Big Ten mailblog

Hope you have a great weekend.

Michael from Lincoln, Neb., writes: Adam,I am currently deployed and missing a lot of the news updates but what if anything is going on with the recruits for Ohio State? Are any of them already saying that they want out of their scholarship and looking at new schools or are they stuck now that they have signed. I know I would be looking at leaving with all that has happened.Go Big Red

Adam Rittenberg: Michael, thanks for checking in and a special thanks for all you do. So far, Ohio State has kept its verbal commits on board. Offensive lineman Kyle Kalis nearly decommitted after Jim Tressel's resignation, but interim coach Luke Fickell was able to keep him on board. No one has signed and things could change, but I think Ohio State is in decent shape with the current commits, at least until NCAA penalties come down. Depending on the penalties, that's the time when you could see some recruits looking elsewhere.

JB from Columbus writes: I send you questions every week and you never answer them. But here goes.I think all the "distraction" talk about Ohio state is overblown. FIrst of all, Fickel was already going to coach the first five games of the season anyway. So i don't think it's going to be a huge adjustment for the team for Fickel to coach the rest of the season. And as far as pryor, he was already going to miss the first five games. And now, they won't have to worry about switching quarterbacks in the middle of the season. So, all in all, with the way things have gone, i think the distractions have actually lessened, not increased. I mean, what's more distracting, switching coaches and quarterbacks mid-season, or keeping the same personnel all season long? Thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: It's your lucky day, JB. You bring up some good points, and I agree that Ohio State players know what to expect for the whole season, rather than just the first five games. Terrelle Pryor might have provided a bigger distraction had he remained on the team, and players now have a chance to get behind the new starting quarterback. The hard part is not knowing whether Ohio State will be able to stick with one quarterback or use multiple signal callers throughout the season. The Tressel thing is still a distraction, in my view, because it puts a lot more on Fickell's plate. Tressel still would have been around the program despite his suspension, so the "switch" there wouldn't have been as dramatic. Not having Tressel at all could be really tough for Ohio State.

Nate from Iowa City, Iowa, writes: Adam, I just read your top combos to watch this season and was dissappointed Vandenberg and McNutt weren't nominated. I realize Vandenberg only started a couple games, but that game at OSU was amazing, and they hooked up at a few pitotal moments, enough to possibly be on a darkhorse list. Your thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: James Vandenberg has to prove himself again, so I'm not surprised he's not on these preseason lists. The Ohio State game was a very long time ago, and we didn't see much from Vandy last season. While this could be one of the Big Ten's top combos by the end of the season, I totally understand why it's not included on any lists right now.

NoSpammie in Portland, Ore., writes: Adam - WOW! You figured out Joe Paterno is 84. And guess what, he's still smart, still coaching, and he's a legend. In contrast, you aren't 84, you're not smart, not a coach, and I'm guessing nobody's saving land for the Adam Rittenberg statue. I'll start counting days until ESPN gets a decent big 10 blogger. -Not a Penn State Alum, but definitely a fan of what Paterno stands for, in Oregon.

Adam Rittenberg: Spammie, you speak the truth, my friend. My only argument: you don't think Brian Bennett is a decent Big Ten blogger? That's cold.

Mike from Jackson, Mich., writes: You have a funny way of defining "hope" to suit your needs. When you analyze UM, somehow their defense and new D coach are hope (while MSU's OLine doesn't get a shot at hope? You missed the mark. From me, please read that defense will continue to be their biggest concern until proven otherwise. There biggest hope is that some of the offense from the spread should translate into the new scheme.

Adam Rittenberg: Mike, my point was that Greg Mattison and Brady Hoke provide greater hope on defense because of their backgrounds and the fact they have a clear vision, something Michigan lacked on defense for several years. Yes, the defense needs to prove itself, but Michigan should have an advantage in coaching and scheme that wasn't there the last few seasons. I heard there was a ton of disagreement about the scheme between players and coaches in 2010. While the offensive line could be a strength -- can David Molk stay healthy? -- it remains to be seen how they transition to the new offense. On defense, Michigan is going from a system that clearly didn't work to one that seems to be resonating with the players. On offense, Michigan is going away from a system where several players thrived to one that likely will bring some growing pains.

Will from Hoboken, N.J., writes: Hey Adam -- I listened to your Podcast. While commenting on the current OSU situation, you mentioned the biggest problem being the memorabilia sales. I still believe the biggest issue is whether or not someone within the OSU administration knew what was going on. The OTL Report, quoting an outside source, mentioned Dennis Talbot was disassociated from the OSU program in 2010. This concerns me that someone knew something was going on. Why do you think the gear sales are more important than the knowledge of information?

Adam Rittenberg: Will, I think you misunderstood what I was saying. The overall issue of memorabilia sales could be Ohio State's biggest problems because of the questions about monitoring, what the school knew in advance, etc. To me, memorabilia sales is a much more unsettling issue than, say, car sales because it's harder to prove violations occurred with car sales/pricing. Ohio State's rushed investigation into the memorabilia sales involving the "Tat-5" in December looks worse with all of these allegations, as does AD Gene Smith's statement that is is an isolated problem. So I think we're both saying the same thing: the questions about Ohio State's monitoring of the situation and what the school might have known are the most troublesome part of this.