Big Ten Friday mailblog

Dan from Mansfield, Pa., writes: Adam, do you think that it's possible or logical for Penn State to run a 2-QB system this year? Newsome is the only one with some playing time under his belt and he's versatile, but his passing ability scares me. Jones and Bolden are both highly rated passers coming out of High School. What do you see happening with the QB position in Happy Valley?

Adam Rittenberg: Penn State will settle on a starter in mid August, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Lions employ a two-quarterback system at times this fall. There is some history there, as Penn State quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno told me recently. "We've done it with Kevin Thompson and Rashard Casey back in '99, and we had a really good offensive football team that year doing that," Paterno said. "Whether that's the case or not, who knows? That's something that down the road, it's going to sort itself out. Ideally, you'd like to have one guy, but sometimes you have different talents and you want to utilize them." My sense is that the coaches want Kevin Newsome and Matt McGloin to separate themselves a bit this spring, so they don't have to play Paul Jones or Robert Bolden right away. But with so little experience coming back, it's naive to rule out the possibility of a two-QB scheme or the true freshmen factoring into the mix.

Mike from New York City writes: Hey Adam,Interesting piece on the BT weather, but I am not so sure it really tackles the subject. I think back to games like PSU vs Iowa in 2008 and the PSU vs OSU game in 2005 (cold and rainy all day). I tend to feel like the October games in Beaver Stadium were much more harsh than the Rose Bowl for the 2008 Season (October vs January). Also, the post only really looked at temperatures at home games for a single season, not cross referencing it to other conferences, and leaving out cloud cover, precipitation, and wind speeds. Any chance you would be able to compile a chart that includes temperatures, precipitation, wind speeds, and cloud cover?

Adam Rittenberg: Mike, you and others have raised some good points about the 2008 Penn State-Iowa game and similar contests played under some pretty rough conditions. I'm still intrigued that so few games in 2009 were played in the 30s, and that more than half the league didn't host a game played below 40 degrees. And while I'd love to put on my meteorologist hat and put together a big weather chart, there's a little thing called spring ball going on that takes precedence. Maybe I'll get to it in May. Then again, I won't want to think about bad weather in May.

D.J. from Minneapolis writes: I'm bias but I have to say that the Weber/Gray/Alipate competition is just as big as Illinois if not bigger. The Gophs are coming off of a bowl game and the Illini aren't. Which to me says they are the better team with more to lose by going with the wrong QB.

Adam Rittenberg: I totally agree that the Minnesota quarterback race is huge, but it might not get as much attention because the returning starter (Adam Weber) is back. Teams like Penn State and Illinois both are replacing multiyear starters (Daryll Clark, Juice Williams) at the most important position on the field. I'm not saying the Gophers' competition is less of a big deal, but that's how a lot of folks view these races, by who left.

Michael from Iowa City, Iowa, writes: Adam, I have one comment and a question for you.First, in Tuesday's mailbag you received a letter from Dillain who is a Hawkeye fan that will be attending PSU, and isn't certain who to root for. As a proud Iowan and Hawkeye, let me give him some help. Rooting for PSU is like rooting for Iowa State. Enough said.Second, you mention that you'll be in Iowa City in a couple of weeks. Do you ever "meet the plebians" so to speak?

Luke from Philly writes: Hey Adam, I just read your mailbag. One of your young readers commented that his family is from Iowa but he was just accepted to college at Penn State. He has some questions about his allegiances. As an alumnus I want to congratulate him on getting into the greatest university in the world. Also, I wanted to give a word of advice, based on my experiences. I was a DIE-HARD Michigan fan before I went to PSU. When I got there, I traded up and left the Wolverines behind for my Lions. By the way, my freshman year was 1997. Yes, the year the Wolverines won the National Title. And I don't regret it one bit.

Adam Rittenberg: Sorry, Dillain. I doubt this helps you decide your rooting interests, but I thought it'd be good to hear both sides. Michael, I usually zoom in and out for my spring trips, but I'll let you know if I'll be spending any extra time in Iowa City.

Vincent from Lewis Center, Ohio, writes: Adam, again Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney is at the forefront of an NCAA news story (this time NCAA Tournament expansion). People knock the Big Ten all the time, but Delaney is always quoted, always outspoken and his opinion more/less always matters.Is this an illustration that the Big Ten is very powerful (maybe the biggest powerbroker) and Delaney is the most powerful commissioner?

Adam Rittenberg: That's a good assessment, Vincent. Jim Delany's voice matters in college sports, whether or not some folks in the media want to listen to him. Delany might rub some folks as arrogant, a perception that applies to the Big Ten as a whole, but his influence and leadership in college athletics can't really be questioned. I hear from a lot of Big Ten fans who want Delany out because he's anti-playoff and, for a time, reluctant to push forward with an expansion study. But look at how he's improved the league since taking over as commissioner, pioneering projects like instant replay and the Big Ten Network. For those truly invested in the league, the 11 universities, Delany's approval rating is extremely high.