Chat with Adam Rittenberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg will stop by to talk college football.
Rittenberg joined ESPN.com in 2008 after four years at the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald, where he covered sports at Notre Dame, Northwestern, DePaul and several other colleges. He lives in Chicago.
Send your questions now and join Rittenberg Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
Adam Rittenberg (4:00 PM)
It's that time again. Keep the good questions coming. Let's begin ...
Dan (Columbus, OH)
Assuming Jordan Hicks commits to Ohio State and enrolls early, what are the chances of him seeing significant playing time?
Adam Rittenberg (4:01 PM)
Two of the starting spots are locked up with Homan and Rolle. We'll have to see how Tyler Moeller works back into the equation, but there will be an opportunity for that third spot. Don't think Hicks would play right away for the Buckeyes, but he'll get a good look.
Ted (West Lafayette, IN)
What kind of finish can be realistically expected of Purdue in 2010?
Adam Rittenberg (4:02 PM)
The bar should be set higher, Ted, because of the way Purdue performed in Big Ten play. Danny Hope's team wasn't far away from an 8-4 finish this year. Getting Notre Dame in the opener could be a good thing, as the Irish will still be in transition. Purdue should expect at least six wins this fall and most likely more.
Give me your odds on the Buckeyes landing both Henderson and Hicks.
Adam Rittenberg (4:02 PM)
I think they'll land Henderson but not Hicks. I'd be surprised if they don't get one of the two.
Should Terrelle Pryor really dismiss surgery so fast if it would make his knee better (in the long term)? He says it hurts every day and gives out. Sometimes rehab is only a band-aid.
Adam Rittenberg (4:04 PM)
It's a PCL, not an ACL, so rest and rehab should get him up to speed by the time spring ball rolls around. He doesn't have a full tear, either. If it's still bothering him in late March, they might need to evaluate more options. But I'd expect Pryor to be fine.
Brad (Washington DC)
Any news or comments from the Big Ten brass about expansion?
Adam Rittenberg (4:05 PM)
They're pretty tight-lipped over there about expansion, and I don't think anything is imminent. There's certainly a lot of chatter around both Missouri and Rutgers, but the Big Ten also must consider adding more than one team. I know some ADs (Barry Alvarez) don't envision adding three teams, while others (Gene Smith) certainly see it happening.
jarrod (tower city pa)
who has a better shot of getting in the big 10; missouri, pitt, notre dame, or west virginia? nobody bring up wv.
Adam Rittenberg (4:06 PM)
West Virginia doesn't have the academic profile for the Big Ten. Same with Cincinnati. Notre Dame is still the ideal fit, but I'd say Missouri and Pitt are more realistic options at this point. Keep in mind that the Big Ten might decide not to expand. It's by no means a done deal.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Adam: Sounds like Darryl Clark didn't exactly impress in Orlando. Does he become the next Michael Robinson?
Adam Rittenberg (4:08 PM)
Daryll looked pretty consistent in the game, but from what I read, he struggled a bit during the practices. NFL scouts look for different things, and while Clark has proven himself a winner at the college level, he might lack the measurables to be a big-time NFL quarterback. I'm pulling for him, though. One of the best guys I've covered in the Big Ten.
Kingpin (Grinnell, IA)
Adam - The Kalin Lucas of Big Ten football had to be Ricky Stanzi. With the game on the line in the 4th quarter, he was money!
Adam Rittenberg (4:09 PM)
Seems about right, Kingpin, although Lucas rarely commits turnovers for points. If Stanzi can cut down on his pick-sixes and maintain his late-game poise, he might contend for national honors in 2010.
Lisa (Salt Lake)
You said that Missouri makes the most sense to join the Big Ten and I agree (if it's not Notre Dame). But you see with instant replay, its own television network and countless other things that the Big Ten wants to be trendsetters. Should 14 teams be dismissed so quickly (and Rutgers is god awful at all but two sports...heehee)?
