Big Ten Friday mailblog

June, 29, 2012
6/29/12
5:30
PM ET
Hoping everyone has a great weekend, especially my co-blogger, the Louisville Ginger, who gets hitched while Zooey weeps.

Let's get to your questions.

Robert from Lincoln, Neb., writes: Adam-I don't expect you to respond to this but how can you say James Vandenberg is more accomplished than Taylor Martinez? Martinez has been a major factor in Nebraska winning tough road games in hostile environments against quality teams like Washington, Oklahoma State (where he outdid Brandon Weeden in the air that day), at K-State on a nationally televised Thursday night game, and at Penn State in an emotionally charged game. Throw in home victories against Washington, an undefeated Missouri team that the week before beat No. 1 Oklahoma, helping to lead the largest comeback in school history against Ohio State, and playing effectively against an elite Michigan State defense I fail to see how Vandenberg is more accomplished (your word not mine). Perhaps you can enlighten me?

Adam Rittenberg: Robert, almost everything you listed happened in the 2010 season. When compiling a preseason all-conference team, it's much more important to emphasize what a player did in the previous season, which would be 2011 in this case. Martinez took a step back for the most part, although he had some nice moments, particularly during the Ohio State comeback. But Vandenberg threw for 3,022 yards and 25 touchdowns. He carried the Iowa offense at times, particularly because the Hawkeyes weren't overly efficient in rushing the ball. While Vandenberg had his struggles, particularly in games away from Kinnick Stadium, his overall performance for the season is more encouraging than Martinez's. That doesn't mean Martinez won't be the better player this year, especially as he's healthier and more comfortable with the offense. But preseason accolades aren't based on what you did two years ago.



Alden from Chicago writes: Adam, with the now open admission that the current BCS system and computer rankings are a joke, aren't the powers-that-be saying that the next two seasons of the BCS are a joke? I feel like it?s going to be more and more difficult to excitedly announce the BCS rankings every Sunday night when we know everything?s changing just around the corner. I also feel like it takes away from the winner of the BCS Championship, since everyone?s so disgusted with the current system. Obviously they can't implement new rankings immediately, but why not at least make the formulas public so we know what goes into them? If transparency is what they're after, there's no time like the present.

Adam Rittenberg: Some great points as usual, Alden. And yes, it would be wonderful if the BCS could start being more transparent now rather than (hopefully) in two years. But I wouldn't hold your breath. The Coaches' Poll isn't going to become transparent all of a sudden, and the computer system proprietors who don't reveal their formulas certainly aren't going to do so now, as they'll be phased out after 2014. Talk about a lame-duck system that no one will respect. Ugh. My colleague Ted Miller had a great column this week, headlined "Purgatory till playoff," in which he explores the agony that will be felt by teams that finish No. 3 and No. 4 in the final BCS standings the next two years. As Ted points out, the "It is what it is" excuse won't fly the next two seasons because we all know what the sport will be after 2014.



Kevin from Orlando writes: Adam, I always look forward to reading your blog, very insightful as to whats going on in the B1G. Hopefully you can shed some light on one of UM's newest recruits Chris Maye. I understand he was offered a scholarship for track but turned it down to be a preferred walk on for football. From what I read this kid racked up 4,000 yards and over 60 touch downs, and has a 4.3 40. I think UM is looking at him as a DB but they are also looking to take a RB as well. Either way why wouldnt they offer him a scholarship and why isnt there much information about him at any of the recruiting sights?

Adam Rittenberg: Kevin, it's your lucky day. To answer your question, I consulted Wolverine Nation's recruiting guru Tom VanHaaren, who knows infinitely more about Michigan recruits than yours truly.

Here's what Tom had to say about Chris Maye:
He is being taken as a defensive back, and because of his speed and size (5-10, 170), that's probably where he would fit best. He's from a small town and played against lesser competition, so while his numbers are impressive they aren't against top competition. You can't always just look at stats with high school players because there is more to it than that.
They didn't offer him a scholarship because there isn't room right now as far as total scholarships, and he was willing to walk-on so there is no need. He is a fan of Michigan and was just happy about the opportunity. He has some work to do as far as learning his position and the fundamentals, and he recognized that this was his best opportunity.

Hope this helps.



Mike from Boston writes: Like most PSU fans, the loss of Joe Paterno felt like a huge blow to the chest and I still don't feel like it's totally sunk in yet. My question to you is, have we seen the end of the long term coach? It seems like the trend is going towards more short term coaches, using college as some sort of stepping stone, or starting as head coach fairly later in life. Thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: Mike, we're not going to see coaches spend more than four decades at the same school in the FBS. That era is over. I don't know how many coaches are using college jobs as stepping stones, but the pressure of retaining good college jobs is higher than ever. Just look at the Big Ten, which has seen a historic amount of turnover in the past 5-6 seasons. While I can see some coaches staying in a job for 10 years or more, I wouldn't expect to see too many stay for 15 or 20 years. And maybe that's not a bad thing, as the recent scandals in college sports have raised questions about iconic coaches and whether they have too much power at universities.



