Any Big Ten fans in Boston? I might see you this weekend.
Darnell from San Diego writes: With NY/NJ earning the Superbowl bid in 2014, do you see it feasible to stage the big game or even a BCS game in the Big House? More seats mean more more money right?
Adam Rittenberg: You won't see the traditional bowl games move from their sites, as the college bowl experience is different than the Super Bowl experience. People plan their vacations around bowl trips. So unless the BCS wants to restructure things and have the championship game at a totally different site -- and run by a totally different staff -- you won't see it moved to a cold-weather city like Ann Arbor. Could it happen some day? Sure. The way sports are these days, people are thinking outside the box and willing to take risks. But I don't see a championship game being played north of Pasadena any time soon.
Adam from Miami writes: Adam, seriously this is getting a little ridicules. Poll after poll Wisconsin is ranked higher than Iowa. Can you please give me the reasoning behind this, because I'm stumped. Wisconsin finished 16 in both the final polls, and ended the year beating a mediocre Miami (I know, I'm also a Cane). The Hawks finished 7 in both polls, and dismantled a conference champion in GT. The one question mark is our O-line, which we have a track record of reloading... Help me out here bro!
Adam Rittenberg: It comes down to returning starters and the fact that Iowa has a potential weakness along the offensive line, while Wisconsin doesn't have one position group that everyone is fretting about. I think a lot of these prognosticators look at returning starters and see Wisconsin bringing back its quarterback (Scott Tolzien), its Heisman Trophy candidate running back (John Clay), a great offensive line, its top wide receiver (Nick Toon) and some exciting young defenders (including 2009 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Chris Borland). Aside from maybe the secondary, Wisconsin doesn't have an area that gets you really worried. Iowa has a few more questions, not to say the Hawkeyes can't answer them. I have Iowa ranked ahead of Wisconsin in my power rankings, but I'm just giving you the rationale to flip-flop the two teams.
Jerry from New York City writes: I just read your piece on recruiting and population shifts and the low number of rust belt players in the Rivals150. I was at a University of Wisconsin alumni event in New York during December where Barry Alvarez was the main speaker. He has a different take on recruiting.He explained that in states which have spring football such as Florida and Texas, the high school athletes are more developed and closer to their potential when they leave high school then are high school athletes from states without spring football. That accounts for their dominance in the Rivals150. According to Alvarez, those athletes from states without spring football have a lot more potential to develop while in college. That in his opinion is why teams such as Wisconsin and Iowa compete well against schools with more-heralded recruiting classes.
Adam Rittenberg: Spring football certainly makes a difference, but so does player development. And I tend to agree with Alvarez that the Big Ten is a superior conference in terms of player development. Just look at teams like Iowa, Wisconsin, Purdue and Northwestern in the last 15 years or so. They rarely finish high in the recruiting rankings but consistently put forth solid teams. Now the SEC and the Pac-10 have good coaches, too, but the quality of coaching in the Big Ten remains extremely high, because it has to be. Still, some of the things Ivan Maisel showed in his story have to make you concerned if you're a Big Ten fan.
James B. from Chicago writes: Hey Adam,Thanks for some of the best blogging around. I have a problem that I was hoping that you can help me with.I recieved my Bachelor's from Northwestern in 2006, and I just finished medical school at University of Wisconsin. Now next month, I'll be starting residency in Ann Arbor at U Mich. Oh, and I grew up as a die-hard Ohio St fan. How can I keep my loyalties straight in all this mess? Any suggestions?
Adam Rittenberg: Wow, that is a problem, James. You could bill yourself as The Ultimate Big Ten Fan, but I don't know if people would appreciate that, given the rivalries in this league. In most cases, people stick with the team they grew up rooting for or the school they attended for undergrad. I don't know too many people who did both their undergrad and graduate work at schools with big-time football who have a stronger allegiance to their grad school team. Then again, my best friend is about to call himself a big Maryland basketball fan as he starts his Ph.D program in College Park this fall. I'd stay stick with Ohio State and/or Northwestern, but any more than that would be tricky.
Scott from Yakima, Wash., writes: As a Spartan and Big Ten supporter way out west, I hope we, from all conferences and all teams across this nation, remember a great football player (of many) inducted into the HOF class of 2010; Pat Tillman. The man loved his country and embodied the best in man, and his essence cuts across all teams, conferences and sports. He is missed, but his sacrifice and dedication hopefully are not lost on us. Thank you, Pat.
Adam Rittenberg: Well said, Scott. Tillman will never be forgotten, and it was great to see him enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
Matthew from East Lansing, Mich., writes: I know that the idea of ND to the Big 10 is fading, and that [Jack] Swarbrick said that they would only consider joining if there was a "seismic" change. The more and more times I read expansion articles though i begin to think that maybe it wont take the Big 10's doing to make that change. What I mean is that if we start this but dont touch the Big East there could still be a trickle down effect, ruining the Big East and ND's home to everything but football. This would probably leave them no choice but to crawl to us begging. Your thoughts?
Adam Rittenberg: Your scenario certainly could happen, but you're sort of banking on the SEC to poach teams from the ACC, and the ACC to once again look toward the Big East. Besides the Big Ten and ACC, I don't think many leagues will look to the Big East for potential expansion candidates. I think the Big East can survive if it loses one or two teams. Any more would create some problems. Then again, the Big East could end up as strictly a basketball conference and keep Notre Dame as a member. Would the Big Ten be willing to take a chance and leave the Big East alone, hoping to get Notre Dame on the back end? Perhaps. But Jim Delany is the type who wants to maintain as much control of a situation as possible.
John from Antarctica writes: Hey Adam. I love the blog. Who do you think would win in a street fight between you and the other conference bloggers? My money is on you against any of them, except for maybe that guy who covers the SEC.
Adam Rittenberg: John, you'd end up a poor man. Then again, do you need money in Antarctica? I think I could take a few of them, but I'd definitely be the underdog in most matchups. Chris Low is a pretty tough hombre, but I think I'm faster than him. Imagine that: the Big Ten being faster than the SEC.