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Mailbag: Who is Harder to Replace, Connor Cook or Zeke Elliott?

Mailbag is getting ready for the 2016 season with lots of football related questions.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Mailbag for August 25, 2016

Q: Nebraska. Penn State. Championship Game. Talk about how the universe would implode if this were to happen. - Eli Moreta-Feliz

Creighton: No.

WSR: No.

Al NamiasIV: I could buy Nebraska in there, but Penn State? No chance. So the answer is no.

Candystripes: If this were even a 1% likely possibility I might, but nah, this ain’t happening in 2016.

Thumpasaurus: From far away, the red and blue in the crowd might start to look like purple, which is the only way that color will appear in the championship game.

Townie: Don’t hold your breath...

Q: How many all-conference players will Minnesota have? - Littering And

WSR: Honorable Mention All-Conference is still All-Conference, right? My count right now is 7 (Leidner, Lingen, Calhoun, Poock, Myrick, Travis, and Santoso) and possibly Brooks if he comes back healthy and produces. Travis would be my bet to be 1st team if anyone makes it.

Creighton: Depends. How many positions is Mitch Leidner allowed to play?

Candystripes: Without even bothering to check their roster, I’m saying 3, but no more than 2 first-teamers.

Al NamiasIV: Too many.

Townie: I’m going with two in Leidner and somebody else.

Q: What would be a bigger week 1 upset - wiscy beating LSU or Buttgers beating the spread against Washington? - ziowa9

WSR: Rutgers covering actually has a chance of happening. Sadly, moral victories are the only ones I think Rutgers will be accumulating this year.

GF: I think the real key, is that all the Rutgers players survive the game and everyone gets popsicles and positive encouragement post-game.

Creighton: People would actually talk about Wisconsin beating LSU. Nobody cares what Rootjars does. Having said that: I hope both win by 50 #SuckItSEC/PAC12

Al NamiasIV: If the word "big" means it will get noticed, obviously UW beating LSU. Nobody will care if Rutgers covers the spread.

Candystripes: Sconnie downing LSU (he says without checking the spread on UW-RU).

Thumpasaurus: If Rutgers covers the spread, my reaction will be "Hey, good for The ‘Gers, they made a game out of it." If Wisconsin beats LSU, I will be quite stunned. Wisconsin.

Townie: To everyone outside of BTPR, a Wisconsin win will be a much bigger deal. The B1G needs Wisconsin to step up and compete. Nobody cares about rutger.

Q: How do you "writers" manage to contain your enthusiasm so that you don’t inadvertently watch some of the football games? - waw

babaoreally: I haven't had much of a problem with enthusiasm for a half decade or so. So there's nothing to contain.

WSR: I just remind myself that Minnesota will break my heart. That’s usually enough to keep my away from the stadium. It’s nice to have the tickets to burn to keep me warm on blustery August nights.

Al NamiasIV: work

Creighton: Football? I thought we were some kind of foodie blog, but for beer and cartoons...

Candystripes: I remember that no matter how good I think IU will be each year, they try so hard, and get so far, but in the end, it doesn’t even matter.

Thumpasaurus: Illinois.

Townie: Have you seen Penn State’s O-line play the last few years? That’ll kill your enthusiasm.

Q: Now that the previews are over and the predictions are all in, take a second look. Which teams have the best chance to surpass the OTE’s "writers" predictions and why? Which teams are most likely to fail to meet OTE’s omniscient projections? - Green 96

Creighton: Our predictions are infallible, and you just bought yourself a 5-week OTE ban for questioning them.

Al NamiasIV: As an Iowa fan, I acknowledge the most likely team to fail to meet our just-shy-of-10-wins prediction is Iowa. The best chance to surpass them? Probably Wisconsin as the only reason they are predicted at 6ish wins is because of their schedule. Man-for-man, they’re certainly good enough to win the West.

Candystripes: My team. Your team. #OTEingCorrectly

Townie: I’m going to take this seriously. I was probably too hard on Wisconsin. They have a lot of skill players on both sides of the ball coming back. They have a senior quarterback in Bart Houston. I thought they’d go 7-5 with four conference losses to Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Iowa.

They could surprise us all and beat Iowa...

Q: Bigger loss for his team -- Ezekiel Elliott or Connor Cook? - No.21

Creighton: OSU is a revolving door of 4/5 star players, but Sparty will have to look long and hard to find a quarterback half as smug as Connor Cook

WSR: Elliott was the most talented guy in the B1G last year, but he’s just another RB for Ohio State. Connor Cook may be a jerk, but he was a SR QB that’s a jerk. Those aren’t easily replaced.

