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Wisconsin, Big Ten has reason to be proud

What is it about Packers that attracts so many fans?


Dario from Novi Marof, Croatia

You've said multiple times the 2011 Packers were a one-trick pony. I agree, but how come they managed to win 15 times that season when their every opponent knew they were a one-trick pony? And how come everything fell apart immediately in the first playoff game?

It was a heckuva trick. Execution beats scheme. The Giants had the talent on defense to execute the scheme that's best suited to defense the Packers' passing attack, and the Packers didn't have the running game to force the Giants out of that scheme. These Packers do. These Packers have another trick.

John from San Francisco, CA

Do you think the players care who's coming to town next weekend and keep an eye on the TV pulling for a certain team?

The players don't. The players are completely focused on doing their jobs. I think the coaches know who the Packers match up against best, and I think they have a rooting interest, but they're not going to admit to it for an obvious reason.

Mike from Pickerington, OH

Vic, Urban Meyer said the Wisconsin win over Auburn injected energy into the Buckeyes. As a Buckeyes fan, let me say thanks to those Badgers.

Conference pride is a huge motivator in college football. It's kind of nonsensical, especially when you consider that each team has key players from outside the natural boundaries of its conference, but conference pride resonates and helps sell the game. The Big Ten has reason to be proud this year.

Russ from La Crosse, WI

Had a great day watching some exciting bowl games and playoffs. Could the NFL playoffs be as exciting?

I would expect the NFL playoffs to provide a much better product. I need to see some defense, too.

Andrew from Dubuque, IA

Vic, what's your opinion on Jameis Winston and how his talent, and everything that comes with it, translates to the NFL? Would you draft him?

He's a talent of extreme proportions. He can make all of the throws and his arm strength is off the charts, and he has some touch, too. I like his skill set better than Marcus Mariota's because Winston seems to be more comfortable at setting his feet in the pocket and driving the ball, but the character concerns and wildness of Winston's game would make it nearly impossible for me to spend a top-five pick on him.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Vic, do you ever feel sorry for placekickers when they have a chance to win the game and choke?

Yes, I do. When the Auburn kid missed, under my breath I said, "Poor kid."

Bill from Brooklyn Park, MN

Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State: After enduring the verbal belittling of the conference all season, it was great to be a Big Ten fan on Thursday.

Conference pride is a strange phenomenon. Wisconsin fans find themselves rooting for a team that savagely ran up the score on them just a few weeks ago. I don't get it, but there's no doubting it's real.

Mike from Madison, WI

Of the current NFL head coaching vacancies, which one would most interest coach Ketchman?

The Falcons. They're just a few players away and, with a new stadium on the horizon, and I think that can be a very exciting franchise in the future.

Ryan from Chippewa Falls, WI

What four teams do you see emerging victorious on wild-card weekend?

I like the home teams, except for Pittsburgh, where there's concern Le'Veon Bell may not be able to play on Saturday.

Corbin from Menomonie, WI

What is your take on Marcus Mariota? He seems like the real deal, and his attitude and big arm seem to translate well to the next level.

He'll probably be the first pick of the draft. He has all of the tools, but he's difficult to evaluate because he throws on the run so often. There were only a few examples on Thursday of Mariota standing in the pocket and driving the ball. Before I could spend the first overall pick on him, I would have to ask myself how successful would he be if you took away all of the window dressing in the Oregon offense. Can he tilt the field with his talent alone? Andrew Luck tilts the field. I think Luck is the standard by which first-overall-pick quarterbacks should be judged.

Dale from Sebastian, FL

Vic, I received the new Al Michaels book as a gift and came across a passage you might like. "I was fascinated by the competition. I was rooting for drama, a close game and excitement. I loved the ebb and flow. I wanted extra innings. I wanted overtime. I wanted controversy." Sound familiar?

That's me.

Eric from New York, NY

Vic, I love that you post the questions of some of the less wistful Packers fans who are trolling to get an emotional response out of you. I also find it hilarious that you never give an inch. Over time, that has to wear on you a bit, no?

No. When I was in the hospital on Monday, I had them glue on an extra layer of skin.

Jim from Brooklyn, NY

Vic, after watching the Rose Bowl and Oregon doing these unorthodox, one-person offensive lines and going for two after a touchdown, is this the future of the NFL?

Yeah, I think it is, but to a lesser degree. We're going to see the influence of college football trickle down to the NFL. College football is more inventive and creative because it has to be. Recruiting restrictions and practice time constraints force college football to do more with less. So what we're seeing is a template for innovation, and NFL coaches watch this stuff closely and incorporate some of the concepts into their programs.

Justin from Oshkosh, WI

Vic, been watching bowl games and so far the QB that really passes the eye test is Bryce Petty. What do you think of his chances in the NFL?

The words you're going to see associated with Petty are "system quarterback." It's going to hurt him, but he'll certainly have a chance to answer the criticism.

Conner from Germantown, WI

Vic, as a question posed to the "Ask Vic" community as a whole, what is it about the Packers that draws in all these fans from overseas and other places? It certainly seems like we have widespread support. Is this the same with every other team?

Only a few teams in the league have the kind of following the Packers have. The Cowboys also have that kind of following. What is it about the Packers that attracts such a widespread following? I think it's the Packers' unique identity that does it. This is the team of the small town. All of the football fans in all of the small towns in America and beyond can naturally identity with the Packers. I also think this is the team of goodness. The Packers have an identity for being a clean-living team that plays fair and treats the game and its opponents with respect. All of the good people can naturally identify with the Packers.

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