Let's get started ...
Glenn from Leesburg, Fla., writes: Adam, I'm not an Urban Meyer fan by a long shot and continue to question his recruiting football players vs college students who play football. However, in the case of his being mum about (Aaron) Hernandez, do you think there are potential legal ramifications that are influencing his silence? Considering Hernandez has not actually been accused of anything, maybe comments by Meyer could have an effect one way or the other if there is a trial.
Adam Rittenberg: Glenn, you could be right, especially if Meyer went into any specifics about Hernandez's past at Florida, which is very much under the microscope. Would anyone be surprised if Meyer is called to testify during Hernandez's trial? Still, he could issue a statement with general comments about Hernandez and what has happened. I doubt such a statement would have any bearing on a future trial.
Jason from New York writes: Adam,Loved your write up on the B1G-ACC Battle For New York. The B1G will clearly be the favorite in NYC. First, geography. If you look at a map, not only is Rutgers closer to NYC than Syracuse.......but......Maryland AND Penn State are also BOTH closer to NYC than Syracuse! That is 3 teams in the B1G that are geographically closer to NYC than Syracuse. Another point......half of the ACC is the old Big East. Syracuse and the old Big East did not take the Big Apple by storm. Just because a few schools from North Carolina are thrown in the mix, suddenly Syracuse and the ACC will take New York by storm? I think not. The ACC can't touch the B1G in football. The B1G alumni in NYC are strong. You think anyone in NY cares about a Wake Forest @ Syracuse football game? Give me the B1G football lineup any day! The B1G is also pretty strong in basketball. Sorry, Andrea, no one in the Big Apple is going to drive 3.5 - 4 hours to watch Syracuse play any of those confederate schools. Not only is NYC B1G country, but with the addition of Maryland, now Washington DC is B1G Country as well. Do you agree?
Adam Rittenberg: Love the enthusiasm, Jason, and obviously I agree with much of what you write here. Andrea brought up ACC basketball and the value it will bring to New York. She's right, but football remains king in terms of true market share, and as you point out, having teams like Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State play in New York more often will only help the Big Ten's cause in the area. It will be interesting to see how much Syracuse helps the ACC in New York, and how much Rutgers helps the Big Ten. The Orange and the Scarlet Knights could be the deciding factors in this whole debate, but as you point out, I can't see the enthusiasm in New York for the other ACC schools match the enthusiasm for the Big Ten schools.
Ben from Cleveland writes: I don't know if Meyer should weigh in on Hernandez or not, but I do know that there was no reason for him to weigh in on it at a *youth* football camp. They're kids, he doesn't need to be talking to them about a possible triple murderer.I personally don't need to hear him weigh in on it. I don't know what people want him to say. He tried to help Hernandez and be something of a father figure to him at Florida. Considering that, its probably a sensitive topic for him.
Adam Rittenberg: That's a good point, Ben, although Meyer talked to reporters after the camp was over. Still, I don't think a news conference is the right forum for Meyer to address the Hernandez issue. It's obviously a sensitive topic and he'd want to choose his words very carefully. That's why I felt a one-time written statement that would be his only comment on the matter might be the best way to go.
Nate from York, Pa., writes: At the beginning of the season PSU fans were lamenting the losses of Silas Redd and Anthony Fera as they would have helped win the first two games and made it a 10 win season. Looking back now I think the biggest transfers that affected Penn State would have been either Khari Fortt or Jamil Pollard as their transfers have impacted the long-term depth. Is this a correct statement?
Adam Rittenberg: There are two different questions here, Nate. One, which transfers hurt Penn State most in 2012? Two, which transfers hurt Penn State most in the long term? To answer the first, I'd definitely go with Fera, although it's worth pointing out that he was injured for most of the season at Texas. A healthy Fera gets Penn State at least the Virginia game, which was lost on missed field goals. It's interesting how Redd's departure didn't hurt nearly as much as we thought at the time. Part of that has to do with Bill O'Brien's pass-driven offense and Matt McGloin's development at quarterback. Long term, Penn State certainly could have used Fortt at linebacker, which lacks depth right now. Pollard might become a star at Rutgers, but I'm less concerned about Penn State's ability to reload along the defensive line.
