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Week Eight Big Ten Power Poll: Popular Scams

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We’re all scamming our way into belief at this point.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Have you ever thought that, just for a second, our coaches are scamming their way into their seasons at one point or another? Well, fear not, dear reader! We got just the power poll for you!

Stemming from the last time I did one of these, where the topic of conversation revolved around whether James Franklin was a fraud or not, we look into how every coach in the Big Ten is indeed a fraud!*

Without further ado, here are this week’s rankings!

Line graph of all team’s positions over time.
Thanks WhiteSpeedReceiver for the graphs, as always!

No. 1: Ohio State Buckeyes | Multi-Level Marketing Scheme

First Place Votes: 12; High: 1; Low: 4; Last Week: 1 (—)

Bar graph of Ohio State’s vote breakdown.

This is by far the most popular, yet most widely accepted form of scamming people. Avon, Herbal Life, Mary Kay, Amway, you name it. The formula is so simple anyone can do it! The entire point of an multi-level marketing scam, MLM for short, is to have an actual product to sell, but instead of selling the product yourself, you recruit others to do it for you! The more people you recruit, the better you’ll do! And, of course, you can continue to sell the product yourself on the side, but it’s the “getting others to do it for you” that gets you rich. More brilliant still, you don’t need to be a great salesman yourself, because what you lack ability you make up in quantity.

Ryan day could very well be the next Nick Saban. But, having inherited an Ohio State powerhouse that did not lack for talent, Day can coast off its success and continue to keep the train going. In fact, because of the resources available at his disposal, he can plug and play coaches when one isn’t performing up to par without losing much in performance. That’s the power of surrounding yourself with a team of coaches to make up for their deficiencies. You don’t have to be great yourself (and the past two playoffs showed as much), because the team around you will make sure you’re great enough to make it count.

No. 2: Michigan Wolverines | Lifestyle Blogger

First Place Votes: 2; High: 1; Low: 3; Last Week: 2 (—)

Bar graph of Michigan’s vote breakdown

Ah, the lifestyle blogger. This is the person that has an opinion on just about everything, and each one is more wild than the previous one. Yet somehow, their schtick has a following! Sure, some of these people, Gwenneth Paltrow comes to mind, have views so wild that they border on dangerous, but still, they go on spewing their weird beliefs and make a killing off it.

Where should we start with Jim Harbaugh? Nervous birds? Red meats? Milk? Mike Leach may have the rants, but Jim Harbaugh has the crazy ideas. And thing is, it works for him. Sure, the Michigan products still needs to be Ohio State in order to actually cash in, but no one seems to bat an eye at the fact that Jim Harbaugh seems to want to get a diet-induced heart attack.

No. 3: Michigan State Spartans | Ponzi Scheme

First Place Votes: 0; High: 2; Low: 6; Last Week: 3 (—)

Bar graph of Michigan State’s vote breakdown

Ponzi schemes can be some of the most lucrative, yet most devastating scams of all! Some genius convinces a bunch of folks to put up their life’s savings into this investment opportunity that is sure to make them rich beyond their wildest dreams! And, for the most part, that happens! Except, of course, the scammer usually make out with everyone’s money and disappears into thin air, leaving everyone else to salvage anything that may be left over.

Mel Tucker has masterfully convinced a bunch of transfers to turn Michigan State around, and that they did! Now, Tuckers is allegedly ready to cash in and take his talents to LSU, where he’ll use all the good will he’s earned at Michigan State, leaving Spartans fans to wonder what will happen to a program duct-taped together with transfers that are mostly on their way out.

No. 4: Iowa Hawkeyes | Televangelist

First Place Votes: 0; High: 2; Low: 6; Last Week: 5 (+1)

Bar graph representing Iowa’s vote breakdown.

The televangelist’s job is pretty straightforward. They give you the same message of salvation, with a few tweaks here and there to account for current times, but all in all, it’s “repent for your sins lest you be banished to hell.” In exchange, the televangelist asks that you support “the church” by allowing them to live a lavish life devoid of any wants.

