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Mailbag: Hating the Pac-12, Hating Loud Fans, and Hating Tootsie Rolls Edition

This ain’t your mama’s kind and gentle internet sports mailbag.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 04 Wisconsin at Indiana
Yay Hoosiers!
Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Here’s my unpopular opinion: the time changes may not be necessary, but honest-to-god, they are not that big of a deal. It’s one hour, get over it. I think people just like to be dramatic about stupid things.

Anyway, here’s the mailbag! It’s a bit late, but I’ll just blame it on the time change, since that seems to be the move.

“These new B1G schools: can they rassle?”


Kind of...: No. None of them have a wrestling program. Stanford will add a little to the ACC, and Arizona State will slot in nicely with Iowa State and Okie State in the Big 12. That’s really about it in terms of Pac 12 schools. Oregon State is pretty good, too, I guess, just not sure where they’re ending up yet.

Larry31: Depends how you define rasslin’. If you consider putting 18-22 year-olds in unitards and putting them on a a wresting mat to “compete” against other rasslers, like Maryland. Then, yes. If you mean will they be competitive with your average Big Ten wresting team? NO.

misdreavus79: The thing about the time change, at least for me, is less about the hour difference and more about how drastic day and night affairs work during those time changes. For example, my children woke up a 4:30 AM all week, because, well, it’s 5:30 AM their time! And sure, you can wonder why in God’s green earth my kids get up at the crack of dawn, but that’s another question for another day. The other thing is the whole driving “at night” but it’s 4 in the afternoon. So yeah, not that big of a deal, but a really big deal in certain situations.

Oh right the question. Man I don’t know. My only experience with wrestling is every time a Penn State wrestling fan finds it appropriate to try and take over a basketball thread to point out how much better wrestling is and how Penn State should spend all their money on wrestling even though basketball subsidizes Cael’s salary.

HWAHSQB: Wait?? Doesn’t Penn State already spend all their money on wrestling?

Anywho, no. They don’t wrestle. Therefore, they don’t belong in the B1G. Stay off my lawn!!

“Given Indiana has less emphasis for FB, AD isn’t flush with cash, the buyout cost, and had a good showing against PSU and a win against Wisconsin (and I would add FAR better than expected against tOSU), is replacing Tom Allen at/before the end of the season:

A. Never really a considered option by the AD (Barring issues other than on field performance).

B. Was possible but he’s done enough for another year (it was a VERY low bar).

C. Still likely unless he does more - state how many more wins.

D. Almost guaranteed - unless he gets to a bowl, he’s outta here.

E. Is already a done deal, even with a bowl appearance.”


BRT: I think it’s B by virtue of the Big Win over Wisconsin. I think it would have taken a lot for them to axe him, and showing signs of life and actually getting a win will be enough to not have the trouble of firing him.

Larry31: I’m going with BRT. Unlike RockyMtBlue below, as a Maryland fan, I have LOTS of insight into this line of thinking. Indiana and Maryland are, strangely close cousins. Very good men’s soccer programs with a fan base that emphasizes basketball over football. It’s in our DNA. Just not being embarrassing with an occasional good season is the bar to not get fired as a football coach. Also, they have been playing better since Walt Bell was shown the door. So, that’s a built-in excuse for getting their asses kicked by Maryland early in the season.

RockyMtnBlue: I don’t have any special insight (or frankly, any unspecial insight) into what passes for the football program at Indiana, but I would guess it was B. The buyout doesn’t matter much to some athletic departments, but I think it prolly matters to Indiana, especially since they only grudgingly pay for football in the first place. If Allen had gone winless in Big10 play, it might have been a thing, but I think even just the one win, and some spirited losses is enough to keep Allen around for another year. For the sake of Indiana fans around here, let’s hope I’m wrong.

Buffkomodo: It’s C. He HAS to get 5 wins probably, two of them being the spittoon and the bucket. The biggest problem with Tom Allen over the past three years has been then absence of any forward momentum whatsoever. If they’re able to get both trophy games, keep Sorsby alive for next season, and genuinely look like they have some momentum, he’ll stave off the wolves. If you lose one or both trophy games and have the same bumbling mistakes get made and lose and end up 4-8 or even lose out, he’s gone.

