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Monday, November 25, 2013
Big Ten Monday chat wrap

By Brian Bennett

Really hard to believe that today's chat was the last one where we discussed Big Ten regular season games. Where did the time go?

And where did you go if you missed the chat? Not anywhere better that I can imagine. But here's the full transcript, plus some highlights:
Jerad (Lincoln): Hey Brian, I think that the B1G will be better off if we only get 1 BCS bid. In my opinion the best case scenario for the B1G will be Ohio State beating Michigan State in Indy, but Ohio State finishing 3rd and ending up in the Rose Bowl. Then I would want the B1G to lose Wisconson's at large spot to the Big 12 (this is probably not very likely at this point). That would push all of our teams down the bowl game ladder and give everyone better matchups, possibly setting the B1G for a great postseason record. What are your thoughts here? Yes in this setup teams on the bubble (Wisconsin, Michigan State) might not like it as much but the B1G as a whole would benefit from more favorable bowl matchups.

Brian Bennett: Well, let's not underestimate the league's chances. I do think the top three in this conference -- Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State -- can play with anybody. So I'd like to see two of them play the best opponents they can and see if they can grab a big win. Most people don't care what a league does in its mid to lower bowls. It's all about BCS games and big matchups.

Jeff (Cincinnati): We all know that Michigan is underachieving this year. If the Wolverines lose badly to Ohio State this Saturday, Hoke might be in trouble. But a part of me is wondering if he isn't doing himself any favors by setting up such high expectations. Michigan is fresh off the Rich Rod era and it seems strange to expect nothing less than a Big Ten championship every year. Do you think he could create more optimism in Ann Arbor by at least referring to a BCS victory as a successful season?

Brian Bennett: It's possible. But I think an 8-5 season last year and probable 7-5 regular season this year would have brought some heat, anyway. Winning 11 games and a BCS bowl in Year One raised expectations sky high. Obviously, Michigan hasn't come close to reaching them.

B10 Fan (Cleveland (Rocks)): Of the three power players in the B10 (Wisky, MSU, OSU), who has improved the most this season? Also, who is the best non OSU match-up in the rose against the PAC (Stanford?) and why do you think they are the best match up?

Brian Bennett: That's a good question, as all are better than last year. I'll go with Michigan State, simply because the offense is nearly night and day from last year, especially the passing game, and the defense has even improved in areas like sacks and turnovers. And the FG unit is better, too. If I understand the second question, you're asking if Stanford or Arizona State is the best matchup in the Rose (they're the only two possibilities). Stanford is a much tougher matchup, in my opinion, but the Cardinal are more of a marquee name than ASU

Sean (Colorado): Because you know the question is coming, let's just sort something out. While MSU has had a good season, when comparing the results of their common opponents to the Badgers, the resumes aren't that close. Of the five commons, MSU has only beaten Illinois by a greater margin that Wisky, 39 to 24. Overall, in games including Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa and Indiana, the Badgers have a +48 points differential and have beaten all but one by at least 3 scores. MSU has just one victory of at least 3 scores against same opponents. The Championship Game will decide it but unless MSU wins, there isn't an argument who deserves the BCS bid.

Brian Bennett: To say it's not close is disingenuous. It's extremely close. In my mind, this is a 2A and 2B situation. The Northwestern results were basically the same. Wisconsin has an edge in the Purdue, Indiana and Iowa outcomes, MSU in Illinois. MSU also has decent wins over Nebraska and Michigan, while Wisconsin has Minnesota -- something MSU can match this week. It's so close. I will get my first in-person look at the Spartans this weekend after seeing Wisconsin three times. Looking forward to it.

Bren (Berkeley, Ca): Ahem, who called Okie State-48, Baylor-27 in the game day chat? I suppose I gave Baylor's offense too much credit. ;-)Now, for my question. Convince me that FSU's resume is better than Ohio State's. Right now J. Sagarin has the SOS's as follows: Bama 55th, OSU's 67th, FSU's 76th....

Brian Bennett: Nice call. Want to go to Vegas with me? Read this, and I think you'll like it ... FSU's win over Clemson is still better than anything Ohio State has right now, but the 'Noles' case beyond that isn't very strong.

Cameron (Champaign): Hey Brian, what chances are you giving the Illini against NW this weekend? Hopefully, the Scheelhase to Hull connection is still going strong.

Brian Bennett: I think they have a very good shot for two reasons. 1) I believe getting the monkey of the Big Ten losing streak off their backs last week will help the team relax; and 2) Northwestern is an absolute mess right now and seems very ready for the season to be over.

Derek (Nebraska): Can we take a moment to laugh at all the Michigan fans predicting the conference was going to return to the Big 2 and little 10. As for my question. Assuming MSU doesn't pull off the upset, what team do you see competing with tOSU long term. Michigan's in a tailspin, Nebraska is bipolar, Michigan St. doesn't seem to have the offensive firepower, Penn St. is sanctioned and will take time to get back to full strength. The only one that seems to win with any consistency is Wiscy. How does the conference avoid those two dominating their division every year?

Brian Bennett: Well, let's not write off Michigan State. One bad season aside, this is a team that has won a division or conference title in three of the past four years. Dantonio deserves some credit. I don't think Michigan will be down that long, whether it's with Hoke or not. And Nebraska will always have to be reckoned with. Eventually, Penn State will be back as well.

Jeffrey D (Redwood City, CA): While I know he won't win, with the implosion of Heisman candidates over the last weekend is there a chance Braxton Miller works back into the top five if he dominates over the next two weeks. Even if he doesn't get the invite, to come back the way he has this year deserves some recognition, no?

Brian Bennett: I think a big title game against Michigan State performance could potentially get him into the top 5. The way things have gone down, I think Miller would be in the top 2 right now had he stayed healthy. Shame.