Jerry from Bethesda, Md., writes: Adam, you really underestimate what Maryland will bring to the Big Ten. It may take a while for the football program to become truly competitive, but both the men's and women's basketball programs will compete for championships. Maryland's lacrosse program will dominate. Both the men's and women's soccer programs will competer for championships. Both the men's and womne's lacrosse programs will competer for championships. Trust me, Big Ten prorgams in basketball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, etc., will come to hate Maryland because these progams at Maryland are elite programs at the national level. Look for (Mark) Turgeon to have a very good team in 2014 with a top 5 recruiting class joinging some very talented already on board! :o) Maryland will be a force in the Big Ten.
Adam Rittenberg: Jerry, I don't disagree with anything you write here. However, this is a football blog and that's really our focus when it comes to Maryland and the Big Ten. The Big Ten values broad-based athletic programs and Maryland should be a very good addition for the reasons you outline here. But we're all about football, a sport where Maryland has a long way to go after the first two seasons under Randy Edsall. Recruiting does appear to be on the uptick as Mike Locksley is working his magic for the Terps, but we need to see better results on the field before Maryland moves into the Big Ten East.
Josh from Los Angeles writes: Not even sure why the media is brining Meyer into the picture. Sure he was his head coach and possible father figure, but you can't save people from themselves no matter how much you try. Some people are just evil, and IF Hernandez is guilty why would Meyer have to say anything about it? What about his parents or family, what about his circle of friends, what about Belichick or current teammates? Why is Meyer the only one with perceived influence on this poor young man? It just makes me sad, that people will pass buck and say oh you didn't do enough to save this man, or you used him to win games at Florida and did nothing for him. You can only do so much, it's up to that person to listen and do the right thing.
Adam Rittenberg: Ultimately, Hernandez is responsible for his own actions and deserves what's coming to him. But Meyer reportedly went to great lengths to help Hernandez stay on track. You might not care what he says now, but others would like to hear from someone who knew Hernandez so well. There's interest in how Hernandez got to this point. If you've been following the Hernandez coverage, there are numerous stories with quotes from others who knew him. Meyer, meanwhile, has chosen to remain silent, which is his right. I also think the fact Hernandez's past at Florida is under the microscope puts the focus on Meyer, who oversaw a program with numerous off-field problems and has been portrayed by some as an enabler. That's part of his legacy, just like the national championships and the success of Tim Tebow.
Steve from Northville, Mich., writes: Look, I'm a Michigan fan and I can't claim to be particularly fond of Urban Meyer, but I don't think its fair to involve the guy in the Aaron Hernandez affair and expect him to weigh in. As you addressed, he did what he could at Florida to point the kid on the right path. Hernandez hasn't been Meyer's responsibility since he went to the NFL, and I don't know whether they had kept in touch since then, but I don't feel he has any relevance to Hernandez current lifestyle and decisions.Meyer is wise to keep mum about this so as not to fan the flames by taking either position. We've seen a number of coaches this offseason make remarks, that while intended to be innocent, generated a lot of media attention and public critique because coaches occupy such a prominent role in society as representatives of many valued things. The term "coachspeak" exists for a reason, referring to the generic non-information they commonly supply in interviews so as to satisfy media desire for a quote without revealing anything. I can understand his desire to stick to that custom at this time.
Adam Rittenberg: Some excellent points here, Steve, especially about the dangers of coaches making controversial comments during the offseason. As I mentioned in Tuesday's post, Meyer would have to choose his words carefully if he makes any public comment about Herndandez. That's why I felt a prepared statement would be the best way to go.
Nick from Indianapolis writes: As a Badger fan I am very pleased about how Gary Andersen has handled things in madison. He seems to bring a positive attitude and I think he will do well. However I am a little concerned that fans are a little too excited about him. He has a very high bar to reach and he hasn't even coached a first game. What are your thoughts on the issue?
Adam Rittenberg: Nick it's called an extended honeymoon, and Andersen certainly isn't the first new coach to enjoy one. We're seeing the same thing with Darrell Hazell, who has made a very positive impression so far at Purdue. But both coaches are 0-0, and as we know, they'll ultimately be judged on what happens when the games begin. Andersen is a very good defensive coach and turned around a program (Utah State) that I considered a lost cause. He now enters a much bigger stage in the Big Ten and must show he can continue the things Wisconsin does well (power run game, elite offensive linemen and running backs), while upgrading areas like athleticism at wide receiver and defensive back. Fans' emotions are always extreme, whether they're positive or negative. That's why they're fans. But I think Andersen will do well at Wisconsin.