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Mailbag! Fresh Hot Takes on a Cold Day

We sagely answer all your burning questions about the Big Ten and superheroes.

2018 Ryder Cup - Singles Matches
Here’s the Getty description of this photo: “PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 30: Ian Poulter of Europe celebrates winning The Ryder Cup after taking a Post Box outfit off of a fan during singles matches of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National on September 30, 2018 in Paris, France.” I thought golf fans were supposed to be classy and quiet—who is wearing a post office box costume to a golf match? And why?
Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

I woke up to an inch of snow on the ground, and it’s still falling—it’s beautiful, but also far too early for this sort of nonsense. Hmmph.

So I guess with that, we should turn to our seasonally appropriate nonsense, aka this mailbag. Enjoy!

Who should the Gophers new DC be? - LL Sota

GF3: Greg Schiano. PLEASE.

LPW: That’s hysterically funny GF3. Kill goes to Rutgers, and a former Rutgers HC goes to Minnesota.

Boilerman31: A revolving door would be fine by me.

Creighton: Chris Ash.

BRT: Yes, LPW, that was definitely the funny part of GF3’s comment. Anyway, there is this one guy, and he looks adorable on the sideline! Lots of flash, little substance. His name is Bob Diaco, and I think he’d really fit in with what Peej is doing at Minnesota.

Beez: Hopefully not anyone from App State

WSR: Marcus Freeman. Shut up, it should be Marcus Freeman.

Thumpasaurus: If Tim Banks is any indication, Hardy Nickerson will be named co-DC at Minnesota and really turn things around there.

Jesse: Do I have the person for you. Over 25 years of experience coaching Big Ten football as a Defensive coach. Was a top recruiter in 2006 and was known for linebacker coaching. Has been to the Rose Bowl and has been steadily working since 2009. Who’s that? OH YES IT’S KEVIN COSGROVE! (WSR Note: WE ALREADY HAD OUR TURN ON THAT RIDE DURING THE BREWSTER ERA. NOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENOPE!)

Is there any better encapsulation of the BT West than the fact that there is the potential for NW to make it to the CCG at 6-6? - Boilerup86

GF3: Wisconsin struggling with Rutgers is a close second.

LPW: It doesn’t matter. I’ll take a trip to indy!

BRT: The Big Ten West is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. It cannot be fathomed. Or maybe, the only thing we need to know is that it is deeply, invariably mediocre-to-bad.

Beez: Given that the B1G West rep has always been whoever murderdeathkilled the rest of the division, there’s nothing at all “BT West” about a rep potentially being 6-6. Learn your West history, it’s only like 4 years long.

WSR: It makes perfect sense that sooner or later a B1G West Champion would finish 6-8. We were due, and no one encapsulates that math-breaking stupidity happening better than Northwestern.

Jesse: Remember legends and leaders? Remember Wisconsin making it as a 7-5 (4-4) team. Sure, 6-6 is sorta worse, but not really. Also, let’s just sort of stop this trip down memory lane.

How drunk is S&P+ when it comes to the B1G West? (wisconsin 13th Purdue 25th Iowa 29th Nebraska 56th Northwestern 68th Minnesota 76th Illinois 100th ) - BradNortmansActingCoach

GF3: Numbers don’t mix well with booze. That’s why you don’t drink and derive. Wisconsin seems high though. I’ll show myself out.

LPW: I’m drinking some fine bourbon right now, and I’m supremely happy Northwestern could win the west.

Boilerman31: This is like RPI in basketball. Metrics have their flaws. S&P+ just happens to be alcohol related.

Beez: I’m not knowledgeable enough to know why the S&P+ metrics are “wrong” on Wisconsin, but my gut is that it reflects how well Wisconsin has moved the ball on running plays, its high completion % and 3rd down conversion rate, its better-than-expected defense, etc… and does not weigh things like “yeah but did they score?” as heavily as we might expect.

Jesse: Eh, I don’t hate a lot of these rankings. Northwestern is probably worse than their record indicates. Wisconsin might be a bit better. If you throw those out as sort of weird statistical anomalies, everything else feels about right.

WSR: THe problem with S&P+ is that Bill keeps changing it, and it’s not necessarily for the better. The big change he made this year was that he kept preseason assumptions in all year. You know, the ones that had wisconsin and Miami right next to each other as 11 and 12. The problem with this is the assumption that great teams are just having a bad run and will figure it out (in spite of them actually being, you know, not great) while bad teams are just having a hiccup. This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in regards to what he claims to be a “forward-thinking” system that it just hurts my brain.

