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Saturday Mailbag!

Keeping up with the US Postal Service

91st Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Pretty much.
Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Sorry these are late! My colleague, WhiteSpeedReceiver, has vanished into a turkey coma somewhere in the wilds of Minnesota. In memoriam of his going out in a blaze of gravy-coated glory, we ask that you all remember him as “Wide Speed Receiver” instead. It was his final wish.

Anyway, I hope you all had great holidays! Thanks for bearing with us with our sometimes unpredictable posting schedule and for continuing to participate in the comments and in features like the mailbag.

And no, I do not wish to discuss what happened to Nebraska yesterday.



Who’s the second-best team in the B1G West - WSR

WSR: Let’s give the old magic 8-ball a shake and see what we get this week…

“Iowa Wrestling.”

I guess I can’t argue with that right now.

BRT: Minnesota volleyball.

MNW: Nebraska speech and debate.

But really, I wanna hear you say it. Say it's Northwestern. Where'd my pants go? Never mind that. Just look into your hearts and admit it. Northwestern is the second-best team in the West. Did they go about it in a sexy manner? No, unless multiple consecutive overtime wins are your thing. But man, it is nice to recognize, even if it's tallest midget status.

DR: Ok. Northwestern. I hope you lose to Illinois.

Creighton: Still going with Wisconsin.

So seriously How long until Harbaugh is out at Michigan – either of his own volition or because the fan base finally gives up on him? - RWReese

WSR: I think that at the current pace he’s got about 2 more years, which means he’ll be coaching the Patriots next year.

Candystripes: Actually, I agree with WSR: probably 2 years, but wouldn’t surprise me if he didn’t stay that long.

BRT: Two years sounds about right--though we are all assuming he fails, I guess? Michigan, like a few other fanbases, suffers from exceedingly, nay, unrealistically high expectations for what “success” is. Having seen how this can play out, I think Michigan might be very sorry if they chase him out after two years, barring some debacle of a season like 4-8 or something.

MNW: I think it's all on the Michigan fanbase, at least until Harbaugh succeeds there. Once he succeeds, who knows -- he might get bored and hop to the Colts. But short of that lifetime contract fever dream, he'll be there at least another 3, closer to 5.

Also I think we're seeing just how “innovative” his approach was in the Pac-12 at a time when the spread was King on the West Coast. 8 on the line?! BY GOD THE INNOVATION AT STANFORD!

Only problem when you bring that to the Big Ten? Most of the conference never stopped doing that. Get some whole milk and head back to the chalkboard, Jimmy.

DR: Barring scandal, he will stay as long as he wants. That said, I would be very surprised to see him coaching the Wolverines in five years.

Did anyone think to tell the Minnesota receivers that it's legal to catch the ball? - MountainTiger

WSR: I KNEW WE FORGOT SOMETHING! Joking aside, things are not well in Dinkytown right now for the offense. We’re running low on bodies on the OL, which means that multiple injuries could lead to either P Ryan Santoso, TE Nate Wozniak or a DL playing up front. We’ve got WR getting broken left and right (literally. Tyler Johnson broke his arm and is out for the season and Eric Carter has been trying to play through a broken wrist). And we’ve got a QB who may or may not have a lower body injury. That’s...not good.

BRT: I just wish someone had encouraged their passing/dropping game more two weeks ago.

MNW: They didn't need to run any air handoffs, though, since the regular ones were working so well.

BRT: Yeah. I know.

Does Minnesota have the B1G's CFP fate in its hands on Saturday? And how much does that not make the game more interesting at all? - Drysil

WSR: Thankfully, no. Barring something astonishing that gets tOSU in, they’re already dead. And the game will not be interesting or even tolerable. If I had my way, I’d just simulate through the end of the season to Players Leaving and then to Recruiting.

Candystripes: Kinda, but only if OSU also loses. And no, this doesn’t make the Axe game any more interesting for me.

MNW: Oh man, badgers are gonna go OSU-Illinois on the Gophers. Style points, baby. I'm so sorry, Minnesota. Remember: the more you fail, the more you succeed.

I'm personally curious about AXE GAME to see what all he Gophers break out to keep it within 30. How many fake punts does Peejer have in his holster? Will Conor Rhoda make an appearance? Does Minnesota just abandon the pass and go full wildcat? Could we see Jaran Roste, the goober walk-on from Alexandria, throwing 30-yard play-action bombs? Embrace the chaos, Minnesota. Guns out, buns out.

B1G coach of the year thoughts? It’s Chyrst right? - BoilerUp89

WSR: That’s not how you spell “The winner of Purdue-Indiana” at all. AT ALL.

Candystripes: I think it’s either Chryst or Brohm at this point, and an IU victory in the Bucket game would make it Chyrst by default. (A Wisconsin loss in the Axe game doesn’t change this at all, should such a thing happen.)

BRT: I'd give it to Chryst if it were up to me. It's not up to me. Fleck will probably win it for “Excellence in Hype” or something.

MNW: Yup. (I'm just answering this question because WSR yells at me when I pick and choose which mailbag questions I respond to.)

DR: I think it will be Brohm with a win on Saturday. Chryst is a solid, if uninspired, possibility.

Are you going out for Black Friday? - Chitownhawkeye

WSR: Cripes no. What kind of monster would ever do that?

