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OTE Mailbag Responses: Whoops.

Football and football-related questions!

Hopefully we get to see happy screaming today instead of angry screaming.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Oopsie daisy. This week’s mailbag responses are coming to you fresh and hot via my phone...somewhere. Have a wonderful day, enjoy the games, and I hope that your team escapes without injury (or if you have a bye...arrest).

My mailbag submission for the “writers”: Have you ever gotten texts from friends, family, or stalkers who have somehow obtained your phone number, excoriating you for your picks, taeks, or analysis? - MNW

Candystripes: Not texts, but I have had a couple of relatives ask about articles I’ve written. Mostly out of curiosity, much to my relief.

Boilerman: Can’t say I have. Maybe a passing comment from a friend who reads every now and then.

WSR: My Mom showed me a beer fridge containing quite a few Naturdays because of our recommendation.

Suppose your team gets upset or embarrassed in the noon time slot(or a shitty weeknight game), does the disappointment/frustration/murderous rage keep you from watching anymore college football that weekend? Do you have a go-to hobby or interest to get you through the rest of Saturday? - BoilerBehindEnemyLines

Thumpasaurus: I feel like this question was directed at me, because that’s what Illinois does.

I usually struggle to watch other football in the wake of a PARTICULARLY upsetting Illini loss, such as one that’s somehow unexpected or by substantially more points than I’d thought, but fortunately for me, football season takes place during the fall. It’s my favorite time of year, so if I’m sober, I might bike or run, but often I end up visiting a cider mill or a brewery, especially one that allows dogs in. Having a dog really has helped my Saturdays a lot because although my mood often remains foul, I can’t stay CRITICALLY, DANGEROUSLY UPSET for long when she’s around. So anyway, if the weather’s good, maybe I find some trails and take a dog hike, or go to the dog park. If the weather sucks, it kind of depends on whether I’m angry or sad. If angry, I’ll probably clean the house with urgency. If just sad, I’ll often try and brush up on my guitar or bass chops, or screw around with chord progressions on the keyboard and record some ideas in Finale that I’ll never develop into songs. Sometimes I just end up leaving football on, but playing Civilization all day. It really depends. I plan to spend most of my fall Saturdays on football, but in practice, most of them are spent this way, trying to shake off anger, bitterness or deep emptiness brought on by an early-kickoff Illinois disaster on ESPNU.

Occasionally, it’s a good time to get together with friends. Everyone that’s been around me on a Saturday knows that if they ask me “how was the game?” I will usually say “BAD.” They also know not to ask for more detail unless they REALLY want a BUNCH of details, or want to laugh at me ranting like a lunatic.

If I’m at the game and regret having gone, I will drink combatively to make up for all the drinking I could have been doing during the four hours of my life Illini football wasted.

pkloa: When I lived in the south, I’d do yardwork after a shitty noon performance. An hour plus of the lawnmower drowning out my thoughts would usually make most of my rage subside. Other benefits include not snapping at people for “no reason” (her words, not mine), getting fresh oxygen in your bloodstream, and having the best yard on the block if you’re a fan of a B1G West team.

Candystripes: No, that’s usually reserved for 3:30 meltdowns.

Boilerman: It used to ruin my day. Anymore, I might be a little grumpy for a bit and then realize it’s just a game and my kiddos usually task me out of it. Now, a later kickoff when the children are nestled snug in their beds, that stews with me for awhile.

WSR: Oh yeah. I’ll be done with football for the day if the Gophers shit themselves early. Typically I’ll go to the gym or on a run, take the kids to a park or the zoo for a while, and then dive into either work or housework to take my mind off the stupid. Some years have been quite good for my fall productivity.

What division is the worst: B1G West, Pac-12 South, or whichever nonsensical ACC division doesn’t have Clemson? Follow up, should the West change it’s motto to “I don’t have to good, I just have to be less trasch than you.”? - LL Sota

pkloa: I’ve got to go ACC. Both divisions, excepting Clemson, are bad. I’d say definitely Wisconsin and probably Iowa are better than any team in ACC Coastal, as are Utah and likely USC. Colorado, Northwestern, and Nebraska could also challenge for the Coastal division crown.

MNW: ACC, non-Clemson, with a bullet.

