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The Weekly Mailbag hopes you enjoy football, if you can.

Sparty! Yes!
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Hey. Have fun today. Or don’t. I don’t care. It’s tough to care about a football season when it’s absolutely as dumb as this one has been. Enjoy everything you can, check out MNW’s West Ham playing my Manchester United today if you don’t have anything better to do, and good luck.

What’s a question you have for us? - Atinat

WSR: So who’s your favorite mediocre player? You know, that one guy who wasn’t great by any stretch of the imagination, but was 100% your guy and you wouldn’t have traded him for anything.

Jesse: What is your top ‘fan’ moment? It doesn’t necessarily just have to be a championship or whatever, but that moment where your team did something awesome and it was just literally the best and you lost your mind.

BRT: What is your worst ‘fan’ moment? I remember very clearly when Texas had one second put back on the clock and won the CCG, and I just kind of curled into a fetal position for a few minutes. Tell me of your suffering!

Candystripes: How are you all doing? Are you making it through this year all right? Anything we can help with? (I know, it’s three questions, but they all go together.)


MNW: Why the fuck do you read this site?

How bothered are you by the senseless murder of pines, spruces, and firs in honor of environmentally destructive consumerism? - LL Sota

WSR: I’m disappointed I couldn’t find a decent fraser fir, and I’m disappointed that my youngest has been radically anti-live tree. That little jerk needs to recognize who’s in charge, and I really hope I win the best of 5 falls wrestling match we’re having to determine who’s in charge.

Jesse: Not very? I mean, there’s a lot of really dumb things we do that are far worse, so whatever… However, I also have a fake tree because tree sap and pine needles sound terrible to deal with year in and year out.

BRT: Less bothered than I am by the sanctimony inherent in this question. However, this did remind me to go water my beautiful murder tree, so thank you!

Thumpasaurus: Doesn’t even make my top 100 anxiety-inducing “environmentally destructive consumerism” practices. Not even on my radar, as Joe Milton might say.

MNW: The wife and I are off to murder a tree this weekend. I cannot wait.

What’s one thing you have unexpectedly loved about the covid era (past 9 months or so)? - eggwhacker

Jesse: I’ve mentioned this before, but not wearing pants that didn’t have a drawstring for quite literally the last nine months has been surprisingly nice. Also no commute? But like, that’s not for a good reason and I sort of miss the time I had to listen to podcasts.

WSR: Um. Well. I don’t have much. I’ve been a remote employee since July 2019, so going for midday dog walks and wearing gym shorts every day was kinda my thing. Maybe the rapid progress the kids have made at playing board games since I’m an awful person and don’t let them stay on electronics 24/7? There have been some very fierce games of Battleship, Clue, and Yahtzee around these parts.

BRT: I’ve felt a lot less pressure to wear makeup and do my hair, or even wash my hair. Is this a good thing? I don’t know. But it’s saving some money and some time, and that’s nice. I also have enjoyed challenging myself to find ways to keep connected to people, and I’ve enjoyed seeing the creative ways people have coped with the challenges of this era. As an introvert with no kids, I’ve probably had an easier time adjusting to things than many people, and I’m mindful of that. I’ve also let a friend down on his luck crash with me for awhile, and while that’s been ok, he has a dog I’m absolutely obsessed with. I’m a cat person… but can definitely see myself getting a dog sooner rather than later.

Candystripes: I make no apologies for enjoying literally the best season of IU football in my lifetime.

MNW: Ooh, Candy, that’s a good one.

I’ve become a better cook and become a...little?...more exotic in the things I make for me and the wife. At the start of COVID I set up a nursing home-style menu that was just because I was avoiding my dissertation, but “Meatless Mondays” prompted me to learn how to make falafel, phở, and more.

Oh, actually, I was just told by my wife what I ACTUALLY have done — I’ve started walking!

Look, I’m fat. No bones about that. But every day from March 13, when my University first shut down, through mid-August, when I took a job in Texas, I went for a walk...usually somewhere in the 2-mile range. I’ve gotten back to it now that I’m done commuting and it’s gotten’s nice to just throw on shorts and tennis shoes and get a nice chilly 2.5-mile loop in. I haaaaated walking before COVID. Now I definitely enjoy it as long as my wife isn’t pointing out EVERY feature of EVERY house that she wants to copy in our yard.

Thumpasaurus: I don’t know how we would have adopted a second dog if we didn’t have a period to adapt said dog to our home. She’s a huge pain in the ass, and even though I’m home with her all the time she is substantially less trainable than our first dog, so there’s all kinds of things I can’t do with her (go running, hide treats for her to find, take her out in public literally ever…). She’s also occasionally moody, sometimes she just decides she doesn’t want our first dog to come into the room where her bowl is, and sometimes she gets legit dog-angry with me if I try to move her. However, she makes up for this by being hilarious and very affectionate. The poor girl came from a breeder, where she was presumably treated like an object before being discarded. She was in an overburdened foster home that wasn’t able to take particularly good care of her. As much as she drives me nuts, it breaks my heart to think this sweet girl with her big huge hound eyes was discarded and unwanted for most of her life. She’s getting better at commands...slowly...and she’s lost around 10 pounds and is much healthier than when we first found her.

