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Mailbag - Which Loss Was Worse: Iowa's Rose Bowl or Sparty's Cotton Bowl?

Great questions this time around - we'll tell you why Iowa's Rose Bowl loss shamed the B1G most, which Wisconsin running back was the biggest NFL bust of the last decade, and why Purdue should put together a HC wish list ASAP...

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
You asked, we answered...and our answers now contain 100% more Zuzu!

Q: How much longer does the ‘Bama Dynasty have? -06 Lion

Townie: That’s really a question of how much longer Saban coaches. He’s 64 now. I don’t see him coaching into his seventies. Beamer was 69 when he stepped down. That would give Bama five more years of Saban.

Jesse: As long as Alabama feels like being a dynasty. I wanted to go deeper into this question in the potluck, but here is a good place. Saban is one of the greatest coaches in college football. There is no question about that. The problem is that we often wrongly ascribe all of that success to him and none to the fact that, well, winning at Alabama is pretty easy so long as you’re a plus coach. Unfortunately it had been a while and sanctions and everything. Alabama wins a lot, they have always won a lot, and they most likely will continue to win a lot. This dynasty may have a shorter shelf life, but most likely Alabama will always win in some capacity.

Stew:  At the rate they currently are? Until Saban retires. But Jesse is right, ‘Bama cares so much about football that they’ll always be relevant.

MNW: I dunno, there’s always another Mike Shula out there, just lurking, waiting for his chance to crater the program… But no, Jesse is spot-on. The problem is, I am 99% confident that Saban has made some sort of Faustian bargain that lets him remain atop the college football world as long as possible. And it’s gonna suck for us all when, in some fantastic heel turn, Saban reneges on their deal, orders another onside kick to hit his receiver in stride, and destroys the Devil once and for all. That makes me really uncomfortable.

Yorke: If we’re comparing this to those ancient Chinese dynasties, we haven’t even reached "dynasty" level yet. For this to be a dynasty, another coach would have to keep winning every other title after Saban passes the torch. Can Kiffen do that? Or maybe Kirby Smart comes back after losing in the SEC Championship Game for the six years in a row.

GF3: Realistically, less time than people think. Great coaches tend to fall off rather sharply when an unexpected shift in the game puts them on their heels. The thing that will kill the dynasty will be money. Other schools will get smarter and pay more, and the days of former head coaches working pro bono as talent scouts for the Saban machine will wane. Dynasties fall. Invariably. Saban has shown signs of weariness and the Bama machine will regress sooner rather than later.

LPW: Until Saban retires.

Zuzu: Two kids were each holding up signs at the Championship that said, "Alabama Class of 2023/2027 Recruit" (or something like that). This program will always be a dynasty. I agree with Jesse in terms of the reasons why.

babaoreally: Four more years! Four more years!

Q: Who is the B1Ggest NFL bust in recent history (say the last ten years) on performance compared to draft hype/expectations? - SGTSparty

Townie: Last decade...Aaron Maybin from Penn State. Taken 11th in the 2009 draft. He was a total bust. Worst of all time though, I’d say Tony Mandarich from MSU.

Jesse: No idea, but remember when NFL teams were in love with Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptiste and he went in the second round? Super fun to find him playing on Sundays, right? Or, you know… not.

Stew:  Pick your favorite Wisconsin running back.  Could also go with a few different Wisconsin OL (looking at you Gabe Carimi).

WSR: [Insert Your favorite Wisconsin RB bust here]

Yorke: Oops. I was going to say Wisconsin running backs. Pretty amazing how James White turned out to be way more effective than both Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon. Although that had a lot to do with Patriots magic (and injuries). If we’re talking about other schools, I know Levi Brown went in the top 10 and was a pretty huge disappointment in Arizona.

GF3: God, that's a tough one. So many guys go bust. I'm going to hop in my time machine and zip to 2019 so I can say Hackenberg. Probably the real answer is, predictably, someone who once excelled at Wisconsin. Honorable mention to Maurice Clarrett.

thumpasaurus: Biggest B1G bust? Unfortunately I have to nominate AJ Jenkins, who was picked in the first round of 2012 by the 49ers. He was healthy all year but dropped his only target in three games. Traded to the Chiefs before ever catching a pass, he finally made his first NFL reception 511 days after he was drafted. He got cut by the Chiefs last year and cut by the Cowboys this year.

Q: Will a B1G team not named Ohio State win a natty in the next 5 years? If yes, who and why? - Bschim23.1

Townie: Winning a natty is a combination of three big things: players, coaching, and timing. I thought MSU had a chance this year...but Alabama was too big, too physical, and too fast (SEC speed joke anyone?). In the next five years, the only team I think can put it all together is the fighting Tantrums of Michigan (I threw up in my mouth just writing that).

