Big Ten mailblog

Have a great weekend.

Aditya from Bangalore, India, writes: Hi Adam, assuming the conference expands with Missouri, what will happen to the rivalry between Illinois and Missouri? Illinois already has 3 rivalries, and cannot face Missouri every year. Also, they will not have an OC rivalry which helps fill the schedule and lessens the amount of cupcakes a team plays.

Adam Rittenberg: Aditya, it depends on the division alignment, but there would be a decent chance Illinois and Mizzou would play every year in the same division. So the annual series would continue in that form, as opposed to ending, at least temporarily, after the 2010 season. Illinois could look elsewhere for good nonconference series, like the current ones with Cincinnati and Fresno State. Since the Missouri series is ending anyway, Illinois is going to take a different approach with its non-league scheduling after 2010.

Phil from Des Moines, Iowa, writes: You say that Missouri would be a great fit for the Big Ten and you are pulling for that. Do you really think this is the direction in which the Big Ten is moving? It seems to me that the greater interest would be to expand the footprint of the conference and bring the Big Ten and it's network to substantially more eyeballs. A school like Rutgers would do that, eastern seaboard and ripe to establish a following in NY. Also, what do you think about Big Ten pulling their games with the Irish to push them towards joining the/a conference?

Adam Rittenberg: The Big Ten Network and increasing overall TV viewership for the Big Ten are huge factors in the expansion study, Phil. But I'm far from convinced that a school like Rutgers, Connecticut or even Syracuse could bring in the New York/Northeast market. Nothing against those schools, but New York is and always will be a pro sports town. It's similar to Chicago in that way, but there are so many Big Ten alums here that there's still a lot of interest, particularly for football. If Rutgers can make a really convincing pitch, perhaps the Big Ten extends an invitation. As for Notre Dame, the Big Ten would have no need to add more teams if it got the Irish. I think the league publicly discussing expansion sends a signal to South Bend that if you want to join, the time is now. I highly doubt you'll see Notre Dame included in a package deal of Big Ten additions.

Jeff from Humbolt, Neb., writes: Adam, I know you've completed your look at the B10 all-decade teams but one position gets left out because it's usually considered one of the two RB positions and that's the fullback. Who would make your team as a "true" fullback?

Adam Rittenberg: Good question, Jeff. Former Wisconsin fullback Matt Bernstein definitely comes to mind. Carey Davis at Illinois was a good one. Jeremy Allen at Iowa played only two seasons in the aughts (2000-01), but he was a stud. B.J. Askew at Michigan had a very solid 2002 season at fullback after moving over from running back. I know I'm missing quite a few, so shoot in your suggestions.

Billy H. from Somerville, N.J., writes: Hey Adam - does Ohio State have a harder time landing recruits from Cincinnati or Cleveland? Michigan used to always pull a few big names from Northeast Ohio and now it seems recruits from the Southeast don't automatically think go to OSU.

Adam Rittenberg: You're always going to lose a few players from major markets, but Buckeyes fans shouldn't be too concerned. This year seems a bit unusual with so few in-state players coming to Columbus, but Jordan Hicks was a bit of a unique situation because he didn't spend his entire childhood in Ohio. Notre Dame has been pretty successful in Cincinnati, especially in the Catholic League, but Ohio State still maintains a strong presence in the Cleveland area.

Drew from Minneapolis writes: Adding Mizzou to the Big Ten would most likely dilute the revenue sharing among the existing schools. I say we kick out Nortwestern to make it a 10 team league again - the remaining schools would benefit financially since the revenue would be divided among a smaller group, and we'd have an even number of teams for a championship game. Addition by subtraction. Adios, Wildcats!

Adam Rittenberg: Oy, Drew, where do I begin? First of all, you can't have a championship game with only 10 teams. You need 12 teams to split into divisions. I could understand the argument for kicking out Northwestern in the 1980s, when the school's administration didn't care about athletics. But that's not the case anymore, as the football program has been no worse than a middle-of-the-pack team since 1995, and even men's basketball has shown a pulse this year. The non-revenue sports are competitive as well. There's much greater investment in athletics at NU, and the Big Ten isn't in the business of kicking out its members. Not gonna happen.

Sam from Birmingham, Ala., writes: Who determines the blog time slots and why does Chris Low get the "primetime" slot (midday monday after the weekend) while you're exiled to the "super-late night" slot near the end of the week which occurs while everyone is either leaving or has already left from work?

Adam Rittenberg: You know, Sam, Chris does look a bit like Jay Leno, doesn't he? I look nothing like Conan, though I'm doing the string dance right now. Even in the "super-late-night slot," I'm still getting a ton of great questions from you folks in the chat. While you might see me chatting at a different time next season, the Thursday 4 p.m. ET spot works fine right now. See you there next week!