Hi and welcome to another edition of the weekly mailbag. This week we will dip deeply into the pain and suffering of rutger and the woes of Michigan State. But first, I thought we'd start off with some levity...Kirk Ferentz for B1G coach of the year anyone?
No game is easy but Iowa has three notably difficult contests left on their schedule: Wisconsin, Michigan, and Nebraska. All three are at home though, where strange things can happen. If the Hawkeyes manage to recover this season and win two of these games, then somehow sneak into the B1G conference championship game, could Kirk Ferentz feasibly win B1G coach of the year? How comfortable would you be with a D1 coach losing to a D2 program and still winning coach of the year?
Side note: College freshman are usually around 18 years old when enrolling. Ferentz has been at Iowa for 18 years now, meaning this recruiting class has not lived in a world where Kirk has NOT been the head coach at Iowa. - rzor
GF3: Kirk will not be B1G coach of the year. This is a silly question.
MNW: No. There’s like, no fucking way that a coach who lost to North Dakota State and Northwestern is going to win the Big Ten coach of the year.
Aaron Yorke: Even if Ferentz wins two of those games, he’s not going to be Big Ten Coach of the Year because the expectations for the program were high before the season started. Usually that award is given to someone who either wins the league (not going to be Ferentz) or someone who coached a team to a winning record despite low expectations. Right now, my favorite is Kevin Wilson at Indiana.
If Ferentz did win the award, I wouldn’t be miffed because of the North Dakota State (still a Division I program) loss. It’s a subjective award, so one big loss shouldn’t take you out of the running, especially if it’s early in the season and contributes to the adversity that your team has to overcome in order for you to win the award.
Stew: No, just no. There is no way Ferentz is the B1G coach of the year this year.
WSR: There are two people that won’t be B1G Coach of the Year: Ferentz and whomever is coaching Ohio State.
Townie: Nope. But his agent might win contract of the year.
Creighton: Hahahahaha nope. I have zero reason to believe Iowa will even be competitive in any of those games, let alone take 2 of 3. Iowa’s ceiling this year is somewhere between "December Bowl Game vs C-USA champion" and "well, at least we get a few more months of hockey".
Are we putting Nebby on upset alert this week? - marshalman35
GF3: I can see why you would. Indiana has a solid defense, but they probably looked better than they actually are against an OSU offense that suddenly forgot who it was. I do think IU has a chance to beat Nebraska and once again show that the East is superior.
Candystripes: I am. And if that’s in any way surprising to you, maybe you should read my Indiana preview again.
Aaron Yorke: Does that mean I think they will be upset? In that case, no. Does it mean that I will be watching with interest because I think there’s a chance that Indiana wins? Sure. By the way, the line is down to three-and-a-half points as of Wednesday afternoon, so it wouldn’t be that much of an upset if they played right now.
Stew: Yes, please. Though, but man, they’re about 75% favorites to win, that’s not that much of an alert.
WSR: Before the season started I circled this one. Could it still happen? Sure. Indiana is still a bit of a chaos team, but I’m not entirely sold on it actually happening.
Townie: I don’t think so. This Nebraska team is sneaky good. Tommy is playing good football right now. And the defense is doing work. As long as Tommy keeps the football and doesn’t make any dumb mistakes, I think they have a shot at the west.
Creighton: Absolutely. Indiana has a much better team than people are giving them credit for. Their defense is nasty, and Tommy Armstrong could regress back to his old self and let the Hoosiers hang around longer than they should. Plus the west sucks.
Does MSU get to a bowl game? - marshalman35
GF3: I hope so, and I hope it’s the Motor City Bowl.
MNW: And once there I hope they lose to Central #fellatethestate
Candystripes: Depends. Do they go to Detroit if they get 6 wins?
Aaron Yorke: They need four more wins to get there, right? In that case, no. I don’t see them getting past Northwestern this weekend and I think they’ll also lose to Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State. If Michigan State defeats Northwestern, though, they’ll just barely qualify thanks to winnable road games at Maryland and Illinois. Sparty’s fate will be decided on Saturday.
Stew: Motor City it is.
Townie: Nope. Before the BYU game, I was still on the Sparty train. But fuuuuuuucccckkkk that was awful. Just awful. This is a bad team right now.
WSR: So two games from Northwestern, @ Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, and @ Penn State? I could see that happening. I don’t have a lot of faith in Northwestern, Maryland, or Penn State. But I also don’t really see MSU as being that good either right now. Does 5-7 and a good APR still get you into the Motor City Bowl?