Al NamiasIV: Elliot was great, but OSU running backs are kind of like NFL running backs: a dime a dozen. They'll miss a step but nothing huge. Quarterbacks, however, are tougher to replace. On the other hand, freshman quarterbacks have won most of the recent national championships.

Candystripes: Cook, by far. I mean, how do you just find another guy capable of being so smug as to brush off Archie Griffin in front of millions of people on national TV?

Thumpasaurus: Ohio State will replace Elliott the same way the replaced Carlos Hyde. I am sure that OSU has at least 3 runningbacks on their roster that will be drafted. Does MSU have any draftable quarterbacks? Off the top of my head, I don’t think so.

GF: Cook converted so many third downs via genius-level throws and swagger. That was the difference between a 12 win Sparty and a 9 win Sparty.

Townie: I have to go with Cook here. Six of their games were within four points. Experience gives you an edge in those kinds of games. Cook was good in the clutch. Instead of winning five of six like last year, I’d be this year’s version goes 50%/50% in close games without him.

LPW: Connor Cook

Q: Biggest preseason all conference team member bust? - ChiHawki

Creighton: Tommy Armpunt, followed by Ke'Shawn Vaughn

WSR: I will avoid the opportunity to say the obvious choice due to my contempt for wisconsin and will instead wish Mr. Voltz the best of luck and health going forward. I’ll just go with the even easier answer of Wes Lunt.

Thumpasaurus: Clement. Bet he disappears mysteriously again.

Al NamiasIV: Wes Lunt.

Townie: Chris Ash. Nobody can turn Rutgers around in one season and that cupboard is bare as Kim Kardashian’s ass on the GQ cover.

Q: Who will be the next B1G National Champion, and when will it happen? - JSG101

WSR: I’m not sure when tOSU will win its next national title.

Thumpasaurus: You need to have top-20 recruiting for 3 years straight to be eligible. I wanted to believe MSU and Oklahoma had a chance, but they didn’t and they proved it. It will be Ohio State or Michigan. Monopoly was conceived as a demonstration of how accruing wealth and assets must come at the expense of making everybody else poor. As good a coach as Mark Dantonio is, Ohio State and Michigan got the right rolls and have developed enough property that nobody else can win. Sure, they won’t always win the conference, but one of those schools will definitely be the next national champ from the Big Ten.

GF: ^^^I see that SocialistTrex made his way to the comment thread. In order: OSU, Michigan, MSU, Nebraska...I do think some day Nebraska vaguely wakes up.

Al NamiasIV: Rutgers when it wakes up.

Creighton: Michigan will lose 3 title games in a row before Harbaugh gets run out of town for something he did, and then Iowa will win the championship the following year and all of you will stop watching football forever.

Townie: I asked the magic eight ball if OSU would be the next B1G champion. It said: "My sources say no." So I’m going with Michigan.

LPW: Probably OSU again within the next few years.

Q: Does the B1G get a team in the playoff? - verbosedutch

Creighton: Yes. Either because we earned it, or purely out of spite for the Big 12. Either way, I’m good.

Al NamiasIV: Yep, a B1G East and eventual conference champ with one loss gets in the playoffs. Wisconsin would also get in with one loss, but they will have more than one loss even if they do win the West, which they won't.

WSR: Probably. I think the East champion should have a good enough resume to get in if they win the B1GCG. The West winner will probably be clownfraud trash.

Candystripes: As long as somebody survives the schedule with 1 or fewer losses, yes.

GF: Got some real questions about this…’Bama Clemson Stanford Oklahoma all look better and more prepared than any B1G teams. So I could imagine being left out, especially if the non-conf goes badly.

Townie: I asked the magic eight ball if the B1G would be in the playoffs. The answer: "It is decidedly so."

LPW: Yep.

