Submitted for your approval, the January 22nd edition of the OTE Mailbag. Enjoy!
Q: How do you feel about Michigan pulling OT Erik Swenson’s scholly a few weeks before signing day? He committed in November 2013... - Townie
Yorke: I feel surprised because I didn’t know they were allowed to do that. I didn’t know that coaches were allowed to sleep at recruits’ houses, either. Harbaugh is such a rebel... Rebel scum.
MNW: There’s now a chance he comes to Northwestern, so I’m totally on board with it! Oh, you mean as a moral issue? Yeah, that’s super shitty. But that seems like the kind of coach HARBAUGH is! If it’s not illegal, he’ll do it. Will this hurt him down the line with other recruits? I mean, maybe, but if Khakihose is getting his 5* boys in there, I don’t think one loss here or there will keep him awake at night.
Townie: This is an 18 year old kid, who was promised a scholarship to Michigan several years ago. Think about it in terms of acceptance to a University. What if your school called you a few weeks before admissions deadline and said, "umm, yeah. We no longer have a spot for you in our class this year, so if you could apply to another school, that would be great."
I find that incredibly offensive, regardless of the rules. I hope this kid goes somewhere, plays well, and pancakes the fuck out of Michigan’s defenders for four years.
Stew: It sucks. But it’s a bit of a two-way street here. Verbal commitments don’t really mean shit. It’s far better than oversigning and then dumping him later. Still, though, this probably should have happened a long time ago. Two-weeks before NSD is pretty shitty.
LPW: It sucks for him, but consider the fact he was recruited by the previous coaching regime. I’m not surprised it happens, given Harbaugh’s reputation as a jerk. However, the last time he pulled this stuff, he revoked Kain Colter’s scholarship from Stanford, and Kolter had a very productive football career.
GF3: Of course it’s a bad look on its face, but if we take an objective stance it makes a degree of sense. The purpose of scholarships is to get the best players in the door to make the team better. After all, Bo was always about "the team, the team, the team" right? Is this not in the best interest of the team? Michigan fans wanted him to make the team win again, right?
Q: Anyone who attended Penn State likely has heard of the annual "East-Pollock snowball fight" following the first snow accumulation of the year. What are some similar traditions at other schools? - dbl5030
Yorke: My brother always tells the story about an East-Pollock fight in the mid-2000s he was in. It stopped for about 30 seconds because one of the girls in Bigler hung out the window and showed her boobs to everyone.
MNW: Hmm. Northwestern has Dillo Day, which is a delightful Saturday in late May in which we all get fucked up, go to the Lakefill (which is goddamn beautiful that time of year), listen to a few bands/artists (I got to hear Nelly, which, despite him being suuuuuper over-the-hill and shitty, was memorable-ish), and go get fucked up again. It’s a great time. Think of it, if you will, as a 50%-off Mifflin for respectable human beings (and nerrrrrds) with 100% fewer stabbings.
We also do stupid things like the Primal Scream, in which the Sunday before Finals Week at 9pm, students all over campus stick their heads out the window and scream. That’s a thing.
NUMB also had an enjoyable event (I’m not sure if they still do, but I’d assume) called the Bonehead Bowl, where following the first substantial snowfall of the year, the trombone section would take on the rest of the band in a game of football (which went from tackle to touch during my time there, if I remember correctly). One year NU special teams legend Mark Woodsum joined, which...awesome. There are other things, too, like Drumline Serenade, that the band took part in...some of those may be better left for the comment section.
Townie: While I never participated in the Pollock snowball fight (I think that came after I was gone), I do remember Mifflin Streak. The sunday night before spring finals, the men of Mifflen Hall would wrap their heads in tinfoil and streak around campus [isn’t this just called being a Penn State fan? --MNW]. Then the men’s dorms would empty into the quad and go to the women’s dorms. They would shout up things like:
"Your Mom Will Never Know! and Tits on Glass!"
