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Mailbag: Who has the most predictable offense in the Big Ten

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Unlike our questions, a few teams are as stale as cheap hot dog buns left out for a 3-day weekend.

“Morning Ralph.” “Morning Sam.”
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Happy Friday, friends. We’ve made it through another week and football is about to welcome us back into its warm embrace. Uh...Northwestern fans...just to warn you, yes that is a knife and yes football is about to stab you in the back repeatedly. Football is very film noir in that way becuase sometimes things need to be predictable and you need a body to advance the story.

Anyway, step around the purple and bloody corpse and wade on in to our thoughts. While these were some pretty fun questions, quite a few of us have been too busy with grownup jobs this week to have fun. If you think we’re really wrong, have a couple drinks before letting us know in the comments. Otherwise have a couple drinks and join the comments and have a wonderful weekend.

But, in the B1G, who are the schools in football/basketball that are most likely to get all the calls to the point where you think the fix is in? Anyone else nationwide that gets your nod as a team most likely to get the calls? - Octodawg

BrianB2: Perhaps I am just not invested enough in any individual game to notice, but I think B1G officiating does a pretty reasonable job in football. The nature of football generally leads to more egregious calls that have an impact on an individual game than it does other sports, so we just tend to remember the gaffs more. In basketball, overall, I feel like the home team often gets the nod when in comes to the in-between calls. Specifically, I find that Michigan State and the Wisconsin-bigs benefit from this more than other schools. The Melo Trimble years for us were also pretty favorable. Keep throwing that head back young fella! Nationwide? In basketball? It is objectively Duke, and will forever be Duke.

MNW: A good question made good-er by the Detroit Lions getting absolutely dicked over by officials doing what they do best in Lambeau Field--kowtowing to a whiny-ass quarterback and inbred yokels braying for a flag every time Jordy Nelson or some new professional complainer wide receiver doesn’t catch the ball.

Anywho, there are the big schools, which...whatever. Michigan State will get those tight calls in basketball (yes you will, fuck off), especially when “points of emphasis” are randomly thrown out the window with the start of the Big Ten schedule. I remain adamant that Bill Carmody would’ve had 1-2 more wins per season against the Purdues, Michigan States, and other grab-and-hold defenses of the world if those “bumping/grabbing the cutter” points of emphasis were actually called. Fuck that leaping little leprechaun and his call-baiting antics.

Candystripes: Michigan in football, Wisconsin in basketball.

WSR: Yeah, it’s absolutely Sparty for basketball, especially now that Bo Ryan has been returned to his crypt in Transylvania. I’m so sick of playing those assholes. As for football...yeah, you all know where I’m going here. I’m still shocked and gleefully overjoyed every time an offensive penalty is called at the confederate prison camp.

Creighton: Sparty gets 100% of the 50/50 calls in basketball, while wisconsin tends to get all the blatant non-calls. For football, nobody gets the benefit of refs quite like Michigan at home, but in my opinion the better spectacle is Penn State acting like Brazil’s national team in that they think every foul against them should be illegal.

Change your state bird to something better. What is it and why? - Broasted Nutcrackle

Thumpasaurus: I’ll do Michigan first because it’s just such a crime that this isn’t already the case. GREAT BLUE HERON. Why is Michigan’s bird not the Great Blue Heron? Considering you get an outline of Michigan just by drawing the Great Lakes, and the famous Third Coast and all, it’s ridiculous that this magnificent bird, which is frequently spotted in Michigan’s many lakes, is not an official state symbol. I mean, you see them fly over the gigantic industrial park that is southern Oakland County all the time!

I have very strong bird opinions.

For Illinois, the American Robin or Northern Cardinal would be pretty good if not for the other states that decided to use them. So, a uniquely Illinois bird could be one of several things. The Greater Prairie Chicken once roamed the former prairies of Illinois in the millions, but no longer lives in Illinois year-round. Something more representative of present-day would be either the American Kestrel or Red-Tailed Hawk, both of which prefer wide-open spaces with a decent amount of perches. As a result, the flattest state in the union sees them in abundance, especially in the “grasslands” (okay fine, they’re converted farmlands, nature is mostly dead in illinois). You’ll often see them perched on road signs, telephone poles and fences as you drive through the heartland. Either would make a great state bird, but I’d give the nod to the red-tailed hawk due to its more limited range.

MNW: The common loon is the best. You will not do better.

Failing that, Prince.

BrianB2: The Baltimore Oriole is already, pretty much, the perfect state bird for Maryland. If I were to change it though, I would choose the “Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker”, because that essentially describes everyone who lives here.

pkloa: Pennsylvania embraces their unofficial bird, the double-bird, most commonly found in Philadelphia sports arenas.

