Big Ten Friday mailblog

Big Ten Video Mailbag (2:06)

Adam Rittenberg answers questions from the Big Ten mailbag (2:06)

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Step into my office ...

Adam from Atlanta writes: Adam, wouldn't it be prudent for folks to wait on declaring this Iowa team special until they win in Columbus, a place they haven't won at since 1991 and vs. a team they have only beaten once since then?

Adam Rittenberg: It's pretty special what Iowa is doing, considering no Hawkeyes team has ever started a season 8-0. But in many ways, I agree with you. The Big Ten title always seems to go through Columbus. Penn State got over the hump last year, and Iowa might need to do the same thing this season, depending on its own performance and the Ohio State-Penn State outcome. Iowa had a favorable track record in State College, but these players have no real reference point for winning games in Columbus. It has gotten very ugly for the Hawkeyes at The Shoe. But I'll tell you this: If Iowa beats Ohio State to complete a brutal Big Ten road schedule at 4-0, it's pretty darn special.

James from Bloomington, Ind., writes: So, Bill Lynch gets his vote of confidence from the AD Glass - not as surprising as Zook's, but still not what many fans were hoping for. What needs to happen for IU to become a decent team? Cincinnati has gone from worse-than-Indiana to outside-shot-for-the-title-game in a short period, so it's not an impossible dream (and the similarities are striking - basketball school that couldn't care less about football). Personally, I think Lynch needs to give the fans something to be excited about, and show some accountability. Every loss is to a 'very good team' (like UVA?), and he doesn't seem to questions his own decisions (blowing a 25 point lead at Northwestern?). Tom Crean went 6-25 last year, and everyone loves him, and looks forward to basketball. Lynch has won the Old Oaken Bucket, but there's a lot of noise to dump him.

Adam Rittenberg: The fans' frustration is understandable, but I can understand why AD Fred Glass did what he did. As Glass said Wednesday, contracts need to mean something at Indiana again after a decade of coaching buyouts. You build success with consistency and continuity, and if anything, Lynch provides those qualities for IU. He's passionate about that program, and not a lot of coaches would be. I agree that Lynch needs to show a bit more accountability after losses like the one at Northwestern, but the team's recruiting seems to have picked up this year, despite the decommitment of Jibreel Black. Lynch deserves at least one more year to see if he can get the program to take another step.

Jeff from Herndon, Va., writes: Adam,What's the status of 'Boom' Herron and Brandon Saine for the NMSU game this weekend?

Adam Rittenberg: Saine returned to practice this week and will start Saturday despite getting his bell rung against Minnesota. Herron should play a bit, but I don't expect Ohio State to take too many risks with his ankle injury. The most significant loss is left guard Justin Boren, who will sit out with a foot injury. Ohio State's offensive line is a bit banged up right now, and it's important that the group gets healthy before the Penn State game.

Patrick from Des Moines, Iowa, writes: What are the odds the Iowa/OSU game will be at night? Thinking about driving to Indianapolis Friday night then to Columbus Saturday morning. Thanks!

Adam Rittenberg: There's no chance, Patrick, because of a policy prohibiting outdoor night games in the Big Ten after Nov. 1. The game will almost certainly kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET, so you should have plenty of time to make the drive over from Indy.