RUReady4Brazil: B or C. There’s so much money and they were entertaining the last two weeks. One more win and he’s back next year.

MNW: I'd say C, Bucket only. But that's just going off vibes at this point.

misdreavus79: The win against Wisconsin certainly complicated things. I think if he beats Purdue he should be safe. If he beats Purdue and someone else, he might be too safe.

“Which of the Pac-12 refugee fanbases will current B1G fanbases hate the most? And why is it 0regon?”

—Purple & Proud

BRT: I think it’s probably USC, but I don’t know that they’re big internet commentators, so maybe that won’t be an issue here. I definitely think they seem the most hateable though - a lot of people extremely proud of nothing that’s particularly special. This also perfectly describes Texans, and I also hate them.

RockyMtnBlue: I’ve literally never met an Oregon fan in my life, so I can’t speak to them. But given how much most of OTE hates Michigan fans, the answer has to be USC. If we have Walmart Wolverines, they certainly have U-Save USC fans.

Buffkomodo: I’m with RMB. Never met a Ducks fan. It’s certainly USC.

RUReady4Brazil: When I lived in San Francisco, nothing was more annoying than when USC came to face Cal or Stanford. There’s was less tension on the streets during pride weekend which also doubled as Nascar weekend pitting two completely different demographics than late fall when a bunch of USC preps strolled around like they owned the place. Oregon was friendly at the Pac-12 championship games, even if public perception is more down on them. Washington and UCLA, seem apathetic.

MNW: My one interaction with USC fans was when I was doing research on Boulder back in 2017 or something. My last Friday in town, I grabbed a burger at The Sink or something before heading to the airport, and it had already been overrun with USC fans. One was telling another about the size and value of the watch he was wearing. That was enough for me.

Kind of...: Okay, it’s probably USC (obvious) or Oregon (Nike), but don’t sleep on Washington. They’re like a poor man’s Michigan. There’s a little wine and cheese elitism to Huskie fandom, but there’s also fact that their sense of moral leadership is self-appointed and they have a history of cheating like hell.

misdreauvs79: Unlike Nebraska and Penn State, I don’t think any one fanbase in the quartet will come in with “they’re going to run the conference” hype. Maaaaaybe Oregon fans will if they make the playoff. But, by virtue of coming as a group of four and not as a single entity, I don’t think you’ll see the same thing that made the other two “hated” when they arrived.

P.S.: At least one of those former two actually won the conference and went undefeated in its second season in the conference (and, like, stayed at or near the top of the conference before it cratered a decade later).

HWAHSQB: USC fans were actually incredibly cordial when I went to Rose Bowl in 2007-08. They were just a touch arrogant, but overall, it was the friendliest fanbase I’ve experienced as a visitor except for maybe Lincoln.

“Why are football and basketball the only “revenue sports”, when volleyball, hockey, wrestling, soccer, etc. are so exciting to watch? Would greater promotion make any of them profitable?”


Larry31: Objection. Foundation. [No, I’m not a lawyer, just pretending to be one.] Hockey, soccer and LACROSSE all have professional leagues that are financially viable. If you are asking why these sports not revenue generators at the college level? I don’t know. Softball, which I don’t watch or care about, is on the cable sports channels A LOT during the spring. I’d be interested in seeing the TV revenue for college softball. Wrestling is easy. Nobody outside of the Beg Ten cares about wrestling, It is a better sport by not being infiltrated by the SEC, so that’s a good thing.

BRT: I guess just build a program so successful that 92,003 people will sit in a stadium to watch a match. But more seriously, if I knew a magic answer to this, I’d probably be making more money doing something else. I don’t think more promotion is a bad idea though - if the growth of non-revenue sports has shown anything in recent years, it’s that the potential for an audience exists. I think a lot of departments and programmers have simply assumed that these sports can’t create profit or draw crowds and so haven’t really tried. And maybe, that’s not such a good assumption.

RockyMtnBlue: I’m the wrong guy to ask. I don’t understand how basketball is even a revenue sport. There’s football, and there’s stuff football pays for.

