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April Fools - Mailbag is Here!

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Our "writers" predict Purdue finishes with five conference wins; Penn State as a top two team in the east; and Iowa to repeat 2015's performance...Check the date and get back to me.

Adam Berry/Getty Images

Let's jump right in, shall we?

Q: Is anyone really predicting that Penn State can win more than 7 games with this schedule this year when:
1.New OC with a new system/new quarterback with little or zero experience
2.New DC with essentially a new starting line (except SICKO) (DL was big reason PSU survived another year above .500)
3. 2016 schedule has 4 B1G teams with double digit wins (2015 had 2)
PeteZockyU

MNW: Nah, but that’s just because James Franklin is not a very good coach.

Aaron: Yes, because Hackenberg is gone. I don’t think it’s crazy to think that Penn State can win eight games, although nine is probably pushing it with Michigan, MSU, Ohio State, and Iowa all on the schedule. So soft.

C4B: As long as Indiana isn’t one of the 7, I don’t particularly care.

Jesse: No, I mean, not really at least. I think that Penn State will certainly look more serviceable on the offensive side of the ball, but there will be a regression on defense too.

GF3: The obvious trolling of this question aside, it’s certainly possible albeit highly unlikely. Looking at their schedule, they’ve got likely wins in KSU, Temple, and probably Pitt. They should take Maryland, Minnesota, Rutgers, and Purdue as well. There’s seven. I give them a toss-up against Indiana, which could make for eight.

Creighton: 7 wins isn’t impossible but, getting rid of Hackenberg aside, it’s really hard to imagine a scenario where Penn State takes a step forward this year.

Stew: Hey, they might get to 8 if the breaks fall just right.

Townie: It’s pre-season bitches! 15-0 or GTFO! /Franklin blocks me on twitter.

Q: Is Urban Meyer the best and FrankLOLin the caboose among the B1G football head coaches?
-Bschim23.1

MNW: No, because Darrell Hazell still exists, right? In order: Meyer, Dantonio, HARBAUGH, Cpt. Kirk, Fitz, Chryst, Rillllllley, Franklin, Wilson, Smith, Claeys, Durkin, Ash, Hazell.

C4B: There’s an argument for Dantonio at the top, and also for Hazell at the bottom, so I wouldn’t say either is entirely clear cut.

Jesse: Meyer is the best. Franklin is far from the worst… you know, mainly because Hazell.

GF3: Obvious trolling, take two. Franklin isn’t the worst. He came closer to beating a national champion OSU team with less talent than Dantonio did. That’s not the mark of the worst coach in the league. Also, Darrell Hazell.

Creighton: Franklin is middle-of-the-pack as far as coaches go, although listening to him talk you would think he’s already got a national championship. Maybe Meyer is the best, but I’m going to say Kirk Ferentz is a miracle worker for taking a Greg Davis coached team to the Rose Bowl. As for worst coach….Jim Harbaugh. Just because.

Aaron: Yes. Meyer is the best and Franklin is the worst. He’s way worse than all the new hires whom we haven’t seen coach a game yet. He ruined Hackenberg. He ruined football. He’s going to ruin the freaking Creamery next. FIUR.

Stew: Yeah, Meyer is the best, but I’m not sure Franklin is the worst, he can still recruit enough to beat truly awful teams.

Townie: Not even close, really. Meyer is probably the best all around coach. Hazell is bad and we don’t know much about Riley, Durkin, or Ash. They could all be trasch and make Franklin look pretty good. At worst CJF is middle of the pack until he isn’t.

Q: Is Mike Riley fired after losing six games next year? - ICEICETHATGUY13

LPW: I don’t think Nebraska fans are that unreasonable, and that Nebraska would cut him loose so soon. He’s not a bad coach by any stretch of the imagination. It’s not like Tim Beckman is coaching there.

MNW: Rillllllley*

Thumpasaurus: Depends. If they improve throughout the season and get a very good recruiting class, then he’ll stay. But if the red flags are there, recruits are flipping, the team looks beaten mentally, he has no answers for the media and he goes 0-4 against Illinois and Purdue...He gawn.

