Now that National Signing Day is behind us, we'll move on to more pressing questions...
Q: Why taco Tuesday? Why not Taco Thursday? - 87 Rides a Surfboard
Ray Ransom: Alliteration is the most powerful force known to man.
Aaron Yorke: That's what we have Thirsty Thursdays for.
Stew: Is alliteration that hard to understand? Still, tacos are ok to eat any day, it's just that on Tuesdays it's mandatory.
Jesse: I went to answer this with something funny, but then remembered it's Tuesday and should be gearing up for tacos. Also, Thursdays suck and therefore do not deserve tacos.
LPW: What Ray said.
WSR: Why would you limit tacos to one day? I view Taco Tuesday as a requirement and Taco Today as the ideal.
Q: Who would you want to play you in your biopic, and who would actually play you?
Thumpasaurus: Chris Hemsworth. Circa-2007 Jonah Hill.
Ray Ransom: George Clooney...Jesse Eisenberg
Yorke: Tobey Maguire... Michael Cera
Jesse: Byung-hun Lee would be badass to play me in a biopic, but because most people don't understand that Asian people do - in fact - look differently, I'd be stuck with like Ken Jeong and be super angry about the whole thing.
Ray Ransom: GF3: Donald Trump...Hillary Clinton
Townie: Robert Deniro...Roberto Benigni in a fat suit.
LPW: Benedict Cumberbatch ... Chris Imperioli
WSR: A slightly fatter Daniel Craig. And I guess it would have to be somebody cheap, like Kevin Sorbo.
Q: Which Detroit Lions front office hire is dumber: Matt Millen as GM or Randy Edsall as director of football research/special projects? -ziowa9
Yorke: Edsall because at least Matt Millen went to Penn State.
Thumpasaurus: The key to evaluating this is seeing how Edsallesque the Lions seasons end up being. Though the Packers have won a playoff game in both seasons Zook has been on the sidelines (in stark contrast to his notoriously inconsistent Illini), both seasons have ended with overtime losses so bizarre they can only be explained by the presence of the Zooker.
Jesse: Matt Millen is the answer to pretty much every iteration of "Which Detroit Lions decision is dumber?"
Stew: It''s Millen. Edsall is dumb, but Millen was actually in charge, so yeah.
C4B: Matt Millen until proven otherwise.
LPW: Matt Millen by a fucking mile. I wish he kept his job forever
Q: Who is the first coach to lose their job in 2016? Will Garrett Rand stay with U Dubb? - badgersox
Thumpasaurus: As soon as we get an athletic director, I'd bet that Illinois women's basketball coach Matt Bollant is as gone as it gets. Hired at the same time as John Groce, the former UW-Green Bay coach was expected to revitalize the program, and took the Illini to the WNIT quarterfinals in year 1. Since then, they've been under .500 this season and are 1-9 in the conference (good for last place) right now after a summer of lawsuits and investigations and staff shakeups. All this for a program that has lost the university $2 million annually over the last 5 years. It's incredible that Illinois actually has a program in worse shape than football and men's basketball.
Yorke: Darrell Hazell appears to be the clear frontrunner for the chopping block, but there are always surprises in store. Of the programs to miss a bowl game in 2015, only Purdue is starting 2016 with the same head coach as it started last season with. Garrett Rand is going to come to his senses and choose one of the southern California schools.
Jesse: Football? Hazell. He's gotta be done, right? He should be fired for this recruiting atrocities.
Stew: It's a coin flip between Cubit and Hazell, because both are gone. Only question is if one of them is fired midseason. Cubit may qualify there, as IL might actually have an AD by then and Cubit's contract is not guaranteed.
Townie: I have to agree with Stew here. When the new AD comes in, it will be with a tacit understanding that Cubit was a placeholder. I doubt it'll be mid-season though. And Darrell Hazell has to go this season. There is nothing in his tenure at [redacted] that can be considered a success. And his recruiting failure means more of the same in 2016-2017 as well.
MNW :I don't know what a Garrett Rand is, and I don't care to look it up. He probably deserves to, because fuck Wisconsin.
WSR: Can't we just fire both Cubit and Hazell together in some sort of telethon to raise money for B1G childrens hospitals?
