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Inside NU mailbag: Northwestern football win/loss projections, basketball scholarship questions, mascot Royal Rumble and more

Henry Bushnell answers *the most pressing questions* in Northwestern sports.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the spring, with Northwestern sports in somewhat of a lull, Henry Bushnell — and possibly other Inside NU writers — will, from time to time, field questions from you, our readers, on social media and answer them in whatever way he or they choose.

To submit a question for the next mailbag, comment on this article, comment on our Facebook page, Tweet @insidenu, or email us at

Any further developments with schollie No. 13? Moore? Barry? Will it be Vassar gone? Someone else?
- Jack Saltzman, @jsalty123

Wow, I was under the impression that all leading mailbag questions had to be about Bill Carmody. Guess I was mistaken.

Since the last time we conversed via mailbag, the biggest development is that Charlie Moore, the top class-of-2016 prospect in the state of Illinois, de-committed from Memphis and recently got a release from his National Letter of Intent. Within an hour of the news, Northwestern was in touch with Moore's camp, and there is reportedly mutual interest. Moore is a 5-foot-10 point guard, but could play alongside Bryant McIntosh and would be a gigantic get for Chris Collins. The Wildcats face a lot of competition for his services though.

Northwestern also faces some stiff competition for Canyon Barry, a 6-foot-6 guard who's transferring from College of Charleston. Barry has visited Florida and figures to visit Miami, where his father, Rick, played, in the not too distant future. Per Luke Srodulski of Wildcat Digest, Barry will visit Northwestern for a few days at the end of April.

Northwestern also still doesn't have a scholarship available, which is the biggest hindrance right now in its pursuit of either a high school senior or a graduate transfer. And no, there are no new developments to report. The one thing I will say, however, is that I've heard from multiple sources that Johnnie Vassar is comfortable where he is — getting a great education at Northwestern — and is comfortable riding out his scholarship. But there is nothing concrete to report.

Who would be the top transfer target if a spot opens up? Seems reasonable to pursue a big, but talk has been about guards.
- Zach Pereles, @zach_pereles

Talk has been about guards, and rightly so. I actually don't think it's reasonable to pursue a big at all. Northwestern has two solid bigs for one spot. It basically only has one solid guard for two spots. Or at least one solid guard that can be counted on with the ball in his hands. Jordan Ash isn't a second — yet — and we simply don't know whether or not Isiah Brown is. This true secondary ball-handler is something Northwestern lacked last year, and now lacks even more with Tre Demps gone.

It's also a position that has become increasingly important in college basketball. More and more teams are realizing the value of playing two point guards alongside each other. Just look at the three best teams in this year's Final Four. Villanova started Ryan Arcidiacono and Jalen Brunson. North Carolina started Marcus Paige and Joel Berry. Oklahoma started Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard. A second ball-handler has almost become a necessity in today's game, and it's something Collins and Northwestern don't have at the moment.

Football schedule wins and losses
- Nick, @nicklux33

Question marks are your friend, Nick.

No, like, seriously, there are a lot of question marks on this schedule (I would never sarcastically correct grammar). So rather than just go wins and losses, let's do this on a confidence scale. If I rate a game a 10, it means I'm darn near sure Northwestern is going to win it. If I rate a game a 1, I'm darn near sure NU will lose it. Here goes:

vs. Western Michigan — 8
vs. Illinois State — 10
vs. Duke — 7
vs. Nebraska — 5
at Iowa — 3
at Michigan State — 3
vs. Indiana — 8
at Ohio State — 2
vs. Wisconsin — 6
at Purdue — 8
at Minnesota — 5
vs. Illinois — 8

My average confidence score is just above a 6. So if we consider that a 50/50 game would be a 5.5 on this scale, I have Northwestern winning around 7 games. And I think that's probably the number I'd come to if you asked me to peg NU's 2016 win total on the dot.

Who would win in a fight, you or Jack Mitchell?
- Tristan Jung, @tristan1815

Just got off the phone with a Vegas bookie, he said I'd be a slight favorite in the first three rounds, but I'd be out cold in the fourth.

If the moon was made of spare ribs, would you eat it?
- Ben Goren, @BenG412

If the moon *were made of spare ribs... c'mon Ben.

How would Willie do in a Royal Rumble featuring every Big Ten mascot?
- Martin Oppegaard, @OppegaardMartin

First of all, Martin, this question is the best of the bunch. It's of the highest quality. It's probing and sure to incite controversy. Outstanding stuff.

I'm sensing y'all are craving some power rankings. But first, let's talk about Willie. Willie is soft AF. A Wildcat could be menacing, but Willie simply isn't. I also may or may not hold a grudge against Willie because he LITERALLY CLIMBED UP ON A WELSH-RYAN ARENA RAILING RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE PRESS AREA WHILE A GAME WAS BEING PLAYED AND BLOCKED MY VIEW TO TAKE A FREAKIN' SELFIE /end irrational rant.

Okay, power rankings. Remember, this is not about good and bad, cool and uncool. This is a Royal Rumble. Also remember that three Big Ten schools -- Michigan, Indiana and Illinois -- do not have mascots. Illinois used to have one, but I'd rather not even acknowledge it. So let's get to the rankings.

11. Brutus The Buckeye: I mean, it — not he, not she, it — is a nut.
10. Willie The Wildcat: Again... Willie is low-key wack.
9. Nittany Lion: I hate that he/she/it doesn't have a name. It is also, I believe, smaller than Willie. But its mannerisms suggest it could out-scrap Willie.
8. Goldy Gopher: The teeth could be an underrated weapon.
7. Testudo: Meh.
6. Bucky Badger: Beer muscles.
5. Herky Hawk: The general rule is the uglier you are, the more willing you'll be to throw your body around and risk injury. That's Herky's main advantage. He'd be fearless.
4. Scarlet Knight: Rutger.
3. Herbie Husker: He's got a sidekick, Lil Red.
2. Purdue Pete: I mean, he sucks, but he does have a hammer and the thousand yard stare of a cold-blooded killer...
1. Sparty: This is no contest until Sparty lays off the 'roids.

What are you thoughts about Chris Collins recruiting for basketball when he doesn't have an open scholarship? I'm referring more to ethics consideration than guys who would be great to get as transfers.
- Johnathan Wood, @Johnathan_Wood1

I've thought a lot about this. On the surface, what he's doing right now isn't an issue. If it's Vassar's spot that might open up, Collins has every right to, and perhaps needs to recruit the players that could potential fill that spot. If he doesn't, he cedes a major advantage to the schools with which he's competing for players like Moore, Canyon Berry and others.

The issue, for me, would arise if it's not Vassar. If Collins were to cast his net into the transfer market, find something he liked, and then discuss transfer possibilities with players on his current team, I think that would be wrong. I know it happens elsewhere, and I don't think Collins and Northwestern should be held to a different standard just because they're Northwestern (whatever that means), but just because it happens elsewhere, doesn't mean it's okay. But remember, we have no evidence to suggest that any of this is happening or has happened. So, based on the information that is public, what Collins is doing right now is totally fine. We'll cross other bridges if/when we come to them.

Also, Jack Mitchell would 100 percent beat me in a fight.