Big Ten mailblog

Anything on your mind?

Mike from New York City writes: Hey Adam,The PSU-Nebraska series over the past century is extremely close with PSU winning 7-6. There seems to be a lot of dormant animosity between the two schools after the bad call in the 1982 NC game, and the lack of a shared NC title in 1994. The largest crowd ever in Beaver Stadium was the Nebraska game in 2002. And the geography of the two schools puts them in a prime position to have a "Fringe State" rivalry within the big ten, as they both occupy the furthest reaches of the B10. How would you feel about changing PSU's end of season game from Michigan State to Nebraska for the Fringe State Trophy? I feel like that would be a rivalry both schools would care about very much.. a lot more than the MSU-PSU rivalry anyway.

Adam Rittenberg: Let's do it! I would really like to see that game at the end of the season, especially since the Michigan State-Penn State series doesn't do much for either fan base. One thing to consider: Nebraska always has played Colorado around the same time, so we need to see what happens with that series now that the Buffaloes are heading to the Pac-10. If Nebraska and Colorado play every year in September, I could definitely see things worked so that they play Penn State (or Iowa) at the end of November.

Jon from Ohio writes: Adam, can you provide a few steps the Big Ten can take to prevent collateral damage from expansion that the ACC seemed to have suffered? For example, the ACC championship game doesn't sell out, the basketball league was actually weakened and every prediction seemed to have worked out opposite. How does the Big Ten prevent this?

Adam Rittenberg: The Big Ten has some built-in advantages over the ACC, namely more tradition in football and larger fan bases. Jim Delany always brings up the ACC championship game as if to say, "Hey, it's not a guaranteed success." To which I roll my eyes. You put a Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis, and you're telling me it wouldn't be a super hot ticket every year? It would be a huge success for the Big Ten. You bring up a good point about the basketball product being weakened. Nebraska certainly doesn't add to the Big Ten that way. Notre Dame is an average hoops program, and Rutgers is totally off the radar in men's hoops (great in women's hoops). That has to be a bit of a concern with expansion, but if Nebraska is the only addition, the hoops product remains pretty strong.

Tim from Austin, Texas, writes: Adam, I'm a big UM and Big 10 as a whole fan. Everything that's going on with expansion has of course peaked interest, but something Kirk Herbstreit said... I disagree with. Kerby said that the Pac-10 is "stealing the thunder" from the Big 10. I know that Texas is the big fish here, but the Big Fish comes with so much baggage. Texas A&M and the Tech problem are 2 things that I don't think the Big 10 wanted to deal with, so they won't. Texas is a great addition, but with the package deal that includes the entire Big 10 South (minus Baylor), I don't think the Big 10 lost. It's like asking the hot girl to prom, but she makes you take all her fat friends too. What do you think? Is the Big 10 Losing?

Adam Rittenberg: Tim, I totally agree with you, but be prepared to hear people saying the Big Ten "lost" the expansion game if it only adds Nebraska and the Pac-10 expands by six. People will look at a much stronger Pac-10 on the field and disregard the extra baggage stuff. The bottom line is these two leagues -- Big Ten and Pac-10 -- are in different positions, although they have some similar philosophies. The Pac-10 really needs to expand to improve its brand and become more relevant nationally. I contend that while expansion helps the Big Ten, it's not absolutely necessary. The Big Ten would be compromising a lot to take on all of Texas' baggage. But again, be prepared for some Big Ten bashing.

Nathan from Montana writes: Do you think that Jim Delany made a huge mistake announcing his intentions and plans in relation to expansion, Adam? Not really announcing that the Big Ten was looking to expand, but announcing some details? Also, did the Pac-10 trump Delany in a major way? Is there anything the Big Ten can do and will each Big Ten school still make more money than any other conference (since money drives a lot of things)?

Adam Rittenberg: He might have made a mistake in thinking other leagues wouldn't react aggressively to what the Big Ten is doing. It's clear to me that the Big Ten has been forced to rush things now because of how quickly Larry Scott and the Pac-10 are moving. But if Scott was going to expand the Pac-10 anyway, did it matter that the Big Ten went public? And as far as the details, there haven't been too many that have damaged the Big Ten. Besides Texas, there isn't a school that both the Pac-10 and Big Ten coveted in expansion. Regarding money, the Big Ten and SEC always will generate a ton of revenue, but an expanded Pac-10 could enter the discussion if things go well.

Mark from Columbus, Ohio, writes: Given the penalties that USC will suffer over the next few years and the recruting promises made to the contrary, what are thechances that a recruit like Seantrel Henderson can re commit to another school?

Adam Rittenberg: It will be very, very interesting, Mark. We'll really find out about Lane Kiffin's recruiting skills now, as he needs to keep this team together and find ways to bring in small but productive recruiting classes during the next three years. Henderson certainly came close to signing with a Big Ten school (Ohio State and Minnesota both were in the mix), and I'm sure he's considering all of his options.

Cory from Ohio writes: Hey Adam, what happens if only Nebraska will go to the Big Ten? What will happen to Mizzou and the Big East teams that are interested? Also, will Notre Dame go to the Big Ten if it is the 13th and final entree?

Adam Rittenberg: If it's just Nebraska, the Big Ten forms a 12-team league, splits into two divisions, holds a championship game and that's the end of it. But I have a feeling this is just Phase 1 of the expansion process. Missouri is on the radar along with several others, but not at the very top of the list. Notre Dame knows the deal and can join as Nos. 13, 14, 15 or 16, but it has to actually want/accept the reality of being in a conference. Notre Dame likely could have been No. 12, but now I think it's more likely the Irish are team No. 16, forced into saying yes.