Sam from Richfield, MN

Do you think college football will admit they were too greedy and change the bowl lineup next year? They decided to put the semifinal games on New Year’s Eve and ratings dropped 45 percent. That’s not good business. Also not good business: average margin of victory for the seven New Year’s games was 29 points.

I am a confessed and confirmed college football junkie. I have been all my life. I remember watching Joe Bellino play for Navy, Daryle Lamonica for Notre Dame, Bobby Bell for Minnesota, Richie Lucas for Penn State and Duke Carlisle for Texas. I wasn’t bound by region. I watched whatever was on TV, and New Year’s Day was my favorite day of the year. The Joe Namath Orange Bowl is one of my all-time favorites. I didn’t want the day to end. Yesterday, I stopped watching when the score of the Rose Bowl hit 35-0. This was, without a doubt, the worst New Year’s bowl games season I have ever seen, beginning with the second half of the Clemson-Oklahoma game. If I knew who to call, I’d complain, but I don’t know who to call, and that’s the problem. Who’s running this thing? Does anybody know?

Jason from Pine Island, MN

If you were the GM of a team, which situation would you prefer, a team with “The Man” but in salary cap hell like the 2001 Jags, or one with a well-maintained cap but a pedestrian QB?

If “The Man” is young, I’ll take the cap problems that go with him. “The Man” is the only thing bigger than the cap.

John from Madison, AL

Vic, can the Big 10 ever field a team as dominant as Alabama is today? Can the Big 10 ever be as dominant as the SEC is?

Alabama is very good, and so is the SEC. They are, in my opinion, the dominant team and conference in the nation. With Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, and if Penn State ever repairs itself, the Big 10 will recover and challenge the SEC. If it’s going to happen, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State have to lead the way.

Bronwyn from Tampa, FL

I am afraid of a sea of purple where there should be green and gold. What gives? As a Packers fan who has not yet had the privilege of attending a game at Lambeau, I just don’t understand. Money is one thing, I guess, but this is the division game. Do you really think there will be a bunch of sellouts to the Vikings? So disappointing if that's the case. I’ll be at home watching, wearing my No. 12 jersey and my cheesehead, wishing I could be there in person.

I’ve heard rumblings.

Anthony from Milwaukee, WI

I re-watched last week’s game. I still wanted to cry. Why don’t the Packers like the checkdown passes? So many times in the game, a 3-yard dump off was there. Kuhn would get tackled right away, sure, but it’s better than what they were doing.

In my opinion, the checkdowns were not there. Because the Cardinals were able to cover the Packers’ receivers with one defender per receiver, the Cardinals linebackers were able to remain close to the line of scrimmage, effectively taking away draws and checkdowns. The Packers need to get those linebackers taking deeper drops, and to get the extra safety out of the box. Doing that requires beating man coverage.

Dan from Golden Valley, MN

Vic, Coach McCarthy has had the Packers in the playoffs for eight of his 10 seasons. With a win on Sunday, he’d have seven division titles and, of course, three NFC championship game appearances and a Super Bowl title. I hear some fans questioning his acumen. What’s not to like about the Packers’ version of Bud Grant?

It’s the most dominant run of winning I’ve covered since Chuck Noll in the ’70s.

Cody from Dickeyville, WI

Vic, I’m watching the Rose Bowl. Not much of a game, but isn’t Christian McCaffrey fun to watch?

He’s very talented, but the style of offense most of college football plays reminds me of something you’d expect from kids in the backyard. It’s hike-and-run stuff, and I dislike it intensely. Nothing bothers me more than the drop-back-and-run play. It’s cheesy. Alabama plays football the way football should be played.

Ryan from Fredericton, Canada

Vic, I often copy and paste questions/answers from your column and send them along to friends who are non-Packers fans; it generates great football discussion and I hope they go on to read the column. There was backlash among my friends to your college football views on Friday, specifically the answer about college teams in states that don’t have NFL teams. I personally don’t understand what you meant. Can you elaborate?

College football tends to do best where the NFL isn’t, and that’s because the NFL is a superior product and it tends to dominate market share where it lives. For example, the Southwestern Conference was one of the two dominant conferences in college football when the NFL expanded in Dallas. Now, the SWC is gone. The past two days, Clemson, Oklahoma, Alabama, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State and Iowa – did I miss anybody? – played in major bowl games. Is it a coincidence those schools come from non-NFL states? I don’t think it is. The NFL has won the competition for the entertainment dollar wherever it has existed, and money drives success in college football every bit as much as it does in the NFL.

Tom from Wauwatosa, WI

Having been a Packers fan for 50-some years, anytime you are in the playoffs and are playing for a fifth consecutive division title, you’ve had a heck of a season. Losing Nelson and Montgomery were significant. How does the loss of Sam Barrington, perhaps the middle linebacker who would have let Matthews play on the edge, compare?

It didn’t help. Coaches have to find ways to coach around their team’s deficiencies and win games. The Packers’ coaches have.

Ray from Clark, NJ

Is zone-blocking most popular because it suits linemen that are better pass blockers? If so, what play would you run on third-and-1 vs. a stacked box?

I’d run the Sam Cunningham play. I’m serious. I’ve been saying this for a long time. If I was a coach, I’d go find a jumper. If I can’t go through you, I’ll go over you.

Randy from St. Paul Park, WI

Vic, the reason you might see a preponderance of purple Sunday night is the result of greed. By flexing the start time, the NFL powers forced many traveling fans to sell their tickets because of the later start time. Almost all Packers fans require a job in order to pay for tickets. By flexing to a later start time, many fans had to sell their tickets to maintain their employment. How can you possibly criticize these fans by choosing their job over a football game? Livelihood and family over a game? I’d really like to hear what your opinion is on this matter.

I’ll see if I can find out what the geographic distribution of ticket holders is. If I can acquire that information, I’ll compare the percentage of ticket holders at a distance from Green Bay to the percentage of purple I see tomorrow night. If I’m interpreting you correctly, you’re saying I wouldn’t see a lot of purple in the seats if it was a day game. Wasn’t the Dallas game a day game?

Erin from Brookfield, WI

Be new! This might be the best resolution I have seen so far. We could all use a healthy dose of reaching for new goals instead of reaching for our smartphones. Here’s to a year of new experiences. Thanks, Vic.

Here’s another one: Be happy! I’m happy to be covering big-game football in January.


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