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Mailbag - Can Minnesota Sweep the West?

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Minnesota is Essentially 8-0 (6-2 actually)...can they make Indy?

Can Minnesota Pull Out the West?
Week Ten Mailbag is Here! This week we talk Players of the Year (okay it’s Peppers), What the worst penalty is, and how great it would be for Minnesota to be in the Playoff!
Without further suspense, here’s your Mailbag:

Big Ten OPOY and DPOY so far this season? - ICEICETHATGUY13

WSR: Jabrill Peppers and Jabrill Peppers.

GF3: And also STPOY and B1G Coach of the Year

Townie: Carr or Barkley for OPOY and Scales for DPOY.

Which rule is most confusing and called incorrectly the most often: holding, pass interference, or targeting? What can the NCAA reasonably do to fix that problem? - rzor

WSR: Easily Targeting. There’s no consistency between officiating crews in the same conference, let alone across the country. And I feel that the only way to rectify it is to gather every single goddamn ref that calls college football games, take them to a secluded warehouse on a Sunday morning, lock them in chairs with their eyelids held open Clockwork Orange-style, and have them watch film showing targeting and non-targeting plays over and over and over again, releasing them just in time for that week’s games.

Candystripes: Targeting, for sure. Holding is only confusing because you could feasibly call it on every play, so you have to be judicious with its use. Pass interference has to have some wiggle room for the human element, so most “incorrect” interference calls are actually correct by the rulebook even if they look bad. Targeting, on the other hand, is one of those things that should be easy to call (even though it’s sometimes tough to really legislate properly), but is more like the famous quote about pornography: you’ll know it when you see it.

BRT: Targeting is the most confusing, for reasons well-explained by others. At first I thought you also asked what was the most inconsistent, and I now see that you did not, but I’ll answer that anyway--that one’s holding. :) I don’t know how to fix anything--they don’t pay me the big writing bucks for providing practical solutions to complicated problems.

GF3: Targeting and it isn’t even close. The refs and the replay booth manage to screw it up on a weekly basis. It’s beyond the point of joking. They literally don’t know how to call it, or what it is.

Townie: Pass Interference! Just kidding Lebron, it’s targeting.

Does MSU get through U of I or is Rutgers-MSU for a 1st conference win for one team? - ChiHawki

WSR: Illinois is one of the worst couple B1G teams in the past decade. If Sparty doesn’t win this one, it may be time to add another team to the “They’re going to hire PJ Fleck!” list.

MNW: Yeah, it’ll be MSU over Illinois for the program-defining win of the season. (The definition is that MSU is bad this year.)

BRT: I feel like MSU has to win, right? But then, I’ve said that a couple of other times this season…

GF3: What, like Sparty’s going to lose to some team that can pass the ball well? And has a decent-to-good running attack?

Townie: I get the feeling Lovie is phoning it in right now, as he plans his return to the NFL, so Sparty wins this week. But damn, wouldn’t a loss be funny? A Buttger/Sparty face off for first conference win?

Odds that Minny shocks the world and wins the west? - marshalman35

WSR: 5%? We’re already a loss behind Nebraska and have to make a trip there, and we have the same amount of conference losses as BEST TWO LOSS TEAM IN THE COUNTRY and have to make a trip into that bastion of knowledge and equality and understanding. Throw in the fact that we don’t know if we get to use our best CB in home games yet, and it’s a recipe for meh. Stupid things can happen, but we’re more likely to have the Easter Bunny win the election.

MNW: 0%. They are not getting through the gauntlet of Nebraska, Northwestern, and wisconsin. It’s just not happening.

Stew: Nope

Candystripes: I think 5% is probably a safe bet. You’re relying on a lot of crazy things to happen to at least Wisconsin and Nebraska, and also probably Northwestern, just to have a chance. Doable, but not very likely.

BRT: 7.2832384923% And you can take that to the bank.

Townie: I feel like I should call all the PSU and Minny fans over and have them take a knee. Huddle up here kids.

You both are having good seasons, but you are both making rookie mistake, talking about getting to the Championship. I blame all those stupid movies you watched as kids, about how the misfits could actually win stuff. They can’t. That was anti-bullying propaganda. In real life, those misfits got their asses kicked, remained nerds, and went to Northwestern as losers.

There’s a reason coaches only look one game out, because a “paper win” makes you look stupid when you lose it. E.g. getting Harbored by Purdue is a bad look.

For Minnesota fans, you have a tough, tough slate left. Be cool, go to the games and cheer. But don’t get ahead of yourselves yet. You haven’t played anyone like Wisconsin yet.

And my Penn State peeps...that Michigan game? It happened.

GF3: Wait, you mean Minnesota? Like our Minnesota??

What’s buried under Ryan Field? Or...Your best conspiracy as to why Wisconsin can’t beat jNW in Evanston this millenium. - AquaBreaker

MNW: I dunno, my hopes and dreams? All the money I paid them to attend that institution?

JK but I do have fond memories of my friend, an alto sax in NUMB, being so hungover one game during my first season there that during the Star-Spangled Banner he literally keeled over and threw up all over the field (thankfully he was in a back row and well-hidden). Threw up on America, we liked to say.

Candystripes: Jimmy Hoffa holding the Slab of Bacon

BRT: Jen Bielema’s #karma?

GF3: A reservoir of liquid mediocrity that seeps slowly upward. It drags other teams down and allows the ‘Cats to beat ‘em with experience.

