Big Ten Football Q&A: Goodbye to Denard, Hanging on to Kevin Wilson and More

Adam JacobiBig Ten Football Lead WriterMarch 7, 2013

The Big Ten'll miss ya, little big guy.
The Big Ten'll miss ya, little big guy.Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Every week (or so) 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

Lousy Smarch weather.

Let's get right to it.


Awww, friend. This is a touching question. I'm glad you asked.

You don't replace a guy like Denard Robinson. Like, obviously you give his scholarship to a new player after Robinson graduates, but what Robinson brings to the game plan just can't be replicated.

So Michigan's not even going to try, and that's the wisest move. Devin Gardner's in place now, and he's going to be running a more pro-style offense. We saw it already in the last portion of the 2012 season, and it worked more or less for the Wolverines.

Now, there'll likely be times when Gardner drives fans crazy, because for as successful as he was as a replacement quarterback (a role often fraught with disaster and frequent fourth downs), he still left a few plays on the field here and there.

But Denard Robinson drove Michigan fans crazy in a bad way all the time, and he was still rightfully beloved. As will be Gardner, even if he's doing Devin Gardner things and not Denard Robinson things. But Devin Gardner things can be great fun too.





Obviously if we're getting multiple questions about the same topic, we're going to answer it. And if that same topic is Indiana's head football coach, we're definitely answering it, because this has to be a first in recorded history.

There's some buzz around Indiana, and it's not hard to figure out why. Landing Kevin Wilson was a coup from the start, and it looks as if he's turning that program from doormat to contender. The Hoosiers went 4-8 last year, but the Hoosiers' point differential was 137 points closer than in 2011 (from minus-191 to minus-54) and the offense welcomes back all but one starter.

Oh, and Tre Roberson is healthy; if Indiana had him last year, maybe a couple of those close losses go the other way, and the Hoosiers go bowling for just the second time since 1993. Not a typo.

Of course, Indiana football doesn't exist in a vacuum—who would even put it there, much less why—and if Kevin Wilson starts getting interest from major programs who see what he's building at Indiana, the Bullmastiff of the Big Ten just might decide to head elsewhere.

So what's the likelihood? Unfortunately for Indiana fans, it's probably pretty good.

Wilson makes all of $1.26 million a year from Indiana, per the USA Today, and even if he maxes out bonuses (unlikely) he's barely getting to $2 million per. That's decent money to you or me, but it's also less than half what Mike London makes at Virginia, and Mike London was the 22nd-highest paid coach in 2012. Jim McElwain made more at Colorado State ($1.35 million). So did Ken Niumatalolo at Navy (~$1.6 million).

But even if Indiana ponies up for a raise (assuming he earns it, but if he doesn't this scenario's all moot anyway), there's still the fact that he's at Indiana. That's not meant as a sneering insult to the school, but the fact is Indiana's football culture is woefully substandard. The stadium only seats about 53,000 fans, and even with a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game in play when Wisconsin came to town, Indiana only drew 43,240 fans. It's a basketball school, and November—the most important month of the football season—is basketball season.

Were not writing the eulogy for Kevin Wilson's tenure at Indiana just yet. For all we know he has convinced himself that he won't rest until Indiana is great, better offers be damned; coaches can work themselves into those mindsets pretty easily. It's just that if Oklahoma finally bids Bob Stoops farewell and wants to get his former protégé back to Norman, we don't expect there to be much thought on Wilson's part.




Oh man, this is a rough question. Iowa fans should click away now. But I'm glad you asked.

Kirk Ferentz's contract grants him a little over $3.8 million per year. For what we understand Iowa to be now, that is a horror show of a contract, and that's before we get into the insane, eight-digit buyout hanging over the program (it dips below $10 million in a few years).

Ferentz made $958,750 per win in 2012, which sounds awful...and it is. But will Iowa go 4-8 again in 2013?

Here's a look at Iowa's 2013 schedule. The nonconference slate is cake, although the trip to Iowa State should be problematic. But looking at the Big Ten slate...where are the wins going to come from? The easiest home games are against Michigan State and maybe Northwestern. Purdue should be a manageable road test, but past that the away games look challenging. 

We'll be charitable and call this one 5-7 for Iowa, so to answer your question, $767,000 per win. Please do not cry.