Big Ten Thursday chat wrap

Did you miss the power hour again? Shame on you. I'm telling Santa.

Thanks to those who joined the chat, especially for being patient as I stepped away to do some interviews with Wisconsin players. Here's the full transcript.

To the highlights ...

Alex from Ohio: With OSU's latest recruiting movements, where do you see them starting off next season as long as Braxton Miller returns?

Adam Rittenberg: Alex, the recruiting gains, while impressive, have less to do with next year's success than Braxton coming back. Those players still will be young. Braxton's decision will be huge. Same goes for Ryan Shazier's, as the Buckeyes aren't very deep at linebacker. Keep in mind Ohio State loses four of five starting offensive linemen no matter what, and if line coach Ed Warinner takes another job, that leaves a big void. Ohio State still will be very good entering next year, but I don't think the Buckeyes will be as big of a favorite as they were heading into this season.

DJ from PGH: Adam, Mark Dantonio's salary is ninth in the B1G right now, at $1.9M. How much more will he get after this season?

Adam Rittenberg: He deserves to be at least in the top 3-4 in the league in terms of salary. I don't think Dantonio is as motivated by money as some coaches, and it's more important to him that his assistants are taken care of, but he's due a substantial raise. Michigan State needs to step up.

David from PA: Christian Hackenberg had a great freshman year for Penn State. This is looking way into the future but sure looks like he has Heisman potential. Your thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: Right now, he's the best young pro prospect at QB that the Big Ten has had in quite some time (Russell Wilson came into the league as almost a finished product). If Bill O'Brien stays at PSU and continues to surround Hackenberg with top weapons, Hackenberg will contend for national honors by his junior year at the latest. The one thing that could hold him back is if Penn State isn't an elite team or still has a bowl ban, which naturally makes people look away.

David from Alpharetta, Ga.: More of a general college football question. Why does a player get invited to/choose to attend the Senior Bowl vs East/West Shrine, etc.? Is there a difference?

Adam Rittenberg: Good question, David. The Senior Bowl is considered the premier all-star game, so the top senior prospects typically head to Mobile. The next group then goes to the Shrine Game. There have been some cases where players appear in both contests, but it's usually one or the other. NFL teams pay attention to both, but every head coach and GM goes to the Senior Bowl.

Chuck from Iowa City, Iowa: Can Iowa contend for the division title next year?

Adam Rittenberg: Absolutely, Chuck. The West is wide open. Wisconsin loses a huge senior class, Nebraska has some retooling to do, Minnesota still needs to be better on offense, and Northwestern is coming off of a 5-7 season. Iowa has its own issues, namely replacing a great group of linebackers, but most of the offense returns and the defensive line took significant steps this year and also returns.

Thanks again for the questions and for your participation. Our final pre-bowl chat takes place next week. See you then.