Kirk Ferentz bamboozles the Iowa admin time after time, by putting the same team out there year after year. Sometimes, they throw the ball more than once a game, and that’s enough to get the admin to open up the checkbook and double his salary!

No. 5: Wisconsin Badgers | The Guy Who Owns Time Shares

First Place Votes: 0; High: 4; Low: 8; Last Week: 8 (+3)

Bar graph of Wisconsin’s vote breakdown

Every family has one. Ok almost no family has one. But, the ones that do, they have to deal with the person who goes on and on about his time share in Florida, how much of a deal it is, and how everyone they come in contact with needs to get one of their own! Of course, spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on a property you don’t really own and you can’t really live in is worth the investment, because those five minutes out of the year you do get to spend there are, somehow, worth it.

Not only does Paul Chryst look like the distant uncle that owns the time share and is trying to get everyone in on the ”fun”, but Wisconsin football perfectly describes the piece of property that just sits there most of the time, basically doing nothing, but somehow the one time they win that one bowl game makes all the effort and fanfare enough to put them in the preseason top 15, yet again...

No. 6: Minnesota Golden Gophers | Health Nut

First Place Votes: 0; High: 4; Low: 11; Last Week: 7 (+1)

Bar graph of Minnesota’s vote breakdown.

Oh, my God, shut the **** up already! That’s wha you think when the health nut talks your ear off day after day after day about the new trend and fad they’re in that day. First it was p90x, then it was insanity, now it’s CrossFit! There isn’t a new health fad that is too out of reach for the health nut! And, of course, the most dedicated of all are Vegans too! Because your body is a temple, and temples don’t have milk!

The Energizer bunny himself, P.J. Fleck will talk your ear off with quip after quip about rowing boats, eliteness, and whatever other inspirational saying he’s on about today. But hey, it gets results, as the Gophers are tied for first in the division!

No. 7: Penn State Nittany Lions | Used Car Salesman**

First Place Votes: —; High: 5; Low: 9; Last Week: 4 (-3)

Bar graph representing Penn State’s vote breakdown.

Selling cars is serious business. In an industry where haggling and getting the most out of a deal can make or break your sesaon sale, an effective used car sales person threads the needle of propping up the car their selling while also not being too transparent, lest they lost a potential customer. For the most part, the cars this person sells are just fine, great, even! But, from time to time, a lemon sneaks their way in and the poor customer is left to pick up the pieces.

James Franklin, as an overall coach, has been just fine, great, even! But from time to time, he goes out and loses to one of the worst Illinois teams in recent memory, leaving the fanbase to wonder what the **** it is they’re doing out there.

No. 8: Purdue Boilermakers | The Lottery

First Place Votes: 0; High: 7; Low: 10; Last Week: 6 (-2)

Bar graph of Purdue’s vote breakdown.

Most of the people who win the lottery spend years playing it. By the time they actually win anything, they’d have spent well over the amount they actually won. Yes, there are those times when people win big, so big that they don’t know what to do with the money! Those same people then turn around and spend every last penny they have, ending in more ruin than they started with.

Like the lottery, Purdue can win big games. In fact, if there’s a team ranked second in the country in Purdue’s schedule, they will most assuredly lose to the Boilers. But, of course, that luck against highly ranked teams is almost immediately squandered, as Purdue likes to lose the game immediately following that win, and the several hundred that precede it.

No. 9 Illinois Fighting Illini | Car Warranty Voicemail

First Place Votes: 1; High: 1; Low: 12; Last Week: 14 (+5)

Bar graph of Illinois’s vote breakdown.

This is, by far, the most annoying scam of all. The annoying part doesn’t come from the potential to actually threaten anyone, but because how persistent these voicemails, emails, text messages, you name it, are! Like the Nigerian prince, they’ll catch some unsuspecting victim that will actually call them about their warranty, but by and large, you ignore the call, delete the text, and move on with your life.

Nebraska and Penn State, you’re the victims this time around.

No. 10: Nebraska Cornhuskers | Insurance Companies

First Place Votes: 0; High: 8; Low: 12; Last Week: 11 (+1)

Bar graph of Nebraska’s vote breakdown.