Thumpasaurus: Our last bowl team ended up 79th in S&P+ in 2014. Our 2008 team that went 5-7 finished 29th in S&P+. If S&P+ is drunk in the west, it’s because they’ve been chugging Champaign.

Where can I find a healthy, competent right handed quarterback? Asking for a friend. - Badgers & Bruins

GF3: I keep hearing Haskins is trash so maybe take him for cheap? Let’s be honest though. Harbaugh is already shopping for his next QB. Tough market.

Boilerman31: Sorry, Purdue QBs go to the SEC.

BRT: We don’t have one, nothing to see here, don’t worry about it.

WSR: I’ve heard from wisconsin fans for ages that the next QB is the healthy, competent right-handed QB. So...does that mean it’s Coan or Mertz or whomever you’re going to recruit after that? Let your heart guide you to the answer.

Jesse: It seems NC State is importing QBs these days as opposed to exporting so I’m not a lot of help here.

Thumpasaurus: Put wheels on a Hornibrook and you have an AJ Bush.

Has Illinois turned a corner? - greenie71

GF3: No.

LPW: Illinois is stuck in a hole.

Boilerman31: I believe you’d get your ass kicked for saying something like that.

BRT: Possibly! But some corner turns only direct you into a dark alley where you’ll probably get mugged, so this is not necessarily a good thing for Illinois.

Beez: Well, they’ve stopped turning it over five times in a half. So by that measure, yes?

Thumpasaurus: Illinois has turned a corner. What remains to be seen is if they’ll straighten the wheel out now or just keep turning until they run off the road and get stuck in a cornfield again.

WSR: Yup! They turned a corner, stepped out of their car, and…

How many bowl slots remain? - MH19

GF3: All of them, if you think about it…

Boilerman31: I don’t know, MNW is in charge of the Bowl Predictions thing.

Can a mercy rule be implemented before a game starts? It seems mean to allow Michigan / Rutgers. - chitownhawkeye

LPW: Some people just like watching trainwrecks, so nahhh.

GF3: Fun fact...Michigan has lost to Rutgers. People forget that.

BRT: No, we must all accept the beatdowns that are fated for us, alas.

WSR: If you want the check, you have to earn it sometimes.

Jesse: I realize we are all making jokes, but let me give a quick defense of Rutgers in the conference. Outside of the massive checks Delaneybot has been able to secure due to faux proximity and interest by the NYC market, Rutgers represents something we have been missing in a lot of ways -- a real cupcake. Now, I know, we all want to talk up the strength of the bottom. It was our common refrain as Alabama and Co were murderwrecking the dredges of an admittedly bad SEC, but what does a competent bottom tier do anyone? Make you feel good? See, I’m on the other side. My team has been mired in a terrible stretch for a while, but do you know what helps a bad season and get you closer to bowl eligibility? Rutgers. Do you know what you need when your basketball team is in a mid-season funk? Rutgers. Yes, Rutgers is terrible and will be beaten to death this weekend, but so many walk-ons will get to play in a Big Ten Football game this week and for that, we should celebrate.

BRT: Jesse, what are you doing? This is like when Ben Wyatt decides he likes Jerry Gergich, and even Jerry knows that Ben should never publicly admit this.

If you could make any rule changes to college football, big or small, what would they be? - SDWYO

Boilerman31: Where do you want to start? Refinement of Targeting penalties, Instant Replay, or just what the hell is a catch anyways?

BRT: 1) No more use of yellow, burnt orange, or brown as uniform colors. Just way too ugly. 2) For every win Alabama gets, Nick Saban has to teach a kindergarten class for a day. This is arguably mean to the children, but picturing what a hell that would be for someone like Saban is the real payoff here. Anyway, the kids would have the numbers, I think they could take him. 3) NO MORE INFLATABLE MASCOTS EVERRRRRRRRRRR.

Beez: The replay official should have one minute to determine a call and should not be told what the call on the field was. The official should only be able to say, for example, “catch,” “no catch,” or “I can’t tell.” The call on the field ONLY matters if the replay official says “I can’t tell.”

WSR: Let’s take that endzone fumble rule and fix it so people can stop complaining about the consistency of the rule. Any fumble anywhere that goes out of bounds is a turnover.

Jesse: (1) Celebration penalties would just not exist because I’m not a fun-hater. (2) Kids can actually make money off their damn likeness. (3) The endzone fumble thing like WSR said. (4) We would not do half the distance to the goal line penalties. If it’s a 15 yard penalty and you’re inside 15 yards, it’s placed at the 1 inch line and you have to deal with it. I have so much incentive as a defensive player inside the 15 to just commit all of the penalties to stop a play because the worst case scenario is a net loss of 7.5 yards. It’s exponentially worse for the offense in that situation (and vise versa being backed up inside your own 15. I’d hold all damn day inside the 10).

