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Big Ten Friday mailblog

Hoping you have a great weekend. Next mailblog: Tuesday.

Trebor from Indianapolis writes: Does the NCAA's recent actions with USC, not decreasing their penalties, correlate with what they might do with OSU's allegations? It appears to me that the NCAA will add more penalties to OSU's already self imposed penalties. I was on the fence until I read the NCAA's comments with USC.

Adam Rittenberg: Trebor, the likelihood of the NCAA adding penalties for Jim Tressel/Ohio State seemed high even before the USC ruling. But it's significant that the NCAA upheld the USC penalties. As SI.com's Andy Staples writes, it could be the beginning of several hardline decisions against major programs, including Ohio State. I've always taken a believe-it-when-I-see-it approach with the NCAA, but the more that comes out about Ohio State, the more I think the penalties will be severe.


Steve from Cincinnati writes: You keep asking what incentive does Small have to lie? How about to stick it to Tressel for what I'm sure he thinks was ruining his NFL career?Let me ask you this, what incentive does he have to tell the truth? You are talking about a multiple arrest, multiple suspensions player who needs to get all this off his chest now? Are you kidding me?I am as nervous as any OSU fan about what might get uncovered. You sniff around a big time program long enough, you are bound to find something. And Tressel's actions were inexcusable. But Ray Small's accusations carry no weight with me, won't carry weight with the NCAA, and should carry no weight with the media.

Adam Rittenberg: Steve, some good points here. Ray Small's credibility certainly can be questioned, given his past actions. I just have a hard time believing Ohio State's memorabilia sales issue is confined to the so-called "Tat-5." I also think there's at least some truth to what Small told The Lantern. There are too many rings and other items on the market and I have a hard time believing all of them were sold by players after they finished their eligibility. I also have a hard time believing the memorabilia sales only appeared on Ohio State's radar in December.


Jeremy from Belmar, N.J., writes: Can you please comment on Mark Schlabachs story "Which BCS teams are on the rise or fall?" Maybe he screwed up the numbers for some of the teams or something..... He has Penn State ranked lower than a lot of teams that will never sniff a bcs game. If he is only using the 2010 season as a basis for this ranking then I agree, but last time I checked they are still capable of making a BCS game any given year. Obviously they shouldn't be ranked with the Alabamas and Ohio States but they arent too far behind.....Thanks Adam

Adam Rittenberg: Jeremy, I think for this type of story, you have to base it heavily on the past season. It's a lot like my power rankings -- a real-time snapshot of the Big Ten. Momentum can change quickly in college football, and to be fair, Penn State has lost some since the 2008 season. That said, Penn State is capable of turning things around this season. There are questions on both sides of the ball, but Penn State could make a run. I'd probably rate Penn State a 3, but I see the rationale for a 2.


Tyler from Weatherford, Texas, writes: Indiana Snoozer....North Texas? North Texas has just hired a new coach with (my opinion) an excellent resume in Dan McCarney. McCarney always had average teams at Iowa State, while coaching at a team who should be below average, in an excellent conference. Now he is once again coaching a below average team, and the only thing to change is a below average conference. Look for him to make a big "you hired the right guy" mark when playing a below average team from another excellent conference.

Adam Rittenberg: Tyler, thanks for the perspective. Maybe I'm selling North Texas a little short, and the McCarney arrival should be interesting. Honestly, you could pick three of Indiana's nonconference games -- Ball State, South Carolina State and North Texas -- as potential snoozers. But Ball State is the opener and marks Kevin Wilson's debut as Indiana coach, not to mention an in-state game. And South Carolina State is a good FCS team that could surprise IU.


Chris from Hanover, Ind., writes: Hey Adam,Love the blog, read it daily. I was reading about how back in the 60's the Badgers would give out Savage Awards at the end of every game. Each player that would receive it would be able to where an all black helmet for the rest of the season. This seams like it'd be a lot of fun and would help people identify impact players who don't normally watch my beloved Badgers. Why'd they stop doing this? Could they start it up again?

Adam Rittenberg: Chris, thanks for writing and bringing this up. It's a pretty cool story and you can read more about it here and here. Unfortunately, it's not coming back unless the NCAA rules change. According to the 2009-10 NCAA football rulebook, "Players of a team shall wear helmets of the same color and design, and face masks of the same color."


Fred from Annapolis, Md., writes: In re: Re-naming the Big TenAs a Husker -- I certainly would not be happy if the name changed. NEBRASKA JOINED THE BIG TEN. And talk about money and anything else, but Nebraska joined the Big Ten because of the culture and tradition. And I want Nebraska to play in the Big Ten.In retrospect of the experience of the Big 8 becoming the Big 12, I will tell you that a name change may bring more than cosmetic changes. The advent of the Big 12 was the end of the Big 8 and the beginning of a brand-new conference.

Adam Rittenberg: Fred, thanks for this perspective. Good to hear from fans who have gone through a name change before. I think you speak for many Nebraska fans in pointing to the Big Ten's history and tradition as positive elements for the league's newest member. And on the whole, most longtime Big Ten fans wouldn't want a name change.


Ross from Hastings, Neb., writes: Hey Adam,Love the blog man! But just wanted to comment on Feldman's 'Should Be' rivalries and was actually disappointed to not see Nebraska and Oklahoma on there. Thats was the premire rivalry in college football for quite a while and now its going to dissapear until the two programs play each other in a bowl game or a National Championship which by the way would be sweet!!!Thanks Adam! Take Care!

Adam Rittenberg: Thanks, Ross. Nebraska-Oklahoma certainly has some terrific history. Not to speak for Bruce, but I think he was looking at matchups that haven't taken place much in history or on a hiatus. Although Nebraska and Oklahoma haven't played as much since the Big 12 formed, the teams did play in the league championship game last year. But you're right: that's a great rivalry.