After 8 weeks, would you rather be the worst 6-2 team in the nation or the best 4-4 team? Asking for a non-bowl eligible friend. - StewartRL

WSR: I’d rather be a fan the worst 6-2 team that’s pulling it’s hair out over all the stupid crap that’s enveloping his program.

MNW: Well, I generally don’t care for my life all that much, but this time I might actually choose Northwestern. And I’m not your friend, buddy.

Stew: Wins are always better than losses.

GF3: I’d rather not be either, frankly.

Townie: Been both. I think you learn more from 4-4. You get more disappointment from being scorched in your bowl game at 6-2.

Can anybody else actually tell the difference between Wisconsin and Nebraska quickly? - M1EK

WSR: Nebraska got penalties called against it.

Stew: Nope

Candystripes: Look for the Word Art W. Should clear that up real quick.

GF3: Nebraska doesn’t photoshop their QB into the program.

Townie: Tommy A. is hard to miss.

How absurd is it that Minnesota should be the worst 8-0 team in the country? - White Speed Receiver

WSR: Allow me to clarify this a bit: Minnesota essentially lost the PSU game on a broken long pass and had a shot to pass into the endzone to beat Iowa. That should be terrifying, considering that Minnesota is strongly mediocre and should/could have lost to both Rutgers and Oregon State. But really, is it all that absurd this year in college football that this is a thing?

MNW: You’re an idiot (generally, too, but that’s not why here). Of course Minnesota was never going to win 8 straight games. You serious, Clark?

Stew: embed this: http://www.twincities.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/jea-0026-gopher-iowa.jpg?w=810

GF3: This is a bad question and I have chortled at it accordingly.

Townie: And you say Penn State fans are “essentially delusional”...

Would any still-contending fanbase swarm Indy in December 2016 to the level Iowa did in ‘15? - ChiHawki

WSR: Maybe. Fans of the BEST TWO LOSS TEAM IN THE COUNTRY use any excuse that they can to get the hell out of that state. Road game in Vegas? So many bets on the game they knock out the power before it can be counted as a whole game. Job fair in Minneapolis or Chicago? You could housebreak a million puppies with all those useless resumes. I wouldn’t be surprised if they invaded if they somehow got into the game.

MNW: I would invade the hell out of Indianapolis if Northwestern found a way to win out November and get some help from Ohio State and Iowa or Minnesota. We’re talking Andre Gardes losing his goddamn marbles but still politely posting notices of his intent to invade Sark. I’m gonna be Seigneur of motherfucking Indianapolis and there’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it.*

Stew: PSU, maybe.

GF3: I assume every other state has something going on, so no.

Townie: The Cult of Happy Valley will gleefully swarm anyplace we can. It’s what we do. Pass that blue kool-aide down here!

BRT: Normally, I’d say Nebraska, since they generally travel well, but 70-31 may have given Indianapolis a bit of a PR problem in the Cornhusker State.

*unless Northwestern loses to wisconsin, Purdue, Minnesota, or Illinois.

Who has more to lose saturday, OSU or Nebraska? - katoom

WSR: tOSU. A loss here almost certainly takes them out of the playoff picture. Nebraska’s playing for the right to get killed in the B1GCG.

MNW: What WSR said, unless Nebraska fans are that attached to the B1GCCG which...I don’t think they are all that much? I dunno. I might be wrong.

Stew: OSU

BRT: Seriously? OSU. By a country mile. OSU was a playoff contender--they can theoretically bounce back from a loss to PSU, but not to PSU and Nebraska. Nebraska has been considered a joke by almost everyone, and while last week proved (IMO) that they are not a joke, there’s also still very much the sense that they’ve got nothing to lose here. They’ve always been expected to lose this game, and so as long as they don’t get embarrassed, losing doesn’t hurt them much. With a loss and a good shot at finishing the regular season 10-2, I think most Husker fans would still be pretty darn happy, especially since expectations were not anywhere close to that.

GF3: OSU, because losing to the West is always something that invites a healthy dose of shame and self-loathing. Oh and playoffs and stuff.

Townie: It’s the Buckeyes, because expectations were so high. It turns out that having the youngest team in the country will hurt you during a season. I’m not ready to bury them yet, but they have the most to lose.

Nebraska is looking up at an unexpectedly high ceiling. It’s all gravy for them.

What football coaching strategy says “Fuck You” the most effectively in a hopeless/blowout situation?

  • Going for 2 while leading (Harbaugh, Bielema)
  • Going for 2 when it won’t matter (Dantonio)
  • Running a a goal line HB dive with a backup D-lineman (Fitzgerald)
  • Kicking a last second FG to ruin a shutout
  • Leaving the starters in too long

What’s the douchiest thing you remember another team doing to your team in such a scenario?

  • GTOM

WSR: I think running it up with the backups is the most effective “Fuck You” that exists. Nothing’s more disheartening than the scrubs running dive, dive, and then getting ready for it again only to see play action going over the top of everyone’s head. And as for the douchiest thing I remember, Glen Mason called some stupid trick play while up pretty big on Southwest Texas State in the 2002 opener.

MNW: If using Bo Cisek heroically from the 1-yd line and, after he fumbled, stuffing Illinois for a safety to make it a 50-burger is “douchey,” then I don’t wanna be...what’s the opposite of douchey?

Fuck Illinois. You and your lightsaber are still awesome, Bo.

Townie: Taking a deliberate safety and winning a game 6-4. Fuck iowa with a hammer.

There you have it. Pearls of wisdom from your favorite “writers” and Go For Three.
Your Friend,
Townie