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Big Ten Bloggers Roundtable: The End is Near

Hosted this week at Maize N Blue Nation.

1) With two weeks left in the season, it's safe to say that most schools have reached the point where the year has been a success or a disappointment. How has your school fared this year in your opinion? Or, is the jury still out?

Michigan has performed well below expectations this year, though (in all fairness) many of those expectations were a little inflated. I think the Toledo game was a huge turning point in the season, and after that, many defensive players seemed to give up on the season, since it was apparent this team wouldn't win no matter what happened on their side of the ball. The Minnesota game may lead to a snapping out of that, and hopefully a successful end to the year.

2) Is your school heading to a bowl? If so, which one? And if not, WTF?

No sir. The Wolverines had a transition year, and underachieved somewhat on top of that, causing Michigan to miss the bowl season for the first time in approximately forever.

3) The Big Ten has recently had a hard time getting respect among the national media as a top conference. Has the Big Ten taken a step forward or a step backward in this debate this season?

This has been something of a down year for the Big Ten. That said, pissing matches between conferences are some of the stupidest crap out there, and another of the many reasons that ESPN is a curse to sports, on top of occasionally being a blessing. The differences between the top conferences aren't that great, and even still, I'd contend that, top to bottom, the Big Ten could compete with the SEC with ease. Aside from the top two teams (maybe the top three, though that's not for sure) the SEC is significantly worse than the Big Ten all the way until you get to Purdue and Indiana.

I personally wish instead of worrying about "which conference is teh rulz," we'd objectively look at who the teams actually play (Penn State's schedule, should they have gone undefeated, is leaps and bounds more difficult than that of, say, Alabama). That said, we live in a world with ESPN, Gary Danielson, and a host of other idiots, so I'll always cheer for the Big Ten out of conference.

4) Would the Big Ten benefit from adding another school to create two divisions like the SEC, Big 12, ACC and MAC? And if so, which school should be added? Or, should we drop one school?

I'm more a fan of dropping a school and playing a true round robin, like the Pac-10. It's a better way of determining a true champion in my opinion, prevents teams from getting good breaks in the scheduling department, and doesn't force a potential title contender to risk losing a late game.

Of course, I'll agree with the popular sentiment here and say that Northwestern should be the one team that is eliminated from the Big Ten. They aren't a great fit for the conference, as the only private school and the conference University with by far the lowest enrollment. In sports with Big Ten Conference competition (sorry, that means no women's field hockey), the Wildcats don't regularly compete on an annual basis in a majority of them, though they'll occasionally have the big year in football, and may have something good going with their soccer program.

Of course, kicking out the Cats also serves to make Michigan the best academic institution in the conference, so a little bragging rights are to be gained as well. In the end, this argument is all academic, since the conference won't be kicking out anyone any time soon.

5) Do you agree with President-elect Obama that college football should have an 8 school post-season playoff?

I personally am an advocate of the MGoPlayoff, which would be a six-team competition, preserving the bowl system as is (though appropriating the Rose bowl for its purposes). It's a damn good system which rewards the top 2 teams with a bye and homefield advantage, the next two teams with homefield advantage in the first round, and still gives #5 and #6 a chance to pull off a could upsets and make a run at the title.

there are several reasons I like this system: It preserves the bowls, it keeps (increases?) an emphasis on the regular season, gives any team that has a reasonable argument for inclusion a chance to win the national championship, and (one of the most important factors to me) doesn't easily allow for future expansion, which I think would ruin college football. I may be one of the few people who isn't in favor of an all-out 16- or 32-team brawl, but I simply think those types of contests aren't in the spirit of the game.

6a) Who is your favorite network television play-by-play announcer/color commentator/sideline reporter?

I like the announce team of Nessler and Griese, though they unfortunately are joined in the booth by Paul Maguire. I also really like Chris Fowler. On GameDay and play-by-play he always seems intelligent and prepared, and can rattle off some hilarious one-liners (the statement about Iowa fans "circling the combines" was priceless). On top of that, he seems to genuinely love college football and enjoy the hell out of his job, for which I respect and envy him.

6b) If you listed Erin Andrews, please provide a photo/video to back up your pick.

I didn't pick Erin Andrews, nor will I share a multimedia item starring her. Instead, enjoy this ABSOLUTELY TRUE story about her from EDSBS.

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“Big Ten Bloggers Roundtable: The End is Near”

  1. Anonymous tbliggins Says:

    I don't get what everyone has against Maguire. He is clearly awful, but, unlike most of his contemporaries, he doesn't take himself seriously. Everyone knows he is senile so I enjoy laughing at him. Griese, on the other hand, gets worse and worse. Every year he gets more curmudgeonly and does not offer much in terms of in-depth analysis. I feel bad that Nessler is stuck w/ them, as he is consistenly excellent.