- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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This week's Big Ten chat came a day later than normal, but it was worth the wait. Thanks to those who participated, and my apologies if your question wasn't answered.
In case you missed out on all the fun, here's a full transcript.
Tim from Ann Arbor: Hey first timer wanted to pick your brain about Spartans. Now I've read a lot about this an that, all I'm hoping isn't media hype leading into a disappointing season this year. Do you see state with the ability to beat the competition and have a true shot at the legends division championship again? Or is it more likely that Michigan will take the legends?
Adam Rittenberg: Tim, think the Legends race will be captivating as MSU, Michigan and Nebraska all are leading contenders to reach Indy. Michigan State will need to be a defense-driven team, and I still love the talent on that side of the ball. Spartans boast a bunch of difference-makers. Michigan State also will need to be more run-driven on offense behind Le'Veon Bell, Larry Caper and a more seasoned offensive line. Michigan likely will be the popular pick to win the Legends, but right now, MSU has a slight edge in my book.
Nate from Jacksonville, N.C.: How do you think James Vandenberg will compare to other QB nationally? He is probably one of the better ones in the big ten agree? And how does the LB and secondary look for Iowa?
Adam Rittenberg: James has the ability to put up big numbers, and he did at times last year. But to become nationally elite, he needs to be a lot better on the road and against elite defenses. He really struggled against Nebraska and OU at the end of the season. But he works very hard and some nice skills. LB should be a strength for Iowa this year. More questions in the secondary, and the Hawkeyes need a big year from CB Micah Hyde.
Josh from Galesburg, Ill.: I think Delany has done an awesome job with the development of the conference title game, Big Ten Network, and his infusion of ideas about a college football playoff. However, the Big Ten needs to adopt a playoff policy which will benefit all conferences (including the Big Ten)!
Adam Rittenberg: Josh, I agree with everything you wrote. Delany has done a lot of great things for the Big Ten and put the programs in position to succeed, despite the dearth of national titles. But his stance on the playoff and his affection for the Rose Bowl have undoubtedly hurt him publicly.
Patrick from Chicago: Adam, how important is a Heisman to a college players legacy? Let's say Montee Ball duplicates 2011, but doesn't win the award. Does that mean he wasn't one of the greatest college players of all time?
Adam Rittenberg: That's a really interesting question. What if another Wisconsin back, Ron Dayne, hadn't captured the Heisman as a senior after putting up big numbers the previous seasons? He's regarded as one of the game's greatest backs, but the Heisman undoubtedly helped his legacy. I don't know if Montee can reach that level because he shared carries in 2010 before breaking out last year. But if he replicates his 2011 production, I'd think he'll have a great chance at hoisting the trophy.
Thanks again for joining me.