Since I'll be traveling to the Orange Bowl next week, today marked the final Big Ten Monday chat of the 2013 calendar year. Did we go out on top? I'll let you be the judge with this full transcript and some choice highlights:
Steve (Gaithersburg): The common belief, voiced by your own Adam Shefter, is that the reduction in the size of Bill O'Brien's buy out is an indication that he might jump ship. I think the opposite is true -- why would PSU agree to reduce the size of the buy out? What's in it for them? The best answer -- B O'B has agreed to NOT jump ship at least this year. What do you think of that logic?
Brian Bennett: Hmmm....maybe. Or maybe Penn State did it to help keep O'Brien happy. Remember that he was blindsided by the NCAA sanctions and certainly was a big fan of that. I think there's a very good chance he goes to the NFL. We shall see very soon.
Tom (Lincoln Park): So it's looking more and more like we're going to see Shane Morris' first start at Michigan. What's the level of PANIC going to be like in Ann Arbor if Morris struggles?
Brian Bennett: Panic? After his first career start, in what amounts to a mostly meaningless bowl game? Unless he looks just entirely incapable of being a QB, I don't see any reason to panic. Especially since Gardner is coming back next year. The Wolverines could very well struggle offensively in this game, however.
Faygo (Silver Spring, MD): Season's over, it's bowl time, you're headed for Florida and Adam is going to the 100th Rose Bowl. This old Spartan will treasure this season, of course, but off the top, what's your five favorite moments from this Big Ten season?
Brian Bennett: Oh, boy. Going to miss some. Nebraska's Hail Mary. The Game. Michigan State's celebration in Indy. Minnesota celebrating with Jerry Kill. Penn State rallying to beat Michigan. Not sure those are my top five, but there's five good ones.
Brett (Iowa City): Alright, let's talk Hawkeyes for a minute. From what you've seen with the younger talent on the team, how do you think the Iowa defense will measure up for the 2014 season after losing the triumvirate of linebackers and cornerback BJ Lowery?
Brian Bennett: It's a good question, and that won't be easy. The good news is that the defensive line stepped up in a major way this year and should be a strength in 2014. Desmond King looks like the next in a line of standout CBs. When I talked to the three senior LBs last week, they each told me the position would be in good shape with young guys like Reggie Spearman, Quinton Alston and Chad Gilson. But their experience will really be tough to replace. You'd also hope the Iowa offense takes another step forward with Rudock back.
Mike (Psu Class of 13) (NYC): What are some big name coaches Penn State will go after if B.O.B. leaves? Could they go after Narduzzi or maybe someone like Gruden, Cowher, or Dungey? Evenutally they will want to coach again I think.
Brian Bennett: David Jones had a really good piece on that this morning, and he listed Mike Munchak No. 1 on the list. Makes a lot of sense, since Munchak very nearly got the job two years ago. PSU would at least have to feel out Al Golden, but I'm not sure why he'd leave Miami now. Narduzzi would be a very interesting choice.
John (Louisville KY): Who do like to win the Big Ten next year?
Brian Bennett: Penn State volleyball? I haven't analyzed the schedules yet and we have to wait to see which big names go pro and which come back. I'm going to favor Ohio State among the top choices as long as Meyer is around. Michigan State should be really good. Wisconsin loses a lot but has a favorable schedule after the opener. Those jump to mind first.