I say this because I don’t know that the Pac-12 South is that bad. I think they’re just not glamorous. Herm Edwards has made Arizona State into a boring-ass NFL team, Utah has been a boring-ass NFL team, and while Ralphie lost to Air Force and Arizona lost a weird Week Zero came at Hawaii, those aren’t life-ending losses. Just because USC is a fraudulent shitshow doesn’t mean the whole division is bad.

Candystripes: Wait, was this not already the West’s motto? Also, ACC is always the answer (except for shootyhoops season).

WSR: It’s the ACC, but the PAC deserves some bonus points for being a disaster. The B1G West is just silly, the PAC is wildly inconsistent, and the ACC is just garbage. And that motto is actually engraved multiple places on Dyche Stadium, Kinnick Stadium, and camp randall.

Asking for a friend: As a fan of a team whose dream is to go 7-5 every year and maybe best its main rival 66% of the time, should I fall into despair when they lose by a lot to a national powerhouse? Please advise - Marshalman35

Thumpasaurus: Nah, I usually just laugh about it. What else can you do? At that point, the game becomes this: do you cover the absurd spread? I was pumped that Jeff George Jr would NOT allow the 2016 Wolverines to cover the 35 point spread, and I believe we also covered a 41 point spread against Ohio State with a late rushing touchdown by walk-on QB Cam Miller. I don’t even hope to beat teams with national title caliber talent, I just live for the occasion once in a blue moon that we have a team that might actually be able to punch with them. I mean, we lost to Purdue in the manner that they lost to Auburn. Our competition is Rutgers, and if they come within three scores of any other Big Ten team, it’s gravy as far as I’m concerned.

MNW: No. And this is coming from someone whose program has [I THINK] settled into exactly the dream that you’ve got for...I assume Indiana? I don’t know. I’m not really trying anymore.

I accept the national powerhouse losses (by and large--losing to Ohio State is rife with “moral victories” which both Jesse and Beez have mocked mercilessly on Hate Fridays), but it’s the joy in beating those teams who think that if just a couple things went right, everyone would take them as seriously as the big boys. It’s whether your team and your coach can regularly frustrate the shit out of the pretenders to the crown of Alsace-Lorraine (that’s a town on the Michigan-Ohio border, and it’s pronounced “al-SAIS ‘Lauren’).

You know, your Iowas (8-5), your wisconsins (4-5), your Nebraskas (4-4), your Michigan States (5-6). Take joy in those wins, because MAN do they not like losing those games.

Candystripes: For me, the despair comes not from getting blown out by the powerhouses, but in watching the ease with which everyone else takes them down. (See: Purdue vs. Ohio State, the rest of the conference vs. Michigan for the last decade and a half)

At this point, if we end the streak against the Buckeyes and the Wolverines in my lifetime, I guess that counts as being able to die happily. I’m not convinced this will come to pass.

Boilerman: I’m sorry, what was that about losing by a ton to a national power? I’ve drank the Darrell Hazell years out of my brain. I think. Maybe. Ow.

WSR: Nah. You should just accept that Ohio State, more often than not, is going to make it so they can’t have an open casket for your mother. Sorry.

Which is better: Building up a clearly inferior rival to make yourself look good (Iowa) or endlessly shitting on your rival no matter how bad it may make you look (Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State) - beezer07

Thumpasaurus: You know I’m gonna go with the latter at all times. There’s no disguising how bad Illinois is by giving credit to other coaches that they haven’t earned.

Candystripes: I’d like to take a third option - only being truly concerned with your rival when playing them, and living rent-free in their head the rest of the year, aka the Indiana Way.

Boilerman: IU SUC...Wait, what was the question again? (BTW, I agree with Coach Painter. The IU Sucks shit needs to stop unless we’re actually playing a team with the initials IU.)

WSR: I don’t think it’s “shitting on a rival” when everyone knows that wisconsin has been just above mediocre. But credit to them for beating up on a number of the worst Minnesota teams in the history of the program. You’ve been doing great, baby, and should use that as a measurement of your self-worth.

What should a program like MSU do with a coach like Mark Dantonio? Give him the Les Miles treatment or the Kirk Ferentz treatment? - badgers & Bruins

MNW: Ferentz. Embrace mediocrity.

Candystripes: They should definitely let him go for no particular reason whatsoever, and then forward his contact (and I suppose contract) information to the IU Athletic Department. Ask for Fred. <.< >.>

WSR: I think it’s quite imperative that they give him the Kirk Ferentz treatment. After all, you never know when you’ll yo-yo between missing a bowl and going to the Rose Bowl.