The only excuse you'd have for missing my Monday Big Ten chat wrap would be if you were holed up in a New Hampshire cabin or if you were busy managing a Cinnabon in Omaha.
Since I'm sure that's the case for most of you, here's a full transcript of the chat, along with some highlights:
Nate (Hawkeye Land): Let's be honest, Western Michigan is not that good of a team. But! the Hawkeyes finally made a bad team look bad (unlike the Missouri State game). Did you think it was a good idea to not run Mark Weisman a lot in the game? And will it hurt him for top running back in the country? And how good are the Hawkeyes?
Brian Bennett: Yeah, I've had my fill of watching Western Michigan. Still, I really like the physicality that Iowa has played with the last two games. Very encouraging. Weisman only carried it 10 times on Saturday, and it was a very good idea to rest him a bit before Minnesota. Book is still out on Iowa, but I like the way the team is trending right now.
Pete (Menomonie, WI): The Badgers will beat Ohio State if ...
Brian Bennett: They control the game with their running game (duh), Joel Stave hits some big plays in the passing game and the secondary holds up. And probably need to win turnover battle as well.
Matt (New Albany, IN): IU always seems to struggle when the hype gets rolling toward a bowl bid. Is this program just destined to struggle because it always lays down when it counts? Kevin Wilson seems stuck in the Cam Cameron career pattern for struggling to figure out balancing both sides of the ball. They very well could beat most teams on the schedule if the offense clicks, but this team is quickly showing the same flaws of the last 20 or so Hoosier squads.
Brian Bennett: I don't think it's a mental thing, though surely the players need to taste some success. The defense just remains a major liability. I was surprised by how much the offense struggled against Missouri. Mizzou was all over Indiana's routes. I thought this could have been a breakout year for IU, but that's looking far less likely now.
Say My Name (ABQ): If Wisconsin loses a tight game to Ohio (hopefully not on another hail mary), is there any way they win-out into BCS at-large? Two* early season losses, weak schedule, are the 2nd best team in the winning division, good traveling fan base eager for a new venue (though we all love Roses)...
Brian Bennett: Sure. Wisconsin would be 10-2 with its only losses to Arizona State* and a potential top 5 Ohio State. That's a good résumé. Badgers would be light on marquee wins but would surely be in the mix, especially if poll voters had sympathy for that Desert Debacle.
Jeff (Mpls): Should Gopher fans have any reason to believe this year will be different than all of the other years when we beat the nonconference schools but always tanked in the Big Ten? At least we're not back to the 1-11 years!
Brian Bennett: I like the toughness I've seen out of the Gophers. They're not going to be pushed around in the Big Ten. Of course, the schedule so far has been pretty weak, and eventually they're going to have to complete a forward pass. But this Minnesota team is clearly much improved in many areas. I think it has a chance to pull off one big upset.
Frank (Minot): Brian, I know Nebraska has the talent on D to be a good defense. But in the famous words of Bo they are " NOT EXECUTING." What do you do over the next two weeks to light a fire under the D and right the ship? How do we develop that nasty attitube of the infamous Husker D we all like to remember?
Brian Bennett: If your players continually fail to execute, and the players change, isn't that eventually on the coaching? Pelini had better use this bye week well to either revamp the way he teaches his scheme or make changes in his system. Because it sure isn't working, and they can't trade for more players.
Pat (Raleigh, NC): Any chance Darrell Hazell pulls Rob Henry and goes with one of the freshmen? Purdue has been terrible, especially on offense. Its tough to run a west coast offense with a qb who can't throw.
Brian Bennett: There's really no reason not to give one of the young guys a chance soon, because Purdue is not going anywhere this season. I wonder how much it will help, because the Boilers have no downfield threats. I also wonder why they're not running more with Henry. Look at what Minnesota is doing with a mobile QB. Throwing screens all the time is not enough.
Aaron (MN): Is this year's battle for Floyd of Rosedale the most important in years? It seems that, for once, both Minnesota and Iowa are improving teams with a ton to gain from winning this game, including at least an outside chance at Legends division relevancy come November.
Brian Bennett: I think so. Adam and I were brainstorming yesterday on when the last Pig game was that seemed this meaningful and well-matched. We'll take your suggestions on that. The winner is going to be in pretty good shape moving forward. I'm excited about it, and not just because I love Floyd an unreasonable amount.