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Weekly Mailbag and Friday Open Thread: Who’s Big Ten Coach of the Year?

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PJ Fleck, Ryan Day, James Franklin, and Tom Allen all convincing candidates... Plus: When satellite schools eclipse the flagship, should Chase Young be a Heisman candidate, and more.

Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Happy Friday, everybody! It’s the bye week so I’m actually pre-writing this and hoping that nothing dumb happens between 6AM and when it drops. Have a great weekend, don’t let any of your players miss their court date or fail drug tests, and I’ll be back with the mailbag request on Sunday evening.

Who’s winning B1G Coach of the Year? - pkloa

pkloa: I see four possible candidates: Fleck, Allen, Franklin, and Day. If Fleck or Allen beat Penn State, that coach deserves the award. If Franklin or Day win out, they (probably) deserve it. My prediction is Tom Allen, who gets his ninth win prior to the bowl game.

Thumpasaurus: You know damn well Ryan Day isn’t getting it for reasons that are well-established. Franklin has a chance if he wins out, but it’s tough to say at this point if it would be Allen or Fleck. Right now I lean Fleck, but it’s going to depend on who has the better record. If the records are even, it’s Allen.

Beez: Unless Minnesota loses out, it’s PJ Fleck. Even if they lose to Iowa, Wisconsin, and Penn State, it’s going to Fleck. The voters love nothing more than a crappy team who overachieves.

MNW: Wait, we’re actually doing the Tom Allen thing? I’m excited for Indiana, too, but until #9WINdiana actually becomes a thing—and it’s gonna require at least one upset still—I’m not hopping on that train.

As Thump notes, Allen’s gotta equal Fleck in terms of wins, and PJ’s got a two-game lead.

WSR: The choices have to be Fleck and Tom Allen right now, right? Although I have to admit that it’d be absolutely hilarious if Ryan Day were to be the Ohio State coach to finally win the damn award.

Poll

Who’s Winning B1G COTY?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Tom Allen
    (48 votes)
  • 17%
    Ryan Day
    (57 votes)
  • 48%
    P.J. Fleck
    (156 votes)
  • 13%
    James Franklin
    (42 votes)
  • 5%
    Other
    (18 votes)
321 votes total Vote Now

I’m a happy cord cutter who pretty much just binge watches TV shows through the series, then moves on. Whilst watching Westworld I wonder who is creating the best TV nowadays. HBO? Netflix? The networks (ha, ha, no)? - StewartRL

pkloa: I don’t watch much TV, being another cord cutter. I do tend to like the Netflix original shows, Bojack Horseman being my favorite. I’m sad I’m missing HBO’s The Watchmen, I’ll have to figure out a way to “update my subscription”.

Beez: HBO (Westworld, Watchmen, Silicon Valley, His Dark Materials (I hope)) is making the best tv now, but each of the major streaming services puts out some really, really good shows.

BrianB2: I am pretty lazy when it comes to committing to television programs. Y’all seen Big Bang Theory? I fucking love Big Bang Thoery and it is the pinnacle of creative human achievement and I certainly don’t want to throw a brick at my televesion everytime Jim Parsons says ‘Bazinga’. The lady and I recently watched that Paul Rudd thing, “Living with Yourself”on Netflix, it was aight. Netflix original movies continue to consistently suck though, and that is frustrating.

2) Which other B1G fan base reminds you most of your own? - StewartRL

pkloa: We’re all the same, our teams are just in different positions. Look no further than how Off Tackiotes treat every newly energized fanbase as though they should continue being miserable.

Were you (general, not you personally Stewart) complaining about the Iowa/MSU/PSU fans during their miracle season? Of course you were! Now it’s the Goofers turn to be shitty.

Beez: Iowa? Maybe?

BrianB2: Football? Rutgers, because both are pretty non-existent. Basketball? Indiana maybe? Both middling to above average for a long time, basking in past glories.

