What better way to kill some time before the BCS title game than with some Big Ten talk? And we enjoyed a full hour of it today with our Monday chat.
If you missed it, here's the full transcript. And a few highlights:
Mike (Detroit): Who is your early pick to make the 2012 B1G Championship Game and who do you think will win?
Brian Bennett: Wow. A hard question off the bat! I'm working now on our early 2012 power rankings. It's pretty wide open. If I had to pick now, I'd probably take a Wisconsin-MSU rematch. Badgers have the edge because OSU can't go and Penn State is in transition. I give the Spartans a slight edge over Michigan, but it's very, very close
Chris (Council Bluffs, IA): Hey Brian, just looking into the future for a bit. After Nebraska's loss it seems like everyone is looking to next year for a turnaround. I, however, am not one of them. I expect we'll have about the same somewhat disappointing results as this year. I'm looking forward to the 2013 season. Martinez is a Senior, our defense will be reloaded, and we're playing and extremely promising schedule, especially with the lack of Wisconsin and Ohio State. Your thoughts?
Brian Bennett: I tend to agree with you. The offense should be strong next year, but the defense needs some time to reload. Having a year's worth of experience in the Big Ten should help, but it might be 2013 before the Huskers are ready to win it.
BOB (Foxborough, MA): Whats the over/under for wins in my first year in State College?
Brian Bennett: Can't wait to see what this team looks like. Defense should still be strong, especially with the retention of two top defensive assistants. Offense simply has to improve with more modern coaching on that side. Losing Alabama off the schedule helps immensely, though going to Virginia could be tricky. I'd be conservative and set the over/under on 7.5, allowing for the natural bumps in the road for any coaching transition
Jack (Denver): Not much on here is posted about my boilermakers. With OSU being banned from the BTCG, the turmoil at PSU and Wisconsin losing a few coaches and players, what are the keys for us to make the BTCG?
Brian Bennett: Purdue will bring back as many if not more starters than anybody in the division, and like you said, just about everybody else is dealing with issues in the Leaders race. So it's possible. Purdue is going to need better quarterback play, and the return of Rob Henry could help. Looks like a new DC is on the way as well, and that side of the ball needs to get better. More than anything, this program needs to find some consistency under Danny Hope.
lex (Iowa): Whats been the reaction around the country to the B1G partnership with the Pac-12? What Non-con game is in the most danger due to this?
Brian Bennett: Most people I've talked to about it think it's a brilliant idea, and I concur. It is going to make scheduling a challenge, and Delany was right to scrap the nine-game conference schedule as an idea. Teams still will want guaranteed home games, so that second game against a BCS AQ team could be in danger. For Iowa, it could spell trouble for the Iowa State series. I think teams will continue their rivalries but add in two really easy games at home whenever possible.