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B1G mailblog

Just a reminder: Big Ten chat Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET. Be there.

And contact me here as I'll have another one of these Friday.

Scott from Phoenix writes: Adam, why is this whole AAU thing such a big deal? Is it just because of Perlman's comments about it being a reason that NU was invited to join the Big10? Seems this has little affect on the University or football program, but gives meaningless fodder for the blog trolls.

Adam Rittenberg: The AAU means a lot to the Big Ten, especially the university presidents around the league. You can make a case that if Nebraska wasn't in the AAU last year, it might not have received an invitation to join the conference. Seriously. While the presidents recognize the value the Huskers football program brings, they also place a premium on academic accolades like AAU membership. That said, Nebraska's July 1 entrance into the Big Ten won't be impacted by the AAU ouster, but it certainly is notable if you followed the Big Ten's expansion push last year.


Rog from Waupaca, Wis., writes: I have noticed a correlation between the quality of Basketball and Football teams (OSU, MSU, and WISC) in at least the Big Ten. Do the quality programs help each other or is it coincidence? Also where do you see Nebraska fitting in for Basketball? Much has been to do about the football program, but not much attention has been spent on Basketball and the other sports. Also how will the expansion of hockey in the Big Ten affect the landscape of college sports?

Adam Rittenberg: Rog, while successful revenue sports bring in money and, in turn, help other programs at a given school, these teams mainly function independently of one another. The coaches want each other to succeed, and there are ways they can help each other (example: Michigan State bringing football recruits to the electric Breslin Center for a big-time national hoops game). But there are too many examples of schools that excel in one major sport but struggle in another (looking at you, Duke). Nebraska basketball seems to be on the upswing under Doc Sadler, but the Huskers weren't brought into the Big Ten because of hoops. I love the idea of a Big Ten hockey league, which should increase the league's overall exposure and attractiveness.


John from Newark, Ohio, writes: Adam, Thank you for declaring your disbelief that Dane Sanzenbacher was not drafted. Seems to me that the best reciever at OSU has taken second seat to a less productive, but higher profile wide out the last few generations. Every game the media highlights the wide out and then the slot guy goes out and performs like a machine. I can't believe any GM could watch the OSU-WI game last year and not believe in Dane. His body of work is outstanding. Why does the media focus on the guy catching one or two bombs every few games and ignore the uber dependable workhorse? It can be argued that Sanzenbacher is as good or better than Hartline (who was the best OSU reciever in his class) and has the highest ethic of teamwork. At least Hartline got a chance to prove himself. Is this a problem with OSU's offensive scheme or simply media bias?

Adam Rittenberg: John, I agree with most of your points here and echo your sentiment that Sanzenbacher should have been drafted. The media bias argument doesn't hold water with me because NFL teams devote too much money and time to evaluating these players to be swayed by what we in the media have to say. They make their own assessments. Sanzenbacher wasn't drafted primarily because of his size, which isn't ideal, and possibly because of his concussion history. But I'm with you. Watch the games and tell me why that guy can't succeed in the NFL. He's a stud.


Jason from Chicago writes: Adam love the blog. Since we all know about Ricky Stanzi's patriotism, can we get his take on the killing of Osama bin Laden? Thanks!

dam Rittenberg: Haha, I'll see what I can do, Jason. I'm more interested to see if the hippies in Kansas City -- apparently there are a bunch nearby in Lawrence, Kan. -- are bracing for Stanzi's arrival.


Ben from London writes: Adam, I'm not sure when you last did a Big Ten recruiting update, but have you noticed how well Michigan is doing on the recruiting trail lately? How impressed with Brady Hoke are you since he took over? It seems like he's doing everything right.

Adam Rittenberg: Ben, I'll likely write more on this later in the week, but Michigan's start to the 2012 class has been impressive. Hoke and his staff have focused on linebackers who they believe will fit what Greg Mattison wants to do with the defense. The approach makes sense after the recent struggles on that side of the ball. The question going forward is whether Hoke can elevate Michigan's overall recruiting and compete for some of the national recruits the Wolverines used to pursue.


Chris from Ann Arbor, Mich., writes: Hey Adam, I'm a Wolverine fan and I love the blog. Being that Tressel knowingly violated NCAA rules and it led to victories, shouldn't their punishment be something more likely to cost them future wins? Suspensions of Tressel that only keep him off of the sideline or the forfeiting of former wins don't seem to be a very serious punishment, do they? After all, it's not as if the NCAA is going back in time and not letting the Ohio play in the Sugar Bowl. We all know they won that game, whether or not the NCAA denies it happening. In my opinion Ohio should be hit with serious recruiting violations and potentially a couple year bowl ban. Something like that would put a recruiting handicap on Ohio equivalent to the recruiting advantage they have been enjoying for a while now. Even firing Tressel is something no real Michigan fan should want, not until we've broken the streak, at least. What are your thoughts on the possibility of a punishment that actually fits the crime?

Adam Rittenberg: You sure Michigan fans don't want Jim Tressel gone? He sure has caused a lot of heartache in Ann Arbor. ... I agree that vacating wins is more of a symbolic penalty than one that actually damages a program. If the NCAA wants to hit Tressel/Ohio State, it should restrict the coach's involvement from all activities, particularly recruiting. Like you said, not having him on the sidelines for games, while damaging, isn't nearly as bad as prohibiting him from the game-planning process. Penalties that relate to recruiting, scholarship losses and future bowls certainly seem to be the most harmful to a program.


Justin from Broehm, Iowa, writes: I think you overlooked a sack master, Adam. Check Broderick Binns 2009 stats. Last year he was rotated out of the starting lineup - whether because he just got beat out or because an offseason dui put him in ferentz' doghouse - and he should come in hungry to prove this year. He should at least get a mention.

Adam Rittenberg: Didn't overlook Binns, Justin. "Rotated out of the starting lineup" is a nice way to say Binns had a disappointing season in 2010. He'll need to prove himself again this fall before I include him among the league's top defensive linemen. Not saying he can't do it, because he showed a lot of good things in 2009 and seems hungry for a big season, but last fall was a setback. I need to see more.