Jesse: I’m going to write a lot more about Riley in the future, but for now I’ll say this. It’s really fun to watch a coach bungle end-game situations. Like, I enjoy actively rooting for someone like Andy Reid completely lose his mind in a close game with five or six minutes to go. When it’s your own coach, it’s absolutely surreal and you just kind of wonder if that will ever go away. The thing is, I still think Riley is actually a really strong strategy coach and he’s proving to be a strong recruiter, or at least a CEO of a strong recruiting staff. With that as the foundation, I think you give him a chance to put together a roster and team that he feels good about and that doesn’t require close wins and losses all the time. Pelini’s teams played on a razor-thin margin of error. A lot of that was the talent he brought in. A lot of that was the style of play he preferred. Coach Riley is hoping to just beat people straight out with talent. Will he get fired for six losses? Maybe, but show some real progress and keep bringing in those high level recruits, and I think he gets one last stand regardless. Also, I don’t think Nebraska loses six next year.

GF3: No.

Creighton: He’ll stay for at least another year. Riley is going to win 7 games a year for 3 or 4 more seasons and then he’ll get fired.

Aaron: No. Give coaches a chance. Give hope a chance. Give love a chance. Stop firing coaches after two mediocre seasons. Except Franklin. He’s the worst.

Stew: Make it 7 and a missed bowl, then yeah, probably.  But at 6 losses he’s probably safe.  Just bringing UNL to their natural position.

Townie: Naw, as long as he’s a nice guy, Nebraska fans are fine with middle of the pack performance.


Q: What would TayTweets have to say about the B1G football season next year? What are her predictions? - Stefan Andrzejewski

LPW: Microsoft’s flawed artificial intelligence twitter bot would be poisoned, er, taught by Big Ten fans that Michigan would win the Big Ten championship, that Joe knew, that OSU would win the national championship, that James Franklin is god, that James Franklin is a fraud, that Pat Fitzgerald eats ass for breakfast lunch and dinner, that Northwestern will not allow any points to be scored this entire year… Long story short, TayTweets is a disaster and will repeat anything you tell it to.

MNW: "Interesting question. The invasion of your country on September 1, 1939, was a justified act of aggression against the belligerent Polish state."

GF3: ^^ I won’t even attempt to beat that. ^^

Jesse: "Disrespekt, your coach sleeps at a teenager’s house, and tattoos. LOL. B1G. Iowa is lucky. Nebraska is bad. Purdue is [error, not found]." Basically, TayTweets would predict about the same thing you all do.

Creighton: "Something something HARBAUGH=FEMINIST HITLER something something MEXICANS"

Aaron: "East Division will win. East Division is genetically superior to West Division. My champion from East Division will be most B1G team of all: Indiana."

Townie: Who is TayTweets and why should I care enough to google her?


Q: Are there ANY Purdue fans that would/could predict Darrell Hazell could lead them to a B1G title? - waw (kinda)

LPW: Depends how many boilermakers they’ve chugged at the Breakfast club.

MNW: Are there ANY Purdue fans?

Jesse: No. Well, maybe our good friend MattJones, but probably not even him.

GF3: It takes a special brand of delusion to cheer for a school that not only doesn’t exist, but still manages to be a loser in its non-existence. So yeah, I’m sure you could drum up a few.

Creighton: Depends. How easy is it to score LSD in West Lafayette?

Stew: The darkest timeline.

Townie: No. Purdue fans are too beaten down to have much optimism at this point.


Q: How bad does Purdue have to be for Darrell Hazell to be canned? - BoilerTide

LPW: If he has a losing season he’s shitcanned.

MNW: If he gets to 2 B1G wins, he stays.

Thumpasaurus: HIRE BROCK SPACK

C4B: 3-9 or worse probably does it. 4-8 means he won at least one conference game, so I feel like that would be enough to get him next year, but I might be wrong on that.

Jesse: He needs to win conference games. Probably at least two of them. Even then, I’m not so sure Purdue can keep him around because it will only get worse from there.

GF3: Who? Pur-what? Seriously, I think Purdue has just sort of given up and accepted their place as the "smart school" that’s neither as smart as Northwestern nor as successful.

Creighton: Do Purdue fans even care about losing anymore? I assumed that after every loss they all went to the Cracker Barrel to talk about the Colts.