Candystripes: Not to shop, but I still have to work on Friday, because the dry cleaning business takes few days off.

BRT: There are many things that are inscrutable to me, but why on earth you'd subject yourself to shopping on Black Friday is among the most mysterious. I can think of few things that sound worse: root canals, working as a telemarketer, and watching the Iowa-Nebraska football game are all probably worse, but not by much.

MNW: So I generally get anxious in crowds, but Black Friday… Black Friday is my exception. Mostly because I'm not actually there to get anything, and because my siblings and I used to go to Target 20 minutes after it opened, run in while pushing each other over, and generally acting like it was the actual open when it wasn't. It was fun.

Now I'm in the market for a new laptop, and tomorrow I actually will head to Office Depot for a $170 laptop and $20 two-year protection plan. And Christmas shopping. And deals on coffee. The schedule is Caribou, Office Depot, Menards, Dick’s, Target, home. Then I come home and drink beer at 10am and watch college sports all day. That is worth it for me.

Best Thanksgiving…1) …side dish? 2) … leftovers made into something else (e.g., turkey pot pie)? - StewartRL

WSR: 1) Dressing. Don’t give me stuffing, because I don’t want salmonella. Dressing. Same recipe, but without having been in poultry. 2) The giant turkey sandwich with dressing on top of it that I’ll make Thursday night at about 10:30 when I’ll get hungry, despite having been to 3 Thanksgiving meals over the course of the day.

BRT: 1) Mashed potatoes, gravy, and dressing, all kind of mixing together on your plate in delicious harmony. I didn't think I liked stuffing until I was about 25, because it isn't the most attractive dish. I still mourn that lost 2.5 decades. 2) My grandma always made: toast on the base, covered with leftover turkey, broccoli, and melted cheese. It's the perfect encapsulation of mid-century, Midwestern resourceful housewifery, and though it's not gourmet, it sure hits the right nostalgia notes for me.

MNW: (1) Stuffing. The risk makes it that much hotter, WSR.

(2) The turkey sandwich is a personal favorite: use a waffle-maker to create stuffing slices for the bread, put down a thick layer of dark meat. Gravy, a little green bean casserole and fried onions, some cranberry sauce if that's your thing, other piece of stuffing waffle bread.

Worst thanksgiving crime to commit? A) Dry stuffing B) Dry turkey C) Not enough gravy for everyone D) Other, describe - KetteringLex

WSR: Running out of alcohol, which is ironic because my rather large and rather Irish family doesn’t drink that much at Thanksgiving.

BRT: C would be downright criminal. Gravy4Life

MNW: Not having enough dark meat. Also dry stuffing.

What meat would you replace thanksgiving turkey with? - Nieman

WSR: Smoked brisket, yo.

BRT: Anything. Turkey is the lamest meat. I might join WSR if he's having brisket though. Mmmmmmm.

MNW: Ribs. Or prime rib. Ooooh. I'm hungry. When the hell does dinner start?

How do you keep ACLs intact for a whole football season? - Turtle Shell

WSR: Have you considered borrowing one from a Purdue basketball player?

Candystripes: The world may never know.

Ok Nebraska writers You’re the only one getting a new coach, probably. Whom is on your ‘no way’ list? - AZBadger03

WSR: I don’t think I can properly pretend to be a Nebraska fan, but I’d have to think that retreads are probably out. Sorry Bert and Kevin Sumlin.

BRT: First, I think they should hire me. I am willing to win 2-4 games a year for many millions. I have never lost a FBS football game, so my credentials are v. good.

I know Bert is the popular choice on this site for some reason, so I guess I'll just re-affirm I'd hate that. We just did the “hire a guy who was thoroughly mediocre at his last job” and that went... well, as you see. If that’s what they’re after, keep Riley—it’s cheaper, and he looks better on the sideline. Honestly though? Coaching carousels aren't that interesting to me. Much like recruiting, I'll give a crap when they're actually at the school.

MNW: As an actual NU writer (sry 4 bein pissy brt), I feel qualified to answer this. If I were a Nebraskan, Mike Leach would be on my no-way list. He's on my personal HELL YES DO IT lists, because that would be so goddamn fun, but imagine the headaches Mike Leach doing Mike Leach things would cause.

It'd be glorious. On second thought, Nebraska, definitely hire Mike Leach. He gives great marriage advice.

DR: I have a strict no dregs philosophy. Don’t fire a coach with the idea of getting whatever is left after Tennessee, Florida, and UCLA have thinned the herd. No Bert, no way. I am coming around to the idea that we might actually get who we want - Scott Frost.

Is it better to lose in the CFP or win a NY6 game - verbosedutch

WSR: Depends. Where’s the Rose Bowl? That obvious bit of obviousness aside, I think the answer depends on the program. For me, I’d rather win a NY6 because that gives PJ an even bigger stage to push his Peejness on people for recruiting. (Yeah, think about that and tremble, fellow B1G West friends. That is your future.)

BRT: I'd probably vote for the bowl win, myself, but I'm a noted Bad Fan. Anyway, right now, winning the Foster Farms Bowl seems like it would be really cool to me, so this question isn't terribly relevant to my interests.

Candystripes: I will never know either way.

MNW: Oh man, these are tough choices. Looking at this schedule, I think we could do it by--


DR: At this point, I would settle for a loss in any bowl. Ask me in a few years when I have the luxury of being more discerning.