Woah, we really let this get away from us!
BigRedTwice simply got too busy to put together another power poll. It takes a lot of time and effort to craft the interesting, clever and witty columns she blesses us with so often.
Very late in the week, I decided I’d take a stab at it even though I had things to do last night like do my laundry to pack up for Champaign. Pressed for time, I skipped the interesting clever and witty part and went straight for a speed run. Hence the theme this week is The Contents Of My Laundry.
1) Michigan Wolverines: My Casual Illini Joggers
I told you I’m rushing this, I’m not gonna bother with the stats this week.
You know what? I didn’t really wear sweats until I bought this pair last year. I was working from home a lot. I’ve since added a few more pairs, but i went back and bought another pair of these because they’re perfect, they fit nicely, have a conventional drawstring and good sized pockets, and they’re not SO obviously sweatpants that I can’t get away with wearing them out. They’re the complete package and my current #1 favorite piece of clothing that I just washed.
Michigan’s the defending champion and it doesn’t look like much has changed. They still have the best resume, and they’ll probably do well in the cold weather. Like these pants, maybe they aren’t terribly appropriate for anywhere formal like the CFP, but if they show up wearing these...you can’t turn them away, can you?
2) THE Ohio State University - Trusty Old Illini Polo
I promise you I own a lot of clothing that’s not Illini-branded. Keep in mind I’m doing laundry for a trip to Champaign.
This has been the standard-bearer of my closet for such a long time. I was shocked that something dethroned it. It’s maybe more of a finesse piece of clothing, maybe a little professional, but it’s actually the single most sweatproof item of clothing I own. It’s showing it’s age, but I haven’t seen a design I like half this much since I got this shirt.
I certainly wouldn’t want to wear it doing a lot of grueling physical work.
Very Ohio State. Such high-tech materials! But it can’t do everything. Or can it? We’ll find out in a few weeks.
Notably, this polo and those joggers should absolutely never be worn together
3) Penn State Nittany Lions: These Fleece-Lined Wrangler Jeans I Just Got
Look at these! They’re jeans, but with fleece in them! I got them at the Wrangler outlet replacing all of my jeans for the first time in many many years. They were in the “Irregular” rack and were somehow not just my size but Relaxed Fit!
I have no idea why they make Slim Fit jeans for my size. Who is my size and wants to wear those?!
Anyway, Penn State came into the year with a lot of hype because once again they added some shiny new talent to some proven leadership like Sean Clifford. The fusion of Manny Diaz and James Franklin’s recruiting is like the fusion of fleece lining and blue jeans. It should in theory go fantastically, right?
I’ll be wearing these for the first time on Saturday in roughly freezing temperatures. I hope their trial by ice goes better than Penn State’s trials by fire against the top two teams in the league!
4) Illinois Fighting Illini: Duluth Trading Company Buck Naked Brand Boxers
You don’t want to see what these look like. You certainly don’t want a lot of eyes on them. Bury them under the joggers in an early ESPN2 slot. Ideally, they won’t be peeking out.
They do fundamental things well, and I would talk about them a lot more if underwear were a more popular discussion topic. Their appearance is not the point. They’re all function, and they do that phenomenally. Like the Fighting Illini, they touch a special place.
5) Maryland Terrapins: This Vintage-Style U of I Tee
I love T-shirts. They don’t do anything at an elite level, but they do a lot of things fairly well. There’s a lot of places you can wear T-shirts these days, and in the cool but not cold months I wear a shirt like this with a zip hoodie.
Of course...there’s a hard limit on what kind of places I can wear this T-shirt. I can’t wear it anywhere serious or elite. I can’t wear it to work. And to be perfectly honest, it’s one of those modern style tees that’s...kind of transparent? Like if it weren’t a dark color I probably wouldn’t feel great wearing it out, but fortunately it is!
Anyway, there you have the Maryland Terrapins. Versatile, but unserious.
6) Michigan State Spartans: Long Sleeved Tee
This item of clothing only seems to work in extremely specific situations. When it’s right, it’s right, such as in my 40-or-so-degrees Illini football outfit with an orange tee over it. However, the use cases for long sleeved tees are so narrow that I think I own like two or three. Any amount of laundry shrinkage anywhere can destroy its wearability so easily, and it’s so rare to find a temperature that’s not too hot but not too cold to wear these comfortably by themselves.