A pretty nice consolation for the cancelled honeymoon that we’ll someday take.

Who are the leading candidates to replace Harbz? - HoustonBoiler

WSR: I think Michigan should embrace the approach that just good enough is good enough and bring in Jerry Kill and his merry band of clowns.

Jesse: I’m curious if they can go out and get Matt Campbell. All hatred towards Iowa State aside, the guy has been great and seemingly has punched above his weight class for long enough to show he has potential. It wouldn’t be the splashiest hire (which means they are 100% going to do something insane and try and hire like Bill OBrien or something dumb) but it would be the smartest one.

Candystripes: I hear Matt Patricia just became available.

MNW: Bert. Give me BERT in Ann Arbor and I can die happy and also a little terrified.

Where does Jeff Brohm slot in your personal B1G coaching power rankings? And how far has he fallen compared to 2-3 years ago? - Boiler Bandsman

WSR: I think Brohm’s actually done a better job than I expected. Not that it was monumentally difficult considering the institutional support that was behind the football program at Purdue prior to his arrival and me wanting to see proof that they’re actually trying.

I think he’s 12th in the B1G.ahead of Harbz, Locksley, and Frost.

Jesse: He’s so up and down that it’s hard to say. I want to say last because he willingly hired Diaco and like, did he not see how that worked out the last time he was a DC? But then I remember that college football is stupid and bad coordinators get hired all the time so whatever.

BRT: Like Jesse, the hiring of Bob Diaco has really damaged his reputation with me more than any other single factor. But good for Brohm for capitalizing on his buzz and getting a better contract for that year when he was the hot thing in coaching.

Thumpasaurus: As a coach, I think he’s probably in the upper echelon. As a program manager...hoo boy the defense is just such a big problem, and I don’t see how Diaco is an upgrade over Holt in any way.

With losses to Rutgers, Indiana, and Iowa, and wins over two top ten (at the time of the game, anyway) teams, has MSU officially taken hold of the #CHAOSTEAM label for 2020? If not, who (other than the obvious “Covid” answer) would own that label this season? - waw

WSR: Sparty’s been good, but I think that the winner of the #CHAOSTEAM label for the B1G is “everyone not named Ohio State.” The games aren’t always entertaining (looking at you, Northwestern), but you honestly have no idea what’s going to happen in any of them. If your team isn’t involved, it’s been a great year for chaos.

Jesse: MSU has yet to really have a #CHAOSTEAM game necessarily. Like, their wins - and losses - are sort of absurd games but not chaotic like our dear old Indiana team used to give us. Or at least I don’t feel like they’ve been that way? I dunno. I’m with WSR, this entire year has been incredibly odd. Jokes aside, did anyone think Nebraska was within 3 scores of Iowa going into Saturday? How about Northwestern beating Wisconsin? Or Purdue beating Iowa? Look, the point is, this is a weird year and it’s been fascinating to not know what to expect each week… Except for the part where OSU wins games.

BRT: They’ve got a strong claim to it, but then, so do most teams. I’m here for it. MSU being terrible and then beating Michigan was one of the funniest parts of this season, so you do you, MSU.

Candystripes: MSU is a strong contender. I’d maybe toss Purdue into the mix, but that’s more for sake of having a second contender than anything else.

Thumpasaurus: Michigan State is 1-2 against unranked teams and 2-0 against ranked teams.

MNW: If they lose to Ohio State after playing them close, then we’ll REALLY know Michigan State is the new Indiana.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving leftover recipe? - He was a high school quarterback

WSR: So I’ll echo the thanksgiving calzone recipe from the comments. Take some pizza crusts, throw in turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, bake, and enjoy. Make sure you’ve got some pie left for extra dessert..

Jesse: My go-to is either potato or stuffing cakes depending on what I have more of. You take an egg, drop it in the potatoes or stuffing (or both I suppose… haven’t tried that but the starch from the potatoes should work fine with the stuffing), add some fresh green onions, a little flour, an egg, and make a batter. Fry that up in a cast iron while you mix some turkey and gravy that will go on the top. If you have some brussels sprouts or green beans, you can kind of crisp those up and put them over the cake and then lather on turkey gravy. I throw a fried egg on top too (and I’ve done a reduced cranberry compote before but that’s just because I wanted color and it wasn’t specifically great).

BRT: Turkey, cranberry, and stuffing sandwiches. Or, my grandma’s solution, which was to put leftover turkey on a piece of toast, add cooked broccoli, and drench with cheese sauce. So no-frills 1950s, and so satisfying.

Thumpasaurus: uhhhhhhh taking a fork and picking through the leftovers cold, what are you talking about

MNW: A turkey sandwich with all the fixings, but with an extra slice of gravy-soaked bread in the middle.

(WSR note: MNW had a Friends gif he wanted me to put here, but Friends is trash so...nah.)