Q: Which B1G city/state do you think has the best winters, and which one do you think has the worst? - SpartanHT
Ray Ransom: Obviously New Jersey has the best winters, because New Jersey is the best at everything, obviously. Seriously though, old colonial towns frosted with fresh powder is about as good as it gets. Plus, since it's not freeze-your-gophers-off cold, you can enjoy it. [Townie: /gags violently]
Obviously PA has the worst, because then you're in the same state as Penn State.
87Townie: Actually, I've thought about it and I agree with Ray. [Ray: Did not write this, I'm serious. No really.]
Townie: GTFO Ray, I thought you retired or something.
Yorke: Maryland clearly has the worst after being buried by three feet of snow. And that's a state that gets major traffic jams from a couple of inches. Pennsylvania has the best winters because the cold and snow are an excuse to hunker down and drink gallons of Wawa coffee.
Jesse: What does this even mean? You mean to tell me there is a best winter? Winter - by definition - is super dumb. So is thunder snow.
Stew: I generally do not like Winter, but thunder snow is pretty fuckin' cool. As to the question, uh, just a minute.
Looks like Bloomington is furthest south, so I'll say that (shut up, College Park, you don't count). As for the worst? Taking out the fact that some of these places are in truly awful states (Michigan, Ohio, NJ, Nebraska, etc). Minneapolis is a frozen hellscape.
C4B: Can confirm, winter in Bloomington is beautiful. As for worst, it's probably Madison or the Twin Cities area just on sheer amount of snow and cold alone.
MNW: Best: Twin Cities, because snow is awesome and the Twin Cities are the best. I was out on the lakes in Madison last weekend and that's pretty fun, too. Shame it's Madison, though. Worst is probably Piscataway, on account of it being Rutgers and all. No, check that, College Park, after watching DC handle that snow.
WSR: Who cares? You're either tough and can handle any winter, or you're not.
Townie: Yeah...I moved to Florida.
Q: Has the Quadrangle of Hate truly become a quadrangle at this point? And if not, how long will it take? - BradNortmansActingCoach
Jesse: I don't know. Nebraska is still a wildcard and while there is some built up animosity online between Nebraska and Iowa, I still have trouble believing either side hates each other as much as Minnesota/Wisconsin/Iowa hate each other. Moreover, I don't think Minnesota/Nebraska/Wisconsin hate each other. But QoH is super fun to talk about so you know what? QoH it is!
Stew: Fuck all of you!
WSR: No, fuck all of you.
Q: Without a clear favorite (or even a clear top tier) in Shootyhoops this year, how large is the shitshow going to be come tourney time? - Boilerman31
Thumpasaurus: If Tracy Abrams, Leron Black and Mike Thorne are fully healthy for the Big Ten Tournament, it has the potential to be a colossal shitshow. Provided we don't lose Hill before then of course.
Stew: I assume you meant the NCAA tourney and not the B1G tourney. And yeah, it could get pretty damn chaotic. I do think that the top 4ish teams are a bit separated and should get to the sweet 16 pretty easily. But after that?
C4B: Fairly large, I'd suspect. All I know for sure is that, barring an incredible run in the Big Ten Tourney, this is not The Year for the PurpleCats.
MNW: Yeah, I mean, the Big Ten tourney is gonna be CRAZY! Could Wisconsin have to play on the first day? Will Indiana get the 2-seed? SO MUCH CAN HAPPEN! And then, oh man, the CBI? Literally DOZENS of people will tune in to watch Northwestern/UW-Milwaukee in the first round! Think of the excitement!
Q: You're a 30 something and you could live in any B1G college town. Where would you live? - grahamfiller10
Ray Ransom: Honestly, New Brunswick (across the river from Piscataway, where the stadium is) is a hella fun town. Great music scene, great bar scene, fun frat row, and a recently updated downtown. I've heard pretty great things about Madison as well.
Townie: Probably Madison for that college town feel or Evanston for that "in the city" feel. Not Columbus...never, Columbus.
Stew: I'll just go ahead and rank them:
LPW: Evanston, by a mile. Chicago's right next door.
Yorke: I was just in Evanston and it was really nice. And I love Chicago. State College, Ann Arbor, and Madison have to be up there as well. Also, I'm going to go ahead and guess that Stew has never been to New Brunswick or State College.