The fact is, outside of OSU, who is recruiting top ten in the nation consistently, pulling in 5 star players, and has a great coaching track record? It has to be Michigan.

Jesse: Five years? I’m with Townie, you need players + coaching + timing, but also a ton of luck. No bad injuries, no weird schedule quirks, no bad weather games, etc. I think I’m of the mind that even OSU has an interesting go at it. IF (big if) we project a bit out, Michigan looks strong and maybe MSU because of their newly established recruiting prowess, but I’d not put money on either.

Stew:  I only see two teams even being in the discussion, Michigan and Michigan State.  But those two teams’ style means they have about 0 shot against a Saban led ‘Bama.  So, I doubt it, but if I had to pick, I’d go Michigan (on the outer edge of 5 years).

MNW: You wouldn’t take HARBAUGH to upset Saban at some point? Man, I could just totally see that happening. And it makes me very, very ill.

Yorke: Penn State because James Franklin is still recruiting like a madman. But really, Michigan, because Harbaugh is there and he may have won it all this year with a more talented quarterback.

GF3: Nope. And Franklin will be jobless by 2019.

LPW: I’d say Harbaugh. He’s off to a good start.

Zuzu: Obviously Rutgers. Fertile recruiting ground, great set of new, talented, and excited coaches, updated facilities on the way, and I’m just being an optimistic liar to myself at this point in typing this answer.

babaoreally: No.

thumpasaurus: Will one? No. If I had to pick one it would be Michigan unfortunately.

Q: Favorite Bowie album/song? - riclang

Townie: That’s so hard. I like a lot of his songs - The Man Who Sold the World, Diamond Dogs, Fame...but Heroes is my favorite. Best Album is Let’s Dance, hands down. Produced by Nile Rogers and featuring the blistering guitar riffs of Stevie Ray Vaughn, this was Bowie transcending his old self, like a butterfly released from a cocoon.

Jesse: Album? Young Americans. Seems cliche, but I love the arrangements across the board. Just really awesome stuff.

WSR: The correct answer for album is The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, and all other answers are wrong.  Song? That’s a matter of personal preference.

Stew:  WSR is right about album (though, does the soundtrack to Labyrinth count?).  As for song, Under Pressure is one of my favorite songs, period.

MNW: What’s an album? Is David Bowie the one who dressed up like a pirate? Didn’t he get caught soliciting for sex in a bathroom somewhere? I can’t keep my British glam pop stars straight.

Just kidding. Rise and Fall and Let’s Dance are the best albums, and I’m very partial to "Let’s Dance" myself.

C4B: Space Oddity, but only because Under Pressure is more of a Queen song than a Bowie song.

GF3: Only a godless heathen would make me choose. This is ground control to Major Tom...

LPW: It’s all awesome.

babaoreally: Ziggy Stardust. I’m not sure I’ve listened to a Bowie album all the way through except a greatest hits type thing. A lot of good songs on that. I also enjoyed The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, which had some great Bowie songs sung in Portugese. by Seu Jorge.

AY: Let’s Dance, because I’ve heard of that one and it’s not bad.

Q: How many B1G coaches get fired during/after next season and who are they? Why does your list omit James Franklin? -waw

Townie: Sad to say, I think Purdue parts ways with Darrell Hazell and I think Indiana’s Kevin Wilson is on the hot seat. We all know Hazell hasn’t improved Purdue, his record id 6-30 in his first three years. Year four will probably be his last without significant improvement.

Hazell’s record is 2-22 in conference and 6-30 overall. He came to Purdue in 2013 after bringing an 11-3 Kent State team to a #1 finish in the MAC and going to the GoDaddy bowl. Since that season, he’s looked downright pedestrian at Purdue. The question is, can anyone do better at Purdue?

Regardless of how YOU feel about James Franklin, Penn State won’t fire him after 2016. His first two years have an asterisk next to them, for coming in to shitty situation. That will give him at least a year or two cushion. So far, he’s done a great job recruiting, but many of his kids redshirted. We’ll see what happens when his recruits start to play. I’d say 2017 will be the first time we start to talk about Franklin on the hot seat, and only if he doesn’t improve.

Jesse: Cubit still has a job, right? So that’s one. Wilson got his extension. He’s good. Hazell costs like, $6 million, so he’s probably good. Nebraska is most likely giving Riley 4 years unless a cratering next year, so I’m guessing he’s good. Maryland and Rutgers have new guys. Minnesota kind of has a new guy. Iowa is fine. Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State are fine. Wisconsin is fine. Wow… Maybe I do include Franklin? Really, it’s Cubit who is done, and he was technically done this year but Illinois doesn’t know it yet.

