My Big Ten chat returned to its usual date and time. Fortunately, many of you showed up when you were supposed to.
For those who didn't, or for those who just want to relive it, I invite you to check out the complete chat transcript.
And, as always, some highlights:
Matt from Big Ten Country: Hey Adam...... With new divisions being the talk of the Big Ten right now, if we split east and west where will those bubble schools (Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue) end up you think? And which division would be stronger? Thanks!
Adam Rittenberg: Matt, it's a good question, and I might include Michigan and Michigan State in that mix of schools that could be placed in either division. You could split the Michigans and protect them with an annual crossover game. You can also maintain the Northwestern-Illinois and Purdue-Indiana series with annual crossovers, so it really comes down to those individual schools and where they fit best. Northwestern definitely fits better with the "West" division. Purdue and Indiana honestly could go either way. Illinois is the interesting one because it has rivalries both with East teams (Ohio State, Michigan) and West teams (Iowa, Northwestern).
Rob from Morristown, N.J.: There still seems to be many in the media that continue predicting the demise of PSU football in the coming years, including one columnist in your lunch links today. I'm an openly noted biased PSU alum and fan, but I just do NOT see this program, with its current coaching staff in place and the support it gets from its massive fan base and alumni network, falling below the likes of Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Purdue and the incoming Rutgers/Maryland on a regular basis. With its current non-conf schedule, I see 6 wins at LEAST every year during the sanction and in the few years beyond.
Adam Rittenberg: Rob, the more I look at Penn State's roster for 2013 and some of the progress in recruiting, the more I agree with you. Penn State certainly could win 7-9 games in 2013 if it stays healthy. Quarterback is a huge question mark, and I don't think the leadership will be quite as strong as we saw this past year (not a knock on the next senior class, more of a nod to the previous senior class). The big issue for Penn State will be depth. The Lions won't be able to afford as many key injuries as other teams. But if they stay healthy and get enough from the QB spot, they should be fine for 2013 and beyond.
Tim from Columbus, Ohio: I think the issue with the Big Ten is a lot of school's recruiting philosophy is too regional, and doesn't stretch much to the south, where they're seems to be more talent. Urban Meyer seems to be one that recruits hard out of region. Shouldn't the other coaches follow suit? Even Brady Hoke seems to be wanting to recruit more regionally around Michigan and Ohio.
Adam Rittenberg: Tim, I agree that Brady Hoke seems to be more Midwest-focused, but if you look at all the Big Ten rosters, you'll see teams that have tried to recruit the South and Southeast. Wisconsin, for example, has done very well in Florida. Teams like Nebraska, Purdue, Minnesota and Northwestern have recruited Texas well. The key is my mind is to make the South and Southeast an even bigger priority going forward. Hire assistants with ties to the region and emphasize it more during the process. The talent is there. Go get it.
Vladimir from Moscow: Please rate the following reasons from 1-5 for why the B10 has fallen behind:- Head coaching talent- Assistant coach's pay- Style of play- Speed- Ebb and Flow of sports
Adam Rittenberg: Vladimir, I would list recruiting changes/population shift as the No. 1 reason before any of those. After that, I'd go speed, assistant coach pay, head coaching talent, ebb and flow of sports, and style of play. I think the claim that the Big Ten's "style" is behind the times is lazy and ignorant. Big Ten teams have been running the spread offense for nearly 15 years. It's not new to this league.
Decker from Winston-Salem: Is Brady Hoke ever going to bring UofM a national championship or is he more like Bret Bielima was at Wisconsin with great teams that are never quite good enough?
Adam Rittenberg: Decker, I think this is a fair question. I think the better comparison might be Hoke's former boss, Lloyd Carr, during the last decade of his time at Michigan. Although Carr won a national title in 1997, he had a hard time getting back to the biggest stage -- coached a lot of good teams that went to Rose Bowls but didn't really contend for the national title again (aside from 2006). Hoke needs to show he can take the Michigan program past where it was under Carr from 1998-2007. His recruiting efforts suggest he can get it done, but it wouldn't shock me if Hoke's Michigan career mirrors Carr's from 1998-2007.
Thanks again for your questions and participation. If your question didn't make the rundown, try again next week. Ta-ta.