Buffkomodo: Look at the demand for television contracts, advertising, and just general interest. Promotion is part of the battle, yes, but you have to get people to care and enjoy the teams they watch. Hockey is still a niche sport in the US. I didn’t know 1 person who played it growing up in southern Indiana. Wrestling simply isn’t as appealing to the masses as UFC is. Soccer is on the rise and I think they’ll overtake baseball in 10-15 years in the US if it hasn’t already.

RUReady4Brazil: Football is because of how many aspects there are to every game and yet it only happens once a week, all around the country. Some people like the tailgate, the Xs and Os, the recruiting, the uniforms, the stadium itself, etc etc. And doing it once a week is so much easier I realize now that I have so many jobs and kids. Basketball I think is because of how different aspects of the sport have been historically differently than professional basketball, most importantly March Madness, great article in SI on that in 1998. The other sports are just too regional right now. Volleyball is a sleeping giant, though I am biased by virtue of being married to a former professional player.

misdreavus79: Yes, greater promotion will lead to greater viewership and participation. You’re seeing it with Women’s Volleyball right now. The Big Ten Network (and Fox, by extension) have made a concerted effort to put Volleyball at the forefront of the non-revenue slate, and we’re now on our second consecutive season of setting viewership records for women’s volleyball. It’s not a coincidence. If the networks actually put any effort in making other sports popular, they’ll be popular enough.

That said, if you’re putting the non-revenue sports against the revenue sports, well, they’re not going to do as well. That’s why The B1G Network’s approach is so genius. They televise Volleyball, wrestling, and Hockey in windows where nothing else is going on, so people don’t have to split their focus between whatever football game they want to watch and their favorite school’s other sport’s match. Keep doing that, and watch the popularity grow. And, soon enough, other sports will join the “revenue” side of the split. They’ll never be football and basketball, but they can get to a point where they don’t need to be subsidized either.

And, like, this has always been my problem with the idiots who talk about how “well no one wants to watch XX sport why are do they need to be paid the same blah blah I’m stupid” arguments. You’re a fucking sheep. You already do whatever the advertisers tell you to. So shut the fuck up and watch women’s basketball you pleb.

“Mailbag questions. Making noise at games, the more the merrier, or is there an upper limit? People at games that complain about you making noise, take them into consideration or tell them to stay home next time and give their ticket to a fan that cares?”


RockyMtnBlue: The more the merrier, I guess. I don’t understand anyone who complains a live sporting event’s crowd is too loud. Now PA system too loud, fans doing obnoxious things, that I can see.

BRT: Ugh, I hate obnoxious people at games. I don’t care if this makes me old and uncool. I have a PhD in history, so believe me, I’ve made my peace with “uncool” looooong ago. Cheering at appropriate times is of course not a problem, but here are the most annoying noisemakers, IMO:

  1. The guy who has come up with a phrase that he’s REALLY proud of, and he won’t stop shouting it. It’s the equivalent of that horrid announcer that wouldn’t stop yelling “MASERATAY!” as a terrible pun on that one player’s name a few weeks ago (I don’t remember specifics, only the rage). You are so, so, so much less clever than you believe. Shut up.

2) The shriek-er. Why is this happening? Why are you like this? How is there anyone willing to be out in public with you? Shut up.

3) The cusser. Usually drunk. I’m not scared of profanity or anything, and to be honest, sports does bring it out of one. But the experience of sitting near someone who really seems to have nothing else to say is really g*ddamned f*cking annoying. Shut up.

4) The chatter. This is a bit sport- and context-specific to me. It doesn’t bother me as much at football because the games are super long, and there is a lot of downtime - it also tends to be generally louder, so chitchat is less noticeable. But it really bugs me at volleyball when people are discussing the workplace gossip while play is occurring. Knock it out during the break, and then shut up and cheer.

Buffkomodo: Record yourself, and if you think you’re annoying or look dumb, we’ll multiple that by 100 and that’s what the person thinks of you. But seriously, there’s just a normal line of decency. You should be able to feel it. If you can’t, seek help. BRT nailed most of this, except I’ll add that if there’s kids around, behave man. It’s not hard.

