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Thursday, April 11, 2013
Big Ten Thursday mailbag

By Brian Bennett

At the end of Monday's mailbag, I asked if non-Michigan fans would be rooting for the Wolverines in the NCAA tournament final out of conference pride. The answer, at least according to those who wrote in, was a big fat no:

Michael from Saginaw, Mich., writes: In response to your question as to if we would pull for UofM... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPE. I hope they lose at everything including checkers. Much like the previous mailbag statement about UofM fans treating MSU fans (media included) with disrespect and contempt that is what I have dealt with all my life living here. My day started great knowing Louisville won last night. Jud said it best: "nothing good can ever come of a Michigan win."

Andrew from Fremont, Ind., writes: As a Purdue fan, I would love nothing more for Indiana to loose every possible game, I was pulling for Indiana State to upset the Losers last season and I am still waiting for the day an FCS team knocks IU down (its coming too). That being said I have little desire to listen to Ohio State fans crow on and on about how they should have been in the BCS Title Game last year. I would rather see the SEC win seven more rings than watch Ohio State win one, and then we have Illinois and Iowa, ugh.

Robert S. from Perrysburg, Ohio, writes: You asked in your mailblog if OSU/MSU fans would root for Michigan in the basketball championship game. For this OSU fan, no. Part of me thinks, "Come on, it's the Big Ten and you should root for them even though you always normally want them to lose 'every game in every sport in perpetuity (well-said, Rich from Des Moines).'" But the other part of me says, "Forget it, who cares if it's the Big Ten, always root against Michigan unless they are playing against Nazis or Al-Qaeda." I have friends who are UM fans and I respect the university, but I just can't root for them. There was one exception -- Lloyd Carr's swan song beating Florida the year after we got decimated by Florida. I didn't really want either team to win but I found myself slightly preferring a Michigan win, mainly because it seemed right for Lloyd Carr and it was great watching Florida lose so many games that year.

Brian Bennett: OK, then. I guess we know now why we don't hear fans chanting "Big Ten" at games like the SEC does.




A.J. from Madison, Wis., writes: I know Gary Andersen has pretty much ruled it out, but do you think the Badgers could benefit from having a 2 QB system? Both Curt Phillips and Tanner McEvoy have mobility, and they both have limited arm strength (at least that's what it seemed like with McEvoy's film). On the other hand, Joel Stave and Bart Houston have really strong arms that would help stretch the field a lot more. Thoughts?

Brian Bennett: You bring up an interesting question, and one that doesn't just pertain to Wisconsin. Michigan State has a similar dilemma, as it could conceivably use a two-quarterback system to get athletic incoming recruit Damion Terry or redshirt freshman Tyler O'Connor on the field along with whoever wins the starting job for a different look. Indiana has three quarterbacks with starting experience who each do different things, with Tre Roberson being the best runner. Purdue has a guy who can really run it in Rob Henry along with Danny Etling and Austin Appleby, who might be better throwers. Minnesota also has some options for different looks under center. Most teams don't like using two quarterbacks, however, because it can disrupt the flow of the offense and sometimes lead to quarterback controversies. Northwestern has successfully managed the two-quarterback system with Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian, but the Wildcats look like the exception rather than the rule.




Andrew J. from Harrisonville, Mo., writes: This is all hypothetical. But Nebraska has a top-tier offense with a shaky defense. Michigan State on the other hand has a top-tier defense with a shaky offense. So if the Nebraska offense combined forces with the Michigan State defense, do they compete for a national title? Also this is gonna be a fun game when Michigan State and Nebraska play this fall.

Brian Bennett: Put those two units together, and you'd have a monster team. I've said all offseason that Nebraska doesn't need to field a great defense this year to win the Big Ten. It merely needs to be competent and avoid huge meltdowns because its offense will do the rest. Same goes for Michigan State in reverse. Remember that as bad as the Spartans were on offense last year, they lost five of their six games by a total of 13 points. Think of how differently the season would have gone if they had even a league-average offense.




Cody from Lincoln writes: So with all the recent press Nebraska has been getting, how much do you think this could help in terms of recruiting over the next couple of years? Not only for football, but for all sports.

Brian Bennett: The Jack Hoffman touchdown was a special and inspiring moment, and it seems a little too cynical to me to speculate how that will affect recruiting. But I will say this: I think that play showed a different side of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, who had a large hand in making sure that came about. People love to play up the image of Pelini screaming on the sidelines (the company I work for included), but I think the Hoffman story and the Harlem Shake video at the start of spring show that there's a whole lot more to him than that.




Nick from Omaha writes: Brian, with the Cards winning in basketball last night, is that a sign that our St. Louis Cards are going to win it all this year?

Brian Bennett: I don't see any correlation, as that did not help us in 1980 or 1986. But I know the birds on the bat will be there in October with a chance.