Thursday, October 11, 2007

Big Ten Bloggers Roundtable Week 7

It's Penn State week in the Big Ten blogger Roundtable schedule and RUTS has the questions this time around. Head on over and check out his roundup later today. You can catch the answers of all the other esteemed Big Ten bloggers by clicking on their links in the comments section of that thread. As for my incoherent thoughts – read on:

1. We're halfway through the season. Practically the entire national media has declared that the Big Ten is having a down year. Is this cyclical, or is the conference actually becoming less and less relevant? What is your team doing to enhance or destroy the conference's reputation?

I call foul – I think RUN is asking this question so he can cherry-pick. But, to the question(s) at hand: the relative strength or weakness of a conference is a cyclical thing in conferences with recruiting power and I think the Big Ten falls under that category. Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and now Illinois (yeah I typed that – go Zooker) can bring in a top 10 class on any given year and the teams that don't have the recruiting power usually maximize the talent they bring in. The Big Ten lost a lot of talent to the NFL last season including all the good quarterbacks so you would expect a down year. As for Penn State – yeah we're the whoopee cushion of the joke of a conference that is the 2007 Big Ten.

2. Illinois is winning football games. Football games! Illinois! How much longer will we have to put up with this crap?

I called this at the begging of the year – ok, so did a lot of others but I'll take the time to pat myself on the back. Most that didn't believe in the Zooker (I'm looking in your direction RUTS) believed that the fighting Illini family-oriented-non-offensive-fluffy-mascots were a year away so how good do you think this team will be next season? Yeah, do yourself a favor and entertain that thought experiment. Not only can the guy recruit but he has his players believing in themselves. EDSBS can call Ron Zook whatever they want but the truth is the guy's a tireless recruiter and a good coach.

3. I'm a man! I'm 32! For you, fair Big Ten Blogger, where does the line get drawn when, as Sunday Morning QB eloquently states, "second-guessing the split-second decisions of college kids under extreme physical duress"? Hypothetically speaking, would you settle for saying that your underwhelming quarterback "simply isn't performing well and needs to be replaced", or would you call him "a functional retard that is one drool cup shy of riding the short bus to practice"?

Do I have to pick one? I can safely say that I'm somewhere in between. As a blogger I'm a tad isolated from the real world (my mom's basement was just refurnished when she bought a new living room suite and gave me the old one) so it's not like I have any responsibility for what I say. Having said that, I try to approach blogging with the mindset that someday I could run into that drooling retarded short bus riding quarterback at a bar in State College and how would I feel if he "questioned" me about my comments. I try to be optimistic when it comes to my team and their players but this year… not so much.

4. Finally, a quick two-part question. Which player or players on your team have you been pleasantly surprised with this season, and what is the most important game remaining on your schedule?

I'm going out of order here; the most important game is two days from now against Wisconsin. If Penn State beats the Badgers there is hope that they could win the Lion's share (pun intended) of the remaining games. It feels good to say that because a week ago we Lions fans were having our razors and shoelaces confiscated for fear of harming ourselves after the deep depression we succumbed to. If we lose to Wisconsin the same feelings of hopelessness return.

Now for the sad commentary on the state of Penn State football: my pleasant surprise has been the punting of Jeremy Boone. I need a beer (ok another beer) after typing that. How sad is it that our punter is the biggest surprise on this team. Having said that, Mr. Boone is having a stellar season and we get to keep him for two more years. We all thought the loss of Jeremy Kapinos was big but, uh… yeah… Kapinos who?

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