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MAILBAG: Who’s the second-best QB in the West, is Maryland for real, and where the Iowa fans at?

All the questions you care to ask, we answer.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Tommie Armstrong is clearly the best QB in the West (aka tallest little person). Who is second? -BSchim23.1

MNW: This raises some really fascinating “Did you know?” facts: David Blough has attempted the most passes in the Big Ten. The second-most? Clayton Thorson. It is worth knowing they are 12th and 13th, respectively, in completion percentage. (Armstrong is 10th.) Tommy’s got the 3rd-most passing yards in the conference and the most in the West, with Thorson a distant 4th. What’s really been stunning about Armstrong is just how efficient he is: a 153.8 rating, 8.9 ypa, and a 9:2 TD:INT ratio. Damn.

If I have to choose? Give me the Long Legend. He’s rolling up 4th in the conference and 2nd in the division at 149.2, has a matching 9:2 ratio, and really is just being let down by a porous offensive line. Minnesota has hardly tried to go downfield, and when they have [insert joke about overthrowing a 6’10” TE here]. Wes Lunt is completing passes to nowhere (I’m sure Thump will be along with a 10-line rant about this). Wisconsin’s passing game is a flaming wreck. Northwe--hahahahaha fuck me. It’s Beathard.

Speth: I would've said Hornibrook before he looked terrible against Michigan.

Stew: It’s still probably Beathard, but it’s not like it really matters with his WRs and OL.

Thumpasaurus: Beathard. No question. I have yet to make fun of his completion percentage anywhere. That NDSU pick six wasn’t his fault at all, nor was the OL’s inability to block Northwestern’s defensive line. Come on Speth, did you ever actually look at Horny and say “hey, he’s a pretty damn good quarterback” and end the sentence before a “for Wisconsin” came out?

Creighton: Beathard for sure. I’ve seen him complete passes other Iowa QB’s couldn’t even attempt. He’s going to take a beating all year, both statistically and physically, because of the screen door of an offensive line and the lack of a consistent running game.

GF3: Leidner, because he doesn’t get beat the hell up by Northwestern and NDSU. Beathard is a legend and nothing more, like the 100 mpg carburetor or the clitoris.

WSR: Aren’t we supposed to say something about Wes Lunt here?

Will Maryland beat PSU this weekend? We’re up to -1.5 even though it’s on the road. Also, maximum possible number of wins this season? -MarylandPrideinMA

Candystripes: It’s certainly possible. There’s a path to 9 or 10 wins out there, and it includes this game as a win for you. I think if you get 8, it would still be a successful season, though.

GF3: I honestly think anyone can beat PSU right now (Minnesota blew that game). Except Rutgers. Rutgers cannot.

Buttgers will have played THREE of the current top five teams (Washington, Ohio State, and Michigan). Should they get a pass at all for this brutal schedule, or has their performance in these games earned their ridicule on OTE? -rzor

MNW: Rutgers has 1.6 second-order wins. Their highest ranking in S&P+ is their 72nd ranking on defense. Two of their starters, by the way, will miss the game against Michigan which may or may not be hit by a hurricane (stay safe, Townie). Chris Laviano can barely complete a fucking pass. Janarion Grant is dead or something. Here is the list of P5 teams Rutgers is better than:


That’s it. Look. I get that this is a rebuilding program and Chris Ash is going to need time to get Rutgers back to hallowed 5-win territory, but let’s not polish this turd too much. If you need a 21-point comeback to beat New Mexico at home and fall behind 14 to Howard (though some can argue Northwestern trailing by 7 to Illinois State is an equivalent or larger gulf and hey at least Rutgers beat its cupcake), you’re not a good team. Rutgers is bad.

Speth: LOL no. Maybe if they hadn't been outscored 106-14 in said games some kind of moral victory could be claimed. Maybe if Washington hadn’t covered the spread in the first quarter some kind of moral victory could be claimed by sticking with OSU for a quarter. Maybe if Rutgers wasn't trash people would stop acting like they're trash. You want respect for having premier teams on your schedule? Expose them as clownfraud trash. Wisconsin 53 Top 10 Teams on Schedule 34 (2-1).

Stew: No, you couldn’t even beat this Iowa team.