Aaron: If they don’t predict that, they’re obviously not real Purdue fans. Boiler up, people.

Stew: His buyout is still pretty big.  So if he gets to 5-7 he stays.  So, yeah, he’s definitely getting shitcanned.

Townie: He was hired in 2012 for six years (there’s optimism for you, Boilers!). The guy has six wins and only two conference wins in three years.  I think this is the year for change, if you are going to do it. A two-win per year average and no improvement (3 wins in 2014, 2 last year…) is ugly.


Q: What would shatter your perception of reality more if you saw it in the flesh, a ghost or an alien? And what would cause a more global panic? - Jon Ross [noted dog-hater]


C4B: latest

Jesse: How about an alien ghost? THINK ABOUT THAT! But ghosts is the answer. Everyone believes in aliens. It’s just sort of how it works. Now, what would cause a global panic? Aliens. Because if they happen upon earth, they’re obliterating the hell out of us. It’s just what’s going down.

Aaron: Ghosts would cause more of a shock to me and a panic in general because the aliens are already living among us, man… But if Men in Black is any indication, aliens can freak people out plenty as well. I think the ghost shock would be more severe, though, because of the way it would alter our perception of death and the afterlife. Would people live their lives differently knowing that something they did would carry weight after they die? What if death was no longer a way to escape suffering?

Creighton: Trick question. The correct answer is Frankenstein (or possibly Son of Kong)

Stew: Ghost would be weirder, and more earth shattering.  Aliens would prove life outside of earth, which is fairly probable, even if it’s highly unlikely they can contact us.  Ghosts, though, that’s not supported by any hard evidence, even in theory.

Townie: I’m with Stew on this one. Ghosts are a figment of your...hey is it getting colder in here?


Q: What happens first regarding hockey?
  1. Existing B1G member upgrades to D-1 hockey to become the 8th member
  2. Arizona State or some other NCHC/WCHA school joins as an affiliate
  3. Notre Damn leaves for new ACC hockey conference
  4. Fans revolt, storm the B1G offices in Chicago, disband the BTHC, revert back to the old CCHA/WCHA divisions, pretends the last few years never happened, Iowa wins the Rose Bowl, Dantonio wins the natty, Harbaugh calms down and takes teaching duties as Professor of Classics at Concordia College, Maryland beats Izzo in a tournament, and Urbz turns down seven different 5 star recruits on the basis that it’s unfair to Illinois. -KetteringLex

MNW: I was with you on option 4 until "Iowa wins the Rose Bowl."

C4B: Either 1 or 2, unless 3 literally begins occurring within the next 6 months.

Jesse: Arizona State is coming as an affiliate. I can feel it. It just fits way too easily, and why wouldn’t Penn State want to travel across the country to play a terrible RPI team in Tempe?

GF3: Why is "who cares?" not an option?

Aaron: Hopefully No. 1 so that this hockey conference becomes more of a thing to be proud of and less of a thing for Minnesota fans to whine about.

Creighton: Hopefully #1. I’ve been dreaming of D-1 Iowa hockey team since I was in high school. Think about it, we could nickname the team "Ice Hawkey".

Townie: What’s wrong with you Midwesterners? Are you so close to Canadia that you’d rather play shuffleboard-on-ice than hockey, eh? Man up, ditch those bowling shoes for skates, get out here and lose some teeth, dammit. Fuck Notre Damn

Stew: MN-Duluth, MN-St. Cloud, and the Dakota schools all get added, but the Gophers get kicked out.


Q: Leading rusher/reciever in 2016? - badgersrox

LPW: Rusher: JUSTIN JACKSON THE BALL CARRIER!

Thumpasaurus: Mike Dudek was 3rd in the conference in 2014. If he stays healthy he definitely has a shot to lead the B1G in receiving. Wes Lunt will be the leading rusher from a certain point of view.

Townie: Saquan Barkely is going to blow people out this year. He was  fourth last year, behind the worst O-line in the country. He’s the Truth… My top three rushes next year, likely in this order are Barkely, Redding, and Jackson.

I’m going full homer for receiver too. Chris Godwin will lead the B1G in yards. Simmie Cobbs and Jordan Westerkamp round out my three best.