Adam Rittenberg (4:11 PM)
Lisa, you can bet that 14 teams is being discussed within the Big Ten, but the logistics could be too much. You're slicing the revenue pie three more ways, and, depending where the schools are located, you're increasing travel costs for your programs. The Big Ten hasn't been too eager to expand since Penn State, so the thought of three more teams seems unlikely.
Ben (Los Angeles)
You saw that Tennessee was interested in a coach like Will Muschamp, who has no HC experience. Would a tradition-rich program like Ohio State ever look to do the same thing with a young guy like Luke Fickell?
Adam Rittenberg (4:13 PM)
Great question, Ben. I think Fickell's best route to the top job in Columbus is to have success as a head coach somewhere else first and then return. It's not out of the question that Ohio State will want to promote him, but a lot of successful head coaches will want that job when it becomes available. It'll be hard to pass them up for Fickell.
Adam, great blog. Thanks for your hard work. What big ten player is the first off the board come NFL draft time?
Adam Rittenberg (4:15 PM)
Thanks, Jim. My money is on Navorro Bowman, Brandon Graham or Bryan Bulaga. Graham continues to impress every time he steps on the field, and while his size might be a concern, he's so tough and so productive. Bulaga has pretty much everything you want in an offensive tackle, and Bowman has been one of the nation's most impressive linebackers the last two seasons.
I am a big Brewster fan and hope he succeeds here at the U. But if he struggles next year, any chance the U could convince Leslie Frazier to take the head coaching gig? He could keep his family here in town and is already beloved by most in the gopher state. Tomlin wanted the gig before he ended up getting an offer from the Steeler's. I just don't want to lose another winner.
Adam Rittenberg (4:17 PM)
That's an interesting name, Sam, but Frazier isn't far away from getting a head-coaching job in the NFL. In fact, my friends and I wouldn't mind seeing him in Chicago in 2011. Unless he has extremely strong ties to Minneapolis, he'll be coaching in another NFL city soon.
Greg P (Staten Island,NY)
Adam, w/all the talk of Big Ten expanding when will we see Big East increase from 8 teams? 7 conf games aren't enough games for a BCS conf!!
Adam Rittenberg (4:20 PM)
The Big East coaches would like to play eight conference games, Greg, but the league might be paralyzed until the Big Ten decides whether or not to expand. You can add Memphis (football and basketball), and then you can split into 9 and 8. But if the Big Ten takes a football-playing school (Pitt, Rutgers, Cuse, etc.), you're back to square one.
Adam, your thoughts on the Michigan State logo? Tom Izzo says he has no problem with it (but he's also an employee). A little too much influence from Nike, because it seems like the fans hate the change?
Adam Rittenberg (4:21 PM)
Nate, let's see the entire presentation when it comes out in April, but I'm not a huge fan of the new logo that leaked out. Michigan State already has a pretty cool logo, and there's not a major need to shake things up. I agree with you about Nike's influence, but that's the way college sports are right now.
Craig (St. Paul, MN)
Who's the bigger loss for the Hawkeyes, Bulaga or Angerer? Obviously Bulaga is drafted higher, but Angerer brought so much to that defense.
Adam Rittenberg (4:22 PM)
I agree with you about Angerer, but it's a tough question because Iowa loses both tackles, Bulaga and Calloway. Reiff should step into one of the spots, but there's definitely a void there. I like Iowa's young linebackers, and while it's hard to expect Angerer-like numbers, they should do some good things in 2010.
Why isn't there more mention of UConn for Big10 expansion? They would lock up the Northeast TV audience, Be an excellent fit for basketball, and their football program has been solid for a while now. And it wouldn't appear that their academics would be holding them back either.
Adam Rittenberg (4:24 PM)
There's some buzz out there about UConn, Luke, but I've heard this same argument about "locking up" the Northeast/NYC TV market. Heard it about Rutgers and Syracuse. Unless those schools can convince the Big Ten of this, the Big Ten won't be interested. Pro sports rule in the Northeast and in New York, so it'll be a very tough sell.