Q: Give me your picks for:


Al NamiasIV



Rushing leader

Justin Jackson

Justin Jackson

Saquon Barkley

Justin Jackson

Recieving leader

Simmie Cobbs

Simmie Cobbs

Jehu Chesson

Simmie Cobbs

Passing leader

Tommy Armstrong

Yards:  Indiana’s QB/Efficiency: JT Barrett

Long Legend Beathard

The Indiana Starting Quarterback Position (as I have no faith that we’ll actually keep one person healthy for the whole season)

Sack leader

Tyquan Lewis

Tyquan Lewis

Malik McDowell

Somebody on Michigan State, probably

Top scoring offense





Top scoring defense



Michigan State


Most INT’s thrown

Tommy Armstrong

Maryland’s QB

Chris Laviano

Penn State’s QB

Most sacks taken



Chris Laviano

Penn State’s QB

Worst turnover margin





Worst scoring offense





Worst scoring defense




The State University of New Jersey

- 87 Rides A Surfboard

Q: Who’s a bigger sleeping giant: Buttgers Football or Minnesota Shootyhoops?

- GoversinCNY40

WSR: Minnesota shootyhoops. Any movement from Rutgers is just rigor mortis.

Al NamiasIV: Wisconsin hockey.

Candystripes: Purdue’s athletic department

Thumpasaurus: Does this terminology make….like...Eastern Michigan….a sleeping midget?

Townie: Rip Van Winkle slept for 100 years. So has Buttgers. Ain't gonna wake up soon.

Q: Over/Under on length of Mike Riley’s tenure at Nebraska?

- 06Lion

WSR: Sadly, I’ve got to say it’s under 26 games. For the good of the West I hope I’m wrong.

Al NamiasIV: The over/under is 42 games (3.5 seasons), not including bowl games. I'd take the over, just barely.

Candystripes: Approximately 3 more votes of confidence from the Nebraska AD, however long that takes.

Townie: At status quo, I’ll give him through next season. Ten wins, including beating the big guys, I’ll give him a renewed contract. Keep losing to Illinois and Purdue? I give him 18 months. tops.

Q: Will Lovie’s entire season of press conferences add up to the words said in Beckman’s Oskee speech? - ChiHawki

WSR: Probably not. Especially if his mom taught him that if he doesn’t have anything nice to say he shouldn’t say anything at all.

Thumpasaurus: Lovie could utter not a single word and still be better on the mic than Beckman and Zook.

Creighton: No, but I hope Lovie helms an epic 4th quarter comeback against Michigan that leads to a Jim Harbaugh "THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE" speech.

Q: Who wins the West? How badly do they get steamrolled in Indy by OSU? - Bschim23.1

WSR: Minnesota, and as badly as they want to steamroll us.

Al NamiasIV: Iowa, and they lose, but don't get steamrolled.

Candystripes: Who knows, who cares.

Thumpasaurus: Iowa. Rose Bowl levels of ugly.

Creighton: Meet your 2016 B1G Champion Iowa Hawkeyes

Townie: I have to agree with Creighton. With that schedule and the return of solid skill players, Iowa is the favorite by a lot.

Q: Outside of OSU, does another B1G team win a natty in the next 5 seasons? Not just qualify for the playoff, but hoist the Golden Vag? - Bschim23.1

WSR: Ha. No.

Candystripes: Maybe, but the window of opportunity is small.

Thumpasaurus: Michigan could, for reasons I outlined earlier. I’m at the "flip the board over" stage of this game. Has anybody ever actually finished a game of Monopoly? It gets too depressing once the land grab is over.

Creighton: The obvious answer is Michigan, but I think I speak for literally every single person reading this when I say that such a thing would make M fans unbearable (that is, even more so) so I’m actively rooting against it.

Townie: Based on recruiting and pure hype, it has to be Michigan. The flipside of that is true too...if Coach Tantrum doesn’t follow through, I think he is in hot water in that period.

LPW: I agree with Townie on this. Harbaugh is enough a lunatic, genius, and crazy recruiter that he'll make it happen

Q: How many Playoff/NY6 bowl bids will the B1G get this year? - SpartanHT

WSR: I could see 4 if everything broke right again. The East champion, if it’s tOSU or MSU could have an impressive non-conference scalp, and the other and Michigan should all be highly ranked in the polls barring something unforseen (like karmic retribution striking Michigan with something biblical for Harbaugh’s antics). If whomever survives the west to get murderdeathkilled in Indianapolis had a good enough resume up to that point, they could get a NY6 bowl as a consolation prize.

Al NamiasIV: Two, the B1G champion and Michigan, which will not make it to Indy.

Thumpasaurus: Not enough for my team.

Creighton: At least 2. 3 If someone gets in the playoff.

Townie: I’ll say three: Iowa, OSU, and Michigan.

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