RUReady4Brazil: I’m with BRT that obnoxious people are super annoying. That said I prefer them to the people who are complaining at an NFL game that you are standing up in the row in front of them during a big play. I do want noise, the games should be loud. If you want to sit there quietly go to a middle school game or keep tailgating.

misdreavus79: So, I don’t eat most forms of dairy, because, while I’m not completely intolerant, I’m intolerant enough that it does damage. As a result, when I eat something that has dairy in it, I enjoy my meal, pay for it later, and go on with my life. Because, I could have just as easily, like, not eaten the meal.

That’s the same thing with people who complain about noise at a place where noise is expected. Maybe don’t take your infant child to a goddamned stadium where you could give your baby permanent hearing loss? As long as you’re not actively harassing the people around you, doing the things that are expected at a stadium (standing up, making noise, celebrating, etc.) should not be frowned upon.

“Why isn’t Ghost Armadillos a name for a team, e.g., the Nebarksa Ghost Armadillos? What is the best team name out there? Minor League Baseball has some great ones, Lumber Kings, River Bandits, Snappers, Mud Hens, Lugnuts... “


RockyMtnBlue: For pro teams of any level, my favorite is the Lansing Lugnuts. I even have a Lugnuts ballcap somewhere. For college, the Banana Slugs is #1 with a bullet, and for high schools, the Bowen “Arrows” edges out the Plymouth “Rocks”.

BRT: One of my colleagues is a big fan of baseball of all forms, and loves to wear obscure minor league hats. The Toledo Mud Hens hat is in frequent rotation, so they probably get my vote. Savannah Bananas is also pretty great.

Nebraska was once referred to by a sportswriter as “the Man-Killing Mastodons” and I think that’s pretty epic. I’d especially love it if that’s what our women’s teams went by. :)

Buffkomodo: Northeast Dubois County Jeeps. You’re welcome.

RUReady4Brazil: Making up nicknames is weak, so it would have to come from somewhere legit. That’s why Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets never had the same juice as Georgia Tech Ramblin’ Wreck.

MNW: If someone calls a team the Ghost Armadillos we'll have finally found the elusive 12th reader for DWT;WT.

Larry31: A corrollary to this Mailbag Question: Why are so many college teams called the Tiger? WTF, Memphis, Clemson, LSU, Mizzou, AND Auburn three in the same conference? C’mon! [Insert stupid, uncreative SEC scholars joke here]

misdreavus79: The New York NamingIsHards!

“I have a question. Two, I guess.

Having just done the whole Halloween trick-or-treating thing with our kids, we have a bunch of candy in the house. Some of which will be eaten by the kids as allowed by parents looking out for child dental hygiene. Some of which will, uh... go missing by some other means.

1) what candy did you love as a kid, but find your opinion significantly downgraded?

2). what candy did you dislike as a kid, but now appreciate much more as an adult?”


RockyMtnBlue: Oooh. This one is kinda fun. A favorite as a kid was tootsie rolls. My grandfather always had a jar of them and I thought they were wonderful. They are, in fact, not wonderful. I don’t think there’s a candy I didn’t care for as a kid, that I really like now, but those closest would be Almond Joy. I actively disliked them as a kid. Now it’s...fine.

BRT: Tootsie Rolls are a great answer - I don’t think they were a favorite, but I did like them, and I don’t understand that now. They definitely taste like a candy that was invented in 1896, and perhaps should have stayed in the 19th century. I’d also add most varieties of gum to this answer - but in particular, here’s looking at you, Fruit Stripe. I don’t know that I’ve had any true hate-to-love stories, but I find more tolerance for sour candy now than I did in my youth.

Buffkomodo: I loved Pixy Sticks as a kid. Little He-komodo got a ton at the Kings Island trick or treat, and I tried one…no bueno. I’ve grown into the Twix guy anymore.

RUReady4Brazil: 1. I used to like Twizzlers a lot more. 2. I appreciate the Almond Joy more than ever.

MNW: First, Almond Joy is, was, and ever shall be trash. Coconut is the worst.

  • Aged well: Hershey's with Almonds. Man, something about that stuff.
  • Aged poorly: I had a box of Milk Duds while we were handing out candy, and what the hell?! They didn't get gooey at all! They were just chocolate boulders without any kind of redeeming gooeyness!

