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Video Mailbag: Best QB in 2015, Melvin Gordon among the greats, and the Shippensburg bar scene

Mailbag Wisconsin

It has been a while but with the offseason here I am looking forward to making the mailbag feature a much more regular part of the mix to help us get through this offseason together. I threw a couple of questions into a quick video, but please allow me to dig deeper into some thoughts and some additional questions as well.

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Time to dig into this week’s mailbag…

I said on the podcast this week I feel Maryland is in decent shape to compete in the Big Ten in the years to come, but it will take some major work to take the program to the level where it can compete head on with Ohio State, Michigan State and either Penn State and/or Michigan with those programs at full power. But Maryland can be a team that gives these programs some troubles if it starts locking down more of the top in-state talent and branches out in recruiting. As much as I may take issue with Randy Edsall in some areas, I do feel confident in saying he is helping to build an identity at Maryland, and that can have an impact down the line. We saw Maryland play some tight games and lose some tough ones. There is potential for Maryland. Is Edsall the guy to tap it?As for Caleb Rowe, I am not sure he is the kind of quarterback that will help Maryland win some games the Terps need to take that next step, but he can be a decent placeholder until Maryland has their next guy. Rowe is a three-star prospect out of South Carolina, and there could be some potential there for the pro-style quarterback. As long as he avoids making mistakes and can manage the offense, there should be

As for Caleb Rowe, I am not sure he is the kind of quarterback that will help Maryland win some games the Terps need to take that next step, but he can be a decent placeholder until Maryland has their next guy. Rowe is a three-star prospect out of South Carolina, and there could be some potential there for the pro-style quarterback. As long as he avoids making mistakes and can manage the offense, there should be talent around him to keep Maryland competitive and maybe steal a game somewhere.

This is one of the two questions I touched on in this week’s video mailbag. It stems from a recent report from Onward State making note the Big Ten has been silent about the sanction terms the conference levied against Penn State back when the NCAA slammed the program in the summer of 2012. While the Big Ten did follow suit once the NCAA lifted the postseason ban, there has not been a peep made publicly about the conference’s withholding of Penn State’s bowl revenue share.

We typically do not hear much about bowl revenue shares until later in the year, and that may once again be the case as far as this is concerned. When it comes time for the Big Ten to distribute the revenue shares from the bowl season, I would guess that will be the time when we receive an update on the ruling on Penn State. It is simply my guess the Big Ten will provide a full postseason share to Penn State, as the program was relieved from NCAA sanctions and the Big Ten partially announced the same.

This one comes from an old friend of mine, and it is a good one. I used it for part of my video to this week’s mailbag. With one year of the College Football Playoff now firmly in the books, the time for evaluations and recommendations for 2015 is now. EPSN is already engaging in a battle with the playoff folks, but if I had a chance to make a few recommendations I would simply ask for some consistency. The one and only goal of a selection committee is to determine the four top teams in the country at the end of the season. By issuing a weekly ranking, the selection committee has opened itself up to unnecessary criticism from the masses. This was largely due to a lack of consistency, it appeared, in the logic being used. We were spoon-fed new terms like “game control” and were told time and time again the weekly rankings were a reflection on the season to date, rather than a projection. I understood the logic of that concept, but it was completely unnecessary for the main objective at the end of the season. I simply need just the best four teams at the end of the season.I find myself straddling a line I find myself straddling a line

I find myself straddling a line I find myself straddling a line on the argument over whether a conference championship should ultimately matter. If I have to choose one side of the argument, I will fall on the side that requires a conference championship. I do so fully acknowledging the best team does not always win the conference championship, and I am prepared to stand by the decision regardless. Winning a conference championship does make the regular season more important for the College Football Playoff in the end. No, I do not care if the Big 12 has a co-championship issue either. To me, that would mean Baylor and TCU each would have been eligible, and I would not force the Big 12 to choose one over the other. That responsibility would fall on the selection committee.

I do not know if I am fully prepared to answer this question just yet, but there are a few names that pop to mind quickly. First, take your pick out of the Ohio State quarterback mix. Whichever one of them is the starter in Columbus should have a fine season in 2015. Stay in the Big Ten and I expect a nice bounce back season from Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg. Assuming the offensive line is improved — and how could it not be — I think we get a fine junior season from Hackenberg. Connor Cook is not bad either at Michigan State.

Dak Prescott is going to receive plenty of attention heading into the new season, and deservedly so. I think he can be pretty close to Tim Tebow, and roll up some big numbers next season. But if I have to pick one quarterback, I will go with USC’s Cody Kessler. Kessler put up monster numbers that were somehow largely overlooked in 2014. I am not sure a USC quarterback has ever put up the kinds of numbers Kessler did and gone so low under the radar as he did. That will not be the case in 2015. In a year where Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley have moved out of the Pac-12 spotlight, Kessler is locked and loaded for big year as USC begins to rise back up in the Pac-12 and, perhaps, on the national stage.

USC quarteback Cody Kessler. Winslow Townson/Getty Images North America

USC quarteback Cody Kessler. Winslow Townson/Getty Images North America

Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon certainly had himself a season for the ages, and he broke into the discussion of all-time performers at running back. But before I rush into the idea of Gordon being one of the top three running backs in the history of college football, I should say I typically try to avoid this kind of conversation so soon after a player has played. I like to let the season marinate a little bit before really diving in. I will say I would certainly suggest you can have Gordon in a top 10 all-time list, but jumping right into the top five or top three might be difficult.My top three that come to mind right off the bat are (in no particular order) Barry Sanders, Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson. I might — MIGHT — put Ron Dayne ahead of Gordon too, which would mean Gordon was not even the best running back in his own school’s history. And let us not forget Ohio State’s Archie Griffin won a pair of Heisman Trophies. Ricky Williams at Texas was pretty darn good too. So there are some big names that I would still rank ahead of Gordon, but he is certainly worthy of being in the conversation.

My top three that come to mind right off the bat are (in no particular order) Barry Sanders, Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson. I might — MIGHT — put Ron Dayne ahead of Gordon too, which would mean Gordon was not even the best running back in his own school’s history. And let us not forget Ohio State’s Archie Griffin won a pair of Heisman Trophies. Ricky Williams at Texas was pretty darn good too. So there are some big names that I would still rank ahead of Gordon, but he is certainly worthy of being in the conversation.

And I have not even mentioned John Kuhn…

Shippensburg may be in the middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania, but it somehow managed to have two players play in this season’s NFL Pro Bowl. John Kuhn of the Green Bay Packers and Brent Grimes of the Miami Dolphins each played in the game, giving Shippensburg more Pro Bowl players than Pittsburgh and as many as Penn State and a number of other big programs. Both played their college ball for the Division 2 program at Shippensburg, home of the most enthusiastic marching band in the state of Pennsylvania. I might be biased on this. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m totally biased on this, and I do not care.

Shippensburg is also the place for a nice little college bar scene. I could not say just what the state of the bar scene is in Shippensburg today, and I am sure there is at least one new option that I missed out on since I last was there. But if what I remember still holds true today, then Hot Point Inn, just a short walk away from the football stadium and the Bard Townhouses complex is still open, that is the place I would recommend. It has a place for you if you like dancing, it has pool tables, it has plenty of seating for even a large group, and a good variety of beer options at a good price. Also, the food.

Wibs may have the cheapest pizza in town that goes well when you are ordering Rolling Rock at happy hour and has the best local dance scene, but Hot Point Inn serves up the best wings in town. If you happen to be in town, stop by Hot Point Inn, grab yourself a pitcher of your favorite beer, and place an order for California Golden Rush wings. You will not regret it.

About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.

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