Multiple Choice! Denard Robinson will be listed as a 1. QB 2. RB 3. WR or 4. CB for the 2011 season.
Adam Rittenberg (4:26 PM)
Adam, I always was terrible at multiple choice tests. Let's go with 3. WR. Just can't see Robinson beating out Forcier or Gardner this year, and his speed is too good to waste on the sideline.
With all the expansion talk I have been trying my best to figure out how they would split the divisions. My best guess is East and West. But this completely makes the divisions unfair IMO. Is there a way to make the divisions where OSU and PSU and Michigan arent in the same division? Is there something I am missing where making 2 divisions wont be unbalanced to one side?
Adam Rittenberg (4:28 PM)
Jeremiah, I'm glad you asked this. Everyone needs to put the geography thing aside when trying to form the divisions. It'd be great if everything was neat and nice, but I'm more interested in competitive balance. Putting Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State in the same division would be a major mistake. I would either put Penn State in a division with Wisconsin, Iowa, etc., or split Ohio State and Michigan and maintain a protected crossover rivalry like the SEC does. You still run the risk of rematches in the championship game, but it's not a terrible option.
Patrick (Mobile, AL)
Come on Adam. Is it to early to talk about Penn St. v. Alabama next year? That has to be one of the early favorites to watch...two perennial powerhouses going at it as they did in the past...A coaching legend against a coaching icon......You gotta be stoked to watch that. I am an Auburn fan and am excited...ha ha
Adam Rittenberg (4:30 PM)
I'm excited, too, Patrick. Penn State will have to find some way to run the football against Bama, using an experienced offensive line and senior tailback Evan Royster. If Penn State puts this game on the shoulders of its young QB, it has little to no chance of winning. In fact, it could get ugly. The Penn State defense also must step up against Ingram, who will put pressure on a new-look linebacking corps. An EXTREMELY tough challenge for Penn State, to say the least.
Adam, should the Big 10 take into consideration the failure of the ACC expansion? Adding Miami, Virginia Tech and BC was supposed to make the ACC one of the elite conferences, but it has been anything but that. Based on that, why expand? For the cash cow that is a conference title game?
Adam Rittenberg (4:32 PM)
Big Ten commish Jim Delany has brought up the ACC title game with me several times when we talk about expansion, and certainly the ACC has struggled with that game. But Jim knows and I know and you all know that a Big Ten championship would have no trouble drawing fans and attracting a ton of buzz. The more convincing argument is whether ACC expansion has really strengthened the league as a whole. Would the addition of Missouri or Pitt really give the Big Ten a major boost?
Rodney (Bogata, Colombia)
Are not answering me ? Because I am in Colombia. You do not like Big 10 Latinos. What would The Big 10 change there name to if they went to a 12 or 14 team conference. Has this been diascussed by anybody. Just curious?
Adam Rittenberg (4:35 PM)
Sorry, Rodney. There are so many questions coming in (a very good thing) that I tend to miss some good ones. It would be very tough for the Big Ten to change its name, even as a 14-team league. The Big Ten brand is so strong in college sports, and it's everywhere in the Midwest. The league would elicit even more chuckles at 14 teams than it does at 11, but I think the name stays the same.
Matt (Madison, WI)
Does the emergence of Scott Tolzien lead to any snag in Wisconsin for the QB position. He really impressed me, but does Curt Phillips start to get impatient, especially if one of the young guys comes on next year? I think the position is young enough behind Tolzein that it shouldn't matter, but it seems like there was a big upgrade in talent in a short time with the kid from NJ coming in this year as well.
Adam Rittenberg (4:37 PM)
I wouldn't use the word snag, Matt, because this is actually a good problem for Wisconsin. Phillips still will have two years left after Tolzien graduates, and while he'll need to step up and win the job, he'll certainly have a shot along with Budmayr and Joseph Brennan. Budmayr was really impressive early on this spring. That should be a very interesting QB race in 2011.
I still can't believe you didn't even consider Lee Evans for your top players of the decade list. How do you live with yourself?