Stew:  Hazell and Cubit are going to be turbo fired.  I think Franklin gets to 7 wins, isn’t fired, but some PSU fans start to realize that he may not be the 2nd coming.  Other PSU fans, though, will say it’s because of the new coordinators, refs, and sanctions.

MNW: Let’s just watch Franklin continue on with 7-win seasons. No one say anything, just sit back and enjoy. Hazell gets fired, sadly :( maybe Cubit, too. Probably Cubit, unless Illinois somehow wins 7 games, which is probably what will happen, because Illinois.

C4B: The answer is one. The reason is unrealistic expectations crashing to Earth. The coach is Pat Fitzgerald. Why? Because I feel like being contrary today. Also, I agree with at least some of what Townie says about Franklin, so put him on #SeatWatch2017.

GF3: Hmm...Cubit for sure. Fitz is a maybe, but jTW doesn't actually care much about winning and everyone loves a hometown boy. Ferentz has made Iowa City safe for mediocrity for another ten years. Franklin survives on hope for two or three more years. Hazell is a toss up. Two tops.

AY: Two coaches get fired: Bill Cubit and Darrell Hazell. Everyone else is safe for now. Including Franklin, whose has a new offensive coordinator and quarterback combo that will lead to a higher win total.

Zuzu: Darrell Hazell. I don’t know much about the Big Ten coaches in the west, but I do know that Purdue has sucked and sucked for a long time, so… Also, my list certainly does not omit James Franklin and I think PSU is going to have an underwhelming season with their fans calling for his head by the end.

LPW: Darrell Hazell and and Bill Cubit. I’d like to see Franklin on the hot seat after underperforming again.

WSR: Cubit, Hazell, Franklin.

babaoreally: Hazell only. For some reason I think Illinois does just good enough next year to keep Cubit. Franklin will be at Penn State longer than Paterno was.

thumpsasuarus: Cubit and Hazell are gone barring miracle seasons. Riley is gone if he loses 7 or more again. Chryst might leave because Idunno sometimes Wisconsin coaches just leave. Nobody else is going anywhere unless catastrophes ensue.

Q: Iowa or Sparty? Which did more damage to the B1G’s reputation in the bowl season? - Andy Davis

Townie: Lucky for Sparty, Alabama won the whole enchilada...but that means Iowa’s skull fucking looks the worst for the B1G.

Jesse: Meh. Stanford and Alabama are good teams. Getting blown out sucks, but they got blown out by teams hitting their stride. I’d be more concerned about Northwestern getting blown out by Tennessee in what should have been a better matchup.

WSR: Iowa.

MNW: The answer is always Iowa. It’s fun to laugh at Sparty, though.



C4B: Iowa, though you could also make an argument for the PurpleCats.

GF3: Iowa, but only by a nose. Sparty looked sad and pitiable in a special way, though. But Iowa...woof.

Yorke: Michigan State, but only because most of the nation thought Iowa was a fraud going into bowl season.

LPW: Iowa. I mean, the Rose Bowl is hallowed ground that we all revere, and they got beaten like a high school senior beating up a seventh grader.

Zuzu: Iowa. Stanford scored on the first play of the game didn’t they? I remember that as the biggest buzzkill of the bowl season. It was then that I knew it was all over. AND IT DOESN’T MATTER THAT IOWA "AT LEAST" SCORED POINTS.

babaoreally: Iowa. Losing to Stanford is worse than losing to Alabama.

Q: Why does your team suck and why do you like them anyway? - LL Sota

Townie: Well let’s see, my team sucks because we had no offensive line. We called read option plays with a baby giraffe at quarterback. We failed to use our talented tight ends to catch balls, yet constantly threw to a tight end who allegedly has no hands...just arms that end at the wrist. We were so predictable that my blind grandmother could tell me what the play was, just by knowing down and distance.

Yet I love them because I’m a dyed-in-the-wool cultist. I’m a Joebot who believes that graduation rates matter as much as on the field success. I’m a Penn State fan, in the old-school, sit in the snow, watch every game, sing the alma mater, wear blue and white all the time model.

Jesse: Well, we suck for tons of reasons from recruiting to coaching to annoying fans. Why do I like them anyway? Addiction is rough.

MNW: Because we’re nerds trying to play football. Because I am a nerd who enjoys football.

Stew:  Bad recruiting, because GO IOWA AWESOME!

C4B: Because we have to play defense too. Because we don’t have to play 60 minutes of defense.

GF3: Doesn't apply to OSU. Good try, though.