Jesse: Rusher: It’s really hard not to say Jackson. He’s just going to get so many damn carries because that’s all Northwestern’s offense has going for it. That said, depending on how many carries Saquon Barkley gets, he could make a run at that title. I have zero idea where to go with receiver. Like Thump said, a healthy Dudek has a chance. I’d say Westerkamp, but who knows how spread out Nebraska’s touches get this year. Simmie Cobbs, Jr. and Chris Godwin return to Indiana and Penn State respectively after 1000 yard years. Maybe a shout out to both of them? I’m reaching here. I have no idea.

GF3: I’ll be bold and say Saquon Barkley. PSU probably won’t be able to throw for shit if the bowl game is any indication, and have you seen their schedule? It’s Penn State Soft!™

Aaron: At least Penn State doesn’t play in the West. Justin Jackson will lead the conference in rushing and Jehu Chesson will lead in receiving. Hopefully Saquon Barkley gets a break in favor of incoming freshman Miles Sanders every once in awhile.

Creighton: Some random white dude from Minnesota or Iowa

Stew: I think Barkley should probably be the odd on favorite for rushing.  Receiving is much more of a crapshoot.  The QB’ing in the conference is going to be bad to inconsistent.  Westerkamp is probably the favorite here, but really, no idea.


Q: Top 3 conference games in 2016? - badgersrox

Jesse: Ohio State-Michigan State, Ohio State-Michigan, Michigan-Michigan State… I really hate saying that this triangle will be the three best games, but I think from a national standpoint, they are poised to be the most important. They’re not my favorite games, but they will have a lot of hype.

GF3: See above. Also every Iowa game, because it’ll be fun to watch their fans fall back to earth and vanish like rain in the desert. Or like Iowa’s defense in Pasadena.

Townie: I can’t wait to not watch MSU-UM and Iowa - Wisconsin. MSU-OSU is a definite not-watcher for me too.

Creighton: I think we can all agree that the battle for the HAT! is the greatest rivalry in the league.

Aaron: That Iowa vs. Wisconsin rematch will be fun because Wisconsin is going to want revenge and I feel like I’m going to be the only one east of the boondocks watching it. Also, Michigan vs. Ohio State and Michigan vs. Michigan State are always fun affairs. Michigan State vs. Ohio State doesn’t make it this year because not enough Harbaugh.

Stew: Iowa/Wisconsin, Iowa/Minnesota, Iowa/UNL.  But really, it’s almost certainly the 3 Jesse mentioned.


Q: Top 3 non-con games in 2016 - badgersrox

Jesse: I don’t know enough about all of the non-con games to say much about this, but I will say that I very much so am looking forward to a world where Nebraska plays Oregon in the non-con. You know, so I can be part of the cool kid club who says, "my team got destroyed by a title contender, but yours would have too."

GF3: Ohio State at Oklahoma. MSU at Notre Dame, and I guess Nebraska hosting Oregon? That’ll be a murder-fest. But Northwestern at Duke might be okay, too.

Aaron: 1) Ohio State @ Oklahoma on September 17, 2) LSU vs. Wisconsin on September 3 in Green Bay, 3) Michigan State @ Notre Dame on September 17. But really, we know the best non-conference game will be the same one it is every year: Iowa vs. Iowa State!

Townie: Illinois - UNC...can the Illini redeem themselves? MSU - Notre Damn should be interesting, and OSU - Oklahoma could be a slobberknocker. As an added bonus...WTF Wisconsin? You scheduled the Sunbelt titan Georgia State Blue Panthers?

Stew: OSU/OK, MSU/ND, and LSU/WI.  Maybe UNL/OR, could be a litmus test for both teams.


Q: What is it about B1G hoops that kept the conference from winning a title since 2000? Style, recruiting, coaching, dumb luck? - SpartanHT

C4B: My guess is some combination of recruiting and dumb luck. You throw 64, 65, or 68 teams together into a bracket, and crazy stuff tends to happen sometimes.

Jesse: A lot of it is dumb luck. Sometimes the draw doesn’t go your way and sometimes you get caught by a streaking team. That said, I think there might be a little bit to the style piece. You can say that Big Ten teams are more physical and muscle teams around a bit more than the average team. Fouls seem to get touchier in the tournament as you have new crews and what not. I wonder if that plays into the upsets more.

