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Big Ten Friday mailbag

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

As promised, your non-expansion-related questions.

Chad from Ames, Iowa, writes: Any news on the status of former-Hawkeye QB Jake Christensen? His father claimed that Jake had fifteen-plus suitors for his services, but I have yet to hear where he landed.

Adam Rittenberg: Things are pretty quiet on the Christensen front, Chad. Illinois State looked like a possibility for a while, but nothing has materialized yet. I'll post something as soon as I hear.


Mike from Detroit writes: How much of the hype surrounding Terrelle Pryor do you think comes from his recruiting ranking vs performance as a QB? It seems extreme to me when Ohio State ranked 105th in passing offense and couldn't even score an offensive TD against Purdue, USC and Penn State. Wouldn't it make more sense for the pundits to save some of their slobbering until Pryor shows he can do more than just hand off to Beanie or run himself?

Adam Rittenberg: The recruiting buzz around Pryor certainly fuels his hype, and he definitely has a lot more to prove as a college quarterback, starting this season. I don't have Pryor among my top 5 Big Ten players at this point because his potential hasn't translated on the field -- yet. Keep in mind he has played only one season, and there's a ton of room to grow. What can't be denied is Pryor's physical gifts and running ability. Aside from Robert Griffin at Baylor, there might not be a more dangerous college quarterback on the move than Pryor. But he's got to show more as a passer, no doubt.


Dan from Iowa City writes: Hey Adam, looking foward to your blog for the upcoming season! Expectations seem to be high here for the Hawkeyes. What do you think they have to do to compete for the Big Ten Title? I have been watching Big Ten Network and College Football Live and Iowa seems to be a pretty popular pick as the dark horse to win the league. What do they have to do to make that a reality?

Adam Rittenberg: Iowa got a lot of love from Shaun King on College Footbal Live the other day, and King really likes what he has seen from Ricky Stanzi. It all comes down to how the Hawkeyes perform on the road. I don't see them losing at Kinnick this fall, but with a Big Ten road slate of Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin, a 2-2 split doesn't look bad. That Penn State game is huge. Win it, and you're right in the mix for the league title. I really like the leadership Iowa has this year. A little concerned about the depth in some spots (D-line), but overall the Hawkeyes look like a very solid team.


Brandon from San Diego writes: Hi Adam- Great work. As an Ohio State alum, the Purdue game has always been a highlight of the fall. Watching Purdue's John Bolton-esque mustachioed coaching staff prowl the sidelines is one of my favorite parts of fall. Please tell me the new staff has at least a 5 to 1 mustached-to-non-mustached ratio. It's just not Purdue football if I don't have the sudden urge to watch Magnum PI, Evening Shade, google a walrus, or eat Oatmeal after the game. Thanks Adam!

Adam Rittenberg: Gotta love the 'stache, Brandon. From looking through Purdue's media guide, I'm sad to report I count only two 'staches, belonging to head coach Danny Hope and defensive line coach Terrell Williams. Purdue lost two Hall of Fame 'staches in Joe Tiller and Brock Spack. Hopefully, Hope makes his assistants grow them out by the time Ohio State comes to town.


Marcus from Illinois writes: Adam, with all of the recent discussion about quarterback talk in the big ten and RB I would like to switch over the a famous position in the Big 10 over the past couple years in LB. With Sean Lee, Navarro Bowman, Pat Angerer, and Matt Mayberry leading the way, what are the chances Martez Wilson gets pre-season all conference? I expect all of the backers that I listed as well to be on the butkus award watch list when it is time to come out. What are your thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: Martez Wilson shouldn't be preseason All-Big Ten or on the Butkus Award watch list until he performs consistently in games. The potential is there big time, don't get me wrong, but he was incredibly overhyped last season. I like the move to middle linebacker, and it seems like Tez has recovered well from everything that happened in the offseason. Wilson and Mayberry are somewhat similar. Both guys get a lot of hype, but I need to see more in games on a consistent basis to truly buy into them.


Josh from Chicago writes: So not one game for Purdue in your road trip? That is very upsetting Adam. Purdue fans are not expecting the best season this year (you never know) but to just skip over only one school in the B10 is rude. Purdue has worked very hard to become relevant in football and have done an admirable job. Breakfast Club is a B10 staple and a fun tradition. Even if you think Purdue is going to be awful this is a B10 blog and Purdue should be at least resected as a member of the league.

Adam Rittenberg: The point of the road trip list isn't to be rude, Josh. It's to pick the best games to attend each week. Honestly, if Indiana didn't play the very first game of the year, the Hoosiers wouldn't be on my list, either. You're right about Purdue working hard to become a respectable Big Ten program, and I respect the Boilermakers program as much as any other. But when it comes to compelling games and story lines, I don't see many on Purdue's schedule this fall. The beauty of it is things can change by October. Who knows, maybe Indiana-Purdue will be the place to be on Nov. 21.


Michael from Shaker Heights, Ohio, writes: hey Adam, I was wondering now that you have had a look at all the teams this spring I was wondering if you could tell me who you think have the top offensive and defensive units in the Big 10? thanks

Adam Rittenberg: I was very impressed with what I saw from Illinois' offense, Michael. Best receiving corps in the Big Ten, the most experienced quarterback (Juice Williams) and two young running backs (Jason Ford and Mikel LeShoure) who improved their games. As for defense, I liked what I saw from Ohio State, especially along the defensive line. There are enough linebackers to fill the production gaps, and the Buckeyes should generate a more consistent pass rush this fall.