Big Ten mailblog

Judge a person by their questions, rather than their answers.

Brian from Pittsburgh writes: Adam,Love your reporting, read it every day. One thing I enjoy is balance in your reporting, but I feel you're missing one opportunity to reinforce this reputation. You were clear in your reporting that while Jared Odrick's selection as Big Ten DPOY was worthy, several other candidates were more so. Odrick's selection to first-team All American should convince anyone who has not watched a full season of snaps by Odrick, why his Big Ten honor was so obvious to those of us who have.

Adam Rittenberg: I'm not missing an opportunity, Brian. Jared Odrick is a great player, but in my opinion, he shouldn't have been Big Ten Defensive POY. That's my opinion, and you have yours, and the coaches have theirs. That's what makes it fun to debate. Greg Jones was an All-American, too, and Brandon Graham is the only defensive player still in the running for the Big Ten's Silver Football award (MVP). So while Odrick is a dominant player and deserves all the accolades he receives, the Defensive POY race is hardly clear cut, or obvious, as you put it.

Dan from Richmond, Va., writes: Adam, love the blog, usually keeps me going during the work week. Anyway, not sure if you have done this or would do it, but I'd like to see a "where are they now" feature on the blog. For example, I'm interested in knowing what's happening with a guy like Jack Ikegwuono. He sort of fell of everyone's radar with that knee injury prior to the draft. I'm sure there are some similar guys from every school that were big time college players and have fallen off the radar. Thanks for your time, and keep up the good work!

Adam Rittenberg: Dan, thanks for the suggestion. This is definitely something I'll look to do during the offseason months. There's just not nearly enough time between August and January. As for Jack Ikegwuonu, the free agent met with the Cincinnati Bengals earlier this week, though no contract has been signed yet. He was a heck of a player at Wisconsin.

Dave from Chicago writes: First off, love the blog, great job! On to the question: since I've become a Spartan ('05), I've seen nearly all of our major teams achieve or come close to national success without any substantial off the field incidents (Men's hoops final fours in '05 and '09, Women's hoops final four in '05, hockey NCAA title in '07) so clearly it's possible for athletes to be successful and law abiding in East Lansing, why do you think that the football team has been unable to duplicate either condition? Is it something special about the nature of football? is it something to blame on the coaches? (Dantonio's fault? or hangover from the Smith and Williams eras?) something else I'm just not thinking of? And what do you think is necessary to reverse these trends for MSU (with a definite preference for solving discipline first and on field success after)?

Adam Rittenberg: Football certainly has something to do with it, as the game is inherently violent. And most football programs go through periods of off-field problems, as both Penn State and Iowa did recently. We need to see how this latest Michigan State situation plays out, specifically if charges are filed against football players and who gets charged with what. But it's certainly a concern for Mark Dantonio, who has done a good job of enforcing discipline for the most part. I disagreed with Dantonio's decision to reinstate Glenn Winston the same day he was released from prison in August. Since Winston seems to be at the center of this alleged brawl, the decision looks even worse.

Seth from Iowa City, Iowa, writes: I saw someone post a question in your chat about adding Notre Dame and what the divisions would be. I think you were leaning to something like West=Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Notre Dame. East=Michigan, Michigan St. Indiana, Ohio St. Penn St., Purdue. I think to make it more even, you could do more of a North/South area with Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan St., Michigan, Northwestern, Penn St., and South would be Iowa, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Notre Dame, and Ohio St.?

Adam Rittenberg: That's exactly how I envisioned it, Seth, and here's why. It would be very tough to split up Ohio State and Michigan and continue their annual rivalry. There's no way a division split would happen unless Ohio State and Michigan played every year. You can count on that. Now they still could play every year in opposite divisions, but it could create more scheduling headaches with the division byes for other teams. I really think you'd need to keep Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State in the same division and hope it doesn't turn into a Big 12 South type of deal where the other division is much weaker.

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