The next night, the womens’ dorms emptied into the quad and go to the men’s dorms. The crowd would yell things like:
"Your Mom Will Never Know! and Dick on Glass!"
Unfortunately, my RA knew and my mom found out. That’s why I wasn’t allowed to live in the dorms after my freshman year.
Stew: I went to a small, private, liberal arts college in NE Iowa that has gotten notoriety for co-ed naked soccer during finals week in May. Well, that was far from the only co-ed naked sports activity. I participated in the naked mile, and the naked winter olympics (eg. luge downhill on a tray from the cafeteria).
GF3: At OSU, it’s obviously the Mirror Lake jump. It sounds as though that may be permanently done after a young man tragically died this year (though it’s unclear how his death is related to the jump itself). At USMA, one of the great traditions is the annual plebe pillow fight. That made a bit of news this year, as it devolved into an all-out brawl. Truth be told, that was always the case. This year, for whatever reason, it was news. On a less bellicose note, the annual singing of the Twelve Days of Christmas at the last dinner before holiday leave is a great one.
Q: Lawrence Phillips died last week. It was a sad and tragic story. That’s been discussed and T.O. shouldn’t have reinstated him in the 1995 season. That being said, he was a tremendous on the field talent, and the biggest "failed to live up to enormous potential" player in Nebraska history. Which player best fits this description for your team? - Bschim23.1
Yorke: Christian Hackenberg. Him and tight end Adam Breneman were supposed to hook up for ALL the touchdowns, but Breneman suffered multiple knee injuries and Hackenberg never developed into an accurate passer.
MNW: The first one that comes to mind is Kyle Prater, a 5* from Proviso West who went to USC, flamed out, and transferred to Northwestern, where he underwhelmed save for a few weeks his 5th year. But I wouldn’t call him a bust for Northwestern. Matt Alviti (QB) is coming dangerously close to being a biggest bust by star designation, as he’s a 4* QB who’s barely seen the field.
As I racked my brain and did a quick Google search, BTN.com seems to think Davon Custis was...considering our time at NU perfectly overlapped and he rang zero bells, I’m inclined to agree. Thinking about it, in general the 2009 recruiting class was a lot of players who never reached their promised potential: with Custis (DL), you’ve got Patrick Ward--I realize I'm being a little harsh here--(OL); Arby Fields (RB/WR/LSU transfer for baseball); and Evan Watkins (QB/SB/early graduate, Slays Pussy Nightly) as the top 4 recruits. None of them panned out and only Ward played in any meaningful capacity for all four years. Kind of explains the 2013/2014 implosions.
Townie: I’m going to go with Anthony Morelli, a five star quarterback recruit who was billed as the second coming of Todd Blackledge. At the tender age of 10 years old, he won the NFL Punt, Pass, and Kick competition by completing a 50-yard pass. When he got to Penn State, he struggled in critical situations and he just couldn’t win close football games.
To put this in perspective, Penn State doesn’t score many five star recruits. So we can’t afford them to bomb...but Morelli bombed. He was terrible, like he became paralyzed with fear at the line. He was the classic "looked like Tarzan, played like Jane."
Stew: Two names leap to mind. Brandon Wegher and A.J. Derby.
Brandon Wegher was a 4* RB recruit from Dakota Dunes, South Dakota. He was a true freshman during Iowa’s run to winning the Orange Bowl in 2009. He was 2nd on the team in rushing and yards from scrimmage. His talent was obvious to everyone. August camp rolls around in 2010 and Wegher leaves the team due to personal reasons. Plenty of rumors flew around, I won’t get into it here. He takes a year off, then walks on to Oklahoma, but personal issues raise their ugly head again. He goes back home and a couple years later finds himself at Morningside College and just absolutely tears it up. This past season he was on the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad and even dressed for a couple of games.
