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The OTE Mailbag - Week 3: The games we’re glad we didn’t see.

Plus Dr. Seuss, food tattoos, and program super powers.

Iowa DCs with the surname “Parker”: Pretty pretty good at their job.
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Hello! It may come as a surprise to some of you (and many of us), but we have a schedule around these parts. And when life happens to one of us, it happens to all of us. Thankfully, I was able to reset today and get the mailbag herded and ready to go while watching the Ryder Cup and watching the clouds nervously as my brisket sits on a smoker. It’s both relaxing and nerve-wracking at the same time.

Anyway, thanks again for all the great questions. I’ll be back Sunday to ask for more, assuming I don’t get struck by lightning or trampled by Bowling Green fans or anything like that. Have a great weekend, and remember to eat something delicious. You’ve earned it.

Also, feel free to chime in on this first question in the comments, because free therapy can be good therapy.

What game are you very glad you didn’t see? - BRT

MNW: Five years ago I was not able to watch a second of Illinois State-Northwestern. I was mad then. I do not regret it now. (I was actually also not able to watch M00N and similarly do not regret it.)

Candystripes: The last quarter and a half of Rutgers 55, IU 52. As far as full games go, though, Indiana has so many resounding defeats that I probably didn’t get to watch due to not having cable back in the 2000s that you could really just throw a dart at most of those.

Creighton: Thankfully I had to work most Saturdays in 2012 (Greg Davis’ first year as offensive coordinator) so I missed most of the worst, least fun season in Kirk Ferentz’s tenure. I had the displeasure of seeing both a 6-9 (not nice) loss against Iowa State and a complete beat down from Penn State in person. Thankfully I missed the rest of the 6 game losing streak because of work. The one I’m happiest to not have seen was the 17-42 loss against Michigan. Just a complete humiliation at the hands of Brady Hoke of all people.

BrianB2: Man, I have intentionally not tuned into A LOT of November Terps games. I recall in 2005, I had a free ticket to a Thursday night game versus #3 Virginia Tech, but my mother wouldn’t let me go because I had SAT prep that evening, or something like that. (I don’t think it really helped my scores that much MOM!). Anyway, we picked off Marcus Vick 3 times and still managed to lose 28-9, so I guess I am glad I didn’t go. More recently, I am quite certain I didn’t watch us lose to Ohio State 62-3 in, that’s good I guess.

Thumpasaurus: I literally forgot we played Northwestern last year. I assume that that game was bad. Also, when my sister was at Oklahoma, I went out to Norman to watch Ryan Broyles catch three touchdowns against Texas Tech the same day the 5-5 Illini went for bowl eligibility at home against 1-9 Zombie Tim Brewster Minnesota.

Buffkomodo: Both bucket games to start Allen’s tenure at Indiana. Can’t pick one or the other, but I’m glad I missed them.

WSR: On October 15th, 2005 I was in the Cathedral of St. Paul for a wedding instead of a football game at the Metrodome. I had been getting random texts from friends all afternoon, and it felt like the game everything was under control and the game was in the bag. Suddenly, as the service was wrapping up, I received a deluge of texts because wisconsin blocked a punt. I still haven’t watched that game.

If your team has a superpower, what is it? - Dead Read

MNW: Super snobbery. Also a superhuman ability to sniff out workers’ rights and extinguish them like a candle.

HWAHSQB: Spontaneous self-combustion? All around fuckery? Sucking more than Jenna Jameson?

Candystripes: Making it look like there’s hope.

Creighton: Only fielding ⅔ of a football team (defense and special teams) and still somehow kicking ass. Kind of like how Daredevil is blind but he can still beat armed henchmen twice his size half to death.

BrianB2: Maryland is that Samuel L. Jackson character from that M. Night film. Frozone, was it? Because we are always looking for new and better super suits? Sure.

Thumpasaurus: Illinois has two major superpowers. Perhaps the most helpful for other teams is their ability to fix the part of your team that’s struggling, even if temporarily. Many teams play better after beating us, especially if the game’s in Champaign. Sometimes it’s just the confidence we inspire. That Zombie Tim Brewster team that lost 9 in a row before beating us would go on to knock off #24 Iowa the next week. The following year, Ohio State came in 3-3, got the tune-up and then won two straight including #10 Wisconsin. The hapless 2011 Gophers used their beatdown of bowl-bound Illinois to springboard into a bowl season the following year. 2012 Indiana took that confidence and beat Iowa the next week. Darrell Hazell put up 31 on #8 MSU and lost a 39-38 heartbreaker to Minnesota after fixing up his offense in Champaign. 2014 Wisconsin had just been stifled by Northwestern, but they got the run game on track against us and won their next 6. Hazell would once again find his offense in 2016 and take it back home to put up 35 on Iowa, which was not quite enough to save him but enough to go out in a blaze of glory. That year’s Northwestern used us to clinch a bowl, win that bowl and then win 10 games the following year. Chris Ash won his first Big Ten game in Champaign and then won two of his next three. 2017 Purdue came in 3-5, but after losing the following week to a Northwestern team still coasting on their Illinois boost they won their last two and their bowl. Illinois was Tom Allen’s first Big Ten win as a head coach in 2017. Purdue’s defense was looking like a problem early in a 2-3 campaign before a 46-7 win boosted them all the way into their next game against Ohio State. Iowa stopped a 3-game skid with a 63-0 win late in the year and rebounded to win 10 the next year. 2019 Northwestern came in 2-9, crushed Illinois and then won the division the following year. Penn State’s offense had looked unimpressive last year until they hung 56 on us. Look at ‘em now!

