Friday, September 21, 2007

Big Ten Roundtable

Who doesn't love a good Roundtable on redemption week especially when the questions and hosting duties fall to none other than Michigan bloggers? Maize n Brew has the questions and hosts all the insightful answers. Following our pattern of round-robin roundtables, Nick gets a crack at the questions this week and he's drinkin' straight from the bottle! Onward…

1. Time to break out the crystal ball. I want to know what happens at the END of the season. Give me your offensive and defensive Players of the Year in the Big Ten along with Coach of the Year and why.

Offensive Player of the Year – Mike Hart, he has been all Michigan's had to count on this season.

Defensive Player of the Year – Dan Connor (shameless homer pick)

Coach of the Year – Bill Lynch at Indiana, Mark Dantonio might do more to turn Michigan State around, but emotionally Bill Lynch will be hard to beat.

2. With the upsets, close games, and head scratchers so far, every game we thought was going to be important has changed. Michigan State is 3-0, for Pete's sake, and they look good doing it. Pick the three games on the Big Ten Schedule that will determine the Big Ten Champion. Bonus Points for not picking three games on your own schedule.

Well, outside of the obvious Penn State – Michigan this weekend, determining whether Michigan will be a contender for the conference this year, I'll give you 3 other games.

Michigan State at Wisconsin (September 29) – early Big Ten season meeting of contenders at least from the standpoint of records thus far.

Wisconsin at Ohio State (November 3) – this one could be for the conference title this year.

Any Big Ten game on Thanksgiving weekend (November 24) – oh wait, none exist. So whichever team claims the title and particularly if they run the table, watches as the pundits spend an extra week tearing them down, after all in case you didn't hear, "the Big Ten sucks this year."

3. How many games, this season, have you been to? How many games have you tailgated at? If you have tailgated, name your beverage of choice. If you answered no to the previous questions, hang your head in shame, or at least give a good story about watching the game in enemy territory and giving the bouncer the finger when he asked you to quiet down.

3 for 3, baby. At Penn State, the beverage of choice is always Yuengling (I prefer Porter, but Lager flows in abundance), only permitted substitute is hard liquor straight from the bottle.

[editor's note: ahhh to be young again and have the intestinal fortitude to chug that bottle of JD straight – almost brings a tear to my eye]

Bitter/Angry Bonus Question!

4. As the Big Ten Season kicks off, the Conference is in somewhat of a difficult position nationally. Needing some momentum after a horrid BCS performance, the Conference needed some momentum early in the season. It hasn't gotten it. The first three weeks have been abysmal. Is this just a down year for the Big Ten, is there a change Nationally that the Big Ten just hasn't picked up on, is there some truth to the "Big Ten Style of Play" that everyone harps on, or has college football simply caught up? What so you think and why? I may be beating a dead horse, but no one looks good this year and I'm at a loss as to why.

These things are cyclical, of course the exceptions are that the SEC and Pac-10 never suck, ever. If any team should happen to beat them from outside their conference, it was pure luck. Ohio State and Michigan laid eggs last year in the bowls, but Penn State and Wisconsin beat SEC teams. The perspective has been only focus on the negatives and while the Appalachian State and Duke losses were bad for the conference this year, come bowl season, the balance can shift the other way.

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