Creighton: I don’t see them making a bowl this year. They’re the fourth best team in their own state right now, which I guess isn’t that big of a deal because Michigan has always been the best team in that state anyway.
O/U 1000 cows killed during the rest of the season for Ruth's Chris meat b/c of Michigan? - ajcuster
GF3: The real question is whether that location even stays in business. A lot of frat brahs are about to crush that balance sheet.
Stew: They still have IL, MSU, MD, and Iowa, so yeah, that’s a full house for the next 5 weeks.
MNW: Can’t kill ‘em all...gotta save a few so Jimmy can wash those steaks down with a nice cold glass of 2%.
Creighton: What they should really do is just double the price of every item on the menu. That way, they really aren’t losing money when Michigan blows someone out. Plus, if Michigan only wins by a few points everything will still be expensive and people will think it’s more exclusive and fancy than it really is.
Townie: Go big...10,000 or so.
Nebraska will have three of the next four games on the road: Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio State. If Riley and crew only manage to win one of three, would you declare "same old Huskers, can’t beat the top competition" or have they already shown that the program has made improvements in year 2 since the Peilini era? - rzor
GF3: You cannot look at that team and say they haven’t improved. If Indiana is the only one they win, that means they have losses to two top ten teams. You can’t shit on that. I mean, you can, but you’d just be some dumb Iowa fan.
Candystripes: I think one win in that stretch would be perfectly reasonable (please let it not be against us). Whether these improvements are a one-time only thing or some consistency is yet to be seen, but that’s because you’re still balancing out last year.
Stew: Honestly, they look about the same but with the late game luck going for them so far. They weren’t as bad as their record last year, and they're not as good this year. Riley really is just like Ferentz. Congrats, UNL!
WSR: If they win one of the three, how I respond will be based on who they get. If they beat Ohio State I will be impressed. If not, I have no problem making jokes about how they got lucky against a bad Oregon and aren’t that good at all and probably made a mistake firing Pelini.
Creighton: Gotta agree with Stew on this one. On a long enough timeline, Riley is going to even out to about 7 wins per year. Just extend him now, Huskers, and get it over with. Iowa fans need friends who properly understand our misery.
Townie: No, because Tommy A. played well so far, which he hasn't in past year. And if you win three of the next four, it's an improvement over last year, right?
So, who prevails Saturday, Old Kirk or the team that gets blown out every game after a win? - Boilerman31
GF3: Tradition prevails either way.
Candystripes: People who don’t watch this game.
Stew: The #B1G hashtag will get quite the workout during this game. Iowa wins an insufferable 13 point blowout.
WSR: You can’t make me watch this game. Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions, Article 75 (2 b & e) of Additional Protocol I and Article 4 (2 a & h) of Additional Protocol II prohibit "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment."
MNW: Why not both?
Townie: Iowa is a fucking cipher. How can it be this weak? I just don't get it. But I think this week at least, we see the old, good team show up.
Creighton: Nobody wins. Iowa will probably outscore Purdue 13-6, but there won’t be any winners.
Rutgers QBs went a combined 5/34 for 38YDS against Ohio State and Michigan. Will Chris Laviano complete more than 5 passes against Illinois and will he have more than 38 passing yards? - steelinnj
MNW: Jesus, it’s fucking rhetorical question week at the OTE Mailbag!
GF3: Not many good questions to choose from this week eh Townie?
Candystripes: Maybe not in the first quarter, but in the whole game? Sure, probably.
WSR: Can I split the difference? 4 completions, but one goes for about 45 yards.
Townie: Here's the thing about Laviano, he's got about half a real receiver to throw to right now. Like last year, you had an uncoverable kid playing wide receiver, who covered up a whole lot of sins on the rest of the team. He goes down with an injury and you are exposed. So I don't put this all on him. Chris Ash ain't got much to work with right now. I say yes, Laviano gets his...in the form of a ball that literally sticks in the wide recievers face mask so that he can't possibly drop it.
Creighton: Didn’t we get rid of rutger already?
Most likely scenarios for OSU @ Wisconsin: - 97allstars
- Wisconsin’s defense keeps it close for 3 quarters, then OSU gets one or two big plays and pulls it out. Final score something like 23-13 OSU.
- Wisconsin forces OSU into a total Big 10 throwback meat grinder, but like against Michigan, Wisconsin lacks the firepower to actually win those games. Final score something like 16-6 OSU.
