Monday, October 8, 2012
Big Ten Monday chat wrap
By Brian Bennett
If it's Monday, that means it's Big Ten chat day. If you missed it, your week might be off to a lousy start. But I'm here to -- literally -- save the day with this full transcript, and some golden highlights:
Matt (Clarion (PA): Hey Brian, does a minimum of a 7-5 season clinch "B1G Coach of the Year" for Bill O'Brien? He's got this team rolling despite such a tumultuous off-season.
Brian Bennett: I don't know that 7-5 will get it done, because that would mean a 2-5 finish, and that may leave some bad taste in voters' mouths. Especially if, say, Ohio State goes 11-1 or 12-0 after being 6-7 last year. But O'Brien is the coach of the year at the halfway mark, and if Penn State wins eight, he should be a lock.
Dustin (In the cornfields): With Nebraskas dissappointing loss on Saturday, does this put Pelini on the "hot" seat this year? After all this is his players he recruited. And does this put Papuchis on the hotseat as well for the struggling defense?
Brian Bennett: I don't think so for this year. Pelini has won a lot of games. But if Nebraska finishes, say, 8-4 or even another somewhat underwhelming 9-3 without a conference title? There's going to be some pressure on him next year, no doubt. And a new AD is in town.
R.F. (Minneapolis, MN): Brian, what kind of odds do you give the Gophers pulling an upset versus NW this coming weekend? We are getting MarQueis Gray back hopefully, and will be much healthier coming off a much needed bye week. Any hope for a win on Saturday?
Brian Bennett: I wouldn't see it as much of an upset, as the two teams are not that far apart. Minnesota's struggles against the run are a red flag against a good Northwestern rushing attack. But the game is at home, and the extra prep time should help. Gophers need this one if they want to get to six (or more) wins.
Eric (B-Town): Is there any reason to expect Indiana to win a conference game this season against a competent opponent?
Brian Bennett: Define "competent." Indiana should have a good chance against a struggling Illinois team and I believe it will play Purdue tough. Going back to last year's game at OSU, Hoosiers have had a chance to win every game but one. They just haven't been able to get over the hump.
David (East Lansing, MI): Hi BB -- Michigan beat the dog slobber out of a statistically good Purdue team on the road. Is that a function of UM getting better or the competition getting softer and should Sparty be worried in either case?
Brian Bennett: I think you have to credit Michigan. Remember, Purdue went toe-to-toe with Notre Dame in South Bend. Michigan's defense seems to be really improving, and when Robinson can run the ball and not turn it over, the Wolverines are tough.
Illini Mike (Chicago): Were there any positives Illinois fans can take away from Saturdays game?
Brian Bennett: I liked the energy that the Illini played with, especially in the first half. They could have been listless with the way the season has gone, but Beckman had the team energized. A healthy Scheelhaase also gave the offense a small spark, and the defense played much better for three quarters. Overall, though, there's a whole lot of work to be done here.