MNW: I don’t know. Probably Rutgers in that there aren’t many of us but the moment you take a swing at Northwestern we come scuttling out of the woodwork.

It’s an interesting question, and one that, like pkloa notes, probably depends on the season for a number of these comparisons. Beez is onto something that wisconsin and Iowa fans are both personally unpleasant to experience live and up close, but the only other really 1-to-1 comparison I can think of straight away is Michigan and Ohio State, like, in perpetuity. Man, I really hate seasons where they’re scheduled to come to Ryan Field.

What sack number would Chase Young need to reach to get invited to the Heisman ceremony? - Littering And

Boilerman: The best finishing Defensive End in the Heisman voting was Hugh Green. In the 1980 season for Pitt, he finished with 17 Sacks. Given that the voting has swung even heavier to the offensive side of the ball, I’m thinking Chase Young needs to be north of 20 to get to the ceremony. (He’s still not winning it because people are dum-dums.)

Beez: Invited? Probably 20, but that depends on whether they want to make it look like they’re not just giving it to an SEC QB or Jalen Hurts

WSR: I’d like to think he could get invited with 15, but the biggest thing he has working for him is that he has two offensive players on his team that are putting up great numbers and some guy in wisconsin that’s not completely trash. The B1G vote will get split up pretty nicely and will keep him from what may be a deserved trip to NYC.

MNW: Only got 1 sack against trash-ass Northwestern. I wouldn’t vote for him for dogcatcher.

Poll

Does Chase Young deserve a trip to the Heisman ceremony?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    Yes
    (109 votes)
  • 19%
    No
    (45 votes)
  • 17%
    Charles Woodson is fat
    (40 votes)
  • 15%
    BUT NDAMUKONG SUH SHOULD HAVE WON THE HEISMAN!
    (35 votes)
229 votes total Vote Now

Is it time to start talking to your kids about #9WINDIANA? - Candystripes for Breakfast

C4B: Wait until after this weekend, but it’s just about that time, yes.

Boilerman: This is still a team that let Sparty hang 40 on them and still has to play at Penn State and a Michigan team that just thumped (fuck) Notre Dame. Let’s pump the brakes until the Penn State game.

pkloa: If my kids gave a crap about NCAA football, I’d be telling them just how thrilling this is. Good luck, Hoosiers, hope you beat everyone but us!

Thumpasaurus: I don’t have kids because I am terrible with money, but I do have a dog. Before attempting to explain #9WINDIANA to her, though, I’d like to brief my dog on the idea of Illinois playing in a bowl game. She’s only 4 and has no concept of this.

Beez: I don’t have kids and my dog does NOT like football.

BrianB2: My father was 12 the last time Indiana won 9 games in a football season. He never made an attempt to give me the “talk”, so why would I extend such courtesy to my offspring.

WSR: It is absolutely the time to talk to your kids about #9WINDIANA. They’re at 6, and still have Northwestern, Purdue, and what should be a fairly favorable bowl matchup. Get those wins, Hoosiers.

MNW: Oh, wait. Does #9WINdiana mean the bowl game, too? Holy shit, then sure! Talk to your kids about #9WINdiana! Go nuts and tell ‘em all about the magical year of 1967; the bonus here is for Minnesota fans, too, because they can talk about a Big Ten championship!

After MSU’s shitgame in the rain, what was the worst bad-weather loss you’ve been to, and did you feel it had program repercussions or reflections? - KetteringLex

Boilerman: /grumbles incoherently

MNW: I’ve been a very spoiled fan in that I wasn’t at the 2008 Northwestern at Michigan game, never really seen one in blizzard conditions...the worst off the top of my head were wind-induced miseries: 2013 against Michigan State, where a tornado or something ripped through Evanston, and 2016 at Minnesota, with similar blustery conditions.

