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Oregon vs. Ohio State, Pac-12 vs. B1G: Q&A with Off Tackle Empire

We chat with Zach Collins about the Rose Bowl in Dallas.

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1. SEC fans have taunted you for years. What will be your primary retorts this long and glorious offseason?

Well, for the most part, we get to finally point at the scoreboard, which is nice. Considering this is the first time in a very long time that our like seeded teams have played, we saw a little more favorable results. That being said, the best taunting I think I could throw back was the press release touting the SEC's bowl record this year. When you're relying on wins over the likes of a fairly bad Iowa team - going through its own turmoil during that game - things aren't necessarily going great.

2. Pac-12. Great conference, or the greatest conference? Do you find us all more annoying than usual now that we're performing well?

Hahaha. See, I'm totally on board with the argument that the Pac 12 is the best conference this year - especially up top. Between great non-con wins, an incredible bowl season, and Oregon being in the national championship game, you have every right to be feeling good about yourself. Add in the fact that a great portion of your fanbase is able to go to a beach, and I'm pretty sure you have every right to claim greatest. As far as annoying, I'll be honest, we have more interaction east and south than we do west. Are you as annoying as either of those? No? Perfect. Now, if you could only do something about your terrible officials. Kind of hate those guys still.

3. Rose Bowl in Dallas. It's odd to think that our conferences are deciding a national championship for the first time in eons, it's even odder that it's not happening in Pasadena. Are you okay with all this flux? Is tradition dead? Do we need to meet new people?

So a couple of thoughts on that. The first is that I have to admit that as a Nebraska fan, I'm still trying to understand the push towards tradition. As weird as it seems, it sometimes feels like I've gone in a time machine coming into this conference... and this is coming from a fan of a team whose fanbase more or less thinks it is 1994. All of that in mind, I'm all for this new world order because that's what happens. Tradition may be dying - I mean, Utah is in the Pac 12 and Rutgers is in the B1G - but we would all be remiss to show how much it's helping things as a whole. As far as meeting new people, I think we both excel at that. It's kind of a problem at times.

4. Do B1G fans fear a return to Ohio State lording over everyone if they win a national title? Or are they mainly rooting for B1G resurgence?

I think most fans are rooting for a B1G resurgence, and as a whole, a lot of us think that everything is cyclical and there is no way that OSU lords over us. Most of us are crazy as well. One of the scariest parts about wanting the Buckeyes to win is ignoring the crazy soul-crushing program Urban is building - or has built - in Columbus. In other words, most are rooting for Ohio State, but mostly at our own risk.

5. Last year Alabama went and got a Pac-12 guy (Lane Kiffin) to run their offense, do you think next they will try to hire a B1G guy to run the defense?

Ha! I hear Nebraska's former Defensive Coordinator is looking for a new job... But seriously, it's fascinating to me how much coaching changes everything. Not even more than a year ago, it was all the rage to talk about the coaching talent being solely in the SEC. Now we are seeing a lot of B1G assistants getting jobs all over the place. I understand that narrative makes the world go on, but it's been nice to quiet it for a while.

6. What did you think about not seeding Oregon and Ohio State against each other in the Rose Bowl? Do you prefer the way the committee seeded or did you pine for tradition?

This sort of goes back to my other comments. I'd rather have them seed it according to how they saw each team's resume as opposed to forcing an issue. This year, it probably could've worked out to have Oregon-OSU in the Rose Bowl, but this is working out so much better. Tradition is nice, and it does lay the foundation for why so many of us love football. That said, it also can't stifle things getting better, and in a lot of ways, this was better. Not more definitive, but probably better.

7. Michigan State has played both these teams. Which performance looked better against each of them? Who do you think Michigan State would have the best chance of beating the second time around?

Better? I think they looked a little better against Ohio State, but they were also at home later in the season, so you kind of hope they would. I think the big difference between the two performances was how they responded to getting pinned down. In both matchups, once the better team - Oregon and Ohio State are legitimately better - got on track. That is, big plays were a huge part of each game, and MSU didn't do enough to stop that from happening. As for who I think they would have a better chance of beating now? Honestly, I don't think they are built for beating these teams right now. They had just enough weaknesses in the defensive backfield that their stout front was doomed. If you forced me to pick a team, I'd say Ohio State because of familiarity, but I just don't see it happening.

8. Make your case for why the B1G needs this title more than the Pac-12!

The B1G needs this title because it's been 12 years since the last time they hoisted a trophy like that. In fact, recently, the B1G has been an afterthought, so much so that Ohio State was giving a TD to Alabama in a game that most of us thought would be closer than that. Even more damning, national perception was that the B1G was the worst of the five major conferences, and that their time was long gone. Week 2 was the culmination of that turmoil when every single national writer gave us hell. Even though we all kept saying we weren't dead, people kept throwing shade in our direction. A National Championship will force people to shut up for a while, which would be pretty great. Obviously, the Pac 12 has gone through its own ups and downs, and this would cement it as the best conference in football, but that's a marginal change in perception compared to what will happen for the B1G if Ohio State wins