AY: My team sucks because it can’t convert 3rd-and-5 to save its life. I love it because I have to and hopefully things will be better next year.

LPW: My team sucks because our wide receivers can’t catch the ball and our quarterback is still learning.

Zuzu: My team sucks because we are the originators of competitive collegiate football and have done nothing in our history to reinforce, solidify, or garner respect from that. However, through circumstances similar to many, I ended up at my state school and well… RU, RAH, RAH!

WSR: Minnesota doesn’t suck, it just doesn’t want me to be happy.

babaoreally: My team sucks because it’s God’s will that they suck. I like them anyway because I always have and always will.

thumpasaurus: Let me count the ways. Our coach is an offensive specialist who produced one of the worst offenses in FBS this year. Wes Lunt has been with this coaching staff for 3 years and shows no signs of improvement, yet remains our best option at QB. We have some talent at RB, but can't open any holes for anyone. Our run defense makes everyone look like Barry Sanders in that we stop them for no gain, stop them for a 5 yard loss then overrun the play and give up a 76 yard TD. Our kicking game is bad, and I can't wait to see how many ACLs get torn before September. And on top of all of this, we made a half-commitment to an over-the-hill interim coach who was the Danny Hope of the MAC. It's been two months since we fired an athletic director and we still have no idea who we're going to hire. The administration is committed to showing the world how little the university of Illinois cares about football. This seems trivial, but half-assing a big time college football program is a massive waste of resources considering that it damages the university's reputation. If we don't want to care about football, drop football out of the D1 level. If we want to spend the resources to play in the Big Ten, then it's a waste to do anything but play to win. But instead, we've essentially put ourselves on probation by signing a mediocre coach in a way that demonstrates to recruits that we don't think he's good enough to commit to. Coach Sanctions has his work cut out for him.

I'm a proud graduate of Illinois' famed engineering school trying to make my name in the foreign land of Michigan. Illinois is responsible for my education, many of my friends, some of my fondest memories and innumerable life lessons. So if I don't root for Illinois, who will?

85+ kids committed to play college football at my alma mater. They committed themselves to an insane workload, to endless scrutiny from the media and of course to the physical dangers of the game itself. All this for a meager shot at the NFL (these days...), a world class education, a chance at glory, but also for the chance to represent Illinois, to do their best to reclaim the pride of the Orange and Blue and to give their all to the cause of making the University of Illinois a winner.

Q: Way too Early Predictions:
-Who are your B1G football division champs in 2016?
-Which 2015-2016 B1G bowl participant is most likely to miss out on a bowl in 2016-2017? and Vice Versa.
-Who wins the B1G OPOY, DPOY, and COY awards in 2016?
-Which is the next B1G school to fire their head football coach?
-Who do you think are teams 15 and 16 when the B1G inevitably becomes the B1G16?



  1. Nebraska and Meatchicken
  2. Indiana doesn’t make a bowl and no one new goes.
  3. C.J. Beathard, Darron Lee, and Mike Riley
  4. Purdue (see above)
  5. Va Tech and Somebody out west...Mizzou? Oklahoma?


  1. Iowa vs. Michigan
  2. Townie is on top of things… Indiana seems to be the least likely to bowl again, and to replace them? Probably Illinois. Why not?
  3. JT Barrett, Desmond King, Bill Cubit (because LOL)
  4. Illinois (also because LOL)
  5. I don’t know… Someone out East to play with Rutgers and Maryland

MNW: Good questions, though you’re asking a lot out of us "writers"...follow like 5 different questions, some with subquestions?!

  1. Northwestern vs. Michigan GET FUCKED ALL OF YOU.
  2. Minnesota and Indiana. I can just as easily see Claeys going all mega-struggle as I can him getting back to 8 wins and returning to the Glen Mason Memorial. Indiana plays in a tough division, I’ve heard.
  3. Don’t care, Anthony Walker, Pat Fitzgerald. IT’S GONNA HAPPEN SHUT UP GET FUCKED
  5. Following the last model of expansion, we’ll go with one "meh" school and one "DEAR GOD WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING" school. So I’ll say Syracuse and UConn, in that order. If I had a more...rational choice? I don’t know. Go back to 12. Or eventually put enough pressure on Notre Dame somehow. I’ll say Pitt and Cincy, because I’d much prefer them to anyone from the East Coast. Please, please, please, no more fucking East Coast teams.


  1. Iowa and OSU
  2. Indiana because they lose Howard and Sudfeld and... man, I’m not sure I can see any team that didn’t make a bowl get into one.  Uh, I’ll go with….uh….(/throws dart)...Maryland.  Huh, well, there ya go.