The other thing we do well is win games without actually gaining anything from it. You can already see how little Illinois resembles the disciplined team that methodically dismantled Nebraska. The four game win streak in 2019 did nothing for recruiting and in fact only delayed the inevitable collapse of the Lovie regime. Beating a decent Minnesota team in 2018 did nothing for the team. Starting 6-0 didn’t mean we’d finish with a winning regular season record. Going to the Rose Bowl didn’t mean we’d go to any bowl in the next two seasons. At the end of the day, we’re just Illinois, and winning games won’t change that because it’s always an aberration instead of a sign of a trend.

Buffkomodo: Being just a couple plays away from really having a chance.

WSR: Encouraging binge drinking.

What’s the best Dr Seuss book? - Atinat

MNW: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.

Creighton: When I was little my favorite was Hop on Pop, but as a father I’ve grown to like Fox in Socks the most, with Oh Say Can You Say as a close second.

BrianB2: Ummm, Yertl the Turtle, naturally.

Buffkomodo: The Butter Battle Book. So fascinating.

WSR: It’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go. In high school I’d give them out (with cash as a bookmark) as grad presents, and each of my kids has a copy.


Are Dr. Seuss books the best?

This poll is closed

  • 100%
    (73 votes)
73 votes total Vote Now

who is your school’s Mt. Rushmore for punters? - David _Anderson

MNW: Ron Burton, John Kidd, Hunter Niswander, and Ron Burton again.

HWAHSQB: Steve Weatherford, Blake Hayes, Nobody else is close to those two, but I guess Brett Larsen (based entirely on the fact that allegedly I ran into him at a party when I was completely wasted and he seemed pretty cool) and Justin Duvernois was pretty okay.

Creighton: I’m putting Tory Taylor up there already, along with Ryan Donahue, Jason Baker, and of course the G.O.A.T. Reggie Roby.

BrianB2: Adam Podlesh, Wade Lees, Brooks Barnard, DJ Moore.

WSR: Peter Mortell (203 career punts), Ryan Rindels (217 career punts), Preston Gruening (158 career punts), and Justin Kucek (an immaculate 229 career punts!)


Should there be a collection of B1G punters Mt Rushmores?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    No. I’m a monster
    (10 votes)
  • 39%
    Yes, outside the B1G headquarters
    (47 votes)
  • 52%
    Yes. Tear down the crap on Stone Mountain and put it there
    (62 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now

What is your favorite Norm Macdonald Special/Show/Movie? - LL Sota

MNW: His roast of Bob Saget. Failing that, Turd Ferguson is such an iconic character that I’d go there. But the Bob Saget roast captured how Norm really just did not give a fuck.

Creighton: The first time I ever experienced Norm was in Dirty Work, which I would rent from Mr. Movies like 10 times a year. My favorite single character was Burt Reynolds on Celebrity Jeopardy.

BrianB2: The 1998 ESPYs. I obviously had to enjoy this retroactively, but watching a room of elite athletes nervously pray that Norm does not say their name is pure gold.

Thumpasaurus: I want to second the 1998 ESPYs just in case some of you haven’t seen it and weren’t sure if it was worth seeking out. It is.

Buffkomodo: His Conan appearances kill me, but the Courtney Thorne Smith interview with Norm sitting in is hysterical. Best in my opinion.

WSR: The ESPYs were magical, just for poor Fat Charles Woodson, but I have another choice just to be a contrarian. There’s a supercut of about 30 minutes of Norm telling OJ jokes on Weekend Update out there on Youtube. I’d start there, but his entire run of Weekend Update was magical.

If offered this deal (Get free food for life in exchange for a tattoo) for your favorite local Mexican place, would you take it? Why/why not? - Thumpasaurus

MNW: If it was in an inconspicuous spot (like my asscheek or something), sure. I’m not getting it on my forearm or neck or something. I’m not a tattoo person, though, so I’m probably the wrong person to ask on this one.

HWAHSQB: I’m fat, cheap, and I speak lovingly of green chiles. Take a guess.

Candystripes: No, but only because I’m not big on Mexican food. Any pizza place that wants to give me this deal, though, my DMs are open.

Creighton: Depends on a few things: do they pay for the tattoo, or do I pay out of pocket? Is there a limit? Does it include drinks? Jk, I’d take that deal in a heartbeat. Wouldn’t have to even be my favorite place, literally any place with tacos could make that deal happen.

BrianB2: I am more concerned with where the tattoo goes. Do I get to pick? Is it on my forehead? I moved to a new area right before the world ended, so I have not really found a local Mexican restaurant that I am overly entranced with, so for now, I will have to pass.

Thumpasaurus: For El Patron in Pontiac or Fiesta Cafe in Champaign, absolutely 1000%

WSR: Yes. How is this even a question? Yes. Should I start drawing the outline with a box cutter?


Would you get a tattoo for free food for life?

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    (54 votes)
  • 40%
    No, I’m a coward.
    (36 votes)
90 votes total Vote Now