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Roundtables of both kinds of balls

I was going to throw in some Boilermakings stuff with this entry, but the Boiled Sports guys already beat me to the punch today. Most of the best news is out of the NFL anyway with Drew Brees lighting it up last night, making for the only time it is okay to beat my wife (in fantasy football). Dustin Keller continues to make the NFL draftniks look stupid in New York. Even John Standford is getting in on the action with his first NFL catches a couple weeks ago. We also should find out over the weekend where the women's volleyball team will be headed in the NCAA Tournament. They are currently ranked 18th, and have an outside chance of hosting the first and second rounds in the IAF on Belin Court.

Before getting to a double dose of roundtable, there is a good news/bad news bit to share about the sight. The good news is that I should have a lot more time soon to research and write articles as we get into the heart of basketball season. The bad news is this situation comes as a result of another temporary assignment suddenly ending for me. That means I get to go abck to substitute teaching as I continue my four year search for permanent employment. YAY

The first roundtable this week is the final football roundtable of the season. As everyone waits around for the bowl games (or in our case, spring practice) we have one final regular season roundtable hosted by... Off the Tracks! It's time to get schizo as I answer my own questions.

1. Minnesota, Michigan, and Indiana got absolutely torched in rivalry games this weekend. please feel free to diagram your revenge scenario/taunting celebration as appropriate for when you stomp a rival/get stomped by a rival in such fashion.

I think that Saturday’s 62-10 win was enough revenge after losing the bucket last year. I wasn’t even that embarrassed to lose to Indiana a season ago. The Hoosiers were the better team that day and I was happy they were able to come together and honor their coach. If there is an acceptable way to lose a rivalry game, that was it.

As far as a taunting scenario, we had that as well. We won the game 62-10 and had our only non-successful drive fail because we didn’t even try. We thoroughly embarrassed a team to the point that its own blogger called it the worst loss in the history of Indiana football. That’s a tall order considering the number of losses Indiana has had. Many Purdue fans are living the dream this week with what the Indiana basketball and football programs are suffering. That's before you even consider Notre Dame's situation. I think the Hoosiers have honestly had enough.

2. The results are in and the Big Ten didn't do well this year. What does the conference need to do in the bowl season and next year to regain esteem?

First of all, the Big Ten must win the Outback and Capitol One Bowls. That is the only thing that might shut up the SEC fans who think their conference is God’s gift to college football. Should Penn State get USC in the Rose Bowl or a trip to Miami, they must win it. They are carrying the banner for everyone else. Third, we have to win some marquee non-conference games next year. This means Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue have to beat Notre Dame and games like Purdue’s trip to Oregon or Ohio State’s home date with USC have to be wins.

3. For Penn State fans, what is your plan to defend the title. For everyone else, how will you topple the Nittany Lions next year?

We’re not going to challenge Penn State for the title next year. I think there will be improvement under coach Hope, but I am also a realist. The schedule is much too tough to expect a championship unless Justin Siller makes dramatic improvement or Joey Elliott sets the world on fire. Getting to 6-7 wins and getting back to the postseason is a much more reasonable goal. Still, there is no Penn State or Iowa and Ohio State and Michigan State must come to West Lafayette… Nah!

4. Of the 109 other teams in Division 1A, pick one you absolutely would love to face in the postseason and pick which bowl game (other than BCS championship) you would play them in.

The obvious answer would be a game against Miami, but I want to go off the board here. I would love to play Nebraska in the Las Vegas bowl. Why? It's probably our best chance to beat a traditionally strong "name" program. As far as the game being in Vegas, that needs to be a bigger bowl game. If you don't want to go to Vegas you're crazy.

Basketball roundtable:

The second roundtable this week is the first basketball roundtable of the year. At Purdue we have soft spot for Bruce Weber, that is why host Paint the Town Orange is well respected by the Off the Tracks community.

1. Its special tournament week, tell us what tourney your school is playing in and how well you think you will do. For Michigan fans, please feel free to dump all over UCLA, because we all know how yours turned out.

We're in the preseason NIT as the #1 seed already in New York. I honestly expect to beat Boston College in the semifinals, but Blake Griffin and Oklahoma is looming in the final. That is the type of game that will help decide if we're a legitimate Final Four threat. Oklahoma is going to be one of the better teams in the Big 12, just as we are one of the better teams in the Big Ten. With Duke next week, that could be back-to-back conference pride games.

2. We are about 3 to for games into the season, who in the preseason
schedule do you see as being the best test to see how well your team will be this year.

This one is easy. We get Duke in Mackey Arena next Tuesday night. I will be there, and it is anticipated as the biggest game in Mackey Arena since some guy named Lew Alcindor and UCLA opened the building in 1967. I wonder how that guy's career turned out.

3. Give us your Big Ten top 5 teams, and pick to win the conference.

I don't want to be the homer, so I think Michigan State and Purdue will tie. I think the best two teams int he conference and will split their series with each winning at home. For third I like Ohio State, followed by Wisconsin. As a fifth team, I'm throwing Michigan in there. I wouldn't have until last week, but beating UCLA was damn impressive. They also get a second chance at Duke, so who knows what will happen. If they can get that game it will give them two healthy non-conference wins on their NCAA resume.

4. Because we are all insecure about conference power rankings, where do you
think the B10 falls this year?

The top is very, very good. Michigan State and Purdue are threats for the Final Four. Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and possibly Minnesota are expected to be threats for the NCAA's. The rest, well, it's pretty bad. Indiana is going to be about a step below awful. Iowa struggled with Texas-San Antonio. Northwestern is Northwestern. Penn State and Illinois might be fiesty, but they have a long way to go.

5. How bad will Indiana be? A.Pretty lousy? B.Conference embarrassment bad?
C.Rooting for Notre Dame and Purdue instead bad? or D. I miss Mike Davis bad?

I'll choose D. I miss Mike Davis bad. I don't get why IU fans hate him. He damn near won a championship for crying out loud. People act like he has never seen a basketball before. His greatest crime was not being Bob Knight. It is bordering on B. though. These guys nearly lost to the IUPUI Hoosiermakers. Last year wouldn't have bad with NBA first rounder George Hill, but he is now plying his trade for San Antonio. That win means they won't finish dead last... in the state of Indiana. no word on what IPFW will do.

I do respect Tom Crean though. He went in there and cleaned house of some guys that deserved it. I took some flack for my position on Eli Holman, but he deserved. He committed the egregious sin of quitting on his team. I am definitely in the camp that Indiana will suffer this year because Crean cleaned house, but they will be better in the long run for it. When it comes to basketball I respect tradition. Indiana has it and they deserved better than last year's finish. That coach and those players essentially pissed on IU's tradition, and that's wrong no matter who you are.