WSR: The answer is the Twin Cities. Plenty of great jobs, plenty of great bars & restaurants, and a real international airport to get the hell out of here when a foot and change of snow is about to get dumped on you.
Q: What's the best match of Shawn Michael's career? - Jon Ross
Yorke: It's a toss-up between his ladder match with Razor Ramon at WrestleMania X and his Iron Man match with Bret Hart at WrestleMania XII.
Stew: That time he retired and then unretired.
C4B: I still like my original answer of his retirement match against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 26, but on entertainment value alone, SummerSlam 2005 vs Hulk Hogan is a match you have to see to believe.
WSR: Guys, it's his match at Royal Rumble ‘97 where he almost made Sid seem like a real wrestler.
Q: Which team epitomizes the conference the most? - JSG101
Yorke: Iowa. The Hawkeyes are perpetually underrated and love running the ball. I think Wisconsin is a close second because the program isn't as sexy as Iowa is right now.
Townie: Wisconsin...routinely decent. Never discussed in the context of world domination. And always a surprise when they wind up in the top 10 or 15 in the nation.
Stew: MSU, Iowa, and Wisconsin are all pretty good choices.
Q: How much of a factor will Connor Cook's character issues be in the upcoming NFL draft? - Bschim23.1
Ray Ransom: What? That's he's too boring?
Thumpasaurus: If he snatches a jersey and then hip-checks Roger Goodell out of the way, he'll instantly be popular with every NFL fan.
Stew: A little, but it's not like he's going to fall that dramatically. There are 32 NFL teams, he'll probably fall on a few boards, but certainly not all of them.
Townie: Character? What did he star in a South Park episode? This kid is about as Midwestern as they come. Milk and hot dish. So yeah, he surely will be low on Oakland's list.
C4B: I mean, I don't think he's gonna be a 1st or 2nd round pick anyway, so who cares if he has character issues?
MNW: I heard he once didn't put any money in the collection plate at church and also failed to help an old lady cross the street in 2004. Just awful.
Q: If you were a highly sought after recruit, would you commit to a program early or would you wait as long as possible? - 87 Rides a Surfboard
Thumpasaurus: As late as possible. I'd take as many college visits as I could. Who wouldn't?
Ray Ransom: As late as possible. Keep interest high and options open; helps both your stake and the profile of the school you commit to. The exception would be if you only had a few offers and it didn't look like you were trending. Then, pull the trigger early to get what security you can.
Stew: Depends on who offered. If it was my #1 choice in school, I'd commit immediately. Otherwise, I'd probably wait around and make sure I got all the official visits in and gotten schmoozed as much as possible.
Yorke: Commit early, get on campus early, party like a rock star early.
WSR: If I commit early, do I still get to take my visit to Arizona State?
Townie: I'm not going to commit until noon on national signing day. Look at MEEEE. HEY...HEY...LOOK AT ME!
Q: How dirty do you think B1G recruiting might be? I mean, it's clearly not SEC bag men level of dirty, but it would be naive for us to think it's perfectly clean. So, does a B1G team get nailed for recruiting violations in the near (5 years) future, and if so, who is most likely? - waw
Townie: OSU and Michigan are the most susceptible, because they are competing for the 5* recruits. Those are the guys getting the "brown bag of money" or "Dad get's a new job with the university" level of graft.
That said, I know UNC had all kinds of stuff going on with their basketball team. Their star basketball players all drove upscale SUV's...even the poor kid from inner city Baltimore. So I'd bet we are as likely to see a basketball recruiting violation at say, Maryland, as we are to see a football recruiting issue.
Ray Ransom: I'm an idealist and I like to think the B1G is the most clean of all the conferences, top to bottom. We have integrity and the resources to compete while still taking the moral high ground.
Yorke: The Big Ten is the dirtiest conference of all because we have to compete with the weather. No other major conference has all of its schools located in harsh winter climates the way the Big Ten does. That's why this group needs to stretch the rules a little bit to get the job done. At least it's not as bad at avoiding detection as the SEC and ACC powers are. The next team to get nailed will be Michigan because Harbaugh is already crossing all kinds of personal boundaries in the wrong direction.