Jeff from Canton, Ohio, writes: Do you get the feeling that Delany just made this a demand because he wanted the victory of getting his way over the SEC, who was for semifinals in neutral or regional sites outside of the bowl system? I don't think this is better for the B10 or the Rose Bowl, we gave away our chances at any semblance of a home semifinal (one of the biggest gripes of the old system was playing all away games) and I feel like the Rose Bowl will become more irrelevant with the place it will have now that it was before (which was already pretty irrelevant outside of old timers minds in the midwest and west coast) Don't you think it would have been better to always have the B10 P12 matchup outside of the playoff?

Adam Rittenberg: Jeff, you're arguing two different points. If the Rose Bowl will become less and less relevant, why would it "have been better" to keep the Big Ten-Pac-12 matchup outside of the playoff? At least by having the Rose part of the system, it will remain nationally relevant in years where it hosts a semifinal. And should the Rose have its traditional B1G-Pac matchup in a national semifinal, it'll be huge for all involved. Now I get your point about never having meaningful games close to the Big Ten footprint. Campus sites wasn't realistic, but neutral sites like Indianapolis or Detroit could have come to fruition had the Big Ten supported neutral sites. In the end, Delany saw neutral sites as the "slipperiest slope" toward a bigger playoff, which he and most presidents don't want right now. His Rose Bowl loyalty remains steadfast, as he views the Rose Bowl relationship as an integral part of the Big Ten's identity. That view will never change as long as he's commissioner, and the fact is the Rose Bowl, more than any other bowl, has the ability to retain its prestige in a playoff environment. That said, if the Rose never hosted a semifinal, it could have a damaging effect on a sports property that has tremendous value to the Big Ten.



Jeremy from Iowa writes: Last season, Iowa failed to bring any hardware back to Iowa City. Iowa State, Minnesota, and Nebraska all beat Iowa. Iowa faced all 3 of them on the road. ISU fans had a very impressive showing at Jack Trice Stadium. This year, Iowa will face all of them at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa didn't play Wisconsin nor do they play them this year. Do you see Iowa winning at least 2 of the 3 trophy games? *I didn't include bowl games because that is irrelevent to the question.

Adam Rittenberg: Jeremy, Iowa has been tough to beat on its home field in recent seasons, even last year, where it only lost once at Kinnick Stadium (albeit in convincing fashion to Michigan State). While Minnesota will be an improved team in Year 2 under Jerry Kill, I'd be surprised if the Gophers beat Iowa for a third consecutive time. The Pig should be returning to Iowa City. I think Iowa will go 1-1 in the other two games, having a better chance to beat Iowa State than Nebraska. So I'd expect the Hawkeyes' trophy case to have two new pieces of hardware after the season.



Joshua from Columbus, Ohio, writes: Hey Adam, like the blog, but I don't feel very hyped about the playoff system. I cannot tell if it's better or worse, but what I like is the "bidding city for national title" game. I am confused about does the bidding city have to have a bowl game? I know Detroit could bid, but could cities like Columbus, Ann Arbor, or even Madison bid?

Adam Rittenberg: There are no restrictions on a bidding city, Joshua, except having an adequate venue -- and very deep pockets. It'll take a lot of money to land the national championship game, but even more important, it will take a strong bid and most likely a strong track record of hosting major events. Indianapolis doesn't host a bowl game at Lucas Oil Stadium, but it hosts the Big Ten football championship and has hosted numerous other major events, including the Super Bowl and the Final Four. If cities like Columbus, Ann Arbor and Madison want to bid, they can. But the odds are stacked against them as outdoor venues. If there's one venue that has the best chance, it'd be Michigan Stadium, which is hosting the NHL's Winter Classic in January and could potentially put forth a decent bid. But no, you don't need to host a bowl game to bid on the national title game.



Mike from Lincoln, Neb., writes: im hearing that the playoff committee will be made up of current and former AD's and possibly commissioners. with his experience as a coach/AD and congressman, whats the chances tom osborne is offered the chairman position of this committee?

Adam Rittenberg: Mike, you might have missed it, but I endorsed Osborne as my No. 1 candidate to represent the Big Ten on the selection committee. Whether he'd be the chairman or not remains to be seen. I've only dealt with Tom for about two years, but it's impossible not to come away impressed with him and how he makes decisions. Although he's a former coach who has strong ties to one school and one state, which is a concern, I think he's the type of person to keep his biases outside of the deliberation room. He wouldn't feel like he'd have to shill for Nebraska or for the Big Ten. Would Texas fans like Osborne on the committee? Probably not. But if Texas had a team deserving of being in the playoff, Osborne wouldn't stand in the way. There certainly are worse choices than Osborne for a committee.

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