Here's the early March Mailbag:
Q: You are given four days off of work/responsibilities for the rest of your life, no questions asked. With sporting contests in mind, what four days would you take off? GF
C4B: Are we talking four days total, or four days per week? Because if it's four days per week, then that's awesome, and I snap take the four day weekend of Thursday through Sunday. If it's four days total, then it's probably more like: the day after the Cubs win the World Series (assuming such a thing happens in my lifetime), the day after IU wins Banner 6 (ditto, but probably more likely), the day after IU football wins the National Championship (wishful thinking, but why not), and the day after the Pacers win an NBA title (arguably the most likely of any of these to actually happen).
Jesse: The four days the Cubs secure the World Championship. I realize that Nebraska would/should be on my list, but I feel like I enjoyed enough with Nebraska that I would rather see that from work and then go to Chicago and experience what happens if/when the Cubs win. Something like that.
MNW: Well, I'll need at least three of those days for when Northwestern makes the NCAA Tournament (fuck you it's going to happen someday). One for the actual game, and two for the resulting hangover when we lose. The other will be the day after the Vikings finally win their Super Bowl. Fuck, I need one for when the ‘Cats win the Rose Bowl again. And I absolutely can't reduce the post-NCAA Tournament hangover to one day. Goddamnit.
GF3: Four Army-Navy games. I will see those deck-swabbers vanquished again!
Q: Name the three issues that the NCAA needs to be talking about. GF
WSR: The continued existence of wisconsin, the definition of "opportunity" and the scope used for Title IX, and how to minimize the potential for concussions and other serious injuries in student-athletes.
C4B: Concussions, bagmen, and the insistence on calling anyone who isn't in college for the degree "student athlete" first and foremost.
Stew: 1)Treatment of athletes. I'm not necessarily talking play, but just plain exploitation. Long term health care, ability to profit off their own likeness, the ability to even work, guaranteed scholarships, oversigning, letting a kid transfer, penalty free. 2) Recruiting reform, dead periods, gone, set signing dates, gone. Kid wants to sign, let him sign, but that signing is binding both ways. 3) Go back to the old bowl system.
Jesse: We're talking NCAA, so this is a macro issue, right? I'd say 1) How do they exist in a world where they are no longer just an interscholastic organization, but rather a major money making initiative that has to balance that goal with the goal of making the lives of student-athletes better, 2) On that note, probably figure out if it benefits them to keep football in the NCAA fold or if it would be better to spin that off, and 3) probably figure out how they can insure the student's well-being and what not (concussions, but also all injuries)
Townie: Consistency in its enforcement. How is UNC not under the death penalty? Oh yeah, massive basketball revenue. How is it that Miami skated from penalties? Donna Shalala scares Mark Emmert so bad he sucks his thumb and hides in a closet. How is Mark Emmert still employed? He's the Tim Beckman of the NCAA.
GF3: 1) Whether sporting opportunity is an extracurricular, a job, or part of an education. 2) Chronic traumatic encephalopathy. 3) Whether they're ever going to be anything more than a joke that allows the likes of Ole Miss and Bama to live one way but sets out to destroy the likes of PSU.
Q: You're about to go down in a hail of gunfire, Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid style. What did your team do to deserve it? - JSG101
WSR: Nothing. Luke Witte had it coming.
Townie: Coach Hype wins the big - Maryland/Nebraska fans will be the ones with the guns.
MNW: Beat Wisconsin again. I probably had the audacity to wear purple in Madison and expect not to get called a
faggot. FOOL ME THRICE, SHAME ON--
Jesse: Which team? Nebraska? FIVE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
GF3: Oh, I get to blame my TEAM? That's convenient. I'm assuming in this scenario that Harvey Updike is a free man with several firearms...r
Q: There's a bracket pool of OTE "writers", who wins? - Boilerman31
Stew: Probably not me
WSR: What's the pool for? Hockey? Wrestling? I think I've got a pretty good shot for those. Basketball? Yeah, not me.
