<
>

Big Ten chat wrap: Jan. 9

The Big Ten chat returned to its normal day but at an earlier time. Those who showed up came with some good questions and comments.

Did you miss the fun? No worries. I've got you covered with the complete chat transcript.

Some highlights:

Geoffrey from Crestline Park: True or False? With the demographic/population changes that have occurred across the midwest, the Big Ten will NEVER be able to compete with the SEC in football.

Adam Rittenberg: False. Never say never. It comes down to strategy and resources. Big Ten coaches have to devote more time and energy to recruiting the types of players we see in the SEC. You just have to. And the Big Ten remains on par with the SEC from a revenue standpoint. It needs to pay coaches competitive salaries to keep them in the Big Ten. Coaching continuity is huge, and we haven't seen much of it in the Big Ten lately.

Abullah from NYC: How much longer will Husker fans give Pelini? They ran Solich off, and he was arguably more successful.

Adam Rittenberg: It's a tricky situation, Abullah. Pelini wins nine or 10 games every year, but his teams fall flat in big games and can't win championships. The 2013 season could be pivotal as Nebraska has a new AD in Shawn Eichorst who didn't hire Pelini. Will Pelini take that next step forward and solidify his future in Lincoln, or will the Huskers, despite a soft schedule, take a step back? We could see a change in that situation, although it would have to be a major step back. The other thing to watch is whether Pelini leaves Nebraska for another job. His name has been out there a lot in recent years.

Dan from Sparta: MSU state's O came into the year with a lot of question marks due to departures, it seems odd that there seem to be even more after the season they just had. The O can't get worse, I hope, can it?

Adam Rittenberg: Dan, the offense definitely is a major concern with both Bell and Sims gone. I do think the line will be better, especially if Dan Roushar takes a more active role in coaching the linemen again (yes, I know Spartans fans can't stand Roushar as a play-caller, but the guy can coach O-line). It really comes down to the quarterbacks and the receivers. Michigan State should be able to run the ball decently, but it needs a lot more from a passing game that provided so little for most of the season.

Tom from Columbus, Ohio: I read your crystal clear article and while I agree that the B1G needs to be represented and win in the National title but I also think that we as a conference have fallen so much that we need to focus on baby steps. And those steps being consecutive seasons where we have good early non-conference wins and winning bowl seasons with 2 Rose Bowl wins. I guess I am interested on your reasoning? I think at times we are getting ahead of ourselves, sure my Buckeyes have a shot at getting to the National Title but if they get there they better win. Because we all know how that goes when OSU has a flop in the big game....

Adam Rittenberg: Good point, Tom. Taking steps is important, but the entire sport is shaped by the national title game. The SEC for the most part had a so-so bowl season. But Alabama's win in the title game continues the narrative about the SEC being the nation's best league, period. I agree the Big Ten needs to start winning Rose Bowls, recording better regular-season non-league wins and competing better in the biggest bowl games. But as someone well versed in how leagues are perceived, I can assure you the Big Ten will only get respect when one of its teams raises the crystal football. Ohio State still looks like the Big Ten's best hope.

Ed from Cleveland: Interested to hear your take on recruiting? I know as an overall conference never fare as well as the SEC and have to develop the players brought in. How do we get more recruits excited about B1G football. I am in my mid-20's and remember being the premier conference. However, recruits coming in have only heard the B1G bashing that has been going on in the media the past 8 years or so. I know there are a lot of factors that sway recruits one way or another but how the perception that we are a weak conference hurts us.

Adam Rittenberg: Ed, some good points here. The Big Ten bashing puts the responsibility on Big Ten coaches to educate these recruits about their programs, the league and the opportunities it presents. The Big Ten is still a great place to play college football. The facilities are top notch, the academics are top notch, the TV exposure remains unmatched, etc. There are some good selling points for these coaches when they hit the recruiting trail, but when you're recruiting athletes from the south and southeast who only hear about the greatness of the SEC, it can be a hard sell.

Thanks for all of your questions. If yours didn't make the rundown, be sure to try again next week.