Thumpasaurus: It’s hard to imagine that they’ll put up performances worse than they will have against Washington, OSU and Michigan for the rest of the season. The good news about this horror show to open the season is that as the losses become less ghastly, Chris Ash will get credit for the team having the appearance of improvement throughout the season. Still, Rutgers as a program deserves all the flak it gets for barely registering as a speed bump to conference teams. The caveat here is that unlike in the case of Hazell’s Purdue program, Ash has yet to prove that he can’t turn things around given sufficient time. Not unlike the case of Illinois, those presently associated with Rutgers will spend a few more years paying for the sins of their predecessors.

GF3: This is a chicken vs. egg issue, in a way. Rutgers deserved their ridicule long before they played those teams, and their performance in those games managed to underwhelm even by the low expectations we have for Rutgers. Okay, so it’s not a chicken/egg thing. It’s a Rutgers is a warmed over cadaver thing.

WSR: No, you don’t get a pass. You play the teams on your schedule. That’s the price you pay to get your BTN check to keep your athletic department afloat.

Did aO$U upgrade their DC by losing Ash and getting Schiano? -terp_derp

GF3: Hard to say. Did they hire a great one? Yes. But he's also using the players who were there to run a system that’s almost exactly like what Schiano is running. So there wasn't much tweaking, and they went from great to great. Also, remember he's only half the show. I'd say he's Ash’s equal.

Speth: Ash has been great everywhere so I don't think you can say Schiano’s an upgrade because he shut out Rutgers. That should just prove Schiano is capable of not screwing up the embarrassment of riches at his disposal. They're both great DCs, but can they force missed field goals like Justin Wilcox?

Stew: I’m not sure it really matters.

Thumpasaurus: Urban Meyer is a petty petty man.

Candystripes: Even if it’s a slight downgrade, would it really matter? It doesn’t take much for Ohio State to be really good at football.

After Ohio State and Michigan is there a true #3/ really good team? Or is it everyone else then Purdue and Buttgers? -AZDesertTurtle



large gap


Smallish gap


Medium gap

Everyone else

large gap


Stew: Really good? Depends on what you mean by that, but I think both WI and UNL are top 20ish teams.

Thumpasaurus: Lots of Rutgers questions. Illinois has a claim to the title of “worst non-Purdue-or-Rutgers team” and plays those two teams next. Let’s re-evaluate this in two weeks.

GF3: Wisconsin is really good until proven otherwise, and a 7-point loss on the road in a 3-TD game isn’t proof.

WSR: No. And it’s not too unreasonable to suggest that Michigan doesn’t belong in the same breath as Ohio State yet.

Would you prefer that your team maxes out it’s regular season potential in terms of wins and ends up getting shellacked in the bowl game, or prefer being 1-2 games worse, winning the bowl game and going into the offseason with positive vibes around the program? (Excludes playoffs and other NY6 games obviously) -Bschim23.1

MNW: Well, I really didn’t enjoy road-tripping to Tampa to watch Northwestern get blown the fuck out as about 60,000 mouthbreathing redneck hicks shouted “ROCKY TOP WOO” then went back to retweeting Donald Trump in between claiming credit for Clayton Thorson incompletions, so I’m gonna say the latter.

Speth: I have a story for you. One team blew its load early last year, starting the season 12-0 while fapping themselves to wins that were described as “lucky”. That team’s fan base derided all these insults as jealousy, when really we just saw that they were clownfraud trash that needed an especially garbage game from a noted garbage QB to beat a team that slightly underachieved (more on them later). Even after losing their last 2 games last year (to teams that ironically this year are also clownfraud trash), the delusion reached so high that after crushing a glorified high school team they are hilariously confused about calling a rival they extended their gloriously mediocre head coach. They promptly lost to a team from North Dakota. Then scraped out a win against another glorified high school team. Not to be outdone, they promptly lost to North, securing their 4th place finish in the Missouri Valley. The other team’s fan base is currently imploring their state to put an excise tax on bleach.

The other team toiled mostly under the radar, winning 10 games with a noted garbage QB and scoring a minor upset in their bowl game. They had a relatively peaceful offseason for their program, seeing as their coach didn't leave for bumfucknowhere this year. And then, like a thief in the night, they became the exposer of clownfraud trash, beating 2 top 10 teams while also securing a top 10 ranking of their own. It was no fairytale however, as they lost to a team that is not clownfraud trash in a defensive struggle. Nonetheless this team remains just outside the top 10 comforted by the knowledge they have one of the best defenses in the nation that can keep them in any game.