Jesse: Uh... whoever is least qualified. That's how this works, right?
GF3: If you ain't cheatin, you ain't tryin...right Harbaugh?
Townie: I love pool, I even have my own cue here somewhere. But what's "bracket pool"? Is that some weird mid-west derivation of the noble game?
Q: If you could restructure the B1G Football divisions any way you want, who would be in each division and what would the Divisions be called? - GophersinCNY40
WSR: No changes needed. We're set.
MNW: Seconded. Next question.
Stew: Yeah, I'm good.
C4B: First off, the division names will be the "Indiana has a chance" division, and the "screw you football powers, let's see how you like facing each other all the time" division. Not the catchiest names, I'll admit, but they do adequately describe the divisions, which will look like this:
"Indiana has a chance" division
"Screw you football powers, let's see how you like facing each other all the time" division
MNW: I changed my mind. This reflects both my preferred changes and how I would enjoy seeing the standings shake out:
"Finally, We're Rid of Them"
"But Now How Do We Validate Our Sad Existence?"
Stew: You'd miss us.
GF3: All the good teams in one 10-team division, then Purdue, Rutgers, Maryland, and Indiana in some sad dusty corner division.
Q: What player from your school did you have high hopes for that they ended up not achieving due to injuries? - McCartyMarch261997
WSR: Brandon Owens. Thanks a lot, Michael Robinson.
C4B: Maurice Creek. Dropped 30 on Kentucky freshman year, fractured his knee right before conference play, and never really recovered back to his old self while continuing to suffer injuries along the way.
MNW: Well, Kevin Coble kind of had some injuries. I'm pretty bitter he never led us to the Promised Land.
Stew: Basketball Chris Street or Ronnie Lester; Football, Dace Richardson, Jordan Bernstein and Mr. Glass himself, Tony Moeaki.
AY: Adam Breneman did a great job keep his recruiting class together after the NCAA hammered Penn State with sanctions in 2012. On the field, he was supposed to be just as valuable at tight end, but a slew of knee injuries kept him off the field for most of his football career.
Jesse: I'll always be sad that Matt Herian got hurt. He was on pace to be one of the best TE in Nebraska history, but that injury his Junior year screwed everything up. He could catch, block, and run... and I think he punted and played defense at times. Loved that guy.
GF3: Sort of an obvious choice, but Braxton Miller. I think he'd topped out as a QB but he was never quite himself again when moved to WR/H-back role. He lost something.
Townie: Michael Mauti. Kid was all motor all the time, but his knees just couldn't handle it.
Q: Brady Hoke, Charlie Weis, Mark Mangino, and Bret Bielema all enter a guy-eating contest, who wins? - McCartyMarch261997
WSR: This is an interesting one. What's the backdrop for this guy-eating contest? Are they stuck on a desert island without food? Is it sponsored by Brazzers? Is this just some unfortunate typo? Either way, I'm going with Mangino for all of the above.
Stew: Mangino if the contest is done sober, Bert if drunk.
Jesse: My colleagues are drastically underrating Weis' schematic advantage.
GF3: The medical establishment. Billable procedures, yo.
Townie: Anyone else find this kind of creepy/icky?
Q: With the Spring rankings on this site having been released, which player, position group or coach do you think is most overrated? - McCartyMarch261997
WSR: Can I let you know in November?
Stew: Probably Michigan in something.
Townie: Pat Fitzgerald as the fourth-best head coach? Yeah, I'm going with that.
Q: What's worse: Cargo Pants, Parachute Pants, or Skinny Jeans? - ICEICETHATGUY13
WSR: Skinny jeans. I'm from the midwest. They're not doing us any favors.
C4B: Skinny jeans, not close.
MNW: Once again, I concur with my esteemed colleague from the great state of Minnesota.
Stew: Skinny jeans are an abomination.
Jesse: Cargo pants guys. Cargo shorts are maybe - maybe - okay in my book, but you go out in those and people are all like, "bro, cargo pants..." Skinny jeans can still get you a date. And then, you know, skinny jeans are more universal and... well, come on.