Stew: There's certainly some shady stuff going on at probably every single school. For the most part it's probably smallish stuff like discounts at local places. But yeah, OSU and MI are almost certainly dirtier than most, but also the best at hiding it. If anyone is gonna get caught it's probably going to be Franklin or whoever ends up at IL.
Q: What is your dream car? What is your dream practical car? - LL Sota
Ray Ransom: Tesla S, Tesla X.
Thumpasaurus: Uh-oh. Uh-oh. I could do a top-100. I swear they wouldn't all be American and wouldn't all be old. I'm not ignorant, but lust doesn't necessarily follow reason.
5. 1996 Dodge Viper GTS in the blue with white stripes
4. 1969 Pontiac GTO "The Judge" Ram Air III Coupe, 4-speed in Carousel Red
3. 1970 Plymouth Superbird, Petty Blue, 426 HEMI, 4-speed
2. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 427 convertible, red with black stinger stripe, 4-speed
1. 1969 Ford GT40 in Gulf livery. Looks like sex, kicked Ferrari's ass out of Le Mans over a grudge, has the best exhaust note I've ever heard and is orange and blue to boot.
5. Mazda RX-8
4. Chevrolet Corvette C4 Convertible, manual transmission
3. Toyota MR-2
2. Jeep CJ-5 / CJ-7 / Wrangler
1. Mazda MX-5
3. 1957 Chevrolet Nomad Sport Wagon (see why I separated budget and practical? This is practical. Very roomy, but no slouch either).
2. 2016 Dodge Durango, 5.7L. One of the small number of high quality automobiles made by Fiat-Chrysler, this offers a tremendous amount of vehicle for the money. Three row seating, competitive towing capacity and attractive styling boost this one.
1. 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. A large 4-door sedan with comfortable 2+3 seating, this has the added bonus of looking cool as hell, being capable of 0-60 and sounding like the noise God made when He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Buy a set of rain-capable tires, and then be prepared to equip snow tires in the winter, and this is a very driveable monster. I'd take it in Surf Blue with the black interior.
What would really be nice is if my vehicle (2005 Dodge Magnum) had been offered with the Tremec T56 six-speed manual transmission and a much higher-quality interior (with a basic, functional radio). It's durable, easy to maintain, fast enough to be pretty fun, sounds cool, has tremendous storage capacity, is spacious, has comfortable seats, rides pretty comfortably on the highway, is not a liability in the snow (or I just know how to drive in snow), has a pretty decent sound system and gets reasonably good highway mileage for such a big boy (~24mpg on standard). However, manual cars are just more fun, the interior is acres of drab plastic with little in the way of soft touch material, the steering wheel is not terribly comfortable, the interior trim rattles when the sound is above half volume and the key fob's remote functions have stopped working.
Nevertheless, it's so close to being the perfect cool-yet-practical year-round driver for me. Maybe I could try to retrofit newer interior parts from updated Dodge Chargers and such, but what I'll actually do is fit a new exhaust system to make it sound more bitchin' when I floor it.
I like cars.
Townie: Dream car - Silver Convertible 1954 Mercedes Benz SL Roadster.
Practical dream car - Midnight black Audi Q7 Diesel with tow kit, night vision assist, and Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced Sound System.
Stew: WIthout sorting it very well, I'll go with the Tesla S; an old-school VW Bug that's gotten upgrades to its engine and amenities; a 63 Corvette Stingray; and a 57 Corvette; a Tucker Torpedo; an old school Cadillac Eldorado.
WSR: What I want is a Jaguar XKSS. Sadly, I'm going to have to settle for a Porsche.
Q: Which do you prefer, B1G Volleyball or Women's Shootyhoops? - GophersinCNY40
Townie: I'm a fan of Women's V-Ball from waaaayyy back. Russ Rose is the epitome of great coaches. I watch it with my daughters, with the hope that one of them will take an interest. It's my favorite sport to play now (I play thursdays after work on the beach. Stop by if you're in the neighborhood).
MNW: Women's lacrosse.
WSR: Volleyball. It's a blast in person. Also: I'm a fan of women over 6'.
Q: If each B1G coach was a secret OTE "writer", who would they be? - MSUNavyGrad
Townie: Hello, I'm Old Kirk.
C4B: DAMMIT, THEY'RE ON TO US! SCATTER!
There you have it. Your Mailbag for February 3, 2016.
The OTE "Writers"