On Thursdays on The Big Ten Blog, we will feature questions from the B/R inbox, Twitter and email. Do you have questions 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.
Recruiting! I'm glad you asked.
It's sort of a cop-out to just reflexively pick the highest-rated recruit and say, "That one." It's also sort of dumb to just say, "The quarterback because quarterbacks are important."
But here's the thing: Not only is Michigan's top recruit (and the only 5-star recruit in 247Sports.com's composite rankings in the Michigan class) a quarterback—Shane Morris—most of the rest of the guys immediately below him are linemen. And look, linemen are critically important to everything a team tries to do. But you do not want one of them starting as a true freshman. You just don't.
Now, we may yet see an impact guy join this class late. If Laquon Treadwell ends up committing, he'd be a solid answer, because Michigan still needs lots of help at wideout. But for now, unless you really think Russell Bellomy is the future of Michigan football, look for Morris to step forward in a big way.
Well, this is an important question. So I'm glad you asked.
This Penn State controversy has, to say the least, inflamed the passions of a lot of people. And that is not necessarily a good thing. Case in point: that letter, which is purportedly running in the Centre Daily Times on Friday. It's spiteful, divisive and harmful.
And a lot of PSU fans agree with it.
Not all of them agree, however, and you're clearly one of them and don't want to get lumped in with the loonies. That's understandable, though now you're probably exquisitely aware of the downside of adopting a mantra like, "We are...Penn State." It's a lot easier to say that when everyone's happy, isn't it?
At any rate, it's one thing to tell people like me that that woman doesn't speak for you. And that's obviously good to know. That said...I'm not the person that you need to be telling this. I'm not the standard-carrier for Penn State. The vocal Penn State fans are. So you need to tell them when they're not speaking for you or conducting themselves properly in your eyes.
That goes for every fanbase too, by the way; every single team has idiot fans, even Duke and Northwestern. This isn't a "Penn State" problem; it's a "people in general" problem. And people generally don't come off from ridiculous positions unless they're encouraged to do so by their peers and trusted ones. Staying silent in the face of people poorly representing you only gives them tacit approval to continue.
So if your question is how to distance yourself from people like that, my answer is to try to bring them closer to you instead.
@adam_jacobi What can the B1G do *in between* Week 1 and Jan. 1 to improve its stature nationally?— Gideon D'Assandro (@GideonD) August 30, 2012
Ah yes, the annual "how does the Big Ten get better" question. I'm glad you asked.
The phrasing of this question is hardly accidental; what this man is asking is what, aside from big-name bowl games and the two big-time games this week, the Big Ten can do to improve its standing. And the answer is this: not a whole lot.
Conferences' legacies and reputations are defined by the top tier of teams therein, and that's that. Nobody really cares that the SEC typically has a cotton-soft underbelly, because its top teams keep winning championships. Similarly, nobody gave the Big 12 near enough credit for having a murderers' row of talent, because in the grand scheme of things, the relative quality of your sixth best team is inconsequential to everyone but, like, the Weed Eater Bowl representatives.
So if the Big Ten wants to impress people from September 8 to December 31, it needs its best teams to do big things. That means having a Top Five team by the time the conference championship is done with, and it means big wins over Notre Dame in the nonconference for Michigan and Michigan State (and maybe Purdue, too, although if Purdue pulls that one off, it'll probably just cheapen the other two wins).
But really it all comes down to one simple thing: beating their best. And there just aren't a whole lot of those bests waiting to get beaten between Week 2 and the start of the real bowls.
@adam_jacobi How long can I safely tailgate in Dallas if it's 100 degrees without passing out?— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurke_SI) August 30, 2012
Tailgating questions! That means it's football season, so obviously I'm glad you asked.
I had initially planned to give out helpful suggestions so you and all the other readers could beat the heat here in this crazy hot world.
But then I read the question again.
You, sir, are not asking how to maximize your tailgating experience. You are asking how long you will be able to do it. And let's put a few things together to figure that out.
1) Writer. Writers are typically pallid, reclusive types who wouldn't go outside if there weren't food or drink to be had there. They're also conditioned for very specific, climate-controlled environments, which is what happens when you stay inside for days on end.
So putting all that outside in Texas, where the basic needs of hydration and the joy of a tall, frosty Budweiser go hand in hand like peanut butter and strychnine? I give you roughly 43 seconds before you're on a stretcher. Have fun!