BHGP Thursday Q&A: Ceilings, Tight Ends, Mel Brooks and More

Jamie Sabau

SPECIAL FORMAT today with five questions from one asker. Regular format to resume next week.

Hello friends. We're going with a little bit of a different format this week, as all five questions were submitted by longtime Friend of the Pants Energizer Hawk (he does not know I did this). Also, he sent five really good questions that I really didn't want to pick just one out of, and none of them were stupid, so thank you sir. Anyway, this is a one-week thing, mainly because I'm writing this on Wednesday night so I can have lunch with a friend instead today. Our regular format will return next week.

All teams improve over the course of the season (injuries excepted, and unless Tony Moeaki is involved, you can't predict those); it's whether their improvement is enough relative to the other teams they play, and that's a case-by-case thing more than a linear "Team X regressed" type of thing.

Anyway, don't get bummed out that Iowa hit its ceiling against OSU. If Iowa plays that well over the rest of the season it's going 3-2 at worst and going to a decent bowl, and after a 4-8 shitburger of a season that's fantastic.

I'm still expecting six wins though, and hey, ehhh, I'll take it. It probably means a trip to, like, the Heart of Dallas Bowl. I've never been to Dallas.

No.

That's not to say Iowa can't or won't beat Nebraska this year; the Nebraska defense is extremely dodgy, which we've seen Iowa take advantage of already this season. The Husker rushing attack is legit, and we've seen Iowa have its trouble with athletic quarterbacks for years now, but it takes Ohio State's OL to push Iowa's front seven around and Nebraska's isn't that good (not a knock on Nebraska; OSU's line is just the best in the conference). So

My guess is the spread will be around seven points for Nebraska. Yes, that's not a prediction of the game by Vegas, just a prediction of how people will bet, but there's a pretty strong correlation between spreads and final results. A line between 6-8 points means the favorite wins about 70 percent of the time. Considering the fact that Iowa's actually one spot ahead of Nebraska in Jeff Sagarin's DIMIN_CURVE rankings and the game's in Lincoln, a seven-point spread seems about right. It might be more, might be less. Either way, if you asked me how many games Iowa would win against Nebraska out of 10, I'd say probably 3. Then I'd ask why these two teams would play each other 10 times. What kind of monster are you? These men have families!

Onward!

Very. It's "un-Greg Davis" insofar as he's commonly thought of as this small-ball, sideways type of offensive coordinators, but most OCs run substantially different offenses at different schools, depending largely on their bosses' philosophies and—just as importantly—the team's personnel.

With that, I'm happy to see Iowa run out three tight ends because 1) there's a greater amount of versatility when you have multiple guys who have positive value in both the passing and running games; 2) Greg Davis doesn't use the WRs to stretch the defense deep very much anyway; 3) I'd much rather see Iowa's third TE (Jake Duzey) on the field than Iowa's third WR (uh, Tevaun Smith?). There's just more talent and depth there at TE, and what good does it do a coach to have several talented players in a group if only one of them is on the field at a time?

This doesn't mean Greg Davis is the next Bill O'Brien or anything like that, but we are definitely seeing a more complex, fleshed-out offense this season, one that recognizes putting stress on individual defenders and did so pretty well last week. The versatility of three-TE sets feeds into that nicely. It's good. I don't mind Greg Davis right now.

I feel like this is a loaded question given the username and all. But how come I can't say Rayovac? The website says they last just as long as Energizer and Duracell, and if you can't trust a company's website, who can you?

Also, I always conflated Rayovac and Raycom Sports when I was growing up on account of the name and also their logos kind of looked alike.

Last thing: this is what Metallica's classic song "Battery" sounds like through the gross perversion that is Microsoft Songsmith:

This has been "Adam says random things about batteries for 15 minutes instead of answering the question." Thank you.

One more!

Oh man. Ohhhh man. This is not fair. It's like asking which child is your favorite, if both of your children were made by Mel Brooks. Wait. That came out wrong.

See, here's the thing: I'm a little bit biased toward Spaceballs strictly because my family had a bootleg VHS tape when I was growing up (did they call those bootlegs? what's the right terminology?) so I've seen it dozens upon dozens of times, dating back to when I didn't understand like half the jokes. That wasn't the case with Blazing Saddles, which is for the best because if I had strolled into 4th grade social studies like "Where the white women at?" I would have been shot dead by my teacher. I've seen it plenty since college though (yes it took that long, yes I'm sorry) and it keeps getting better with every watching.

Speaking of things that would unfairly tip the scales, though: Blazing Saddles has two prominent products of the University of Iowa in it. That would be Alex Karras, of course, and Gene Wilder, himself a UI graduate. Say what you will about George Wyner (Colonel Sandurz in Spaceballs) but he just went to boring-ass Syracuse.

But anyway, you didn't ask which movie I like better. You just asked which is better.

Spaceballs is more obviously Mel Brooks' movie; its best shots aren't at Star Wars, but at the consumerism surrounding the movie (though the Ludicrous Speed scene remains utterly sublime)—i.e., what you'd expect a movie producer to be most sardonic about. Meanwhile, Blazing Saddles has Pryor's fingerprints all over it, and it's accordingly fearless in a way that practically no comedies were at the time (and few even are today).

The plots of both movies are preposterous, and pretty much incidental to the enjoyment of the movies themselves. Fourth walls are kicked down in each movie. It's Brooks screwing with us, but lovingly. So it's useless to compare the movies on that front.

In fact, the only area that I can think of where you might be able to come close to a (reasonably) objective distinction between the two—a compare and contrast of many factors, if you will—is the casts. Blazing Saddles' is stellar. Gene Wilder is in a top-three role of his life. Cleavon Little is perfect. Slim Pickens, Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman and (of course) Karras all play their parts expertly, so well you can't imagine anyone else in their roles.

But Spaceballs, with Rick Moranis, John Candy, Joan Rivers, Dick Van Patten and an unknown Bill Pullman as the hero? That's an absolute murderer's row, especially with Brooks putting in way more work as President Skroob and Yogurt than he did in Blazing Saddles. Hell, Michael Winslow even shows up to do Michael Winslow things, and even after 25 years, that's still kinda awesome!

But really, what this comes down to is personal preference since the sensibilities of each movie are so much different, so there is no wrong answer. With that, I'm opening this one up to y'all in the poll below (don't you like how I said a question wasn't fair and then ended up asking it to everyone?). And the comments. Let's hear it.

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