RockyMtnBlue: Oh yeah, good call on Milk Duds. RockyMtnGF offered me one at a movie. Little balls of vaguely chocolate-flavored coal tar.

Larry31: As a kid, I am sure I had undiagnosed ADD and had the the palette of a humming bird. These two things may be related. However, Mary Janes and circus peanuts sucked, even with my love of almost anything sugary. As an aging adult who now has to watch my diet to keep my blood pressure and blood sugar at acceptable levels, none of this stuff is tolerable since I have significantly reduced my sugar consumption. It all tastes too sweet.

misdreavus79: Adult me will eat candy, but doesn’t seek it out the same way child me did. So, in essence, my opinion on just about all sweet things has downgraded as I’ve aged.

Kid me wasn’t all that hyped for candy either, but yeah.

“I don’t like the harassment of Brian Ferentz, regardless of his performance. There is no need to beatdown on someone who’s contract was not renewed. This reminds me of Skip Bayless writing in his column everyday back in 2001/2002 that Steve Mariucci needs to be fired. We get the point, and the constant beatdown is tantamount to harassment. Childish.”


BRT: This isn’t a question, but I just thought I’d throw it in here in case anyone had anything they wanted to ask Mary Ferentz. Reverse Mailbag, I guess.

RockyMtnBlue: Um. yeah. Michigan fans are currently watching the big10 forget they’re supposed to be educated adults and instead fully embrace a mob mentality around Jim Harbaugh. We are unlikely to be sympathetic toward a guy who basically stole millions from the state of Iowa over the last several years.

Buffkomodo: You make millions of dollars whilst the apparatus that employs you is seeking to deny the athletes that earn your salary pay. Fuck your sensibilities. You chose to be a coach. Fan is short for fanatic which is pretty similar to a lunatic. As long as it isn’t threatening commentary…suck it up buttercup.

RUReady4Brazil: Harassment, not great anywhere, though the term is often overused nowadays. I’m fine with people laughing about poor performance in any job that is in high demand. I’d love to be the OC of a Power Five team and get that paycheck. Instead I do four jobs I enjoy less than football and get paid less in aggregate.

“What would you say, you do here?” Does that count as harassment? Of course I think it’s ok to criticize coaches when they are letting down the players. Now in the age of player empowerment this is less important, but I am totally ok with people being mad at Mel Tucker for letting his team down, so does the same apply to Kirk rather than Brian? You are correct in that it’s other people’s fault if I am bad at my job and I just keep sending the company into the red with the management not stepping in.

Larry31: LOL. Brian Ferentz would have been fired long ago, if not for his Daddy. He literally had to get hired by the AD to circumvent nepotism rules. And a good chunk of OTE’s commentary has been directed at Kirk for his obstinate, passive-aggressive fuck-yous to the fan base. How is this not unintentional comedy deserving of derision?

misdreavus79: I think we’ve progressed far enough in society to realize that the “sticks and stones” saying is complete and utter bullshit. Words do have power, and we should choose them carefully (says the person who just called people plebs). We may know that we’re not the ones who might go too far, but we may be saying the thing next to the person that will. That’s also something I’ve always found curious. We seem to be well aware that there’s a point where it’s too much, but effectively walk right up to that point, push certain people to go beyond it, then call out those same people for believing the rhetoric we put out there.

Here’s an unrelated example: There were plenty of people, your own beliefs on the matter notwithstanding, that said plenty of abhorrent things about Hillary leading up to the 2016 election. For the better part of a year, attack after attack after attack, regardless of whether what they were saying was true or not. Those people would ultimately vote for Hillary because of the alternative. They “did” the right thing because “they” didn’t go too far. They, however, influenced a number of other people who believed all the abhorrent things they said about Hillary, and those people didn’t vote for her, instead choosing the opponent, someone else, or to stay home altogether. The people saying the things didn’t do anything wrong, per se, but they influenced the people who believe them.

That’s a long and roundabout way of saying yeah, maybe we can move on now that we know the dude ain’t coming back. He’s a person just like you and me, and one has to assume seeing the constant stream of whatever is being said nowadays has to get to him at some point.

Now, if you want to talk about booing injured players...

HWAHSQB: Fuck iowa!! What was the question again?