A.J. Derby was a 4* athlete and legacy recruit (his dad and brother both played for Iowa). He wanted to play QB, but was obviously more suited to another position (TE, LB, or DE). He took a redshirt year spent as a QB. During the next fall, he went out one night and http://www.blackheartgoldpants.com/2011/10/2/2464551/a-j-derby-really-doesnt-like-this-bus-window-arrested-for-trying-to" target="new">headbutted a bus. Shortly thereafter it was announced he was moving to LB. At the end of that season he transferred to a JuCo so he could further pursue his dream of becoming a college QB. He eventually ended up at Arkansas under Bert where again after a year of pretending to be a QB, he transitioned to being a TE. He was drafted last year in the 6th round by the Patriots. He was on IR all season.
LPW: I’d have to say Kyle Prater, and this is somewhat controversial. Prater was a five star recruit out of Proviso West High School, and made every single defensive back he played against look stupid silly. He was elite. Like a man amongst boys. He signed at USC, and then everything that could go wrong did go wrong, injury wise. He then transferred to Northwestern. I wanted him to get the damn ball all the time, but he apparently was still injured and not healthy enough to live up to his potential. Stop what you’re doing right now and watch InsideNU’s awesome documentary on Kyle Prater. Kyle Prater is not a bust by any means of the imagination. His body screwed him over, and it’s damn unfortunate.
GF3: Maurice Clarrett. Enough said.
Q: On recruiting, geography, and parity, I think we’re seeing the conference split pan out the way a lot of people expected. With the East having the lion’s share of of recruiting success for the conference and being situated geographically in areas much more suitable for maintaining that success. The West is going to be playing catch up forever. The East is going to be a meat-grinder and whoever wins is going to probably always be favored in teh conference championship game. I still think the B1G made a mistake in aligning the programs this way, because I don’t think it is as cyclical as people would like to hope. So my question is, should the B1G revisit the divisional alignment? - 06Lion
Yorke: The divisions are fine. Iowa was good and gave us a fun, exciting conference championship game. When Iowa isn’t good, Wisconsin, Nebraska, or even Northwestern will be good enough to challenge the East champion. For something like this, you can’t rely on a small sample of two years for an answer. Before thinking about realignment, you have to have a more significant amount of data. Yeah, in some years, one division is going to be better than the other one. It’s only a problem if it persists for many years without end in sight. I think this season was an argument in favor of the current alignment. Maybe if Penn State gets its act together and Michigan State stays good and Urban Meyer lives forever we can revisit the conversation in 10 years.
MNW: No. We are two years into this alignment, and for all the HARBAUGH and URBZ and Frankl--HAHAHAHAHAHA sorry--fapping over recruiting, I think you need, y’know, an actual cycle before you can declare it to be "cyclical."
Townie: I think the last six years of recruiting tell the story. Think about the divisions as you look at the list below. Here are the top 5 and the bottom 5 recruiting classes in order from best to worst:
Top - OSU, PSU, Michigan State, Nebraska, Wisconsin
Bottom – Indiana, Northwestern, Iowa, Minnesota, Purdue
Top – OSU, Michigan, PSU, Michigan State, Wisconsin
Bottom – Rutgers, Minnesota, Iowa, Purdue, Illinois
Top – OSU, Michigan, Nebraska, PSU, Michigan State
Bottom – Rutgers, Northwestern, Iowa, Purdue, Minnesota
Top – OSU, Michigan, Rutgers, Nebraska, Purdue
Bottom – Wisconsin, Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota
Top - OSU, Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State
Bottom – Maryland, Minnesota, Indiana, Northwestern, Purdue
Top – PSU, OSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska
Bottom – Purdue, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana
From 2010 to 2015, The East had at least three of the top five recruiting classes each year. The West had at least three and for four years had the four worst classes each of those years. It’s hard to compete when the bulk of your conference brings in the weakest recruiting classes.
