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Last Week’s Mailbag Tonight!

Whoops. Sorry.

We Love Lovie.
Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hi! This is late because I got too excited about the showdown with Penn State and making sure I had all the Carhartt gear and stocking caps and Grain Belts and White Claws into the car for the very early morning trek to the game to help record a live podcast at Stub & Herb (which was an absolute shitshow complete with me using a pitcher of Grain Belt Nordeast as a giant cup and just downing two of them), and completely forgot about the post last Friday. I was a bit too excited and it caused something to slip through. Sorry. Here are last week’s responses.

Which 4 B1G west teams are having the most disappointing seasons and why isn’t one of them Illinois? - 87 Rides A Surfboard

BrianB2: I mean, the answer has to be Nebraska, right? A pre-season ranking to likely missing the postseason entirely. Seems pretty disappointing. Maybe a case could be made for Northwestern or Purdue, but I imagine the Cornhuskers fan base is much more torn than those two, so they get the nod.

Beez: Northwestern, Nebraska, and Purdue are the obvious three. Northwestern should have expected it because actually that team wasn’t very good last year. Purdue has had infinity injuries and the Brohm “defense” either isn’t ready, can’t survive the injuries, or both. Nebraska is more silly expectation based than anything. For the fourth,’s pretty disappointing for Minnesota to lock up Fleck for 7 more years. It’s disappointing that Wisconsin arrived at 2 losses at this point by losing to Illinois, rather than Michigan or someone else expected preseason. But the 4th has to be Iowa, who is somehow exactly where most people thought they’d be at this point (2 losses to UM and PSU), but whose offense has been so bad it feels like it’s been a disappointing season.

pkloa: Let’s not count out this season as a disappointment to our Illini friends. With the Lovie train still rolling into next season, Illinois may miss out on a good coach, keeping them right where they are for another generation of recruits.


4. Iowa

3. Purdue

2. Northwestern

1 Nebraska

This is truly the dumbest timeline.

BRT: Um, the four not named Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, obviously. Is this a trick question? I guess one could argue Wisconsin in place of Iowa for S&Gs, but while Wisconsin’s one slip-up was extremely ill-timed and embarrassing, it doesn’t necessarily prevent them from achieving most of what was realistically expected for them. Nebraska is obviously the most disappointing from where I’m sitting--I didn’t expect greatness, but I did think they’d be bowling this year, and going 4-8 for the third year in a row can’t be seen as anything but extremely disappointing. Purdue is probably second--there was so much excitement after their big year last year, and then to have their team just get decimated by injuries to key players is a pretty big blow. Northwestern is next, because I think most people thought they grossly over-achieved last year… but only having won one game this year is pretty damn bad. Iowa is just always inherently disappointing, as a football team, as a state, as an electoral body, etc. etc.

WSR: You know what? I’m not going to dump on everyone. Is Nebraska having a bad year? Yes. Is Northwestern having a year that Pat Fitzgerald probably secretly enjoys because he hates happiness? Yes. Is Purdue suffering injuries at a rate that makes me wonder if there’s an ancient indian burial ground underneath Jeff Brohm’s Civic? Yes. But here’s what I do care about: Illinois is not one of the most disappointing teams this year and it’s been absolutely wonderful to watch the joy that it has provided him, the players, and the fans of a moribund program.

What is the dumbest possible outcome for the B1G west? - HistoriCat

Thumpasaurus: Easy. Six-way tie involving everyone but Northwestern. Nebraska wins.

Week 11: Minnesota loses to PSU, Wisconsin, Illinois and Purdue beat Iowa, MSU and Northwestern

Week 12: Iowa and Nebraska beat Minnesota and Wisconsin

Week 13: Nebraska, Purdue, Iowa and Northwestern beat Maryland, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota

Week 14: Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue and Nebraska beat Minnesota, Northwestern, Indiana and Iowa

Six teams finish 5-4 in conference play. First tiebreaker eliminates Wisconsin, Illinois and Purdue, as each only has two wins against the rest of the tied teams. Second tiebreaker eliminates Minnesota, owners of a 3-3 record in the division, leaving only Nebraska and Iowa tied at 4-2 in divisional play. Since Nebraska won the head-to-head, Nebraska is the Big Ten West champions.

BrianB2: Thumps answer is the only answer.

Beez: Minnesota winning.

BRT: Thump is a genius. I think. I definitely didn’t check this. But I respect the hell out of it.

WSR: Beez is close. It’s wisconsin winning. But Thump’s is the most insane and fun, which is just perfectly Thump.

