Big Ten Monday chat wrap
October, 15, 2012
By Brian Bennett | ESPN.com
If at the halfway point in the season you're still not making it over to my Monday chats, I'm not sure what to tell you. All I can do is offer you this full transcript, these highlights and my hope that you're re-evaluating your life choices.
Daniel (Washington, DC): Brian, hypothetically speaking (because we all love hypotheticals), if Wisconsin and Michigan/Nebraska/Iowa win out, is there any chance the B1G still has 2 BCS teams?
Brian Bennett: Interesting question. Let's say that happens. Both Big Ten title game participants would then be 10-2. The winner would go to the Rose. The loser would be 10-3 and coming off a loss, something that bowls don't usually like. It's probably a better chance for Michigan, if it were to climb up the polls before losing a close game in the title game (and bowls love the Maize and Blue fan base). Still, it seems like a long shot this year.
Jeff (Southern California): Brian-How much would you say the resurgence of Montee Ball is the return to Bostad's style of O-line play, versus Canada's more varied playcalling, versus a healthy Ball?
Brian Bennett: Can I give a little to each column? There's no doubt the line is playing better than it was a couple of weeks ago. Ball also deserves credit for running hard and really focusing on getting yards after contact, something he did a tremendous job at Saturday. And I think Canada called his best game of the season on Saturday. Of course, it helps when the O-line gives you a chance to make plays.
Chris (New York, NY): It looks like you and Adam at this point of the season have Michigan over Wisconsin in the B1G Champiionship game. At this point, how close do you see the game being and where do you see Michigan having the edge to take a victory over Wisconsin?
Brian Bennett: Long, long way to go still, Chris, but that game could be a really interesting one, especially since the teams haven't played in a while. Obviously, Michigan would have to stop the running game and do a better job against a pro-style power offense than they did against Alabama. Conversely, Wisconsin would have to prove it could stop a speedy spread offense and Denard Robinson. Would be a lot of fun.
Devin (Indy): BB, Morgan Burke has a new boss in December and Danny Hope is struggling mightily (understatement) with his "best team yet". Who's seat is hotter?
Brian Bennett: There's no doubt that pressure is rising on Hope. Purdue fell on its face in its two biggest games, and the lack of fans in the seats against Wisconsin said it all. Problem is, he's signed through 2016. Will Purdue have the stomach to eat four years of his deal if things continue to go south this year?
RPF (Minneapolis, MN): Brian, with yet another hard loss Saturday, including MarQueis Gray getting re-injured, do you believe the brief light that was the Gophers post-season aspirations is getting extinguished? The only other probable win that I can see on the schedule would be against Illinois in a couple of weeks, but beyond that there isn't much room for optimism. Do you believe the U will be able to notch 2 more wins this season? Or are all hopes out the window?
Brian Bennett: I do see the Gophers getting two more wins. They should beat Illinois. Purdue at home is also highly winnable, the way the Boilers are playing. And beating Michigan State at home is possible. Getting Gray back is very important, however.
Jonny (Ann Arbor): If you have one national championship game to coach, assuming all other things such as surrounding talent are equal, would you rather have a fully maxed out Denard at his absolute best, or a fully maxed out Braxton at his own absolute best?
Brian Bennett: Good question. I think I'd rather take Braxton Miller. I trust him more as a passer. Denard Robinson at his best is as good as there is anywhere, but he's just too inconsistent.
Dave (Ann Arbor): If Michigan had swapped Alabama and Notre Dame for, say, Boise and UAB (in addition to UMass and Air Force) and was sitting at 6-0, would there be a different perception of the Wolverines?
Brian Bennett: Interesting question. And definitely so. Michigan started out as a Top 10 team and would likely be in the top 5 now if it had played a much easier schedule. At some point, pollsters have to recognize that the only two losses were to top five teams. If Michigan can finish 10-2 with those as the only losses, this may be a better coaching job by Brady Hoke than last year.