Boilerman: I’m partial to the Purple Martin. They’re amazing to watch as they fearlessly swoop around objects chasing bugs. I’m partial to them simply because they dive bomb the fuck out of mosquitoes when I’m mowing.

WSR: You know what? Fine. Minnesota’s state bird is no longer the mosquito. Henceforth it shall be the Common Loon.

Creighton: Out: Eastern goldfinch. In: Peregrine falcon.

how dumb are conference championship games, and why has it made the winner of 10/26’s OSU/Wisconsin game totally irrelevant? - Jon Ross

pkloa: The Big Ten Conference Championship Game became irrelevant in December 2016.

WSR: Yeah, they’re dumb. Really, we need to add 2 more teams to get to 16, have 4 pods, and then have a playoff. And as for that game, it’s perfectly relevant. Ohio State needs to win to get to the playoff, and it’s not like we’re going to see it again.

Creighton: Dumber than a former mayor of NYC, more irrelevant than Michigan’s ½ national championship since the 40’s.

So other than OSU, Penn St and the turbo weasels of Madison is anyone in the B1G actually good? - Free Beer Tomorrow

pkloa: Michigan and Iowa are both “good”. They aren’t championship level, but very few teams ever are.

BrianB2: Guys, Minnesota is going 13-0 and has a date with Alabama in Atlanta on December 28th, this seems pretty obvious to me. I am still not sold on Penn State. They eked out a win in the only game they have played this year and are 5-0 in glorified practices. Am I being biased? NO! Ok, maybe ...yes.

MNW: Good teams don’t give up 15 points to Northwestern’s offense. Your move, Ohio State.

Boilerman: No, everyone else is either clownfraudtrash, injured to Hell and back, or just plain awful.

WSR: I’m sure someone else has to be good. We’re just going to wait a little while longer to find out who it is.

Creighton: Lots of teams are good, they just have fatal flaws. Iowa is good, but they’re have the worst OL they’ve had in years. Minnesota is good, but at some point they’re going to play a real team. Northwestern is good, they just have Pat Fitzgerald.

Who consistently has the most stale offense? - greenie71

pkloa: Ferentzi

BrianB2: ::Checks the stats::, Um, Rutgers fellas, the answer is Rutgers. Their 266 yards per game are good for third worst in the country. The last time they didn’t finish 14th in the conference in overall offense was 2015. That’s pretty consistent. Whose offense is holding them back? Just pick a team from Michigan.

MNW: Rutgers is a great point that I wouldn’t have considered otherwise--I honestly couldn’t tell you the offensive identity of the Scarlet Knights in the Chris Ash era unless you count “getting blown off the line” and “holy shit Artur Sitkowski is bad” as an identity.

We are, of course, on the record about Mick McCall’s recent failings in this department at Northwestern, but...like, it didn’t always used to be this way! The staleness, I think, is a relatively new feature (not a bug, unfortunately) of this offense.

But it’s the Ferentzii. Come on.

WSR: This isn’t really a fair question because we’re B1G and a number of long-term coaches will always remember that. I’d give the league more grief, but that wouldn’t be fair to the SEC (where LSU just discovered the forward pass (CONGRATULATIONS GUYS! Y’ALL ARE GONNA LOVE ELECTRICAL LIGHTING IN A FEW DECADES!) and are most definitely using it to the utmost extreme. But in the B1G there are three programs that have been just godawful and stale for so long that it’s gotta be in the frame and they’re gonna have to burn the place down to get it out: Michigan State, Northwestern, and Iowa. Ferentz could be a sentimental favorite because they’ve been there forever, but when Iowa is good they occasionally show flashes on offense. Michigan State leads a rather Spartan existence when they have the ball, but they’ve put a number of offensive players into the NFL that are entertaining as well. But Northwestern...oh dear sweet God Northwestern. What the hell is that? Has that program had anything that even resembled a pulse on offense at any point under Pat Fitzgerald? I am unable to think of one, and that’s damning. Yes, this program is more boring and stale offensively than Iowa and Michigan State and nobody talks about it because they should be an afterthought like Indiana but the B1G West occasionally feels charitable and lets them appear on TV in big games.

Creighton: At least Rutgers is trying. Iowa’s offense is bad by design. In Ferentz world, the offense is only there to facilitate your defense winning by giving them a long field to work with and keeping the ball away from the other team. Any scoring of points is done purely by accident because your tight ends are too good, Akrum Wadley is impossibly slippery, or they’re playing Rutgers.

Poll

Who has the most regularly boring offense?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Iowa
    (107 votes)
  • 15%
    Michigan State
    (39 votes)
  • 21%
    justNorthwestern
    (54 votes)
  • 11%
    Rutgers
    (29 votes)
  • 6%
    wisconsin
    (15 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (Answer below, please)
    (3 votes)
247 votes total Vote Now