  1. Wisconsin and Michigan
  2. Minnesota misses, Rutgers goes
  3. Devine Redding, Rashard Fant, Kevin Wilson (because if you’re gonna go Homersota, might as well make it FULL HOMERSOTA)
  4. Despite what I said up above, there’s no way Cubit makes it to 2017 as Illinois’ coach unless something like 8-4 or 9-3 happens.
  5. Kansas and Louisville
  1. OSU and Iowa
  2. Indiana doesn't bowl. Rutgers does.
  3. JT Barrett. Raekwon McMillan. Anyone not named Urban Meyer because Earle Bruce curse.
  4. Illinois.
  5. Oklahoma and Kansas when the Big XII dissolves.


  1. Iowa and Michigan
  2. Indiana misses out and Rutgers makes a bowl.
  3. C.J. Beathard, Anthony Walker, John Harbaugh
  4. Illinois
  5. Iowa State and Pittsburgh
  1. Northwestern vs Michigan. Northwestern will figure out how to beat Iowa, and Harbaugh will maniacally drive and coach the Wolverines for the first time past the Spartans and OSU in a very long time.
  2. Indiana’s talent losses are too much to overcome, and Rutgers will somehow pull it off.
  3. JustinJacksonTheBallCarrier®, Anthony Walker Jr and Pat Fitzgerald.
  4. Scroll up for answers, commentariat.
  5. Just stop. Lock the door at 14. YOU HEAR ME DELANY?! I mean, Nebraska *still* hasn’t played Indiana yet.


  1. Ohio State (they’re not gonna let themselves NOT again), and Wisconsin. I’m feelin’ a 2014 throwback.
  2. Indiana and Minnesota won’t bowl, Rutgers and Maryland do.
  3. I don’t know what these are.
  4. Penn State fires Coach Hype. The best part is that all Penn State fans will be like, "we knew he wasn’t the one." I’m so sure.
  5. What is a Bearcat? And Louisville. Rutgers is gonna loooove seeing it’s old Big East buddies again.


  1. Ohio State and Northwestern, since the nerds guaranteed themselves a Rose Bowl trip following their getting slaughtered in a Florida bowl by Tennessee as one traditionally does.
  2. I think Indiana probably won’t, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see bowl-ineligible Minnesota rebound nicely.
  3. J.T. Barrett, Jabrill Peppers will win it undeservingly, as Michigan CBs do with awards, and Pat Fitzgerald.
  4. In a stunning turn of events, it’ll be wisconsin.  I don’t like giving away surprises from the secret hidden episode of Making a Murderer, but you can probably piece together the hints here and figure out that Paul Chryst has done some very naughty things.
  5. I hate spreading rumors and innuendo, but I’ve heard that Purdue and Illinois might be starting football programs soon.
5. IPFW and IUPUI.

Q: How much is the loss of Shoop going to hurt PSU? - SpartanHT

Townie: Meh, not as much as you think. Shoop had high ranked defenses with players that BIll O’Brien brought in. It wasn’t as much scheme as talent. Brent Pry is an accomplished coach who worked alongside Shoop for years. He’s going to have more talent with a comparable scheme. I think we’ll be fine. I’m still pissed though, Shoop is a lying sack of shit, as far as I’m concerned. And when UT fires the whole staff in two years, we’ll see who’s laughing.

Jesse: Less than it will hurt Wisconsin losing Aranda. I think Shoop is a talented coordinator who should be highly sought after, but PSU can replace him in general I think. I’m not so sure the Badgers will seamlessly be good to go with a new DC.

Stew:  Probably not a whole lot in actual wins and losses.

MNW: Not as much as continuing to have James Franklin as a coach will hurt Penn State.

GF3: Was PSU’s defense actually that good? I mean, the BSD folks think so but everyone from Temple to Army moved the ball very effectively. Georgia with no coach had their way with that defense. That UGA team put a whole 9 points on Vandy. The guy seems like he was as much hat as he was cattle when the games were actually played, metrics aside. Pry will be good. Maybe better.

LPW: Not much. Franklin’s the Potempkin Village of Big Ten Coaches, a complete fraud.

Zuzu: I don’t know, but hopefully enough for Rutgers to finally beat them.

AY: Well, the defense gave up 30 points to Maryland and couldn’t stop Northwestern’s backup quarterback on 3rd-and-15 with the game on the line. If the unit gets worse, it’s because of Austin Johnson and Carl Nassib leaving. Not because of Shoop peacing out.

And there you have it...a monster mailbag chock full of meaty information for your reading and commenting pleasure. Have a nice day!
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The OTE "Writers"