and the site of some of their most painful past memories? Or will their aspirational fantasies only seem further away by the time they return to Lincoln?

“Orange Sky” by Alexei Murdoch — Illinois (#9!)

High: 2 Low: 13 LW: 13

And I had a dream

I stood beneath an orange sky

With my sister standing by

I said Sister, here is what I know now

Here is what I know now

Goes like this.

In your lov(i)e, my salvation lies...

In your lov(i)e, in your lov(i)e, in your lov(i)e

But sister you know I’m so weary

And you know sister

My hearts been broken

Sometimes, sometimes

My mind is too strong to carry on

Too strong to carry on

Illinois is #9 in the Power Poll. I almost don’t need to write anymore than that, it’s so strange and monumental an occurrence. A Week One victory seemed like nothing short of a dream to most Illini fans, but as our own Thumpasaurus can attest, the wounds of being an Illini fan do not heal easily, even when life is going well.

Still, I’m rooting for Illinois to get it done against UConn, because “Swagger Lovie” is my new favorite thing:

“Caring is Creepy” by The Shins — Northwestern (#10)

Last Place Votes: 1 High: 7 Low: 14 LW: 7

I think I’ll go home and mull this over

Before I cram it down my throat

At long last it’s crashed, its colossal mass

Has broken up into bits in my moat

Lift the mattress off the floor

Walk the cramps off

Go meander in the cold

Hail to your dark skin

Hiding the fact you’re dead again

Underneath the power lines seeking shade

Far above our heads are the icy heights that contain all reason

#Poetry #Northwestern #Academics #MickMcCall

“Sometime After Midnight” by The Airborne Toxic Event — Indiana (#11)

High: 8 Low: 13 LW: 11

And you walk

Under the streetlights

And you’re too drunk to notice

That everyone is staring at you

And you don’t care what you look like

The world is falling

Around you

You just have to see her

And you know that she’ll break you in two

Indiana technically won on Saturday in an okay defeat of Ball State, but there’s just something about Indiana football that is always dripping with the sense that world is falling, or is going to really damn soon. Sure, they won this one... but soon enough Indiana will take a good team to the wire before losing, breaking their fans once again into two. May as well get drunk and stagger under the streetlights, I guess (craft beer only though, stay on theme here. At least you have Three Floyds.)

But first, Eastern Illinois, prolonging the inevitable pain.

“What You Know” by Two Door Cinema Club - Minnesota (#12)

LPV: 1 High: 10 Low: 14 LW: 9

Maybe next year I’ll have no time

To think about the questions to address

Am I the one to try to stop the fire?

I wouldn’t test you I’m not the best you could have attained

Why try anything?

I will get there

Just remember I know

It’s kind of neat that PJ Fleck’s coaching philosophy is a Two Door Cinema Club song, isn’t it? “Neat” in the way that South Dakota State came very, very close to defeating Minnesota, and we should not let them forget this too soon. The only good thing about that game was that it was Thursday night and Purdue’s epic disaster came after it and buried it. All part of PJ Fleck’s master plan—just remember that he knows.

“Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service - Rutgers (#13)

LPV: 10 High: 3(?) Low: 14 LW: 14

They will see us waving from such great heights

Come down now, they’ll say

But everything looks perfect from far away

Come down now but we’ll stay

For the first time in a really long time, Rutgers is not at the bottom of the Power Poll! If Chris Ash didn’t write this as a bonus checkpoint into his contract, he really should have, because this is monumental stuff. Long has it been since Rutgers has seen the great heights of a victory, let alone a #13 ranking in the OTE Power Poll.

Also, this is from the album “Give Up” which is a stroke of great fortune I could not have made up.

“Mad World” by Gary Jules — Purdue (#14)

LPV: 5 High: 8 Low: 14 LW: 10

All around me are familiar faces

Worn out places, worn out faces

Bright and early for their daily races

Going nowhere, going nowhere

Their tears are filling up their glasses

No expression, no expression

Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow

No tomorrow, no tomorrow

And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad

The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had

I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take

When people run in circles it’s a very very

Mad world, mad world

“The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had.”

Purdue 2019


Have you ever posted a photo of your coffee to social media?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Yes, I am the most Basic bitch.
    (33 votes)
  • 39%
    No, what is social media? I am a Boomer and enjoy lawn mowing & bemoaning avocados.
    (96 votes)
  • 47%
    No, I only post photos of my dog. Sometimes my kids.
    (116 votes)
245 votes total Vote Now