We talked a little "Mad Men" but mostly a whole bunch of Big Ten football in my regular Monday chat.
If you missed it, I won't punch you in the face, Pete Campbell-style. Instead, enjoy this full transcript as well as some meaty highlights:
Kirt (Dothan): everyone keeps saying that michigan state is our biggest game of the year. I'd have to disagree it might be the most important b1g game of the year but i feel the bama game is bigger. playing the defending champion tide on prime tv in dallas both teams will receive a lot of coverage before the game. And if we as in UofM can beat bama that will show recruits for years to come that we can beat the best the sec has to offer. I think for Michigan, for our recruiting, for the conference itself to show it can beat the sec that the bama game is the most important game being played by a school in the big ten. thoughts?
Brian Bennett: I agree that beating Alabama would provide a huge boost to Michigan's image and open a lot of eyes. So in that way I see your point. Ultimately, though, Michigan's goal is to win the Big Ten, and without beating Michigan State, that's going to be awfully tough. A win over 'Bama without a conference title would be a little disappointing, whereas a loss to the Tide but a Rose Bowl berth would be cause for celebration.
Badger (Hoosierland): Which game will be more difficult for the Badgers, Nebraska or Penn Sate? Or whomever they meet in the B1G championship game?
Brian Bennett: That's a good question. Both will be extremely difficult games -- Nebraska because the Huskers will be fired up for revenge last year, and Penn State for the same reason plus it's an important division game. If forced to choose, I'd say Nebraska. While PSU's defense can slow down Wisconsin's offense at home, I just wonder if the Lions' offense can keep pace with the Badgers.
J (MA): How is it that the MSU LB's are seen to be the top rated LB group in the Big Ten? While I don't doubt they are very talented PSU has a top 3 that could start just about on any team in the Big Ten.
Brian Bennett: They're both very, very good. I think Michigan State has better depth at all three positions and its backups, while Gerald Hodges is probably the best overall LB on either team. For me, it comes down to whether Michael Mauti is healthy for Penn State. If he's close to his old self, the Nittany Lions get a slight edge in my book. But I'd happily go to battle with either group as my LBs
B (Alexandria, VA): Even tougher way-too-early projection...which team puts up the most receiving yards this year? So many unproven receiving corps makes that a huge question mark in my mind.
Brian Bennett: That's a good question, and there aren't any bigger question marks around the league than at WR. I like Northwestern's crew. If Kain Colter develops as a passer, I think that group can do some really good things. Look out for Iowa as well. I think the Hawkeyes will sling it a lot this year with Vandenberg.
Craig (Braintree MA): Down the road, could you see Tony Dungy coaching at the UofM?
Brian Bennett: I don't think so. I believe Jerry Kill will be there a while, and Dungy will already be 57 this year. If he gets back into coaching, I would think it would be in the NFL
David (Ofallon IL): Is it possible for a 1-loss B1G team to be in NCG talk legitimately? Wisconsin? Michigan?
Brian Bennett: Yes, it's possible, but it depends so much on what happens elsewhere. The SEC is almost guaranteed a spot if its champion finished with one loss or fewer, so the Big Ten would need every other contender to have one loss. What if Michigan beat Alabama but lost by a field goal on the road to Nebraska yet won the Big Ten at 12-1? The Wolverines would certainly have a strong case in a scenario like that. Wisconsin's nonconference schedule would hurt its cause.