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A fate worse than death or coaching Illinois athletics: OTE Mailbag Answers!

A 1,000 yard stare unrivaled since Vietnam.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Who’s the 2nd-best team in the B1G West? - WSR

Thumpasaurus: Winner of the jNW-Iowa game in my opinion.

WSR: Reply hazy try again

babaoreally: Iowa?

Stew: wisconsin

Candystripes: There’s a first best team? Are we that sure that Wisconsin is it this year?

Is there such a thing as a viable offense that does not include a QB? I mean one that does not use one at all? Askin for a friend. -bigbluebear83

BRT: Probably not, but I too am interested if one is found.

WSR: Depends. Do you consider wisconsin “viable”? Not everyone will be able to get away with holding as frequently as they do, but that could be the one to look to. In the 25 years of the program’s history they’ve had one season with a QB, and that was a free agent signing from NC State.

MNW: I dunno. Maryland fans, your thoughts?

Name the cartoon character that most closely resembles each B1G head coach. - waw

Thumpasaurus: I can’t even tell you how much Jim Harbaugh resembles Yosemite Sam. I should photoshop this.

BRT:

Urban Meyer is definitely Maleficent, from Sleeping Beauty. Both ruthless, both have very small noses.

Mark Dantonio is a dead ringer for Sam the Eagle, who is a muppet and not a cartoon, but close enough.

Jim Harbaugh is Cruella de Vil. They don’t look a TON alike, though they both have some pretty crazy eyes sometimes, but let’s face it--we could all see him working a cigarette holder and developing some weird zeal for something like a dalmation coat.

James Franklin is Captain Hook. Go ahead, look that guy up. That is not a trustworthy smile. And neither is James Franklin’s. (You’re a crook, Captain Hook! Judge, won’t you throw the book at the pirate? #maritimelaw #lawyersofthesea)

PJ Fleck is, of course, Peter Pan, the boy who would never grow up.

Chris Ash looks a LOT like Littlefoot from Land Before Time, which should make Zuzu happy anyway.

ALL HAIL BRT!

Purdue is going to dicktrip this weekend in Piscataway aren't they? to the neutral

observer (and also no one from Wisconsin) will it be funny or sad? -glassjawsh

BRT: If that happens (IF), it will be sad. Losing to Rutgers is only hilarious if it happens to a very deserving team, like Iowa or Wisconsin.

Thumpasaurus: It’s hard to say it’ll be particularly funny only because they won’t engage in anywhere near as much physical comedy as Illinois did in their loss. I think Brohm is bound to have a game where the wheels absolutely fall off and the team will play much worse than it is, but I don’t think it’ll be this weekend.

WSR: As Mel Brooks said, tragedy is my team giving up points to Illinois, comedy is your team losing to Rutgers. Or something like that. Irregardless, losing to Rutgers is hilarious.

Is the Curse of Bo Pelini real? How long do you think it will last? What should Nebraska do to dispel it? -StormyDragon

Thumpasaurus: The only way they can counter this curse is to bring Chief Illiniwek into their halftime. I’m told that’s the only way to make a football program win again.

BRT: I think we need to sacrifice something. Might I suggest… Lil’ Red? We shall deflate him and shred him into vinyl strips, and then build up a fire on which to attempt to incinerate the remains. No one really runs the EPA anymore, so we should be safe from any complaints on that end. As a bonus, the general eastward direction of windstreams and such means that the stench of melting vinyl will be carried into Iowa. Perhaps this will dispel the curse, and, even if it doesn’t, getting rid of Lil’ Red would still be the biggest win of the season. Maybe of several seasons.

WSR: I’m honestly confused at Nebraska fans. What if there isn’t a curse and Nebraska just isn’t a national power? What if they just had two generational coaches that lifted them above where they should be amid a period of time where those coaches could take advantage of landscape of college football? Because while Lincoln is awesome on a Saturday afternoon...that only happens 8 days a year. I’ve long been a proponent of coaches encouraging kids to make unofficial visits to Nebraska on a Tuesday just to see what life is like. And the number of scholarships available to kids throughout the Midwest has greatly increased, as opposed to taking a chance at being a walk-on. NDSU’s rise to being the biggest midget in the Lollypop Guild didn’t just come at the expense of Minnesota, you know. So what I’m saying in a TL:DR way is...this is what you’re probably supposed to be Nebraska.

Is Indiana's win at UVA the best non-conference win in the B1G at this point in the season? -Littering And

Thumpasaurus: It’s climbing. Indiana’s gotten no respect because they’ve won their non-conference games and then lost to the three most talented teams in the conference. Look how underrated they are in the Power Poll. We just don’t know much about them at this point other than that they’re worse than Ohio State and Penn State and slightly worse than Michigan.

Candystripes: Probably, but I would absolutely trade that win for not being 0-3 in conference play right now.

MNW: Now now now, I’m stunned to see so many of you down on Iowa State! That’s another fucking P5 win right there, kids, and Iowa did it while being totally disinterested because they don’t really want to play it anyways! I mean, you don’t just walk into Ames and pick up a victory, you know.

