Big Ten mailblog

Your questions, my answers ...

A.J. from Madison, Wis., writes: If everybody's eligible, how many bowl games does the B1G win?

Adam Rittenberg: Good question, A.J., and a potential Take Two topic before the bowls kick off. Assuming Ohio State doesn't make the national title game but wins the Big Ten championship, it would play Stanford in the Rose Bowl. I'd like the Buckeyes' chances. Penn State also likely would be in one of the Florida bowls against an SEC team, and everyone else would slide down a notch. I think the Big Ten would get 1-2 more bowl wins if both Ohio State and Penn State are in the mix. As it stands right now, the Big Ten will have a tough time getting two or more bowl wins, and an 0-7 record is certainly possible. If Ohio State and Penn State were in there, the matchups still would be challenging, but a winning record wouldn't be out of the question.

Andy from Dayton, Ohio, writes: I noticed your column on Urban Meyer not lobbying to get the Bearcats into the ACC, you mentioned the Big 12 as a home. My question is how will this effect the Big 10 recruiting in Ohio, does the pot get split up more if Oklahoma is going against Michigan and Ohio St?

Adam Rittenberg: Andy, I wouldn't expect it to impact Big Ten recruiting too much. The Big 12 already is in West Virginia, so there's a presence there. And some Big 12 schools -- especially one like Oklahoma, whose head coach, Bob Stoops, is an Ohio native -- already recruit the state anyway. Although the Big 12 could showcase its product more often in the state with games at Cincinnati, I don't see a huge impact with respect to the Big Ten's recruiting efforts.

Chris from Omaha writes: Thanks for the article on the Big Ten attendance. Michigan State has to pad their attendance numbers - I'm a Husker fan that was at that game and that place was NOT full at all! The box score attendance is showing 73,522 in a 75,000 stadium. That is simply not accurate - there is no way. The only reason I bring this up is because you mentioned Michigan State's increase in attendance this year in the article, but I just don't think that's true. Go Big Red.

Adam Rittenberg: Chris, it's all based on paid attendance, not actual attendance at the game. The Michigan State-Nebraska game is hardly the only game to post a higher paid attendance than actual attendance. It happens everywhere. Michigan State's attractive home schedule certainly played a role in the attendance increase despite the team's struggles on the field.

Shareef from Ann Arbor, Mich., writes: I'll keep this question short and sweet: How did WIll Hagerup, who was voted the B1G's punter of the year, not make your first or second team All-Big Ten teams?

Adam Rittenberg: Same reason Wisconsin's Jacob Pedersen, the Big Ten's tight end of the year, didn't make our teams. Because we disagreed with the Big Ten's selections for several of the position awards. That's not a knock on Hagerup or Pedersen -- or Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde, whose selection as defensive back of the year was most surprising. But when we evaluated the punters, tight ends and defensive backs, we felt other players were more deserving. Although Hagerup had the best punting average in the Big Ten (45 ypp), he had only 33 attempts. Both Mike Sadler and Cody Webster had twice as many attempts as Hagerup, and their averages were nearly as good. Sadler placed 28 punts inside the 20-yard line, while Webster had 29 of those (along with 17 punts of 50 yards or longer). Hagerups numbers in those categories simply don't measure up, and that's why we gave the nod to Sadler and Webster.

Brian from Atlanta writes: You keep mentioning all the B10 alumni in Chicago, and that's very true. I'd just point out two things. First, most neutral B10 fans have zero interest in attending the CCG so most of those alumni don't matter. Second, PSU and OSU have more alumni in both NYC and DC than in Chicago. Playing in Chicago isn't going to be a big draw for them.I think the problem is WI, not Indy. Let's see what happens when OSU or MI plays in the CCG.

Adam Rittenberg: I agree that title game attendance will be less of an issue when Ohio State or Michigan plays in it, but when did you start speaking for most neutral Big Ten fans? You don't know that they wouldn't want to attend an easily accessible Big Ten game in their home city, if priced correctly. I've heard from many general Big Ten fans who would have gone to the game in Chicago because they live here. Also, Penn State and Ohio State are two of 12 Big Ten schools. Every other Big Ten school has a massive alumni base in Chicago. And Ohio State has a sizable presence as well. Penn State does not, but that's the exception until Rutgers and Maryland join the league.

Spartan4Life from Los Angeles writes: I loved the article on the attendance of games but I think it should be done according to % of max capacity. Of course Michigan and Ohio State would be on the top considering they have stadiums that can hold over 110,000 vs other stadiums that can only hold up to 80,000. measuring the % it gives each team an equal footing to see how many people showed up compared to how many the stadium can actually hold.

Adam Rittenberg: Spartan, I see your point, but the post wasn't really aimed to show who had the largest attendance figures, but how the attendance figures changed from 2011 to 2012. So it's more important to pay attention to Michigan State's increase, Penn State's decrease, etc., than whether Michigan and Ohio State are Nos. 1 and 2. Everyone knows those schools have massive stadiums and always draw the most fans. That's not really news. It's more telling how the average attendance totals change from year to year, or during a longer span of time (4-5 years).

Tom from Minneapolis writes: Adam - You chided Barry Alvarez a little for saying he was talking to a prospective coach five minutes after Bielema's exit, but how about some props for NOT pursuing Paul Chryst, because BA recommended him for the Pitt job last year. If Alvarez had had any inkling at this time last year that Bielema was looking to leave, Chryst would be UW's head coach right now. I thought the comments re Chryst demonstrated that Wisconsin is committed to doing things the right way, even if that sometimes results in a competitive disadvantage.

Adam Rittenberg: Tom, I think it says a lot about Chryst, too. He knows what those kids at Pitt have been through, and leaving them after just one year, even for a potential dream job, isn't the right thing to do. While no one will confuse Paul Chryst with Todd Graham, some would have put them in the same category if Chryst had bolted. It was nice to see Alvarez be up front about Chryst and why he wouldn't pursue him for the job.

Steven from Estero, Fla., writes: Adam, I'm a big ten guy (TOSU '70) and I'm curious as to why our seemingly expansion obsessed commish has not considered Pitt and WVA. Those two make sense if post Md/Rutgers expansion is in the works, as has been intimated. Heard anything about it?

Adam Rittenberg: Steven, a couple of things to keep in mind when throwing out expansion possibilities. If a school isn't an AAU member and a strong academic fit, the Big Ten will not be interested. Nebraska was an AAU member at the time of its admission to the Big Ten. West Virginia is not an AAU member and not a strong academic school. While the ACC seems more willing to compromise its academics (i.e. Louisville), the Big Ten will not. The other thing is demographics and extending the brand into new markets. Pittsburgh is not a new market. The Big Ten brand already resonates there because of Penn State. It's more important to extend the brand into newer, more populated areas than add a school in an area where you're already known.