The East bottom teams, Rutgers and Maryland,only appear in the bottom of the recruiting classes for 2 and 1 year, respectively. Indiana is in the bottom four of the six years.Rutgers also scored a Top Five class in 2012. So there is an argument that it can compete.
The bottom of the West, Purdue and Minnesota, appear in the bottom every year. Illinois is there three of the six years. None of those teams brought in a top five class.That, to me, means that the Western Division is inherently unequal...at least from a recruiting standpoint.
C4B: Uh, yeah, I’m 100% in favor of realigning the divisions, because there are very few ways the conference could make it worse for Indiana football (though I also wouldn’t be shocked if they still tried).
Stew: Hell no. I love being in the "Who hates Iowa?" division.
LPW: I like the divisions they way they are now.
GF3: The reality is that all recruiting is national now if you want to be a top power. B1G schools have the resources and exposure to recruit well across a large area. If we wanted to revisit the alignment, I don’t think recruiting is the reason to do so.
Q: What’d you do at your last sleepover? I remember playing Mega Man 2 until daybreak, and sneaking downstairs (avoid that step, it creaks!) to snag some snacks out of the pantry. I bet we climbed a tree the next day, too. Harbaw sounds like a cool kid. - pkloa
Yorke: I wish I knew about the last sleepover when it happened so that I could document everything that transpired. We probably played Super Smash Bros. Melee or The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords on GameCube. Four Swords was awesome, but Nintendo decided that you needed a Game Boy Advance for each player, which was such a horrible decision that I’d come to expect from a company that took a decade longer than everyone else to get into Wifi multiplayer. Really, being a Nintendo fan is like rooting for the Mets. They routinely mess everything up, but once in a while come up with something so brilliant that it makes you think being a fan is worth it. Also, we had three Game Boy Advances, so that sleepover was totally awesome.
Stew: No idea, probably played a shit ton of video games (probably Mortal Kombat), and watched movies, and maybe snuck some time on Skinnemax.
LPW: We watched Spaceballs and played MarioKart on SNES.
GF3: Played a NASCAR simulator on a PC. The ‘90s were a blast.
Q: 1. Sledding: Awesome or is the juice not worth the squeeze?
2. Greatest Hits "Albums": totally legit or a cop-out way of making money off of low information music fans?
3. Were greatest hits a better thing pre-internet?
4. Best greatest hits Album
5. Stew’s varied polls: Awful at measuring what they’re supposed to, the worst at measuring what they are supposed to, or "hey, it’s not Hoyger!"?
MNW: What the fuck is with these five-part questions? Here, go read this oral history of Now That’s What I Call Music! on AV Club. The answer to (1) is "awesome," (5) is "Hey, it’s not Hoyger!" I personally love both ranking systems for how they measure success differently.
Stew: I’m going to answer these in random order. Awesome, awesome, legit, don’t know, One.
Townie: 1. Awesome when I was a kid. Now I surf. 2/3. Legit pre-internet. Now I just buy the songs I want on iTunes. 4. Staring at the Sea by the Cure. 5. I like polls.
LPW: Yes, Yes, Yes, I’d have to check my CD collection gathering dust in the closet, the more polls the merrier!
GF3: Yes, both, definitely, Jock Rock, who’s Stew?
Q: Do you guys feel awkward in the morning after what you do in The Lounge? - ChrisHarrell’s_stache05
Yorke: I feel awkward just reading the stuff that goes on in The Lounge.
MNW: Like I answered in the initial comment section, I’m usually so drunk I don’t even remember Lounging.
C4B: No, but then again, I generally just lurk and don’t post.
Townie: I’m old enough and secure enough to do whatever the fuck I want without remorse.
LPW: No remorse at all
GF3: I’m old. I feel way too many things in the morning.
Q: Do the commenters who post pictures of scantily clad women in The Lounge think the rest of us don’t know how to find porn on the internet? - EastLosRandy
Yorke: Maybe it’s for people with PCs who don’t know about Incognito Mode and are afraid that someone will track down their browser history.
