What better way to kick off Super Bowl week than with a super Big Ten Monday chat? If you missed it, here's the full transcript, along with some super highlights:
Patty (Salt Lake City, Utah): Who will be the Big Ten's best running back in 2014? Ameer Abdullah or Melvin Gordon are the favorites but i like darkhorse candidates like Derrick Green or Jeremy Langford.
Brian Bennett: I think we're going to be blessed with a deep and talented class of RBs next year. Don't forget Venric Mark is coming back, as well as David Cobb and Penn State's guys and Mark Weisman and Tevin Coleman. I'm not sold yet on Green. It's an Abdullah-Gordon race for me. Gordon has more room to grow still.
Eric (Los Angeles, CA): If a B1G team makes it to the playoffs and competes/wins a game, but falls short of the national championship, and say, goes .500 in the rest of the bowl games...would the season be viewed as a success for the B1G or another season without a national championship?
Brian Bennett: Yes, I think that would be a rousing success. Moving forward it will be all about getting into that four-team playoff. Remember that the Big Ten hasn't played for a title since 2007 so it's vitally important for the league to get back into that mix for championships.
Jon (Seattle, WA): Which would be a bigger non conference win for the Big Ten, UW on a neutral field against LSU or MSU @ Oregon?
Brian Bennett: I'll say Michigan State, just because both teams should be in the Top 5 and that would be a huge road win that could really propel the Spartans on the national stage. Of course, beating an SEC power is also really good, and Wisconsin might not lose again for a long time if it won that game.
Samuel (Iowa City, Iowa): Brian, Iowa's next superstar will play at what position?
Brian Bennett: The guy on the roster who looks most like a future superstar to me is Desmond King. So I'll say CB. That's been a strong position for the Hawkeyes of late.
Sean (Colorado): Do you think the Badgers have the ability to coach-up Stave or are we going to see a couple good throws offset by a horrible, game-changing decision again in 2014 (assuming he beats out Houston and McEvoy)? His success/failure could be huge for future recruiting at the position for UW, don't you think?
Brian Bennett: Sure. I mean, he was just a sophomore this past year. There's no reason Stave can't improve his accuracy and decision making. You have to wonder how high his ceiling actually is, but he's got a good arm. Houston and McEvoy have no experience in big-time college football, so they've got a lot of ground to make up, even if they might be better athletes overall.
Ghost of Wide Receivers Past (Downfield): Is 2014 going to be another down year for the Big Ten at wide receiver like 2012? Or will the return of so many starting quarterbacks help that position thrive again?
Brian Bennett: Much like in 2012, a lot of talent is leaving the league at WR, including Robinson, Gallon, Abbrederis, Enunwa, Philly Brown and Latimer. I think there are some good young receivers still around and some strong veterans like Kenny Bell. But if you asked me right now, for instance, who will be the leading WR at Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State, I wouldn't have great answers. So it is a concern heading into '14