Chat with Chantel Jennings
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Big Ten reporter Chantel Jennings stops by to chat about the state of Big Ten football.
Jennings joined ESPN.com in 2011 after covering University of Michigan athletics for three years at The Michigan Daily. Jennings graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in English and Spanish and lives in Ann Arbor.
Send your questions now and join Jennings Monday at 3 p.m. ET!
Chantel (3:00 PM)
Hey everyone, welcome to the Monday Big Ten chat. Make sure to get your questions in early so I can get to them! Now, let's get to it...
doug g (san antonio)
Hello-as soon as "my" badgers lost in that debacle in the desert to ASU, I felt it could potentially cost us a BCS bowl. Assuming we win out (a big IF I know), I think we would get skipped at 10-2 v 11-1. Could the Pac 12 refs really cost us a bcs game? Also, I am sure Iowa will be ready for UW this Saturday? In your opinion, what are they keys to the game for each team? thanks
Chantel (3:04 PM)
We'll start it off with an a/b/c question! A) I think it's possible the Badgers could win out. BYU, IU and Penn State at home are all manageable and Minnesota on the road, well, that'll always be a game but I'm not sure if the Gophers have an answer for the Badger run game yet. I think the Cap One bowl is a good bet for this Wisconsin group. Yes, it's unfortunate how non-football plays can determine teams and seasons.
Chantel (3:10 PM)
Wisconsin -- the Badgers need to keep the run game going. Iowa hasn't done well against opponents with good run games (OSU, MSU) and so the Badgers need to attack Iowa's front seven in order to open up the passing game. And really, Iowa needs to do the same. Jake Rudock needs to take care of the ball and the Hawkeyes need to capitalize on the home field environment. This should be a fun game to watch because of how this match up shakes out.
Ryan (Grand Rapids)
What do you think is the best way for Michigan to try to move the ball against the MSU defense? Indiana had a little success early vs. MSU, but Narduzzi quickly made adjustments and shut them down for the most part.
Chantel (3:12 PM)
Good question. It's a question that everyone offensive coordinator facing MSU has had to answer and none have done it super well, yet. Even in the Spartans' loss to Notre Dame earlier this year, the Irish's offense accounted for less yardage and fewer first downs than MSU. I think Devin Gardner being versatile and smart with his decisions will be the most important. He's dangerous when he gets outside of the pocket and he has more targets with Devin Funchess and Jeremy Gallon. I'm not sure if this is a game we're going to see much out of Fitzgerald Toussaint, I would assume the majority of the rushing yardage comes from Gardner.
Hi Chantel, did OSU look unbeatable Saturday, aka Alabama-ish or was PSU just overmatched? You can't say both. You must pick. Or I will not follow you on twitter anymore.
Chantel (3:14 PM)
Kogan. That's quite the ultimatum. Penn State was overmatched. Ohio State has a heck of a team, but they're definitely beatable. I think they've shown that at different points throughout the season, but if OSU loses, it'll come against a team that can compete better in the trenches with both OSU lines.
Sean Grafton (Ann Arbor)
What is the chatter going into this weekend about Miami's chances vs. Florida St.? I ask this in wonder of Ohio State's chances for getting into the title game. It was really impressive how they rebounded against Penn st. after poor showing against Iowa
Chantel (3:17 PM)
I would imagine that Florida State is going to be able to handle Miami. If you're looking for a team that's currently ahead of Ohio State to possibly lose, I think you'd have to look to next weekend when Oregon travels to Stanford. But still, Ohio State's strength of schedule is nothing to boast about and I could still see a one-loss team being ahead of Ohio State when it's all said and done.
I think NW beats NEB in Lincoln...am I crazy?
Chantel (3:20 PM)
Absolutely not. I wasn't too impressed by the Nebraska team I saw play at Minnesota. Now, yes, they're returning home so they'll have that going for them, but I really do believe that one of these games, NU is going to put it together and pick up its first conference win. Why not this weekend?
Do you attribute Penn State's defensive disaster to John Butler's schemes or simply personnel issues?
Chantel (3:24 PM)
It's never just one thing. There was a lot going on in that game -- road environment, a struggling PSU offense that wasn't putting its D in the best of situations, scheme, communication issues and a team that, simply put, isn't on the same talent level as Ohio State. When you have all of that together it takes a miracle (or close to it) to get a win.
