- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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All Big Ten teams are back at practice, and the Big Ten Monday chat is back, too.
If you missed it, don't worry. We've got the full transcript here, as well as some highlights:
Bucky669 (Phoenix): Brian, the unis for UW/NU are going to look awesome, I'm really excited for that...anyway do you think I'm crazy for believing Penn State has the tools to win 8 games or so? Looking at the team right now it looks a lot like last year with questions on offense and a solid squad on D. While 5-7 (or worse) wouldn't shock me, 8-4 seems pretty attainable. What do you think?
Brian Bennett: Bucky, I thought a couple of months ago that Penn State had the chance to be a major contender for the Leaders title, especially with Wisconsin coming to State College. Now, I wonder. The losses of Brown and Redd really hurt what was already a thin offense. And as the schedule analysis I posted earlier today shows, there are simply no breathers on the docket. I'm thinking more like 6-6 or 7-5.
Taylor Martinez (Lincoln): Is this the year I finally live up to my potential (aka, more consistent K-State, Oklahoma St-like performances)?
Brian Bennett: Well, I like what Martinez has done this offseason in trying to improve his mechanics, and he says he's as healthy as he's been in two years. There are also good weapons around him, and this is the first time he's had two straight years of the same OC as a starter. So all signs point to this being Martinez's best year. The key is whether he can remain consistent and avoid mistakes. I'm really interested t see what his ceiling is.
Hank (Washington DC): How will replace Fitz Touissant if he's suspended for the Bama game?
Brian Bennett: Vincent Smith is the most experienced back, but I believe the Wolverines will turn to Thomas Rawls if Toussaint is suspended. Rawls had a great spring and is a whole lot bigger and stronger than diminutive Smith, which is what you need against Bama's defense.
Thomas (Columbia ): Does Iowa have any chance of winning the Big Ten Legends division, considering they have no sort of running game and Corner is a premier position in the Legends?
Brian Bennett: I'll never count out a Ferentz team, but I think it's a long shot. More so because of the young defensive line than the other factors you mentioned. Playing both Michigan schools on the road is also a major disadvantage.
Scott (New York, NY): Michigan State and Boise State are very similar. Both are notorious for running trick plays, have inexperienced offensive squads and solid defensive units. That said, what do you think this game comes down to? Special teams?
Brian Bennett: I'm going to say QB play and turnovers. Both teams are breaking in a new starter, so conservative game plans can be expected. I think it will be a low-scoring game, and a key giveaway at the wrong time could make the difference.
Derrin (Plano, TX): Will the sanctions to the Penn State football program, which will trickle down to the others, given the revenue the sport brought into the athletic department, result in the school becoming a Division II program and no longer viable a member of the Big Ten in the next 5 years. Would a conference pressure another school directly or indirectly to leave if there no longer competitive, especially given the unique circumstances in Happy Valley?
Brian Bennett: I don't agree with your initial assessment. Penn State will definitely have some competitive problems during the height of the sanctions. But that fan base is so big and passionate that I don't think the revenue will take a huge hit. PSU alums will still want to go to State College on Saturdays for football and tailgating.
4dBrian Bennett and Josh Moyer