My family celebrates Thanksgiving on Wednesday, and I’m hosting—which means that instead of writing this, I should be wiping down baseboards or something. I always see memes about cleaning baseboards around the holidays, and I’m not sure I’ve ever cleaned my baseboards, to be honest with you— either I’m disgusting, or y’all who have dirty baseboards are.
In any event, I don’t have a ton of time to spare this week, thanks to the burdens of the holiday season. This is a good time to remind our mostly male readership that the pressure, work, and planning of the holiday season disproportionately falls to women, so if you’ve got a woman in your life, maybe try to do something to either alleviate the burden or make her life better in some way in the coming weeks.
On that note, I’ve chosen a low-effort way to do this Power Poll AND the gentlemen of the OTE writing staff have kindly pitched in as well. All of us spend way too much time on the internet (so do you) and thus compiling this collection of gifs for Big Ten teams was a lot of fun. Let us know which obvious ones we missed in the comments!
And Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! (Except the Iowa fans. They know why.) We here at OTE are thankful for all of you who read our silly stories and esoteric rambles. We know there are more polished and straightforward places to get your sports without being bothered with Victoriana, Hamilton lyrics, and evolutionary milestones, but we’re very happy you choose to join us here.
1. Ohio State Buckeyes (210 pts, 15 FPV)
High: 1 | Low: 1 | Last Week: 1st
What to say about everyone’s least favorite juggernaut? Not much. They’re good. They’re boring. Early on they lost to Oregon, which is hilarious in retrospect...
... but ended up not being as bad as it could have been.
Now in full Death Star mode, they’re eagerly awaiting a showdown with Michigan:
Or maybe they don’t really care about that, and are just looking forward to another playoff appearance, another top five rating, same old, same old, blah blah blah.
Congrats I guess.
2. Michigan Wolverines (192 pts)
LW: 2 | High: 2 | Low: 3
A few of these teams feature characters associated with them that are uniquely gif-able themselves, and none more so that Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh. MGoBlog even had a Harbaugh Gif Tournament back in 2016.
I could probably do a Power Poll just out of Harbaugh reaction gifs, and it would be amazing. Remind me to do that if Harbaugh ever gets fired.
He’s not getting fired this year though, because Michigan’s actually doing pretty well. Sure, they needed a bit of luck to beat Nebraska and they lost to Little Brother again, but all in all, it’s a decent year to be a Wolverine.
Good luck with OSU, guys. :)
3. Wisconsin Badgers (180 pts)
LW: 4 | High: 2 | Low: 5
Stew nominated a timeless truth as the epitome of Wisconsin:
And while it’s certainly true, it’s more representative of the rest of the Quadrangle of Hate than of the Badgers themselves. So I was forced to consider other gifs that reminded me of Wisconsin. This one, for the way their creepy mascot looks like a box of popcorn with a rodent head:
This one for the creepy way they have a “casual weekend with friends and cheese:”
But after being written off early in the season, the pure suckitude of the West has put them in position for yet another trip to Indianapolis for a real fun time with the Buckeyes. So...
4. Michigan State Spartans (157 pts)
LW: 3 | High: 3 | Low: 6
Our first instinct was to honor Mel Tucker getting paid:
Good for you, Mel.
True, they followed that up by promptly getting destroyed by OSU, but they’ve already beaten Michigan, and they’re 9-2 and
5. Penn State Nittany Lions (146 pts)
LW: 6 | High: 3 | Low: 8
Raise your hand if you feel sorry for Penn State! Yeah, me either. But they aren’t in a completely enviable position—they’re pretty decent, but they have an unfavorable division—forever behind Ohio State, and this year, behind Michigan and MSU as well. Franklin isn’t bad enough to get rid of, and in fact... he just got a Mel Tucker-style payday, so we’ll be seeing Franklin on the sidelines for a long time to come:
Penn State appears doomed to forever be trying to make their way uphill in a division where that’s really, really hard to do:
Good luck, Nits!
6. Iowa Hawkeyes (145 pts)
LW: 5 | High: 4 | Low: 7
To begin, we must first pay the obvious homage. Yes, we’ve seen it before, but this is the Mona Lisa of the Big Ten gif, and we must give respect where it is due. I’m speaking, of course, of Hawkeyes on My Belly.
Anyway, Iowa has had an interesting season. They’ve been ranked #2 and while at the peak of their power, had a controversial moment during the Penn State game. As several PSU players experienced injuries, the Iowa crowd chanted:
Alleging the “ho on fire” was a plot to “slow down the offense,” impartial observers as well as Penn State fans pointed out this was almost certainly not true, because this is the Iowa offense:
Rather than condemning this, HC Kirk Ferentz appeared to double-down on the conspiracy. But you know what they say:
Soon enough, Iowa was no longer #2 in the land. Hell, they’re not even close to #2 in this poll. There’s nothing wrong with a 10-2 regular season, but in this case, pride definitely came before the fall.