Townie: No Jesse...I'm sorry. It's skinny jeans and the people who wear them. And if skinny jeans get you a date, she's as shallow as...oh hell, you're wearing skinny jeans. It's a match made in millennial hell. Hey HT.
GF3: Pants are pants, man.
Q: You're taking some of your OTE buddies from a conference rival for a tour of your school's campus/surrounding area. Please list the following destinations you would show off:
At least one place for food
At least one place for drank
Where to observe the local...wildlife? Yeah, we'll go with that
A spot possibly only important to you, probably for some sentimental value
Champs for Nacho Night
Zenos where we'd get our passports filled with beers from all over the world.
Hub Lawn or Spring Creek park on a sunny day
We're hiking up Mount Nittany, fly fishing Spring Creek, and paddling at Stone Valley
Sneak into the deer pens (white tail research facility) where I got caught with a hottie in the back of my car.
C4B: Mother Bear's, Nick's English Hut, pretty much anywhere close to campus, either Assembly Hall or Kirkwood, Memorial Stadium (you know, the place where football games are actually played, and not the tailgating fields across the street)
MNW: Vaudvillain gave a pretty comprehensive answer in the comments, but I'll provide my amendments: (1) Chicken Shack. Cash only. Eat the bread. (2) RIP TKoE. Fuck you, Liz Tisdahl. (3) Local wildlife? There are some nice squirrels out in front of University Hall that will let you pet them if you have enough bread, I guess--oh. That wildlife. Next question. (4) Baha'i Temple. Failing that, the Lakefill on a clear night is a panty-dropper if she's into skylines and shit like that. (5) The roof of Swift Hall. Pull down the ladder, ascend, enjoy.
AY: The Corner Room is the first place I think of for food, though we could always class it up at The Tavern if need be. For dessert, the Creamery is a must. The next morning, you have to hit up Waffle Shop, since it's the cure for the common hangover. For drinks we'd get Monkey Boys at the Saloon. The HUB lawn is great for wildlife. So many squirrels. Beaver Stadium, Old Main, and the Lion Shrine are the only landmarks worth visiting. For something sentimental, we'd go walk around East Halls or maybe just to another bar since freshman year was so awkward.
Stew: My school as in my Alma Mater, or Iowa?
Mabe's Pizza for my Alma Mater; Pancheros, the Vine or Short's for Iowa City.
Toppling Goliath Tap Room for my Alma Mater; strictly a bar? Joe's Place.
The Library Lawn for my Alma Mater; the Ped Mall for Iowa City.
Dunnings Spring (or the Versterheim for those of Scandinavian heritage); Kinnick Stadium or the original Pancheros at the Ped Mall
Roscoe's and Whippy Dip; Either Vine locations, and Old Chicago.
GF3: The Brewery District/German Village answers all of those.
Q: Who is the most valuable B1G basketball brand? Is it still INdiana despite the lack of recent basketball success or is it Michigan State with the run they've had under Izzo? - SpartanHT
WSR: I'd say that for the past decade or so it's been Sparty. Yeah, yeah Indiana. I can hear you grumbling about your tradition and your fan support. But what have you done? Nobody outside the B1G really cares about you, and there are probably plenty in the conference that are rather apathetic towards you. (And no, this has absolutely nothing to do with lingering irritation with the BTN preempting the 2nd period of the first wisconsin-Minnesota game it covered to have a press conference about your bounceyball coach you had to fire. No, not that one. The other one. That one guy that was cheating instead of not living up to the shadow of Bobby Knight.)
C4B: Much as a lot of folks I know would probably disagree with this, it's absolutely MSU first and IU second, almost entirely because of Tom Izzo. But, if Crean (or any future coach) can get IU back to the Final Four, that might change. Of course, now that I've said this, IU's gonna crash out early while MSU makes it to Monday Night and maybe captures another title for Izzo.
