Big Ten Monday chat wrap
September, 9, 2013
By Brian Bennett | ESPN.com
We had a lot of fun and the time flew by in Monday's Big Ten chat. If you missed it, I'll call Uncle Jack and have him meet your party at an Indian reservation. Just kidding. Here's a complete transcript for you absentees, along with some flushed-out highlights:
Andrew (Spartan in NJ): What should / what will MSU do at QB? I think it's looking more and more like (Damion) Terry will get a shot, then, if he fails, they can have him roll his ankle in hopes of getting a medical redshirt.
Brian Bennett: Ah, yes, the inescapable Michigan State QB questions. That's in danger of becoming a clown show. My opinion is that it doesn't really matter who the QB is if the Spartans are going to keep calling very conservative, questionable plays -- especially on third down -- and if the receivers don't get better. But, yeah, why not give Terry a shot? At this point, you've got to try anything and MSU should be all in for this year with that D.
Jon (Seattle, WA): Hi Brian! Big thanks for the chat. Prior to the season, most including this Badger grad, believed Wisconsin would have a very hard time escaping Tempe with a win. Is it crazy that I feel more confident after the first 2 games against UMASS and Tennessee Tech? Say what you want about the schedule, but they've impressed me. Don't get me wrong, the Badgers will still have their hands full, but I suppose now I see this game as a toss-up (even considering the hostile/hot environment) as opposed to ASU being the favorite. I just hope this game doesn't come down to a field goal/extra point because I don't see any confidence in (Kyle) French.
Brian Bennett: This is no doubt a tough matchup, especially on the road. Arizona State plays fast, has a lot of speed on offense and a great defensive tackle in (Will) Sutton. Not going to be easy. You have to love most everything about Wisconsin's first two games, but the reality is they were basically scrimmages. I think this is a tough matchup in terms of style of play and the site. You make a great point about the kicking game. That could come back to haunt Wisconsin. (I almost wrote it could bite them, but that would have led me to another easy Jack Russell joke. Self-control, Brian).
Dan (Chicago): Hey Brian: Maybe the first step in Beckman turning the corner in Champaign? Realistically, can we hope for a 6-6 this year and a minor bowl?
Brian Bennett: We put them in our bowl projections this week. That may be a leap, but the Illini should be no worse than 3-1 in conference play and should beat Purdue. Indiana is a toss-up game. So, one more win, and there you go. It's early and Illinois has a lot to prove still. But the team can score, so it will have a fighting chance.
Cindy (Michigan): I'm not quite sure I understand all the fuss about Michigan’s win over ND. Everyone complains that ND was overrated this year, yet this is a "big" win for Michigan? How? I was watching and with T. Rees as ND QB, this team is average at best. Your thoughts?
Brian Bennett: My thoughts: Hogwash. Everyone wants to bash Notre Dame and say they're overrated any time they lose. Not buying it. That's a very talented team with a bunch of future pros that went 12-0 last year. Great win for Michigan, no excuses needed.
Carl (Long Island): Who's more at fault for Purdue's dismal passing game: O-line or QB?
Brian Bennett: Both have been bad. Overall, the entire offense is completely out of sync and has had communication issues. It really starts with that line, though. If the Boilers can't be physical and run the ball the way they want, then not much is going to work. Purdue has some of the worst offensive numbers in the country, and the two teams it has played gave up huge yardage and point totals in their other games. Scary stuff with ND coming in this week.
Carl (E.L.): Isn't it too early to say that Dantonio has mishandled the QBs? The Notre Dame game has always been the measuring stick. Can we hold off saying things like clown show before then, especially since MSU will be 3-0 on Saturday?
Brian Bennett: To be clear, I said it's in danger of becoming that, not that it has. I don't know that he's mishandled the QBs. You've seen all three play, and none have been very effective. What else is he supposed to do? My issue with Dantonio and the offense is that he didn't hire a big-time offensive coordinator who could have shaken things up when he had the chance this offseason. Instead, they ran it back with arguably less offensive talent than a year ago. No wonder they've struggled.
Samuel (Iowa City): Brian, is it just me or has problems choosing a QB become chronic in the B1G over the last few years? It seems like every season there is at least one QB competition that goes on and on. Has it always been this hard? If not, why now?
Brian Bennett: Samuel, I thought the QB position was a problem in the league a little bit last year, but I'm actually encouraged by what I've seen this year. Take out Michigan State and Purdue, and the QB position looks pretty good most places. You've got young guys like Hackenberg, Stave and Sudfeld showing a lot of potential and veterans like Martinez, Miller, Gardner and Scheelhaase all playing at a high level. I think Rudock has so far been an upgrade for Iowa. So, no, I don't think it's chronic.
Charlie (Evanston): Which 'Cats QB matches up best against OSU? This 10/5 game is all us Wildcat fans can think about.
Brian Bennett: As it should. Northwestern will be 4-0 after a bye going into that game. Biggest regular-season game in school history? You could build a case for that. That's why I like the fact that both QBs are playing well. Ohio State will have to prepare for both the passing game and the option, and Northwestern can mix it up during the game. Need to have Venric Mark ready to go as well.