If you were looking for ways to kill time before tonight's NCAA tournament title match, you could have done a whole lot worse than spending an hour in my weekly Big Ten Monday chat.
If you missed it, don't fret. Here's the entire transcript, along with a few shining moments:
Phil (Lincoln): Who is the Big 10's best hope of breaking the SEC title streak?
Brian Bennett: I don't see it happening this year. Just don't think the league has a legitimate title contender, though I sure hope I'm wrong. I think Ohio State has the best chance in the next couple of years, but Michigan, MSU, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Penn State all have a chance to hit the next level. Hopefully for the league, one of them will break through
Ryan (Boone, N.C.): Brian,With Bill O'Brien at Penn State now, will we finally see the TE's utilized better in the offense? It seems like it's been a long time since that position was significant in the PSU offense but was a HUGE success when it was utilized well (Kyle Brady - 1994). Also, what will happen if Silas Redd goes down? I'm not real confident in the backups right now.
Brian Bennett: Absolutely. There's no question that O'Brien will involve the tight ends more. The only real question is whether the PSU tight ends are good enough to be major difference makers. Depth at RB is a concern right now, but with Belton moving back there and Lynch coming in, I think they can get the job done in a pinch
David (State College): With regards to a playoff and only conference champs. I see both sides and as much as it hurts for me to say it Bama and LSU were the best two teams this past year. Couldnt an alternative be to limit the number of teams in a 4 team playoff to 2 per conference. And if there are two from a conference force those two to play each other no matter there ranking in the Semi-final. This will keep everyone interested in the title game because it will represent two different conferences.
Brian Bennett: David, I like your points except the last one. I think the idea of three conference champs and one "wildcard" is fine. But I prefer a true, seeded Final Four arrangement, and if two teams from the same league are good enough to win semifinal games against conference champs, so be it.
Brian Bennett: Good question. Stoneburner will love finally being consistently utilized in the passing game. But I think Hall should be the most excited since he seems like the most logical choice to play the Percy Harvin type role. Running, receiving, moving all around the field -- what player wouldn't love that?
Nate (Lincoln): Are you starting to buy in to the hype that Martinez has improved his footwork and/or mechanics that much? I realize he has really worked on it this offseason, which shows great dedication and maturity...but its still going to look like a one winged duck flying through the air right?
Brian Bennett: I buy the footwork angle, and that can have a real effect on the way you throw. I doubt we'll see a huge difference in his actual throwing motion, as that is much harder to change. But some improved footwork and decision making by Martinez and a better job by the receivers could make this Huskers offense very dangerous.
Ryan (Cedar Rapids): 5 short months away until kickoff... what do the Hawkeyes need to do to contend for the Division title? Other than QB what are the Hawks biggest strengths and weaknesses?
Brian Bennett: Definitely find an RB, for one. The defensive line is a major question mark and is extremely young. Tough to win with youngsters there. The offensive line also has to get patched up. On the flip side, the cornerbacks should be really good, and Iowa may have the best pure passer in the league with Vandenberg.