MNW: This is, like, the stupidest thing about the Lounge. Stop doing it.
Stew: What MNW said.
Townie: Wait, you can find porn on the internet?
LPW: If someone can get your browser history, you have bigger problems than people noticing cheesecake shots in the Lounge.
GF3: I’m pretty sure you know how to make Ro-Tel dip but I still serve it to you at my party.
Q: Hypothetical Scenario designed to piss everyone off: The B1G has too many teams. We need to get rid of two of them. One of them can’t be Maryland or Rutgers because that’s too obvious and it won’t stimulate any arguments. First, who do you get rid of between Maryland and Rutgers, and second, who’s the next team to go? - GophersinCNY40
Yorke: I would get rid of Maryland and Penn State just to watch Rutgers get repeatedly pummelled by teams that it’s too far away from to even hate properly. But if you want to even out the divisions I’d kick out Rutgers and Nebraska because geez we have enough red already.
MNW: Wisconsin and Wisconsin again. Fuck’em.
Stew: Buttgers and Purdue
Townie: I think we should demote the worst team from each division back to the MAC and promote the two best MAC teams. That would mean Purdue and Maryland this year. Have fun losing to Miami Hydroxide Twerps!
LPW: Buttgers and Purdue
GF3: Northworstern and Buttgers.
Q: Which team is your offseason nemesis? In the absence of actual football games for the next eight months, we are facing our most sacred duty as hyperbolic internet commenters, which is to shape the narrative for the coming season out of nothing more than rhetoric, personal attacks, and funny pictures with captions.
While it is a time-honored position to claim, "Everyone else is trash. GO (INSERT TEAM HERE) AWESOME", it doesn’t particularly provide a ground for stimulating debate. Similarly, traditional rivalries are long established and typically just recirculate the same old grievances that have been beaten to death by yearly hate pieces that only have so much material to work with. Feel free to continue cursing the names of the scurrilous rogues that have stolen your beloved trophy based on farming/lumberjacking implements or mocking the futility of those teams from whom you’ve stolen said trophies, but I think we as a commentariat can do better.
That is why I have decided to step outside my comfort zone of hatred (the HAT-less yokels from Champaign and the jerks from Iowa that refuse to acknowledge Northwestern as a rival just because they have 3-5 other teams with much better claims to being their rivals) to declare my steadfast opposition to a new team for the year. That is why right here and now, I am staking my unimpeachable reputation as a levelheaded and respectable commenter and an avatar change for all of next bowl season that WISCONSIN WINS LESS THAN SEVEN GAMES in the regular season. I’m honestly leaning towards 5-7, but I’m calling Nebraska a tossup along with LSU, at MSU, at Michigan, OSU, at Iowa, and at Northwestern as losses.
Having dedicated myself to this position until Badgers fans yearn for the sweet release of death/wish they had Joel Stave back, I would encourage my fellow commenters to claim their own fresh, new team to despise. Are you not a Hawkeye but still want to see Pat Fitzgerald shove a cactus up his ass? Are you an OSU fan who thinks Purdue doesn’t quite feel bad enough already? Are you a Minnesota fan who wants to join in the conversation about how James Franklin is a fraud/hype/snake oil salesman? Who do Maryland and Buttgers Rutgers fans hate in the West?
Make your voices heard! MAKE OTE HATE AGAIN! - Batman42
Yorke: Because of weird realignment and schedule issues, Minnesota hasn’t visited Beaver Stadium since 2009, when Penn State had a good quarterback and won 20-0. I’m expecting a repeat of that performance this year since our new offensive line coach probably knows all of Minnesota’s weaknesses. It’s time to finally take back the Bell and send those Gophers packing. If not, we’ll just beat them in basketball again, lol.
MNW: DePaul. Now that they’ve beaten my Golden Eagles, I’m very, very mad at DePaul. So fuck’em. THE MAYOR’S KEY IS OURS, ASSHOLES.