Run heavy Minnesota vs pass happy Indiana...who do you like to win?
Chantel (3:29 PM)
It should be interesting because Minnesota has the second-worst pass defense in the league (255 per game) and IU has the worst rushing defense in the league (221 per game). But, I like the roll Minnesota is on. I think a road game with this team after two wins will tell us a bit more about them, but I think the Goooophers (I can say that because I was raised there) have a solid chance.
Gophers to finish 8-4. Reasonable?
Chantel (3:33 PM)
It's possible if Minnesota wins on the road this weekend. That MSU game in East Lansing at the end of the season would be a really tough one for the Gophers to get, but if they can take down Indiana and then either Penn State or Wisconsin at home then they could finish 8-4. It is worth noting that they have a bye week going in to the Wisco game so they'll basically have two weeks worth of prep for that one.
Deron (State College)
I'm very worried about Penn State. Please make me feel at least a little bit better
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What Big-10 College Football team has the Worst Defense in 2013?
Chantel (3:45 PM)
Oh cheer up, Deron!
Chantel (3:46 PM)
I think it's entirely possible that this group can pick up seven wins this season if it brings its best game each Saturday. Now with how much youth this team has, that'd be quite the feat but I do think it's possible. And if that didn't help, go watch an episode or two of Modern Family - that always works for me!
Chantel (3:48 PM)
Now, back to the Big Ten question (sorry for the technology mix up, folks). As far as the worst Big Ten defense, I'd probably say Indiana or Purdue. Neither one is great and so it's hard to pick, but you couldn't go wrong with either!
If Oregon ends the season with one loss and the pac-12 championship, who will win in the rose bowl Ohio state or Oregon?
Chantel (3:51 PM)
OK, so there's a lot of guessing going on here, however I think an Oregon/OSU Rose Bowl game would be quite exciting (and I think that'd also mean we'd have a Bama/FSU title game, which I'm not opposed to), but that would be interesting. I would have to think Oregon might have the advantage here because of the level they've played all season whereas the Buckeyes haven't looked as solid and their defense has definitely not played any team close to the caliber of an Oregon O.
Chantel? I'm starting to get very worried. I cancelled my golf game today so I can be in this chatroom. I will issue an executive order to search for and find you at all costs. Let me be clear.....
Chantel (3:51 PM)
My apologies, Mr. President. We had some tech issues, but I'm back now. We've got about 10 minutes left.
What are the chances that Braxton plays in the second half of the Purdue game this weekend?
Chantel (3:53 PM)
He played into the third quarter against Penn State even when the Buckeyes had a 42-point lead. I doubt we'll see Guiton in the first half, but perhaps he'll start the second.
Jay Ray (California)
No way a one loss team gets ahead of Ohio State now. What one loss team could it be? Also, FSU has to play Miami and FLA. I know the Gators aren't having a good year, but can't you see FSU losing one of these?
Chantel (3:56 PM)
You're telling me that a one loss Oregon team -- say that one loss is a close one to No. 5 Stanford next weekend -- is not better than an Ohio State team whose best win of the season would be Wisconsin in week five or a (possibly unranked) Michigan team? C'mon.
Randy (New York)
How do you think my Spartans will fare this weekend against Michigan?
Chantel (3:58 PM)
I like the MSU defense in this one. Devin Gardner has struggled this season and if the Spartans can get them in some bad situations (as far as down and distance), I think they could capitalize on some forced decisions that Gardner might make. Plus, it's in East Lansing and that kind of an environment will likely affect U-M at least a little bit when it comes to nerves (for some guys, not all) and communication.
We are really going to go a whole hour without talking about the UM/MSU game huh Chantel? As a fellow Wolverine, I am thoroughly disappointed.
Chantel (3:59 PM)
Gotcha covered, Kyle.
Do you feel MSU has any chance of beating OSU if they were to play in the Big 10 championship?
Chantel (4:01 PM)
I think Ohio State would have the upper hand there, though it'd be a great match up with MSU's defense and OSU's offense. But at the end of the day, I think Ohio State's defense would be able to come up with enough stops against Cook and the MSU offense.
Chantel (4:02 PM)
Thanks for stopping by everyone. Have a safe Halloween weekend and enjoy some good football.