Big Ten chat wrap: July 13

July, 13, 2011
7/13/11
2:15
PM ET
The Big Ten chat returned today, and it was an entertaining one.

In case you missed out on the fun, here's a full wrap-up.

Some highlights:
rob (iowa): Adam whith the difficulty of Nebraskas schedule and the break Iowa gets by not playing OSU or Wisconsin and getting Michigan, MSU and NW all at home am I crazy to think Iowa has a shot at winning their division this year even with all the losses they need to replace?
Adam Rittenberg (12:03 PM): You're not crazy Rob, but keep in mind Nebraska also gets Michigan State, Northwestern and Iowa on its home turf. Nebraska's division schedule actually is very beneficial in my view, despite the tough crossover games. But you're right: if Iowa can take care of business at Kinnick Stadium and steal some wins on the road, it'll be in the mix for a division title.
Adam Rittenberg (12:09 PM): GOL!!!
Craig (Virginia): With Rob Bolden coming back, who do you think will start at QB for Penn State this fall?
Adam Rittenberg (12:23 PM): Craig, I think it will be Bolden. He was the team's top option when healthy and should have been used in the Outback Bowl, a decision both Joe Paterno and Jay Paterno regret. While I don't fully trust that he'll remain at Penn State if McGloin is named the starter, I think Bolden gets the nod for the opener.
Lucas (NYC): You say an undefeated B1G champion would go to the NC game, but Ted Miller says an undefeated Oregon would be a lock. We all know what C Low would say. Which one of them is wrong?
Adam Rittenberg (12:30 PM): There's definitely a belief that the SEC champion, whether undefeated or with 1 loss, will make the title game no matter what. I guess when you win five consecutive championships, you've earned that right. If we somehow get undefeated teams from the SEC, Pac-12 and Big Ten, someone gets left out, and it could be the Big Ten squad if Oregon or Stanford runs the table. But the chances of this happening seem pretty slim to me.
Illini Mike (Chicago IL): Hey Adam, I truely believe Illinois will fill those gaps on defense. Last year it seemed VK did a great job nuturing and developing talent. I think he'll continue that production into this year. Mark my words, towards the end of the year you'll be call Illinois the most underratted defense in the league.
Adam Rittenberg (12:42 PM): Mike, I agree Vic did a great job in his first season as coordinator. Although the defense seemed to let down in November against Michigan, Minnesota and Fresno State, the unit's overall strides shouldn't be dismissed. I think the secondary will be fine and even better than last year's unit, especially if Hawthorne and Sanni stay healthy. The front seven concerns me, especially after losing Liuget, but if Ian Thomas, Akeem Spence and others step up, Illinois should be in decent shape.
Brandon (Las Vegas, NV): Who's replacing Boom for the Bucks? My guess is a tandem of Berry and Smith with Hall mixed in every now and then. Although, I have heard rumblings of Carlos Hyde showing promise.
Adam Rittenberg (12:47 PM): Brandon, I tend to think it'll be a mix of backs as well. The NFL has showed us that you typically need two running backs, and Ohio State has several good options as well as some nice variety. Smith can be your bruiser, and both Hall and Berry can provide a change-up with their speed. I'm really excited to see who emerges among that group.

Thanks again for the questions, and my apologies to those whose questions weren't answered. Let's do it again next week!
Lucas (NYC)

You say an undefeated B1G champion would go to the NC game, but Ted Miller says an undefeated Oregon would be a lock. We all know what C Low would say. Which one of them is wrong?
Adam Rittenberg
(12:30 PM)

There's definitely a belief that the SEC champion, whether undefeated or with 1 loss, will make the title game no matter what. I guess when you win five consecutive championships, you've earned that right. If we somehow get undefeated teams from the SEC, Pac-12 and Big Ten, someone gets left out, and it could be the Big Ten squad if Oregon or Stanford runs the table. But the chances of this happening seem pretty slim to me.


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