Thumpasaurus: Too lazy to rehash my replay proposal

If you could choose your own B1G referee crew for one of your team’s games, who would it be made up of? - Purdue19

BRT: Wait, who is the person who knows enough about referees to be able to answer this question?

Beez: I don’t think we have enough whiny MSU fans on the “writing” “staff” to give a sufficient response to this question.

WSR: So the referee crew for the Minnesota-wisconsin this game will be a very special one.

Referee: ME!

Umpire: Stevie Wonder

Head Linesman: Andrea Bocelli

Line Judge: Brock Lesnar

Field Judge: Ronnie Milsap

Side Judge: S. Robert Morgan (Butchie from The WIre)

Back Judge: Goldy Gopher

Should have posed this Writer’s Choice question last week, oh well

1) Which Super Hero/Villain are you?

2) Which co-writer is your team/league member or side-kick (and who is that)?

3) Which co-writer is your nemesis (and who is that)? - Lions_Tigers_Wings_Oh_MI


1) Batman. Have you seen my profile picture recently?

2) Thump is the Superman to my “League of Despairing Football Fans” Batman.

3) I guess on fandom alone Boilerman qualifies, but I don’t think any of Batman’s rogues gallery fits the situation properly. Feel free to correct me in the comments, though.

BRT: 1) Madame Maxime, Giantess. 2) Beez is my Hagrid. 3) You know, ever since he switched his handle on here, LGHF is technically “he who shall not be named”... just sayin’. ;)

Beez: (1) I’m “Moist” from Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Technically a villian. (2) I haven’t been admitted to the Evil League of Evil just yet, so whichever co-writer has a beautiful singing voice and a crush on the hottie from the laundromat gets to be Dr. Horrible and my bff. (3) As Moist, my nemesis is basically just dry things. Candystripes is “dry” in the alcohol sense, so I’ll go with him.

WSR: (1)

Ed. Note: Clearly, WSR is the Invisible Man.

Jesse: (1) I know I’m probably the villain, but it’s probably something like “Justin Hammer - inept CEO making life difficult for the good guys”

(2) Graham is 100% my sidekick in this scenario in that he’s basically the government helping us be corporatey and what not. MNW is free to jump in on this one if he’d like. He can be the guy who pretends to help the good guys and is secretly screwing everyone over.

(3) At this point, literally everyone else.

Thumpasaurus: (1) I am the MIGHTY MONARCH! I earn this title by splitting time between feeling sorry for myself, cursing my enemies and occasionally boldly proclaiming their imminent doom with bombast that will age poorly in light of my crushing defeat.

(2) Does that make Andrew Dr. Girlfriend? He certainly has the voice for it.

(3) I wonder how MNW would feel about being Dr. Venture in this equation?

Is anyone having fun this year? Can we just start over? - AlltheIowanamesaretaken

LPW: Things are great in Evanston! Can’t complain.

Candystripes: Only if starting over means something may actually go differently.

Boilerman31: Having a blast over here, and no, we can’t start your clownfraudtrash season over.

BRT: Weirdly, after the first several losses were under our belt and it kind of became clear that this was just how this year was going to be, I haven’t had such a bad time. Martinez is fun to watch, the first year is kind of a free pass, and I’m free to hope the best for us and root for chaos for everyone else. I enjoyed Purdue pantsing OSU, Wisconsin looking pedestrian, Northwestern continuing to fail upwards, and Iowa fans careening down to earth from their wild fantasies of another 12-0* season.

Beez: The 2018 CFB season has been a good time in my life so I’d rather not get a do-over.

Jesse: In comparison to last year, this year has been a joy.

Thumpasaurus: hahahahaha good question

With 3 weeks to go over/under on fired coaches in B1G. For this exercise please consider Canada as the turtles coach. Bonus points for naming which guys you think are getting axed. - BoilerUp89

Candystripes: O/U 2.5. Lovie’s on the hot seat, Ash is almost gone as it is, and it wouldn’t shock me if someone else pulled the trigger (though I doubt it’ll be IU).

BRT: Aren’t you supposed to name a number, and then we say if it’s over or under that? Anyway, I think two are up for firing: Ash and Lovie. But two more might leave: Canada, and I agree with my co-writer GF3, Urban.

Beez: Ash, Lovie, the Indiana guy, Fleck (in order of most to least likely). Gut says O/U is 2.9, as the Indiana guy is a possibility but not a sure thing.

