We had a lively Big Ten Monday chat session today, as you might expect during championship week. Here's the full transcript, along with some highlights:
Ed (toronto): if the buckeyes were not under penalties this year -do you believe their ap ranking would be higher?
Brian Bennett: I do. I think Ohio State is suffering from a little bit of out-of-sight, out-of-mind syndrome now. They weren't able to win a title, so they were never really in the title discussion. But if they were eligible, I believe they'd be No. 2. And SEC fans would be losing their minds while the hatchet jobs on the Buckeyes' schedule and the Big Ten would be in full-on blitz mode.
Faygo (DC): Which juniors are likely to go pro? I think from MSU, Le'Veon Bell goes - and he should, he's ready to make the jump, especially in a down year for running backs. Dion Sims is probably 50-50, and Gholston needs to stay and grow up. What say you, and what other high profile Big Ten juniors could go in the first couple rounds of the draft?
Brian Bennett: I would agree with you on that sentiment. Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins is very likely to go, and cornerback Bradley Roby (redshirt sophomore) will have to think hard about it. Taylor Lewan from Michigan will go as well. That's all that I can think of off the top of my head.
Craig (Braintree/MA): Will the extra practice time help the Gophers more in the area of injuries or in the area of maturing the youth on the team?
Brian Bennett: I would say maturing the youth. Healing injuries only helps you in the bowl game, and ultimately it won't matter whether Minnesota wins the Meineke Car Care Bowl or not. But 15 extra practices for the young players is important for the future.
Lou (Gaithersburg, MD): Brian, what were your thoughts on the Penn State players wearing "42" on their helmets for injured Michael Mauti? Although I liked the idea of celebrating such a great team leader, I felt like it took away from the "One Team" approach we had taken all year. Thanks.
Brian Bennett: I love what Mauti has done and understand the desire to pay him tribute. I thought the numbers on the helmet was a little over the top. It wasn't like Mauti was dead or paralyzed. But I understand the sentiment.
Alex (Gary, IN): Do you see Indiana taking some major strides next year? Maybe upsetting 1 or 2 teams and making it to a bowl game? What needs to happen?
Brian Bennett: I love the way they're recruiting on defense at IU, though most of those guys will need a couple of years to develop and contribute. This year's team had so few seniors that practically the entire team returns. The offense will be very good again and will get Tre Roberson back. The biggest key is developing more defensive consistency.
Tim (B1G Country): Will the B1G bowl season be like the last few? Pretty sure the SEC/B1G and Rose bowl games will be heavily in favor of the other side. Your thoughts
Brian Bennett: I think Nebraska, if it wins this week, will have an excellent shot at winning the Rose Bowl versus Stanford or in a UCLA rematch. The other matchups look very, very difficult, especially the SEC ones. Be afraid.
Jon (Norwalk, CT): Should Bielema have gone for 2 at the end of either game? I know he's trying to play it as though it were any other game, but both seemed like just the perfect opportunity
Brian Bennett: Maybe on the road at Penn State that's a good idea, but the Badgers did hold the Lions to a field goal in OT so they had the situation in their favor. The problem is that both Ohio State and Penn State are strong up front on defense, which makes goal line offense more difficult. Just look at the fourth-down stuff of Montee Ball in the Ohio State game. Either way, Wisconsin would still be in the title game
Mochilla (Grand Rapids, MI): Hey Brian, do you think it was a good idea for Penn State to put up the "2012" in Beaver Stadium next to championship seasons? I know it's a tribute to the players that saw this season through, but if hard times hit these next couple of seasons (as expected) won't people in 2016 look at the "2012" in the stadium as a reminder of more of the bad (i.e. sanctions) than good (the team's resiliency)?
Brian Bennett: While I thought the Mauti tribute was a bit over the top, I think the 2012 sign was perfect. Unlike some other schools, Penn State doesn't have banners that specify league or national championships and just lists the years. 2012 was a special, unique year that deserves recognition, especially for the seniors. Reminds me a lot of Kentucky basketball's "Unforgettables," guys who stayed through probation. They never even made a Final Four but have their own banners in Rupp.