It’s time once again for the No 2-Minute Warning Mailbag! On the first Friday of each month during college football season I accept questions exclusively from FanCred, so make sure you are registered with the social network and fire away your questions after you connect with me.
First up is a question from Landon Howell, FanCred’s Head of Strategy and Content, who asks…
I think Alabama beats Georgia by 14 points. Am I a dumb dumb?
I’m not picking Alabama to win by double digits, but I am going with them to win the game. So maybe you are dumb, but not dumb dumb.
Alabama is coming into this weekend’s game at Georgia as a rare underdog, and Georgia has been playing some good football in the first month of the season. While we knew to expect good things from Georgia’s running game with Nick Chubb, what has been a pleasant surprise has been how effective transfer quarterback Grayson Lambert has been in his first starts with his new team. Lambert couldn’t manage to hold the starting job at Virginia, yet has been careful with his passes at Georgia, with zero interceptions in the first month of the season.
Georgia will go on to win the SEC East at this pace, yet I still think there is a good chance they lose to Alabama. The demise of the Crimson Tide I feel has been greatly exaggerated. Alabama may not be the dominant force it once was, but there is no question there is plenty of talent assembled on that roster and they will win far more games than they will lose. I think Alabama sticks to basics this weekend and gives Derrick Henry a chance to lead the way, and I think Alabama’s defense puts together a solid enough performance on the road.
This next question comes from Lauren Creedon, also from the FanCred team (Director of Partnerships)…
Here’s one for ya…Does 4-0 Indiana stand a chance vs. 4-0 Ohio State??
Well, OK, I suppose Indiana has a chance, especially playing at home, but do not let Indiana’s record fool you. The Hoosiers have skated by in three of their games by one score, and that includes games against FCS Southern Illinois, Western Kentucky and Wake Forest. Western Kentucky may end up being a decent team and Indiana did beat FIU by 14, but this Indiana team is not a 4-0 team to be taken too seriously, and on Saturday I think the talent disparity between them and Ohio State will shine.
I actually feel this is the game Ohio State finally gets everything going for them. The opening game against Virginia Tech was solid but the Buckeyes have been a little less-than-inspiring the following games. Now that Big Ten play is here, I think the defending champs get rolling. If Ohio State’s offense can’t get in a groove against Indiana, with the 118th total defense in the nation, then we really do have some issues to address in Columbus. I have Ohio State rolling in this one.
Final question this week comes from Michael Pan, a FanCred admin and a fan of the Illinois Fighting Illini. He wants to know…
Illini finish above .500 this year? And what are the latest coaching rumors?
Illinois jumped on the coaching carousel before the season got started by canning Tim Beckman. I wondered at the time if the Illini have already upgraded their coaching stature as a result, and so far it’s arguable that may be true with Bill Cubit taking on the interim role. Entering Big Ten play this weekend at home against Nebraska, Illinois owns a 3-1 record with the lone loss on the road against North Carolina (a 48-14 bloodbath). That would mean Illinois needs just three wins the rest of the season to break even, and win four to end the regular season over .500. Well Michael…
I’m not so sure I see four more wins happening. It is not impossible, but I think Illinois is going to come up just shy of a winning regular season. I do, however, feel a .500 season is in the cards. Even that may not be easy though. First, Illinois has Nebraska this weekend (and I have the Huskers ready to make a run in the Big Ten West), and then comes a road trip to Iowa, where the Hawkeyes are off to a decent start themselves.
After the bye week comes a home game against Wisconsin. I’m not in love with the Badgers so I could see a win possibly in the mix, but I’ll stick with picking Wisconsin for right now. The next two games are winnable games at Penn State and at home against Purdue. Illinois may need both of these games to make getting a winning record more likely, but a split should be expected as a worst-case scenario. But the final stretch may be trouble with Ohio State, at Minnesota and home against Northwestern. The Buckeyes should be on a run to the playoff at that point, Minnesota could be a toss-up game and we’ll see where Northwestern is at the end of the season.
That’s all for this week’s mailbag. Thanks for the questions this week, and stay tuned for a chance to ask your questions next week!