Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Big Ten Roundtable - Antepenultimate edition

It's been a while since there's been one of these. Here we go...

1) With two weeks left in the season, it's safe to say that most schools have reached the point where the year has been a success or a disappointment. How has your school fared this year in your opinion? Or, is the jury still out?

Needless to say, this season has been a rip-roaring success for MSU, with the high points being the game-winning kick to beat Wisconsin and the first win in Ann Arbor since 1990. The only black mark on Michigan State's record is that they've lost to the two best teams they've faced (debatable depending on whether you believe Iowa is better than Cal), but on the other hand, the Spartans have beaten every team they should have beaten, and when is the last time that happened? Now they get to play Penn State in a de facto Big Ten Championship game. I'm not too excited for the Spartans to go to Happy Valley, and I'm going to give this point its own paragraph to hammer it home.

The last time MSU beat Penn State in Happy Valley, Joe Paterno was an assistant coach (1965).

A young Joe Paterno teaches the intricacies of the flying wedge.

Now that's perspective. Despite what is an almost sure loss, a 9-3 record is better than what anyone predicted (I hinted at it, but didn't have the balls to predict nine wins).

2) Is your school heading to a bowl? If so, which one? And if not,

Hell yes MSU's going to a bowl. The most likely destination is the Capital One Bowl, against a team that will most likely be Georgia. However, MSU has a small chance at the Rose Bowl if:
  • Ohio State loses one of the next two games (@Illinois, Michigan, both unlikely losses for the Buckeyes) AND
  • Michigan State beats Penn State in Beaver Stadium (more unlikely).
Thus, Michigan State is guaranteed a New Year's day bowl. Whether it's the Rose, Capital One or Outback (if OSU and PSU both don't receive BCS bids) remains to be seen.

3) The Big Ten has recently had a hard time getting respect among the national media as a top conference. Has the Big Ten taken a step forward or a step backward in this debate this season?

Well, to have taken a step forward, the Big Ten would've needed its best nonconference win to be better than Penn State crushing Oregon State. Take that fact and combine with the four losses the Big Ten has suffered at the hands at MAC teams (granted, three of those losses were suffered by Indiana and Michigan, BUT STILL), and that totals a step backward for the Big Ten. However, I state that opinion with the caveat that a great bowl record can put the Big Ten on solid ground again.

If all else fails, repeat after me: "We're still better than the Big East and ACC."

4) Would the Big Ten benefit from adding another school to create two divisions like the SEC, Big 12, ACC and MAC? And if so, which school should be added? Or, should we drop one school?

The Big Ten should absolutely not drop a school, all of the others (with Penn State being the exception) have had at the very least a half-century in the conference, and one shouldn't mess with that kind of tradition. That said, the Big Ten should add a university. Pitt and Missouri seem to be the choices du jour, but I have a modest proposal: make Miami of Ohio the 12th team.

First, the RedHawks are a great fit academically; they're a first tier public university. That leaves only the athletic aspect, which many might consider to be shaky, and for good reason. They're 2-7 in football this season. However, they made the NCAA tournament in 2007, and once they entered the Big Ten, I expect their recruiting to be elevated to the point where they could be on par with a Northwestern - a middle of the pack team with great academics. There's no reason not to believe that they could start a good team with Ohio State's leftovers in state. Finally, I believe that they're the team that would jump most readily into the Big Ten, whereas the others that have been mentioned are either in conferences now or are being paid obscene amounts of money by NBC for going 6-6.

For those reasons, I don't think it's absurd to have the RedHawks be the twelfth member of the Big Ten. I see the Divisions going East and West, with Penn State, Ohio State, Miami of Ohio, Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue in the East; and Indiana, Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin in the West. The only downside is that this year in football, the conference would have been greatly imbalanced, with the top three teams being in the East. However, it's been working for the Big 12 so far, so I'm obliged to let the proposed divisions stay as they are.

5) Do you agree with President-elect Obama that college football
should have an 8 school post-season playoff?

No, if only for the reason that a possible North Carolina-Pitt matchup for the national title is abhorrent. Being a Michigan State fan, I really could care less about the playoff debate for it has hardly ever affected my team.

6a) Who is your favorite network television play-by-play announcer/ color commentator/sideline reporter?

Brent Musberger, and the reason is three-fold:

  1. If he's broadcasting your team's game, you know your team is doing well. If it's not your team, the unintentional comedy factor should be enough.
  2. Sentimentality - to me, something about hearing his voice reminds me of autumns past, sitting in the living room of my parents, and watching football on Saturdays. Good Times.
  3. I will always, always give preference to any sportscaster who was in Rocky II.

Get yours TODAY! Miller Lite can sold separately.

6b) If you listed Erin Andrews, please provide a photo/video to back up your pick.

Nope, but just for giggles and as a continuation of the previous question, here's a video of her, Musberger and Steve Lavin ice fishing. Don't blame me if you can't save it to your hard drive as part of your "collection".


witless chum said...

I kinda like Pam Ward, though I can't exactly explain why. I tend to have more opinions about the color guys, Chris Spielman being my favorite.

Musberger needs to eat dirt eternally for ignoring the action for several minutes during the MSU/Purdue game in '99 to interview Lloyd Carr.

Dr Huxtable said...

2) If we beat Penn State, we still have a shot at a BCS at large bid.

4) Per NCAA regs, a conference must have at least 12 teams before it can split into divisions and hold a title game.

6) I have that action figure.

Winni said...

nice post