GF3: Because all of the coaches that each shootyhoops fan base faps to are choke artists, quitters, or both.

Aaron: There are better teams in the ACC. Also, while the Big Ten has some wonderful programs, they haven’t been consistently at the top of the polls like Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, and Kentucky. Michigan State is the closest thing the Big Ten has to an elite program (cry me a river, Indiana), and Izzo hasn’t gotten the one-and-done talent that propels other top programs to national titles.

Creighton: Probably something Bo Ryan did

Stew: Fuck Bo.  I think it’s a combination.  For a lot of that period of time the B1G was super slow, and very physical and that did not translate very well to the tourney when the officials aren’t just B1G officials used to letting mugging go uncalled.  I think there’s still some of that.  I also think it’s recruiting.  Kansas, Duke, Kentucky have all been very successful during this time, and it’s no coincidence they all are consistently the top of the recruiting rankings (same goes for UNC).  If you also look at the style those teams play, it’s generally faster, more open.  But some of it is just dumb luck.  Look at the a couple of those years UConn won.  No way they were the best team, but they got on a tear, and it’s better to be lucky.

Q: Who gets more angry over valid coaching criticism? Michigan fans when someone says Harbaugh’s antics are unprofessional or PSU fans when someone says that Franklin is a shit coach. - Bagels are for champions

LPW: Michigan fans are upset about anyone looking askance at their beloved Harbaugh.

MNW: Yes.

Townie: The only reason PSU fans get riled is because you beat this fucking drum incessantly, and yet Franklin finishes in the middle of the pack yet again. With a shit team, no less.

But Michigan fans...oh holy hell. They spew venom and bile, just like their coach. They rip every coach your team has ever had...it’s like Rutgers talking about their glory days in the 1800’s. These guys take the time to dig up dirt and come at you, bro.

Jesse: Michigan fans. Definitely Michigan fans. I mean, PSU fans are protective of their coach, but everyone is protective of their coach. Michigan fans google the hell out of Harbaugh’s name as if they need to protect his virtue on the regular. It’s weird and obsessive.

Aaron: I figure Michigan fans ought to be more mad since Penn State fans have probably accepted that Franklin is terrible and moved on to hockey season.

GF3: The latter is not a valid coaching criticism. You know my thoughts on the former.

Creighton: Was this question for real? Of course Michigan fans are worse. Just for the record, his antics are very unprofessional, but he won’t be chased out of Ann Arbor until after an extremely successful 5-6 year run.

Stew: Different, but same.


Q: What year was your school’s best draft class and who were the stars in it? - 87Townie

Jesse: From a sheer talent POV, I’m going 1998. You didn’t have a huge haul, but Grant Wistrom and Jason Peter went first round, Scott Frost and Ahman Green went third round, and Aaron Taylor and Eric Warfield went seventh round. With Green as the steal of that draft in many ways, I think that worked out pretty well for former Huskers.

Aaron: In the year 2000, Courtney Brown and LaVar Arrington were drafted back-to-back at No. 1 and No. 2 overall. That draft featured only four Lions drafted, however. Three years later in 2003, Penn State had four players go in the first round and six players drafted overall, with all six going in the first two rounds. Jimmy Kennedy (12th overall selection), Michael Haynes (14th), Bryant Johnson (17th), and Larry Johnson (27th) went in the first round, while Bryan Scott (55th) and Spice Adams (57th) went in the second.

GF3: Maybe the 2007 draft? 5 first round picks including A.J. Hawk and Santonio Holmes.  Or arguably the 1997 draft. Orlando Pace, Shawn Springs, Mike Vrabel, and Matt Finkes. The really sad part is that there’s a real chance that this year’s draft, which will take a ton of OSU’s star power, will be the best draft class for any school in two decades.

Townie: I’m going all the way back to 1987, when 13 Nittany Lions went, including Shane Conlan, D.J. Dozier, Timmy Manoa, Steve Smith, and Tim Johnson all went. That was a great team that went on to do great things in the NFL.

There you have it. The pearls of wisdom literally erupt from these "writers". Feel free to voice your dissent, leave us more questions, or just heap the praise on our cutting insights below.
Your Friends,
The OTE "Writers".