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Jacob from Dallas writes: Adam, I believe you said that Ohio State would be loyal to the Big Ten and the Big Ten Network by not trying to following Texas' lead and starting their own network. With such big alumni bases with Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan (and others), if dollars can be made, do you think schools will continue to hold out? Also, do you fault Nebraska for not wanting to just sit idly by while Texas treated every other school in the Big 12 as unequals? Would the Big Ten ever split up stuff like that?
Adam Rittenberg: There's some big money to be made out there, Jacob, but I tend to think the Big Ten will stick together on the media rights issue, especially given the success of the Big Ten Network. The Big Ten's strength as a league stems in large part from its equal revenue sharing. I don't fault Nebraska one bit for leaving a league thrown together with one member (Texas) more dominant than the others. The Big 12's biggest weakness is the way it distributes revenue. You don't see that in the Big Ten, and I think all the members, big and small, see the value.
Johnny from Portsmouth, Dominica, writes: Adam! You've got fans down in the tropics too that can't live without your help, so thanks! Where is the NFL love (or even just discussion) about Greg Jones at the next level?! The man was a legitimate DPOY for the big 10 and an All-American for two years, has all of the intangibles with work ethic, leadership, etc...yet I have heard nothing about him at the next level! With Kerrigan and company taking all of the attention, should he have gone last year?
Adam Rittenberg: Johnny, I'd gladly trace places with you right now, my man. Jones is an interesting NFL prospect. He didn't get the evaluation he wanted after the 2009 season and decided to come back to Michigan State. He added weight, didn't lose any speed and seemed to be a bigger factor in pass coverage. As great as Jones has been in college, I know there are some concerns about whether he'll be as dominant at the next level. The size issue still comes up with him. Also, defensive linemen like the Big Ten had this year tend to be more valuable than good blitzing linebackers who make a lot of tackles. I think Jones is in that second- to third-round range.
Scott from Ann Arbor, Mich., writes: Did you miss Troy Woolfolk in your video of players that missed most of the 2010 season that will have a big impact in 2011, or was it just players that missed MOST of 2010 season and not the whole season?
Adam Rittenberg: Scott, I probably worded it poorly, but I wanted to highlight players who missed most of the 2010 season, not the whole thing. I mentioned Purdue's Ralph Bolden, a guy who missed the whole season, but I wanted to focus more on guys like Robert Marve and Keith Smith from the Boilers. That said, Woolfolk should be a huge addition for Michigan in 2011 as he comes off the injury. Excited to see T-Wolf back on the field.
Mark from Toledo, Ohio, writes: Why is it that every program in the big ten (with the exception of Ohio State) almost always has a mediocre recruiting class? You've said yourself that the big ten draws more of an audience than any other conference and has an unmatched level of tradition. I know the competition isn't perceived as being on the same level as the SEC but we're better than the ACC right? Looking at ESPN's class recruiting rankings for this year the Big Ten has ONE team in the top 25 (Ohio State) and the ACC has FOUR (FSU, Clemson, UNC and Virginia). I don't think there is anyone in the country who would say the ACC is a stronger league than the big ten in football, so Adam, please help me understand how these kids are brainwashed into thinking that a school like VIRGINIA will be better for their football career than a school like WISCONSIN?
Adam Rittenberg: Mark, totally agree with your thoughts on the ACC. It's an perennially overrated league that flops in BCS bowls but still produces a ton of NFL talent. I don't get why those programs can't take the next step. In regard to recruiting, I think it has more to do with where many of the top-rated recruits live -- the south and southeast. The Big Ten is fighting the proximity factor with many of these kids, and those ACC schools still can sell the opportunity to reach the NFL. But the simple fact of having so many top recruits in that region means that more likely will end up at ACC schools than Big Ten schools.
Alex from Columbus writes: Adam: You underestimating Tressel and not understanding his influence and the atmosphere of the program and the city of Columbus is a perfect example of why you shouldn't be "reporting" errr blogging about Ohio State or the rest of the Big10. Leave the reporting and blogging of Ohio State football to Tim May and Ken Gordon. They are doing something revolutionary, they actually live in the city of Columbus and go to Tressel's weekly press conferences and are around the WHAC. It's tough to be accurate about a program you know nothing about and are no where near on a daily basis. How could I possibly be an expert on something located hundreds of miles away from where I am located, simple answer...I couldn't and neither can you!
Adam Rittenberg: Alex, let me first say that Tim and Ken both do a fantastic job of covering Ohio State for The Dispatch. I'll admit I was wrong about Jim Tressel's influence, but I do my best to be as accurate as possible covering the Buckeyes in addition to the other teams in the Big Ten. I think most of my reporting on Ohio State has been fair, but from your series of e-mails I know you disagree. That's your right. This blog is a one-stop shop for Big Ten coverage, and while I know every fan base wants me to focus on their teams as much as they do, that simply isn't going to happen. As I often tell my readers, they know their teams better than anyone. I'd like to think I know the league pretty darn well, but that's ultimately not up to me to decide.
Kevin from Ann Arbor writes: "Whether Big Ten fans want to acknowledge it or not, the league's reputation outside the footprint isn't overly favorable." Given that your employer is mostly responsible for this myth, perhaps you should start there by actually speaking your mind instead of pushing ESPN's agenda.
Adam Rittenberg: Kevin, I defend the Big Ten when it's appropriate to do so. Now many of you think ESPN has a company-wide policy to hate the Big Ten. To that I invite you to tell me: Which national media outlets are standing up for the Big Ten right now? The truth is there isn't much love out there. So, is it an ESPN problem? Is it a problem with this blog? Or is it a problem with the way the league portrays itself? I'm not trying to get Big Ten fans to turn against their league. They love the Big Ten and always will. That's outstanding. But I think it's important to have a larger perspective and acknowledge the outside view, even when it's a mostly negative view.