Insurance is one of the biggest government-sponsored, nay, required scams in the history of histories. Insurance companies effectively have you pay them for the possibility that maybe a thing will happen to you at one point, and when that thing happens, you’ll need to be protected. The problem, of course, is that insurance companies fight tooth and nail to identify every single loophole in a contract and turn just about anything you can think of into a pre-existing condition, which, of course means they’re not liable to actually hold their end of the bargain. Anyone with their right minds, of course, would opt to go without, but doing so means guaranteed bankruptcy, and debt so crippling your grandchildren will spend their lifetimes paying it off.

Scott Frost made Nebraska pay him insane amounts of money for the promise of those days when he was a player, and delivered the highest of highs. Then came the part where he needed to hold up his end of the bargain, and he continues to talk about the pre-existing condition that is his players not executing his game plan. It’s not him, it’s the players!

No. 11: Indiana Hoosiers | Essential Oils Connoisseur

Last Place Votes: 1; High: 10; Low: 14; Last Week: 9 (-2)

Bar graph of Indiana’s vote breakdown.

One day, someone had the bright idea that if we took plant extracts and named them “essential oils,” the majority of folks would not be able to differentiate between the colloquial definition of essential, which is absolutely necessary, and the operating definition, which is the essence of. In other words, these oils aren’t absolutely necessary. They just smell nice.

That’s Indiana football. They smell nice, especially on defense, but they’re not really going to threaten anyone of note.

No. 12: Maryland Terrapins | That Guy* With The Bootleg DVDs

First Place Votes: 0; High: 10; Low: 13; Last Week: 10 (-2)

Bar graph of Maryland’s vote breakdown.

Man, the artwork in those DVDs is so masterfully photoshopped that they almost look real! And then, of course, you go home, pop that DVD in, and realize that some dude with a camcorder went into the theater and recorded the whole thing. The good ones at the very least record the fight that broke out in the theater to give you some form of entertainment, because the movie itself was illegible.

Like a bootleg DVD, Maryland is shiny on the outside (AKA the non-conference) but when you look further, there’s nothing but fights in the background and a terrible image quality.

No. 13: Northwestern Wildcats | Politician

Last Place Votes: 3; High: 11; Low: 14; Last Week: 12 (-1)

Bar graph of Northwestern’s vote breakdown.

Ah, the politician, the person so far removed from reality, yet so arrogant in their views of themselves, that they somehow manage to both ridicule themselves on the regular and convince the public that they’re the only person that can do the job. Often technologically inept, and often proud of it, the politician convinces people that they stand for something greater than today’s loss of values, while in reality giving their constituents the worst of both worlds.

Pat Fitzgerald is as boomer as boomer gets. He’s anti-union, ironically, anti-technology, pro-old school, and pro-hipocrisy when it comes to standing up for what his players believe in. He’ll sell you an idealistic version of what Northwestern football is all about, when the reality is they’re the same 1-11 team we’ve know and love.

No. 14: Rutgers Scarlet Knights | Nigerian Prince

Last Place Votes: 11; High: 7; Low: 14; Last Week: 13 (-1)

Bar graph of Rutgers’s vote breakdown.

To most people, this is a clear cut scam, easily identifiable by the broken grammar, direct attempts at getting your information, and the sheer ridiculousness of having billions of dollars available, and ready to be transferred to your bank account! Yet, there’s always someone desperate enough that they follow through with the scam, see their bank accounts drained, and can only reflect and lament.

Rutgers, the poor victim, was desperate enough for a winning team that they hired their Nigerian prince. Greg Schiano made the Scarlet Knights competitive in a league whose best team was a Louisville squad that effectively themselves hasn’t been good since. Now they get to contend with the fact that Rutgers is never going to be better than sixth in their own division.


*If everyone’s a fraud, no one’s a fraud. Right? RIGHT?!
**Man, or guy, in this context, denotes that James Franklin and what’s his name, as far as we’re aware, both identify as a man.