WSR: I’ll take the over 2.5 fired. I think Tom Allen, Ash, and Canada are all gone via catapulting, while Urban seems to be in a familiar place that will lead to him irritating the shit out of people while on TV next year before 2020 USC Head Coach Urban Meyer comes down the pipe!.

Thumpasaurus: Whether or not it’s the right move, I no longer believe there’s any way we fire Lovie. I also see no scenario where Ash stays. I’d set the over/under at 1.5, with Tom Allen a candidate

What scenario would cause the most angst with Michigan?

- Losing to Rutgers, but then winning out and taking the conference title (forever with the knowledge that Rutgers kept them from the playoffs)?

- Losing to OSU again and not making the CCG (or the playoffs)?

- Losing to Northwestern in a CCG rematch? - GTom

Beez: I assume the one about OSU. If UM doesn’t even MAKE the CCG this year, when are they ever going to?

Jesse: Yeah, it has to be not making the CCG. Harbaugh needs to win something, and even if it’s a tainted Big Ten East title, a win over OSU and a conference title isn’t really that bad of a deal.

Thumpasaurus: Michigan is insufferable, but I could live with them as conference champions if it meant they lost to Rutgers.

If Les Miles took the Maryland job would Franklin be the 5th best coach in the B1G East? - Verbosedutch

Boilerman31: Are we talking in-game or overall?

Beez: I’d be interested to see how Miles does at a school so far removed from the modern recruiting hotbeds, as the 3rd-most prestigious team in his division, in the (at most) 3rd best conference in the country. I think his recruiting would be significantly worse at Maryland than LSU, and I think he’d be exposed as a guy who really, really, really can’t coach on offense.

WSR: Depends. Who’s taking the Rutgers job? Because if Les walked into the East today he’d be fighting Ash for the basement.

Aside from your own team’s rooting interests, what do you want to happen in the B1G West race? - Hollywood Hawk Hogan

Boilerman31: My wish was originally for a 4-way tie ending with the CCG rep being chosen by random draw.

BRT: Aside from my team’s rooting interests? Well, luckily, that kind of coincides with what I want for everyone else, which is for all of them to lose. ;) But really, I’m pulling for maximum chaos for everyone else. I think the funniest scenario (that may not be possible, I don’t find figuring out these scenarios a fun exercise, so I’m not bothering), is one where all the weird things that need to happen for Iowa to make the CCG fall into place… and then they lose to Nebraska. :) I also am in favor of the 4 or 5-way tie for the aforementioned max chaos. I wouldn’t want to be terrible and stake-less every year, but it has its upsides for enjoying the conference-wide crapfest.

Beez: If Purdue can’t make it (and make my preseason pick of them being 2nd look smart-adjacent), I want Northwestern to make it. Why? Because it’ll trick NW’s fans and boosters into thinking “good” coaches lose to garbage non-con opponents every single year.

WSR: Chaos. Pure, unmitigated chaos. I want the last weekend to be an absolute bloodbath where everybody has to start re-jiggering their guesses because all of the favorites lose in excruciating fashion.

Jesse: InsideNU did a piece on this, and I like the scenario where 5-7 Northwestern makes it. There apparently is also a chance Illinois makes it on REAL CHAOS life, so that would be funny too, but that means Nebraska losing to Illinois which is lame.

Thumpasaurus: If I were a fan of a team in the East, I would be rooting for the doomsday scenario that puts Illinois in the title game because it’s in my nature to root for really really stupid outcomes.

Two questions:

1. If the Gopher defense fell in the forest, would it make a noise?

2. If you had to pick another P5 conference for your team to move to, which would it be and why? - Free Beer Tomorrow

Boilerman31: 1. The Gophers have a defense? 2. Purdue helped create this conference, damnit. We’re staying.

BRT: 1. Sure? 2. Pac-12. No, it would make no sense culturally or geographically, but it certainly has some lovely places for road games. I do not advise joining the Big XII, as they still have Texas, and they’re a cancer on a conference.

WSR: 1) That is an interesting question. The last two times it’s fell it’s actually indirectly caused noise (raucous cheering from fans that hadn’t experienced happiness in ages) So I’m guessing that if they fell in a forest, you’d hear the trees cheering or something. 2) While I’d love to be like BRT and be in the PAC, that’d be just a bit much for travel. So Big XII it is! The road trips aren’t that terrible (although WVU? What the hell?) and a couple of the fanbases I’ve had interactions with have been pretty fun. So what the hell? Let’s put some guns on Goldy and saddle up!