- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Is it really May already? Can't believe it. Anyway, our first May chat is in the books. In case you missed out on the fun, here's the full transcript.
lites from New Jersey: Lots of talk about Wisconsin and Iowa having to improve recruiting to maintain position at the top of the B1G, yet both (lately mostly the UW) have just fine, thanks, by following a method of development of 3* guys rather than fighting the true bigs for 5* guys. As Alvarez's experience several years back, isn't aiming too high a potential risk as much as a reward?
Adam Rittenberg: Lites, while I see what you're saying about high-level recruits, just because Wisconsin and Iowa are strong developmental programs doesn't mean they couldn't help top-level recruits become even better. Sure, you'll probably encounter more prima donnas -- or "hat dance" guys, as Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald calls them -- among the five-star recruits, but there are also guys who back up the hype. Wisconsin and Iowa have positioned themselves to at least aim for the best of the best. Their main selling point: recent NFL draft success. Both teams will continue to develop under-the-radar guys, but they shouldn't hold back from the best prospects, either.
Adam from B10 Country: What's the chance that Hoke has a crash landing this year, seems like last years schedule was as favorable as you could ever get and a lot of balls bounced the teams way, is 6-6 out of the question?
Adam Rittenberg: Adam, I think 6-6 is out of the question, but Michigan could end up being a better team than in 2011 with a worse record. The schedule is that taxing, and a 2-2 split with Alabama, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State would be impressive in my book. The Wolverines still have to play MSU at home. I'd put Michigan in the 8- to 11-win range this fall.
Joe from Columbus: Do you think Tressel will get into the college football HOF?
Adam Rittenberg: Joe, this is a fascinating question, one I might have to address in a lengthier blog post. My inclination is yes because time tends to heal some wounds and Tressel's accomplishments as a coach, both at Youngstown State and at Ohio State, would make him a shoo-in for the HOF. It depends on how his violations are viewed when it's time for the selections. But if I had to make a prediction, I'd say yes.
Michael from DC: Adam, there's been a lot of talk about the Michigan and MSU squads, but I feel like this has been done in a vacuum; nobody is talking about the matchups on the field. While Michigan's defense may not be quite as stout, I think it is relatively more stout compared to MSU's offense. UM (finally!) has depth in the back seven and MSU has a lot of questions at receiver, even if Arnett plays. I also think its DL will perform better than people think. On the other side, Michigan (for the first time since Henne) has a returning starter at QB running the same offense and a talented OL that I think will be able to run the ball against MSU, as its strength on DL is its pass rush. How do you see these matchups playing out?
Adam Rittenberg: Michael, I applaud you for making the discussion about the matchups rather than the typical meatball stuff I hear from both fan bases. I'm particularly interested in seeing Michigan's offense vs. Michigan State's defense. Both units could be among the league's best -- Michigan State's D might be the league's best overall unit. Michigan will need to make the Spartans defend the entire field and keep Gholston out of the backfield. The Lewan-Gholston matchup should be fascinating, and not just because of the stuff that happened last year. If Michigan's defensive line can take away Le'Veon Bell and the run game, MSU will have a tough time scoring points. Michigan boasts two strong corners in Countess and Floyd, and Michigan State's receivers have a long way to go. The Spartans have to be a run-first team in 2011, and Michigan will try to take away that element. Should be a lot of fun at the Big House.
Mystery Coach from B10 Country: I develop talent better than anyone in the conference, who am I?
Adam Rittenberg: You are Kirk Ferentz. But sometimes you are Bret Bielema. Depends on the year.
Thanks again for all the questions and comments, and my apologies to those who didn't make the rundown. Let's do it again soon.
4dBrian Bennett and Josh Moyer