7. Purdue Boilermakers (119 pts)
LW: 7 | High: 5 | Low: 8
Here is a collection of old-timey train gifs:
This concludes my thoughts on Purdue.
8. Minnesota Gophers (111 pts)
LW: 8 | High: 6 | L: 8
Minnesota’s course has not run smoothly this year. Hilariously, they dropped an early game to... Bowling Green?!
Though the ship was righted for a time, an inexplicable 14-6 loss to mighty... Illinois?! complicated matters for the Gophers:
They’ve got a chance to win the division, mathematically. But uh...
Good luck, Gophers.
9. Nebraska Cornhuskers (76 pts)
LW: 12 | High: 9 | Low: 12
The story of the season:
Little did Scott know during that moment against Michigan that it could, in fact, get much, much worse. Husker fans’ faith has been tried and tried and tried again this season. They’re not getting blown out, and that’s nice—but they’re almost comically committed to losing close games to an extent I’ve certainly never seen from any other team.
Some fans have broken:
Most extreme of these examples was Milton Munson, Jr., a life-long Husker fan who passed away on November 16th. His obituary reads thusly:
“The grim reality of the Nebraska Cornhuskers finishing yet another season with a losing record proved to be too much to bear for Milton Andrew Munson, who decided he’d seen enough of this world during the team’s recent bye week,” the obit reads.
“The Huskers may not have sent him into the afterlife with a victory but at least they didn’t lose. And sometimes, that’s the best you can hope for.”
This season, it’s definitely the best you can hope for. Munson had one final wish, by the way:
“In lieu of flowers, please place an irresponsibly large wager on Nebraska beating Iowa.”
Rest in peace, Mr. Munson. Here’s hoping the Huskers can win one for you, but honestly, I’m not very optimistic.
10. Maryland Terrapins (68 pts)
LW: 11 | High: 9 | Low: 12
As with Iowa, we must first acknowledge a uniquely Maryland gif:
I wonder where she is now. I hope she’s doing well. And I hope that guy at the end eventually recovered too.
While everything about that gif is extra, Maryland’s real theme this year is doing juuuuuuust enough. They obtained just enough wins early in the season that they’ve been able to weather getting their butts kicked by most of their division. They’re on the cusp of a bowl game, and they just have to get past mighty Rutgers. This is traditionally the moment where Maryland faceplants:
The interesting thing here is that this is ALSO traditionally the moment where Rutgers faceplants:
Should be a lot of fun for all you weirdos out there.
11. Illinois Fighting Illini (65 pts)
LW: 9 | High: 9 | Low: 13
Illinois has been interesting this season, don’t you think? They get knocked down, and they get up again:
And then they lose to a snail-paced offense in Iowa City.
Illinois will not be going to a bowl this year, and has veered between appearing competent and winning in a 9-OT extravaganza against Penn State.
They did all of this without a functional quarterback, or so Thump has informed me.
12. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (53 pts, 1 LPV)
LW: 10 | High: 9 | Low: 14
Misdreavus found the perfect gif for Rutgers this season—after early signs this year that perhaps the promised sleeping giant was stirring, In reality, it turned out to be one of those things where you sort of startle awake for a second, roll over, and go back to sleep.
The lows for the Scarlet Knights this season have been significant: they’re the only team to have lost to a putrid Northwestern team. While they did beat a thoroughly demoralized Indiana team, the beatings have been increasing in severity of late: a 52-3 drubbing at Wisconsin and a 28-0 loss at PSU have perhaps revised the Schiano timeline a bit.
Like Maryland, in spite of general ineptitude, the ‘gers can make it to a bowl game with a win on Saturday, which would be a major step in the right direction for the program. This means that Big Ten fans have the chance to watch two teams that are quite bad battle for some relatively high stakes. Let us all hope hijinks ensue, or like the giant, we’ll be wondering:
13. Northwestern Wildcats (32 pts, 4 LPV)
LW: 13 | High: 11 | Low: 14
If you’ve ever read GoForThree’s Sunday Morning Coming Down, you know that Northwestern enjoys a robust gif legacy, thanks to the popularity of cats on the internet. However, this season there have been fewer merrily rolling cats, and more... this.
14. Indiana Hoosiers (21 pts)
LW: 14 | High: 12 | Low: 14
Indiana. A pictorial history.
How do you say it?
Gif - like "gift" without the t
Jif - like the peanut butter