Stew: Sounds like someone’s jealous.

Thumpasaurus: Or, you could save a hopeless season by winning 3 of your last 5, go bowling, lose by two scores and then ride that momentum to firing your coach and your athletic director before and during the football season. That one’s pretty fun.

The last two Illinois teams to go bowling had new head coaches the next year. Are you asking me if, in my experience, going to the Rose Bowl after the 2007 season was worth being waxed by a pissed-off USC team?

Yes. I don’t think Rey Maualuga is the reason we lost to Western Michigan in Detroit in 2008.

Candystripes: So, either way I’m guaranteed a bowl game? Yeah, I stop caring after that point. BOWL GAME WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

GF3: I prefer to be an OSU fan, where perfect seasons and bowl wins are possible.

Why are folks so high on Maryland when they AINT PLAYED NOBODY? -87 Rides a Surfboard

MNW: On some level, I think we’re just all perpetually desperate for a good team in the East that’s not Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn S--hahahahaha I’m sorry I can’t finish that last one.

WSR: Because they’re undefeated and they’re showing signs of life on offense?

Speth: I just lost all respect for Maryland’s start because WSR just perfectly described Minnesota before they dicktripped against Penn State.

Stew: Yeah, they ain’t played nobody, but they’re also blowing those nobodys out.

Thumpasaurus: They were picked for more wins than Rutgers and Illinois specifically because their schedule was relatively soft early on. Even so, they’ve looked a lot better than I thought they would. My power poll vote had Maryland 6th and I had to re-examine it. I wanted to move them down...but there’s nothing for which I can knock the Terps right now.

Candystripes: Undefeated hype always lasts until you lose it. Just glance carefully at Baylor, they’re still undefeated and some people think that’s a good thing.

GF3: Why not? Who else you gonna be high on in the east outside of the usual suspects?

On a scale of Purdue fans to "sleeping giant of Jersey" How delusional are Maryland fans after a 4-0 start most saw coming? -06Lion

MNW: I dunno, I don’t read Testudo Times. Outside of being excited that they’re favored at Penn State (which hahahahaha), I don’t know that there’s a ton of delusion, but we’ll see where it goes in Predictions.

Speth: IDK, but on a scale of 1 to “Errmegerd James Franklin is a good coach guys. WHY WON’T YOU LISTEN TO US?!?!?” They're like a 2.5

Stew: I think a lot of them expected to be 4-0 and to have a shot against a struggling PSU. But that still hasn’t stopped them from being excited about meeting those expectations.

Thumpasaurus: I lived through this feeling 5 years ago. “Wooo! This is a big, beautiful house we live in; I don’t care that it’s made of cards!”

GF3: Where on this scale is “more than 7 wins expectations from PSU fans?” Trying to calibrate myself.

What is the most spectacular way for Michigan to fail this year? Is it better that they go undefeated only to be beaten to a pulp by the Buckeyes (so close, rivalry schadenfreude) or would it be more fun to see them lose to Rutgers and / or Illinois? -GTom

MNW: I want a loss to Rutgers. Mostly because if I have to hear one more fucking question about “If Michigan goes 11-1 with only a close loss to an undefeated conference champion Ohio State will they make they playoff?” I think I’m going to defenestrate myself NO IT’S NOT FUCKING HAPPENING STOP ASKING ABOUT IT.

Speth: Rutgers. That way the circle of trasch will strike the SEC West. Rutgers>Michigan>Wisconsin>LSU

Stew: A loss to Iowa. Then they beat OSU and win the CCG. Because LOLOLOLOLOL, I’m a terrible person.

Thumpasaurus: Home loss to Illinois. Next question.

Candystripes: Getting blown out by Indiana, while getting shut out by the IU defense.

GF3: Losing to MSU on some no-time-remaining craziness yet again.

WSR: A personal foul on a coach ejection leading to a last-second FG loss.

Realistically, any coordinators around the B1G that Purdue will look to hire a la Maryland and Rutgers last offseason? -AZDesertTurtle

MNW: Take Mick McCall. Just take him. No questions asked.