Thumpasaurus: I remember flying solo to the Penn State game in 2009 because nobody that had tickets around me felt like going. It was cold and misting-to-drizzling the whole time, and the complete impotence on both sides of the ball were tougher to actually distinguish than they would have been in clear weather. I had shattered my elbow late that summer, and after a couple months the swelling was sufficiently down and I had enough movement back that I was cleared to walk around and live life without the splint/aircast or a sling. The Penn State game was shortly after I’d tripped and smacked the same elbow and broken it again since it turns out the main fracture was still about halfway fixed. This meant I needed another surgery, I’d get really swollen again, develop much more scar tissue, and I wouldn’t be able to play any music for the whole semester. I’d also struggle to write with my right hand for a while, since everything was so swollen still. Nevertheless, I wrapped up my elbow, turned my phone off so I could pretend my long-term relationship wasn’t disintegrating, and headed to the stadium to see if my beloved Fighting Illini could give me just one thing to be happy about. The good thing about the mist and rain was that nobody including me could tell whether or not I was crying.

Mike Schultz was one shit-ass offensive coordinator.

WSR: I think the first crap weather game at TCF Bank Stadium was a 31-28 loss to some mediocre ass badger team. Great job, Brewster.

Will the basketball season make me feel better, or worse? - vaudvillain

Boilerman: Unless you’re Michigan State, Purdue, or Maryland, probably worse.

Beez: It will make me feel worse so you deserve to feel worse too.

BrianB2: It should, but it naturally won’t.

WSR: Northwestern fans have feelings? Get out of here with that shit.

MNW: Having watched it last night, maybe a little better? I mean, they’re not gonna be good, but they could at least be fun? I have to learn how to say Boo Buie because there’s no way Ryan Greer starts the entire season, Jared Jones can get up, and Miller Kopp and Anthony Gaines are fun players when they get gunning.

Still gonna be a Wednesday Big Ten Tournament slot, but...maybe a fun team?

Isn’t it great when bigger schools are eclipsed by their regional campuses in some random sport, and what is your favorite example of this phenomenon? - Broated Nutcrackle

Boilerman: Yes, yes it is. Like when Indiana Basketball travels up to (then) Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne and gets beat in front of a de facto home crowd.

pkloa: The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers baseball team is better than the Badgers by default. They’ve won the Horizon League three times, and even defeated #1 Rice in the NCAA Tournament. Too Badger main campus is gutless.

Thumpasaurus: I do not recall.

Beez: I liked App State beating UNC earlier this year. I do NOT like when garbage regional campus Marquette beats Wisconsin in basketball.

BrianB2: Fun fact^^^ Marquette beats Wisconsin at basketball A LOT, in fact, they once beat them 15 straight times from 1969 to 1978. They even managed to beat them in the Bo Ryan years too. So screw you BEEZ, I guess!? There is not a great example of this in Maryland. UMBC beating Virginia was hilarious, but not particularly applicable here. Just a reminder, in football, Michigan is 3-8 in their last 11 games versus Michigan State. Iowa once also lost in consecutive years to Iowa Pre-Flight, and that had us all in a tizzy.

MNW: Fun fact: GO MARQUETTE; fuck off, beez.

Hockey, as WSR will no doubt expound upon, is obviously the prime example here. In the Mailbag call, for football I offered Northern Illinois and UW-Whitewater as options as well for this; only one of those was in jest (I think the Illini would handle the Huskies). I’ve been waiting for the Omaha Mavericks to play and trip up the Huskers one of these years, but no dice—and there just aren’t a ton of the regional campus setups with multiple D-1 programs.

Like, do I want to do a deep dive on the SUNY system and make a joke how Binghamton, Albany, or Stony Brook are low-key better than Buffalo at something like men’s tennis? SURE! But I don’t think that’s really what we’re going for here.

WSR: I do not want to talk about this right now, since Minnesota is currently in “Others Receiving Votes” in this week’s USCHO college hockey poll and Mankato is ranked 2nd, Duluth is 6th, and St. Cloud is 16th. Thankfully, Bemidji is receiving fewer votes than the Gophers. UGH.