Given the unstable nature of Indiana football and his relatively small salary, is Tom Allen destined to leave for greener pastures? Follow up, which coaches in the P5 should get while the gettin’s good this year? - Great Value Crimson

Candystripes: I honestly don’t think he is. I think the culture fit at IU presently is just really good for him, and while I wouldn’t blame him for leaving if someone backed a Brinks truck up to his house and said go nuts, what program is realistically going to do that any time soon? Tom’s an Indiana guy with Florida ties, so as long as the reasonably rational programs (i.e. not Florida State right now) in those states aren’t looking for a new HC, I can’t imagine him leaving to go somewhere else.

Beez: Has Allen done well enough to get an invite to a greener pasture? Other than this season, of course.

pkloa: Don’t know too much about Allen. I’m actually hoping he stays and can build the Hoosiers into a true contender. As for coaches who should grab the promotion immediately, Ryan Day comes to mind. I’d have to imagine multiple NFL teams have him on their radar.

MNW: Allen seems like the kind of guy who would turn down greener pastures and make a big, weird, awkwardly-grinning scene about it at next year’s Big Ten Media Days, get a small raise for his troubles, and slip right back into 5-7/6-6 seasons. And I think that’d be fine for Indiana.

BRT: Allen is so marvelously nondescript, from his looks to his name (I mean, if shown his picture and his name, how far down the list would you go before you guessed he was a Big Ten football coach? And we all know “high school social studies teacher” was your first guess) it really is kind of the perfect fit for Indiana football. I think he’d have to have another consistently strong year to start getting a lot of attention in that vein--which would be deserved for moving up in the B1G East, which I’ve been told is basically an NFL division with an odd Rutgersian appendage. He doesn’t really seem like a guy with itchy feet though.

WSR: While I think Tom Allen would be perfect for what ails Arkansas, I just don’t believe they’d even consider him because he’s just so damn average that they’d assume he was the janitor when they went to interview him. That’s not to say he’s not doing an outstanding job (because he is!), but he’s just not somebody that anyone would recognize. He’s like a good desk chair: something you appreciate but don’t always care about until you don’t have it anymore.

All Midwestern cities must have exactly one beautiful pre-war landmark skyscraper. Which one is the best? - Broated Nutcrackle

BrianB2: You didn’t specify which war, so I’ll go with the pre-Gulf War era UIC University Hall in Chicago.

Such beauty, such grace.

pkloa: All Ypsilanti has is its water tower, but I make sure to drive the missus by it every time we go there.

MNW: Yes hello, by random cities as I think of them:

  • Milwaukee: City Hall (pre-WWI)
  • Bismarck: State Capitol (pre-WWII)
  • Minneapolis: Foshay Tower (pre-WWII)
  • St. Paul: The Cathedral (pre-WWI)
  • Chicago: Tribune, duh
  • Des Moines: Mrs. Johnsrud’s 4-story house on 8th and University.

What’s the stupidest thing you did in college? And what thing did you do that you are most proud of? - theguyfrommy-wega

BrianB2: Pretty difficult to pin-point what may have been the single stupidest thing I did in college. Drinking too much? Check. Eating like a middle-aged depressed pre-diabetic whose given up on life? Check. Attempting to maintain a long-term/long-distance relationship through all the distractions that college life has to offer? Check. Pick one. I don’t care.

Oh, something I am proud of? I guess graduating with two degrees and a GPA approaching what some might call “average” was good.

BRT: I was devastatingly well-behaved in college, so you’ll get no good stories here, I’m sorry to say. The dumbest thing I did was drive back with a friend from Manhattan, KS at like 3 am or something. I was SO tired, and definitely should not have been driving. My friend was sleeping in the passenger seat, and I woke her up to tell her I could see something in the road in the distance--I thought it was a trailer with hay bales or something, I believe. There was nothing there, because, hello, 3 am. Once she realized I was basically out of my mind tired, she thought it might be better if she drove. Very thankfully, we made it, but it was really dumb--there was no reason we couldn’t have stayed in Manhattan probably, or at least pulled over and slept for a bit.

Less dramatically, I didn’t study abroad and wish I would have.

What I’m proud of was that I basically aced all of my classes, even while working two jobs and doing a lot of extra-curriculars. Yeah, yeah, community college of the Big Ten. Whatever. I’m also proud that I decided not to go to law school in my senior year, even though that had always been the plan--it was a surprising amount of guts on 21-year-old rule-following BRT to make that call.

WSR: Stupidest? Switch majors? Have a false-start on becoming an adult? Either works.

What am I most proud of? Going and finishing. Teenage males are stupid and lazy and I’m pleased I outgrew all of that.