MNW: rutger. Now now, I hear you, saying "Cute joke, MNW, but you're not funny." "But rutger gets you the New York market," rutger fans say. And not only do they get you all that sweet, filthy TV lucre, but they don't even try to beat you for your trouble.* It's a win-win. Value. rutger. Case closed.
*Unless you are a Minnesota team swept by the plague and sudden desires to make amateur porn.
AY: I'll say Michigan State because of the greater recent success and prestige of Tom Izzo. Indiana is built more on tradition and Bob Knight, who hasn't coached there in a while. If Tom Crean can win a few more titles to boost his reputation, though, he can make a run at Izzo for sure.
Stew: Probably Sparty, though, no one cares quite like IN.
GF3: No one cares period.
Townie: I second GF3's nomination.
Q: Will James FrankLOLin ever win 2 B1G titles in a 3 year period while coaching PSU? - Bschim23.1
WSR: It's possible. In fact, I'd say he's got just as good a chance of winning a B1G title as Lovie Smith does.
C4B: Not if my proposed divisions come to pass.
AY: Two in three years is asking a lot. I think he'll win one assuming that athletic director Sandy Barbour is patient enough with him. Franklin is getting the talent he needs to compete with the big boys, but even Joe Paterno could only win two in four years. And Stripes' divisions wouldn't make much of a difference. If Penn State builds a team strong enough to defeat Michigan State, Michigan, and Ohio State, we'll wipe the floor with anyone else. That alignment would just boost our chances of competing for a national title. Bring it.
MNW: No. Next stupid question.
Stew: LOL, Wanna bet?
GF3: Only if the wrestling program hires him as an assistant.
Townie: He has a better shot than Mike Riley. I mean come on...Riley lost to Al Golden, Bill Cubit, and Darrell Hazel all in one season. Sweeeet! Give that man an extension.
Q: Which is more fun to watch, Summer Olympics or Winter Olympics? What's your favorite event in each? - theguyfromy-wega
WSR: Winter, obviously. Better events with potential for calamity (Ski jumping, short-track speed skating), Curling, and Hockey. The best events are Hockey in the winter and a tie between Water Polo and Handball in the summer.
C4B: Summer. Look, watching curling is amusing, because it's the one Olympic sport that makes you think "Hey, I could do that", but you can't convince me that watching a bunch of people freeze their asses off while trying not to accidentally shatter their bodies by making one wrong move is cooler than the drama that happens every time swimming is involved. You remember how hyped everyone got when Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals in one Olympics? Have you ever been that hyped for any Winter Olympic athlete (that didn't already play for a team you support)?
Also, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games >>>>>>> Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, which as we all know is the deciding factor in things like this.
AY: The summer games are usually more fun because there are more events and watching the women's gymnastics team battle against rivals like China and Russia is surprisingly intense. However, the basketball and soccer tournaments are never as good as I expect them to be. The hockey tournament in the winter games, on the other hand, is usually awesome. And the biathlon (skiing, shooting) is one of the most underrated events in either set of games. I guess I'm more of a winter guy, but I'm pretty amped for Rio nonetheless.
Jesse: Personally, I'm a Summer Olympics guy. I love Track and Field, and I am pretty sure that swimming is one of the best spectator sports for the Olympics. Add in tennis and you have a pretty good setup.
Stew: Overall, probably the Winter Olympics, but my favorite Olympic sport of any is Curling. Love me some distance running in T&F, anything 1500 or over. Long jump is pretty fun. Though, I really enjoy handball and wrestling, too.
GF3: Winter. The locations are cooler, the sports are faster and more exciting. Super G, or uneven bars? There's a tough one.
Townie: I'm a fan of winter games. I love skiing. But Curling? What in the ever-loving hell? It's like shuffle board on ice in bowling shoes. You midwestern types are weird.
Well there you have it. Another Mailbag is in the books. We're all looking forward to more questions for next time, so leave em in the comments below.
The OTE "Writers"