So yeah, Indiana might have another transitive championship of some weird division that I’m not totally sure exists any more than the Leaders Division did, but the finest non-conference win in the Big Ten? I don’t know.

Stew: According to my rankings and the Massey Composite, yes, MNW, ISU is the conference’s best out of conference win. Which, holy fuck, that is a sad state of affairs. It’s Iowa fucking State. And while they may not completely suck this year, it’s still Iowa fucking State.

WSR: I think you guys are a little quick to discount Eastern Michigan’s win over Rutgers.

Where does the Nebraska job stack up to Tennessee, UCLA, and other jobs that should be on the market this offseason? -IceIceThatGuy13

Thumpasaurus: I don’t know that it quite has the resources to match them, and as a result Nebraska should stand pat and wait until some year that no Power 5 team is looking for a new head coach. I’m told this is a viable strategy as well.

But seriously, I shouldn’t have to say how dumb that is. Nebraska’s probably a little behind those two only in the sense that UCLA is hard to compete with as a living area and Tennessee has more talent on the roster. Even so, this is going to be a season of fairly low turnover. Guys like Orgeron, Helton and Malzahn will do just enough to keep their jobs without doing enough to make their fans happy about it. I could see at least four SEC teams turning over at the end of the year (UT, Mizzou, Arkansas and aTm)

MNW: Slightly behind UCLA, but I’d put them close to equal with Tennessee. Not just for the joke reasons, but also because there are bigger, badder teams in your conference that you’re always going to have to reckon with. Both are capable of backing up the dump truck, though, and need a good hire in this next cycle to avoid slipping back into the Dooley/Callahan years.

WSR: Poorly. Lots of middle-of-the pack teams talk about getting a HC that can both coach and recruit, but Nebraska has now had four in a row that couldn’t. Who’s to say that the next one will be much better when the best they could do last time was Mike Riley?

Would you rather live in Ohio or in North Korea? -IceIceThatGuy13

Thumpasaurus: If not for that Jeep plant, Ohio would probably be ready to give Toledo to Michigan.

babaoreally: Ohio

BRT: Ohio, but thankfully, I don’t have to live in either one.

Candystripes: Ohio, but possibly only until the end of the 2018 MLS season. #SaveTheCrew

MNW: Either above wisconsin.

Stew:

WSR: What MNW said. But after that Ohio.

Did Rutgers officially win their "s" back in Chambana last week? -Abbus_Cincinnatus

WSR: Who?

Thumpasaurus: They never really “lost” the “s” so much as it was stripped from them. It had nothing to do with wins and losses; if you’ll recall, Rutgers put up a 9-win season with a win over Michigan in their first year in the conference. This does, however, remind me of The Traveling “The,” which Ohio State (then The Ohio State) first lost to Purdue in 2011. The Purdue then lost it to Iowa, and it travelled to The Alabama until being reclaimed by The Ohio State in the 2014 CFP semifinals. In 2015, The Michigan State took it and then gave it back to Alabama, who lost it to The Clemson in the championship game. In a tremendous turn of events, it now belongs to The Syracuse.

Stew: Has jNW lost their j?

Scott Frost is acting as the scout team QB for UCF this week to simulate Navy. Which B10 coaches are better players than their backups? -BR27

Thumpasaurus: Lovie Smith played his entire career on defense, but it’s hard to imagine he couldn’t win the starting quarterback job at Illinois right now if he had eligibility.

WSR: I think PJ Fleck could probably still contribute to the Gophers WR corps.

babaoreally: Jeff Brohm is too old at this point, but I bet OC Brian Brohm would still be a good quarterback.

MNW: I’m sorry, how many concussions did Jeff Brohm take in the XFL? How many times did he get back out there? That fucker can still run an offense; I guarantee it. IS THIS OR IS THIS NOT THE XFL? DOES HE OR DOES HE NOT CURRENTLY HAVE A PULSE? Let’s play football.

Fitz has put on a little weight in years past, so I don’t know if, even with the neck roll on, I’m putting him on the field and asking him to grit it out. I’m sure Peejer would attack it with enthusiasm unknown to mankind, and Harbaugh may or may not have sought out whether or not he can actually insert himself onto the depth chart.

Stew: Harbaugh, Brohm, Riley, Chryst, Durkin

Why do the football gods hate Indiana - Hoosiers47

Thumpasaurus: Is this really worse than 2011? Wouldn’t you rather matter in big games, even when you know you’re going to lose, than get your ass kicked week in and week out no matter who the opponent? Yep, this has got to be difficult, but at least you can keep believing it’s possible Indiana wins one of these one day.

babaoreally: Because of John Cougar Mellencamp.

Candystripes: Because if Indiana somehow managed to be good at both basketball and football, the universe as we know it would cease to exist.

Stew: Karmic debt from Bobby Knight. Good luck for the next 1000 years.

WSR: There are plenty of reasons to hate Indiana, and that’s before we even dip our toes into politics. Only building a large temple at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and holding a massive ceremony with a metric shitton of human sacrifices will have a chance to fix the problem.