Sometimes things click for these Spartans, but never over the course of a whole game. When they do so more often than not, you get positive results.
7) Minnesota Golden Gophers: This Running Headband
Oh hey, I forgot that was in there. I went through two headbands over the course of my half-marathon last week. Had to keep the sweat out of my eyes somehow.
This is an outfit that is purely set up for running. There’s nothing else I use this for, and in fact it feels like doing anything other than running is pointless and unnatural. Sure, it’s one-dimensional, but I got my half-marathon over with in under three hours!
Also, like a boat, the purpose of this item is to convey me through a large body of fluid safely; in this case, I am the large body of fluid.
8) Wisconsin Badgers: This Shirt That Doesn’t Fit Me Anymore
This shirt and I had quite a run, but somewhere along the way I clearly did laundry wrong a bunch of times and shrunk this shirt to the point where it doesn’t fit me even though I’m in better shape than I’ve been in for a long time. Just gonna have to move on. It’s solid, but it has shrunk from the occasion and cannot compete on the big
stage man anymore.
9) Iowa Hawkeyes: This Workout Shirt
Don’t workout shirts feel great once you put them on and break them in? They’re real comfortable and breathable when it’s hot out and you play some rec league sports or something. Everything’s pretty fun!
...Eventually though...things start to smell weird. At first it’s barely noticeable. You can convince yourself it’s okay to go out to places that aren’t the gym in this shirt. After 23 or so years of using one of these, you just wear it for as little time as you possibly can because it’s already your designated gym shirt. It’s reached a point where you’re going to have to take drastic measures, such as replacing it or something. You’re hoping it just falls apart so it can be retired and you can move on.
Anyway, the Iowa Hawkeyes were voted 9th in this week’s power poll.
10) Purdue Boilermakers: These Gym Shorts
You know, I have a lot of fun with these. I use them to play sports and do active things outside in the summer months and the early part of fall. They sure are light and breathable.
They’re not very useful once the weather turns shitty. Also, these have a problem where the pockets kind of weird and either swing around a lot or just drop my stuff out if I step up on something. I certainly wouldn’t want any important contents of my pockets to be turned over to someone else.
11) Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Hey Wait, This Isn’t Mine
How’d that get in here? That’s not my shirt. That shouldn’t be here.
12) Indiana Hoosiers: Packers Tee
Okay this one’s probably cheating-adjacent, but the Green Bay Packers started out with some close wins that made people say “hey maybe they still have that magic from a few years back!” and it devolved from there. First it was “uh-oh, maybe this team isn’t good, maybe they’re just frauds!” and then we reached the “oh wait no this team is BAD bad, all the flaws we thought we’d see are right there!” phase. By this point in the season, it’s become a curiosity. “How bad will they be? Will they really lose out? Is anyone getting fired?” Stay tuned to find out!
13) Nebraska Cornhuskers: This Solid Color Tee Of Indeterminate Origin
So I don’t know exactly where it came from, I think it was from something I got at Kohl’s where there was a short sleeve button up that it went under? Clearly I’ve long since moved on from that, and it kind of sounds like it was a terrible idea to begin with. So this shirt is what’s left, and the original vision is long gone but I guess absent anything else it’s a decent undershirt?
What a weird season for Nebraska. Maybe they’ll find an outfit that works with this leftover accessory.
14) Northwestern Wildcats: An Orphaned Sock
Oh god dammit, at some point everything that made this work just fell apart. Namely, the other sock. Probably got a huge hole in it. You know, I was looking for a sock with a hole in it that I’d have to throw out, but for the first time in the history of me doing my laundry, all of the socks were intact! Anyway, this can still technically make a pair but only in a bizarre and disjointed manner by mismatching. Look at that thing! I don’t even have many, if any, other socks of that same length. My socks are virtually all black. It’s only my distaste for throwing out things I can still wear that keeps this widowed garment in my drawer.
May you fight the good fight, poor sock, like these hapless Wildcats.