Big Ten Friday mailblog

Let's get right to it.

Eric from Knoxville writes: Hey Adam, i'm a lifetime UM and BIG 10 fan and i think all the talk about expansion is great for the league in a lot of ways. I'm just wondering why i dont hear more about Nebraska. I read about Tom Osborne's thoughts in the lunch links today and coudn't help but wonder. Any thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: We've definitely explored Nebraska here on the blog, and to recap, I think the Huskers bring a name football program, a good academic reputation, a solid overall athletic program and a below-average TV market to the Big Ten. Nebraska certainly would help from a football standpoint as a national power that seems to be on the rise again. The Huskers also excel in other sports like baseball but need to elevate their profile in men's basketball. If the expansion decision comes down to TV, which I hear it likely will, Nebraska doesn't add a market like Rutgers could. Osborne definitely sounds willing to listen to the Big Ten, and he should.

Eric from Lansing, Mich., writes: i know there are still 5 spots left in the top 30. but the only one i could think of making it still from my spartans is Jones. but even i dont think he is one of the top 5 of the conference. so how worried should i be about my team that no one still with the team cracked the top 30? oh and love the blog. i know no questions get through without the lip service.

Adam Rittenberg: First off, to Eric and to everyone, you don't need to tell me you love the blog to get in the mailblog. In fact, tell me you hate the blog if it's the truth. I want good questions, first and foremost. As for Michigan State, you'll see Greg Jones in the top 5. He was the Big Ten preseason Defensive Player of the Year and the co-postseason DPOY. Michigan State likely will have a few more players in the 2010 preseason top 30, but I'm not giving away any secrets now.

Jeff from Minneapolis writes: Adam, I totally agree with Frank the Tank's (the blogger, not the guy who wanted to go streaking through the quad up to the gymnasium) belief that the only purpose for the leaking of the Big Ten's report that they could make more money by adding Rutgers, Syracuse, or any number of schools was just a simple, and very public, message to Notre Dame and Texas saying this: while the conference could make the most money by adding one or both of them, they could still make a LOT of money without them. Simply put, it's a public way of saying that Texas and Notre Dame need the Big Ten a lot more than the Big Ten needs them. Thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: Jeff, I was discussing this very topic with some folks who know the Big Ten well on Thursday, and then I saw Frank's blog entry. I thought a lot about this when the Big Ten announced its expansion study, whether it was a signal to Notre Dame, a last-chance proposition to join a league. Notre Dame still makes by far the most sense of any expansion candidate, and the Big Ten is a more attractive league now than it was the last time it approached the Irish. Notre Dame can increase its television revenue by joining the Big Ten. It also could increase the exposure for its non-revenue sports because of the Big Ten Network. Notre Dame should at least listen if the Big Ten reaches out. The Big Ten will be healthy if it expands, and healthy if it doesn't expand. It's not 100 percent necessary by any means.

Dave from Gold Coast, Australia, writes: Hey AdamLove reading your blog all the way here in Australia. Penn State usually has great depth at linebacker,Who did you think are the next guys to step up and continue the tradition of Linebacker U?

Adam Rittenberg: Dave, I've always wanted to visit Australia, and it's good to know there are Big Ten fans there. There's a lot of buzz among Penn State fans about Michael Mauti, who was really impressing people last summer before tearing his ACL. If Mauti's knee holds up, he'll certainly challenge for major playing time. Nate Stupar and Bani Gbadyu both got decent playing time in 2009, combining for 68 tackles. So I'd watch those two along with Chris Colasanti, Gerald Hodges and incoming freshman Khairi Fortt.

James from Key Largo, Fla., writes: What are the chances of seeing Carlos Hyde at OSU this year? I think he's the equal of a Clarett, as good as Chris Wells.

Adam Rittenberg: Hyde certainly will be in the mix this spring, James, but he's got to leapfrog several players to get significant carries. Brandon Saine has the best shot to claim a starting/featured role, along with Dan Herron. Jaamal Berry also is in the mix along with Jermil Martin and Jordan Hall. Hyde certainly generated some hype as a recruit, as did Berry, but he'll need a very strong spring to work his way into the mix.