Oh, we’re talking Big Ten football? /shrug. I hate Wisconsin and Iowa enough already, and Illinois has a special place in hell reserved for it, so…
//wheel reads "Take a Shot" because it is a Shot Wheel I got at the department Christmas party
Stew: Buttgers. Fuck those guys. Just go away, already.
Townie: Fuck Illinois. I’m not over Beckman yet. Just keel over and die already.
LPW: Fuck Michigan. Seriously. Now and forever. Losing to Brady Hoke three times was inexcusable, and then getting curbstomped by Harbaugh was just painful.
GF3: All of you, because your teams consistently fail to get it done.
Q: Why did Penn State hire one of those "unseemly" coaches from Beckman’s staff? - DAM
Yorke: Because Tim Banks used to work with James Franklin. And because Franklin wasn’t on the staff when Beckman was stalking Penn State players. Illinois’s defense wasn’t awful last year. Maybe this thing will work out.
MNW: More important question: Did James Franklin camp out in the Illinois parking lot waiting for the coach?
Stew: Because no actual good coaches want on the titanic that is the Franklin era.
Townie: Because he and Franklin coached together at Maryland. And Franklin has no ties to the debacle that happened in 2011. He doesn’t know that we PSU fans can summon an irrational and vitriolic hatred of all the coaches from that time. If Timmy doesn’t succeed, he’ll be first in line when the torches and pitchforks come out.
LPW: James Franklin’s just a snake oil grifter.
GF3: Because "Come to Penn Staaaate" through gritted teeth is still the only hiring tactic they have. You get what you pay for.
Q: Is Illinois the new Purdue? - BentNotBroken
Yorke: Doesn’t Purdue have to win a few games before there’s a new Purdue?
MNW: No. Purdue has a coach. That’s the nicest thing I’ll say about Darrell Hazell.
Stew: I recently spent a night in Champaign on a trip, so I know it exists. West LaFayette does not exist. There’s a difference there, though I am unsure which is actually worse.
Townie: They are damn near interchangeable. The difference for me is, I root for Purdue as the underdog. Illinois can get fucked.
LPW: How can Illinois suck as bad as a school that does not exist?
Q: Who is your pick for Hottest Woman on Earth? Who is your pick for Hottest Woman of All-Time? - LL Sota
Yorke: Daisey Ridley is the hottest woman in the galaxy.
MNW: Eugenie Bouchard. Or Camila Giorgi. God, do I love the Australian Open.
Stew: The specific term used is "hottest" which carries a specific connotation. For this specific question, my answer is Natalie Dormer.
Townie: This is such a personal thing...I don’t know if I can pick a favorite. Catherine Hepburn in African Queen? Cindy Crawford and Elle Macpherson in the SI Swimsuit Issues? Christie Brinkley in Vacation? Milla Jovovich during her Supermodel period? Heidi Klum? Emma Stone? I don’t fucking know. There’s something about them all...I think the best answer I saw was Joan of Arc, which made me laugh..
LPW: Any of the three between Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Monica Belluci and Eva Green.
GF3: We let 7th graders pose questions now?
Q: Why do the Brits rock so much harder than Americans? It’s a little embarrassing where our contribution to the rock genre has headed. - ChrisHarrell’s_stache05
Yorke: It’s a little embarrassing where the rest of the world’s contributions to college football have headed.
Stew: Goddamn monarchists
Townie: Umm, Dave Grohl on line one...says he wants a word?
GF3: Because we’re all fat.
Q: Harbaugh and Chill? - Mr. Brown1
Townie: /vomits uncontrollably.
Stew: This reminds me of this:
Which reminds me of this guy:
LPW: It’s disgusting.
GF3: That’s the Michigan difference.
Another dose of remarkable insight into your "writers"...and your psyche. I did enjoy these questions this week. We’ll be asking for more in another week or so.
The OTE "Writers"