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Big Ten mailblog

Couldn't get to this Tuesday, but I didn't forget you. As always, you can contact me here.

Let's get things started with my favorite email of the week.

Patrick from Dayton, Ohio, writes: You are a joke. You are a failure. You are the worse than the cruelest insult you've made to your foulest enemy. You took the easy route throwing Ohio State under the buss (consecutively), and it's obvious you love your job more than your understanding of moral journalism. ESPN has you spun around like drunk gymnast. The true story is in front of you. CORRUPTION! Not in players making chunk change off of their celebrities, but of huge corporations hating the fact that they didn't get a cut. Where is the truth?! Why aren't you in front of it? Why on god's green earth haven't you told the masses what tattoos these kids got? THEY ARE OSU TATOOS!!!! For the rest of their lives they proved their devotion to their colleges. What did you do for your college? You proved you'd print anything for a buck. Thanks for the insults you jerk! BIG TEN NETWORK. BIG TEN NETWORK! I'm done having rent a writers like you supposedly speaking for the greatest conference in college football. You are a disgrace.

Adam Rittenberg: Patrick, really loved the drunken gymnast line. You have a future in writing, my friend. Maybe you can take over my blog for me while I go to the nearest tattoo parlor and get Willie the Wildcat branded on my right butt cheek. Then I'd be showing my devotion to my alma mater, right? You left out the fact that these players sold Gold Pants, Big Ten championship rings and other memorabilia items they earned as a team, items Ohio State players should cherish more than a Brutus tattoo, for Buckeye body art. I understand the frustration from some Buckeyes fans that they're under siege, which they are because, well, they're Ohio State and they win a lot and with winning comes greater scrutiny. It's a rough time to be a Buckeyes fan, I get that. But the story isn't going away, and it will be covered on this blog until there's a resolution.


Derek from Madison, Wis., writes: Adam, Is the Russell Wilson to UW talk anything more than just hopes and dreams of Badger fans? I mean, has Russell ever mentioned coming to Wisconsin? Has he hinted at all about where he is considering enrolling? As a Badger fan, I need to know this. Thanks.

Adam Rittenberg: Derek, for now it's just a possibility that would seem to make some sense if it came to fruition. As I stated in the post, Wilson most likely is headed to the SEC, and South Carolina appears to be the most probable destination. But I'd be surprised if Wisconsin didn't at least discuss the possibility, given its lack of depth at quarterback. There's some risk involved, but if Wilson gives Wisconsin a better chance to win another Big Ten title and further establish itself as a nationally elite program, why not jump at the chance?


Ben from West Lafayette, Ind., writes: What are the best chances for a night game at Ross Ade this year? Will Notre Dame be a night game or a surprise like Illinois or Minnesota? Or will it be another year of all noon football in West Lafayette?

Adam Rittenberg: Ben, talked with Big Ten senior associate commissioner Mark Rudner earlier this week and he's putting the finishing touches on the primetime football schedule. The slate should be announced any day now. It wouldn't surprise me if Notre Dame-Purdue is played at night, which is becoming the norm for that game. On the other hand, the Irish and Boilers are going up against Nebraska-Wisconsin and Michigan State-Ohio State that day (Oct. 1). The Illinois and Minnesota games are possible primetime options for the Big Ten Network, but I don't want to speculate too much. We'll know soon.


Mike from St. Louis writes: Hi Adam - Any thoughts on why my Iowa Hawkeyes always seem to do better when they are the dark horse rather than when they are picked to seriously contend for the title? I mean, titles in 2002 and 2004 out of the blue. Big expectations (unmet) in 2005 and 2010. Does that come from coaching style? Talent level? Luck? What does Iowa have to do to make the leap from fairly consistent 2-3-4th place finshes in the B1G to king of the mountain?

Adam Rittenberg: Mike, it's tough to pinpoint the reason, but I think it has to do in part with the types of players Iowa recruits. Most of these guys are under-the-radar types with chips on their shoulders and plenty to prove. "Coach [Kirk] Ferentz looks for guys who are willing to work hard, have good character, who aren't going to be [jerks]," defensive end Broderick Binns told me last month. "It's not tradition for coach Ferentz to bring in a guy that's four or five stars, who's all glamorous. Iowa's not about that." So the Hawkeyes seem to embrace being off the radar. I don't think the expectations are any lower within the program, but it can be easier when outside expectations aren't as high. It's important for Iowa to become better at performing to high expectations. Ohio State has done a good job of it, although the Buckeyes have some advantages that Iowa lacks. Still, as Iowa increases its profile with recruiting and other areas, it either must embrace the expectations or continue to have a ceiling.


Lance from Bedford, Pa., writes: Hi Adam. I do not want to get too technical with my question but it is in regards to the whole OSU debacle. Had Jim Tressel reported the violations to the compliance department, how much different would this situation be right now? Are the compliance officers going to bite the hand that signs their paychecks (OSU administration) any more than Tressel would snitch on the players that generate his? OSU football brings in a ton of money for the school and it just seems like this whole thing would stink no matter what the initial action by The Vest.

Adam Rittenberg: Lance, if Tressel turns over the initial emails about the players and Edward Rife, Ohio State most likely is in the clear right now. The players would have received four-game suspensions -- much like Georgia's A.J. Green did for selling his bowl jersey -- and returned for the entire Big Ten season. Most important, Tressel would have removed himself from any culpability and most likely prevented media and others from looking into other issues with the program like the used-car deals. That's just my view and maybe this all would have come to light anyway, but I really think we wouldn't be talking about any of this had the coach simply turned over what he knew.


Tony from Iowa City, Iowa, writes: Adam,I feel like I'm blind...did you do the B1G candidates for 100 tackles this upcoming season?

Adam Rittenberg: No, Tony, your eyes aren't deceiving you. I haven't gotten to the 100-tackle candidates but hope to by the end of the day. Stay tuned.


Elvis from Lansing, Mich, writes: That Michigan Billboard taking a shot at Jim Tressel was created by Sparty fan. Look into that story. Very bizarre and funny.

Adam Rittenberg: Elvis, while I really don't like to call attention to these cheesy billboard stunts (which is all they are), the assumption about Michigan fans tweaking The Vest is wrong. Mgoblog breaks it down here.