1. After two weeks of Big Ten play are you ready to rip up your original Big Ten champion prediction, or is it still too soon to go back on your initial thinking? Please remind us who you predicted.
Not quite yet. I had PSU winning the conference title, and I still think that they'll be part of a three-way tie for the championship. I don't see Penn State losing again, including a win over Ohio State. OSU will beat Iowa, leaving them with one loss, and Iowa's sole loss will come against Ohio State. It'll be interesting to see who gets the Rose Bowl, but when it all gets settled, my original prediction of Penn State will be headed to the Rose Bowl.
2. The SEC is once again receiving high praise from the national media and with three teams in the top five it is not without some merit. Is the SEC the top conference right now in college football? If not, who is?
There's no doubt that the SEC is head and shoulders above the competition. Before the season, I made the argument that the drop off between the Big Ten and the top tier of SEC and the Big 12 isn't that big. The Big Ten has ripped my argument to shreds. The argument regarding the SEC and the Big 12 could best be settled in a possible national title showdown between Florida and Texas.
3. I have seen some questions floating around surrounding the value of the 12 game regular season in college football. As many teams seem to fill the extra game with a team from the FCS ranks, do you feel the 12th game should continue for the good of the game? What might be an alternative solution?
The system is working for now, there's no need to shake things up. Even if the schedule is reduced, teams would still play cupcakes games (see Penn State, Northwestern, etc.). FCS teams benefit because of the money and exposure, so everyone wins.
4. You get to pick one coach from the entire Big Ten to use for one game that you have to win. Who do you want coaching your team in a must-win game?
Ron Zook (pause for laughter). Jim Tressel gets his share of criticism about not being able to win a big game, but he consistently fields well-coached, well-prepared teams. Tressel's weakness may be his play-calling, but his game-week preparation is second to none.
5. The school you cover has announced that the current head coach has been let go (or retired) and the school is opening up a world-wide search for a new head coach. Who are three names that would be on your list.
This is a conversation that has been had quite a few times in the recent weeks here in Champaign. Here are three names: Gus Malzahn, Tommy Tuberville, and Norm Chow. And if Jim Harbaugh can be lured away from Stanford, he would be a great choice. He has big things coming for him.
6. Tell us what to expect from the team you cover this weekend.
The benching of Juice Williams for Eddie McGee is a desperate move for a desperate team and a desperate coaching staff. McGee will provide a spark for the first half, but for four years McGee has shown that he is a lesser version of Williams. I can't see that changing all that much this week. MSU rolls, and Zook's seat gets hotter and hotter.