Stew: Greg Davis. Hey, he’s totally realistic for Purdue.


GF3: Schiano. He made Rutgers alllllmost relevant for 4 minutes a decade ago.

Now that Minnesota has set a basic competency bar for their season, what happens if they lose their next two games (IA, @MD), as seems possible? Their next three (RU)? -Drysil


WSR: Lose? To Rutgers?

GF3: I assume they just accept their fate, like they accepted Claeys without a second thought.

Speth: I spend the rest of the season laughing. Hey Minnesota fans, remember when Wisconsin was destined to go 5-7? You guys might be lucky to go 5-7 if you lose the next 3 ahahahahahahahahahahahahah

Stew: Well, they ain’t losing to Rutgers. However, if they miss the next two? By then it’ll a cold fall day. Sounds like the time for some chili, but be sure to make it hot.

Bonus Question: What current NFL coach is most likely to get canned and join the college ranks as another retread, à la Lovie Smith? -rzor

MNW: Chip Kelly is all of what, one more shitty Christmas party away from returning to Auburn or something with an up-tempo offense? But if I could really choose? Picture it: the year is 2017. Penn State has finally fired James Franklin. The school, wanting to regain a defensive identity and its place as Linebacker U in the hallowed halls of 4th place in the East, looks for a defensively-minded coaching staff which won’t take your shit and will return attitude to Happy Valley.

GF3: Kelly for sure.

WSR: I feel like there’s a giant opportunity for Purdue to hire a man from the NFL whose energy and charisma is a perfect match for their football team. A man whose “Kick Ass Offense” would be just what our friends need to rise from the depths and reach the lofty heights of Illinoisishness. Hire Brad Childress, Purdue. You were meant to be together.

Speth: *hears a sound in distance* It’s the pissing and moaning of 100,000 Penn State fans when Bill O’Brien is back in the college game after flaming out in Houston.

Stew: O’Brien and Kelly are pretty decent picks. I’ll go Gus Bradley, though.

Thumpasaurus: Some day, Mike McCarthy’s tenure as Packers coach will come to an end and he will absolutely end up at Iowa.

What objective accomplishment (e.g., record, standings, etc.) would your most hated rival have to achieve for you to give them public respect? -StewartRL

MNW: No. I will not.

WSR: I acknowledge the existence of wisconsin and the sub-neanderthals that make up the majority of their fanbase. That’s all I will do in regards to those things..

Speth: I mean if their athletic department could go like, 2 weeks, without a sex scandal that'd be a nice start.

Stew: No.

Thumpasaurus: Pat Fitzgerald would have to win the Big Ten, make an appearance in the College Football Playoff that isn’t embarrassing, AND close his lips completely around his teeth.

Candystripes: Are we talking the school, or the athletic department? Because Purdue the school is responsible for some pretty cool stuff, but Purdue the athletic program needs to win an NCAA-recognized men’s basketball championship before I can even entertain the notion.

GF3: Not a goddammed thing. No quarter given.

Where'd all those trash talking Iowa fans go? Addendum: Why do we have more Iowa "writers" than Iowa fans? -GoForThree

Speth: I'm not sure, but the silence is deafening. I like our Iowa “writers”, but I'm glad I won't be attending any of their bleach chugging parties anytime soon.

Stew: In line at Costco for the industrial pallet of Draino.

MNW: Seriously. To those shit-talking jackasses out there: Line up and take your lumps.

Suppose that Purdue and Rutgers played this season in a regular season game. Who would win, and what would the score be? -HistoryGirl

Speth: I have no idea who would win, but the loser would be college football.

Stew: I think we should just make that game actually happen on the Tuesday after the CCG.

GF3: All I read was (in a child’s voice) “Mommy if doodoo and puke got in a fight who would win?”

MNW: This feels like one of those t-ball games from when I was a 5 or 6 years old. David Blough would be scratching rainbows in the sand with his foot, Chris Laviano would be wearing his glove on his head, Robert Martin would be chasing butterflies, and after the game when one of those kids would be really, really intent on learning what the score was, Chris Ash would sigh, ruffle his hair, and tell him it was “Fun to fun.”

Then they’d all head to the trunk of Morgan Burke’s station wagon for orange slices and Capri-Sun.