Adam Rittenberg (4:38 PM)
Somehow, some way, I still get out of bed in the morning, Tim. ... I definitely should have had Evans on my "also considered" list, a list I now regret putting there in the first place. He was an outstanding player for the Badgers and, unlike other stud WRs for the Big Ten in the 2000s, went on to have a solid pro career.
Adam Rittenberg (4:39 PM)
By the way, Michigan just officially announced its Dec. 11 hockey game against Michigan State in the Big House. Should be fun.
Brandon (Las Vegas, NV)
With Ohio States full stable at RB, does Boom and Zoom continue to carry the load, or do new commers Berry, Hyde, or Smith take over. What happens to Hall?
Adam Rittenberg (4:41 PM)
The more I watched Ohio State late in the season, the more I felt Brandon Saine deserves another shot to be the featured guy. The RB meeting room certainly will be crowded in 2010, and I'd have to imagine Berry will see the field quite a bit. But at least in the beginning, I think you'll see Saine and Herron a lot.
Tommy (Arlington Heights, Ill)
Let's say Missouri is one of the Big Ten expansion teams (If it goes through). I see it translating to East/West Divisions. The east will be OSU, Michigan, Penn State, Michigan St, Purdue, Indiana. The west would be NW, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota. This Keeps Competitive balance and rivalries intact the Big Ten traditionalists like. What do you think?
Adam Rittenberg (4:43 PM)
Nope, it doesn't keep competitive balance. Just the opposite. You can't have Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State in the same division. Forget about what Michigan is doing right now. That program is still equipped to be a powerhouse, and by putting all three teams in the same division, you create a Big 12 South type problem. I really, really don't want to see this.
Matt (Madison, WI)
when you road tripe during the season, do you get hounded by us crazy blog fanatics when you go out for an adult beverage?
Adam Rittenberg (4:43 PM)
Depends on the town. I can be pretty anonymous in Minneapolis or Columbus. Iowa City or Ann Arbor, not so much.
Adam Rittenberg (4:43 PM)
Or State College.
Could a ping pong player be tougher than a football player?
Adam Rittenberg (4:44 PM)
Only in Awesomeville.
Who's decade is it in the Big Ten Football world this coming decade (2010-2019)? OSU again? PSU, IOWA, WISC? a sleeper team? Your thoughts, Adam??
Adam Rittenberg (4:47 PM)
Someone needs to start beating Ohio State consistently, or the Buckeyes will rule for another decade, Drew. Penn State likely will be dealing with the Joe Paterno transition, which will test the program's ability to sustain success. Iowa and Wisconsin will always face some recruiting challenges, but those programs find ways to develop talent and compete. I'd say Penn State or Iowa has the best chance at taking over the top spot, but the Buckeyes will be tough to knock off.
Adam Rittenberg (4:47 PM)
Got time for a few more questions. Really good job today, guys ...
How will NU's offense be next year with a new QB, probably Persa? Will one of this year's RB significantly improve, or will we need a new guy to step up (I don't know if we can have our leading rusher have around 300 yards on the season again)?
Adam Rittenberg (4:50 PM)
Steve, Northwestern will run a lot more zone read next year with Persa, who fits the Rich Rodriguez-style spread that Randy Walker and Kevin Wilson originally brought to Evanston back in 2000. Persa might be the closest thing to Zak Kustok in terms of style of play, although he's obviously smaller. But the running back position must be better, especially behind an experienced O-line. I wouldn't give up on Arby Fields just yet, and I'm excited to see Trumpy get back on the field after injury.
How Competitive do you think that Missouri could be in the Big 10
Adam Rittenberg (4:51 PM)
Pretty competitive, Robert. Mizzou isn't that far removed from a No. 1 ranking. After visiting Columbia, Mo., recently, I can say the Tigers' facilities are top notch. MU could be in that 3-5 range in the Big Ten and challenge Ohio State from time to time.
Adam Rittenberg (4:52 PM)
OK, guys, all the time I've got. Enjoyed the chat, and I'll be back at the same time next week!