- Wisconsin gets enough big plays (INTs, fumbles, play-action passes) to pull off the upset at home. Final score something like 20-17 Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin is worn out from running the gauntlet, gets torched. Final score something like 35-10 OSU.
- OSU’s youth catches up to them, lays an egg on the road. Final score something like 24-6 Wisconsin.
GF: I’m going to get in on this question...mostly thanks to Indiana’s defense.
Until last week, I didn’t think anyone could slow down OSU’s offense. Then Indiana (?), who although vastly improved wasn’t expected to stop the Bucks at all, stopped the Buckeyes and harassed JT Barrett. If the Hoosiers can, Wisconsin can. So this week, I have more confidence in a close game. OSU 23-13, meat grinder B1G type game.
GF3: I love that Hornibrook’s offense causes fans to view "play action passes" as THE big play threat. As for the game, who knows. The main reason that Indiana slowed down OSU is that JT Barrett had a terrible day throwing. Receivers were in position to punish Indiana on numerous occasions and JT missed. I wouldn't count on that twice, but you never know. I think OSU’s defense is the difference. I expect a pick six.
MNW: Says the guy who picked wisconsin to pull the upset. I SEE YOUR NOJINX, BRO.
Stew: I think Wiscon’s offense is bad. Which means I don’t think there’s really any likely they win the game. However, I do think their defense is stellar. I think they force OSU to play a mostly sloppy game, but OSu pulls out a couple big games throughout - not just late, but inconsistently throughout the game. Wisconsin struggles to score.
WSR: I think either 2 or 1 is most likely. wisconsin is a mediocre football team that does enough to slow down opponents, and that should be enough to keep them from getting destroyed by a vastly superior team.
Townie: I think Wisconsin is pretty good. I don't think they can carry this Ohio State team's jock strap. The defense will keep it close, but big plays seal the deal. I think that's #1 up there...and it's the right choice.
If Nebraska had Rutgers' schedule and Rutgers had Nebraska's, what would their respective records be at this point? - Exiled_in_VT
Stew: UNL would be 3-3, and Rutgers would be 1-4 (beating Fresno).
WSR: I could see Nebraska being 2-4. Nebraska-Iowa would be ugly if you put it on Black Friday, the last weekend in September, Remembrance Day, or any other day of the year and that favors Iowa right now. Rutgers? Maybe 1-4. Maybe.
Townie: Nebraska would be 3-3 or 4-2...I'd like to see them play Washington. Rutgers would probably only have 1 win or fewer. Ain't no Howard on Nebraska's schedule.
So Rutgers lost pretty badly to Michigan, OSU, and Washington, but beat the two cupcakes on their schedule and generally hung around with Iowa. Considering that UM, OSU, and UWash are all top 5 teams, and that they didn’t get blew out of the frame by not top 5 teams, is it possible that RU has actually improved this year, and just hasn’t been given a fair shake at showing said improvement? Or is that a no? - HailtheBlock
Candystripes: I think it’s more than possible that they’ve improved. However, that much improvement takes more than a few months to occur, so they could still be in for a rough rest of the year. The Giant is still slumbering.
Aaron Yorke: I think we’ll find out a lot this week when the Knights take on an Illinois team that is reeling from a loss to Purdue. Win convincingly, and we can talk about Rutgers not being the worst team in the Power Five conferences. Lose, and there will only be more jokes to share.
GF: The universe provides many questions. Is Meijer curb-side service the best thing ever? Hotdish or casserole? Does it matter if Rutgers plays a few close games on its way to an 0-9 in-conference record?
GF3: Graham said it all. This is a debate over the deck chair layout on the Titanic.
Stew: I think they’re better coached, but actually improved play? Eh, I’m not so sure. They lack talent, even from last year. Plus completely switching up styles takes a while to set in, so no, I’m probably not improved play, yet.
WSR: It’s entirely possibly that they’ve improved from "colossal embarrassment to college football" to just "one of the worst teams I’ve ever seen play in the B1G." The good news is that even if they pull off a win they’ll be able to get right back on track soon with basketball season being right around the corner.
Creighton: I hate you for trying to make us talk about rutger more than we are contractually obligated to.
MNW: Two questions on rutger, zero on Northwestern, Minnesota, or Penn State. This is our new Big Ten. Fuck me sideways.
Townie: Rutgers is bad. This question is like polishing dog shit. Let Chris Ash recruit a few classes and we'll talk again.