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Crystal Ball Run Mailbag: Wisconsin’s status, playoff questions, Ninja Turtles and Ninja Gaiden or Castlevania?

This week we open up our own bag of mail, because we just do not feel like an actual college football website unless we do what all the cool kids out there are doing. We touch on a little bit of everything this week, from the impact UMass leaving the MAC has to Wisconsin’s position in the B1G West to which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle would play which football position. You sent in the questions, so now it is time for me to answer them. Cowabunga!

From what I have gathered from those close to the Wisconsin program, such as our own Andy Coppens, maybe. Keep a close eye on Saturday’s spring game in Madison as Tanner McEvoy will get a chance to showcase what he can do in the Badgers offense. McEvoy moved back to quarterback this spring and it is no coincidence he is now considered one of the top contenders for the starting job under center this fall. With Stave being put on the shelf this week with a shoulder injury, McEvoy will have a chance to make a statement and take the momentum into the summer. But the question is whether or not having to play without Stave is enough to shake up the B1G West. To answer that, I am not entirely sure Wisconsin was a runaway favorite with or without Stave. I would still throw Nebraska in the mix for the 2014 division and that has not changed. No matter who the quarterback is for Wisconsin, the Badgers and Huskers are still the top two bets in the division as of April 11, 2014.

UMass and the grand FBS adventure was climbing an mountain from the start, so the challenges it has faced so far were not to be too unexpected. The decision to part ways with the MAC came through a mutual decision and was thought to be expected the day Temple left the MAC for the Big East. I think the biggest problem UMass faced was an overconfidence that making the move up could deliver results, and the MAC just was not a great fit for the conference given the geography. I think what doomed UMass the most was an inability to grow the support for the program from within the region. Most programs will face lopsided scores the first year or so in the FBS after moving from the FCS, and the MAC was just a little too much for the program at the time they made the move. I’ll be interested to see what the next two years turn out for UMass. Can things turn around before it is too late, or will the Minutemen become the first team to go back to the FCS?

When reading this question the name that first comes to my mind is Miami’s Al Golden. I do not think Golden has his job on the line or anything along those lines this season, but the pressure to start taking Miami to the top of the ACC has to be mounting at this program. I have always been a big Golden supporter of course and I have higher expectations for him at Miami than some might. But Miami has not played for an ACC title since joining the conference and Golden is no longer coaching a program under a cloud of uncertainty. This is Golden’s fourth season at Miami, so the players are basically all his responsibility at this point. What does he do with it, and can they make any progress toward challenging Florida State? I don’t think Golden needs to play for the ACC title this season, but he needs to be in the conversation very soon. At the very least, he needs more than an appearance in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Everybody has a different definition of a “good fan.” Some will suggest it means being overly loyal to your team regardless of reality. Others will say it is doing whatever it takes to support the team 24/7. I do not tend to go to those extremes. Being a good fan is pretty simple in my book. You pledge your commitment to one primary team, you value the traditions of the program, know the words to the fight song, know the words to the alma mater, know at least the major history of the program before you started college, and you show support for your team without becoming an embarrassment in the process. That means promoting good sportsmanship even in the agony of defeat. You can’t win them all of course, so shake hands with a fan of the opposing team and wish them luck next week (bitter rivalries may be exempt from this).

Many of the details regarding the selection committee for the College Football Playoff are still being ironed out, so there are a number of questions still to be answered. As far as I am led to believe, any decision made by the selection committee is going to be based off of the ranking system the committee organizes and votes, so that would lead me to suggest the committee’s own ranking will be the end-all-be-all when it comes to their decisions. However, the influence form other rankings could come into play in some capacity. I will have to see if I can get some more clarification on this question later.

The upcoming revival of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has me excited about the franchise for the first time in years, so I am crossing my fingers Michael Bay does not completely mess this up. But if we were to place each of the turtles somewhere on the football field, where would they go? Here’s how I would line them up.

Leonardo would have to be the quarterback, because he is generally seen as the leader and director of the team. He also gets tabbed as the team captain. The success and failure of the team will start with the turtle in blue. I really wanted to put Donatello under center though, because I consider him the ultimate student of the game. No turtle will take it upon himself to study the opposition the way Donatello would, so I am actually going to keep him on the sidelines for this experiment and make him an assistant to head coach Master Splinter. Donatello’s keen eye for the inner workings on the field will come in handy when it comes time to making adjustments.

I want Raphael on my defense. The turtle brings the baddest attitude to the field and brings out the fear in his opponents every time he lines up, and he can be just as capable of being a leader when needed. Put him in the middle of a defense at middle linebacker in a 4-3 and he will be able to line up directly across from the quarterback and he will be able to adjust to the ball with ease no matter what direction it is heading.

So where do you put Michaelangelo? He brings the most energy to the team, which is why I think he might be a good fit for special teams returns. Need a spark to liven things up? Michaelangelo is the turtle to call on.

I am a huge Nintendo geek, I am not afraid to admit, so I feel a little happy when I see classic video game franchises find new life in today’s next-gen era. For example, just this week we saw R.B.I. Baseball see a release and I downloaded the iOS version. Mario and Sonic continue to get new titles added to their line-ups and the upcoming Mario Kart 8 is going to be awesome. So is it time to reimagine the world of Ninja Gaiden or Castlevania?

To me, the answer is simple…

Ninja Gaiden has it all you could ask for in a video game. It has a terrific story, great, non-stop action and is quite the challenge. With today’s technology you would think a reimagining of the franchise could make for a great title once again. And if we’re not going to get NCAA Football to continue, this might not be a bad alternative.

Plus, ninjas are cooler than vampire hunters.

I love peanut butter. I love a good burger. Sometimes though, greatness from two separate categories should not be combined, and I have a feeling this might be one of them. I admit to not having tried this mouthwatering combo, and I have no plans to do so. I feel harsh calling it street rat food, but it is certainly not meal of the gods in my book.

That’s all for this week’s edition of the mailbag. Get an early jump on next week’s mailbag by sending your questions to Andy Coppens, who will be organizing next week’s batch.

Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

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