Big Ten Football Q&A: When Is It OK to Miss a Game?
On Thursdays on The Big Ten Blog, we will feature questions from the B/R inbox, Twitter and e-mail. Do you have a question for next week's Q&A? Send them to Big Ten lead blogger Adam Jacobi via the B/R inbox, on Twitter @Adam_Jacobi or at email@example.com.
Kevin Bacon (this may be a pseudonym) (@stefanielaine): If I am forced to miss one Michigan game this season (I know, god forbid), it should be Purdue, right?
I'm glad you asked. Do not sleep on Purdue! I've got that game tabbed as Michigan's most likely trap game of the 2012 season. So it really comes down to why one would miss a game.
If it's to avoid a snoozer, the Massachusetts game and trip to Minnesota are both safe bets.
If it's to avoid watching a loss, the season bookends of Alabama in Texas and at Ohio State are the most likely. You're not seriously going to skip either of those, though.
If it's to avoid watching a letdown game, yes, avoid watching Purdue. You won't be happy with a win, and a loss will ruin your week.
If it's to avoid ruining a superstition, well, I don't know what your damn superstitions are. And fan superstitions are stupid. Free yourselves from them in all forms, Big Ten fans!
There are probably other reasons to miss a game—weddings, the birth of your child, being kidnapped by cyberterrorists (IT HAPPENS), etc.—but in terms of reasons that actually have anything to do with the game itself, those are pretty much the big four.
rfordice (@rfordice): What would be Kirk Ferentz's favorite sandwich?
I'm glad you asked. Honest to god, I asked the Iowa athletic department about this, because this would be a fantastic thing to know. Here's the response I got after about 36 hours:
"Sent the request to Kirk’s office, haven’t heard back, not sure that I will."
WHAT IS KIRK FERENTZ HIDING FROM THE BIG TEN RE: SANDWICHES? I'm half-tempted to file an FOIA request on the University of Iowa athletic department for all mentions of Kirk Ferentz and sandwiches.
Nathan Willard (@nhradar): Serious question: What are your feelings about promoting football for a living, given your thoughts and worries on head injury?
I'm glad you asked. This is a difficult question, obviously. I don't know what I'd rather do but cover college football for a living ("promote" may be a strong word, but insofar as I am calling attention to the sport, sure). I don't even know if I'm capable of doing anything else. Perhaps I am, and perhaps I won't be on this beat when I'm 40. I hope I will be, though.
And that means I hope college football will still be around in 10 years. I hope it has been reformed to the point where, at the barest of minimums, there has been significant progress made to the point where brain health is more readily understood and addressed on a day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year and career-long basis. Maybe it means no helmets and limited contact during practice. Maybe it means no helmets period. Maybe there's a breakthrough to be made in head and neck safety. We'll see.
However, I do think there will be something done. We've crossed the Rubicon in terms of fan awareness of these issues. "Nothing changed" is not an option anymore. What changes need to be made, well, I don't know that. Nobody in college football does yet.
So here's how I approach it: I love the sport of college football and I want it to be around forever. I want to be a part of it for as long as I can. And if there's something I think college football needs to fix, whether it's related to brain health, athlete rights, the fan experience, or anything else, I'll address it the same no matter what: openly and honestly.
That can mean saying some critical things, and my tone can be adversarial. College football is facing an existential crisis right now, though, and I'd be a bad steward of the sport if I didn't argue forcefully and passionately for the change I think the sport needs. So would all of you readers as well.
Have strong opinions. Share them. Know your facts cold and make your case for what you believe is right. And save this sport from going the way of boxing. It's the least we can do.
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