Big Ten Tuesday mailblog

July, 30, 2013
7/30/13
5:00
PM ET
Let's check that mail. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter.

Mike from Denver writes: Adam - I understand your comments on a night game between Michigan and MSU. But to categorize this game with an SEC battle is inaccurate. As my LSU buddy puts it, "we don't have rivals in the south, we have big games". Michigan and MSU HATE each other to their cores. And that is what makes it a great rivalry. As much as I'd love to see that game under the lights, I have to agree with the AD's, it's too much risk given the atmosphere of the game. A better parallel is the CU / CSU game which had to be moved out of Mile High Stadium due to the number of issues. UofM, and especially MSU are not foreign to the concept of off-the-field issues. My fear is the off the field activities would ultimately take away from what is becoming more than just a "regional rivalry."

Adam Rittenberg: Some fair points here for sure, Mike. The in-state rivalry/hatred component can't be dismissed, and there certainly are added risks to playing these types of games at night. While you bring up a good example with Colorado and Colorado State, there are plenty of other similar matchups that have taken place at night, including Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, Texas-Texas A&M, South Carolina-Clemson, Florida-Florida State, USC-UCLA, Miami-Florida State and Pitt-West Virginia. Even the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn, a rivalry we'd all agree features plenty of hatred, has been played under the lights. So it can be done, and I think eventually, Michigan State will host Michigan under the lights. The reason the Big Ten is resistant is more cultural than anything else. Night games just aren't part of Big Ten tradition the way they are in other conferences. Things are slowly changing.




Ryan from W. Michigan writes: We've all seen the recent recruiting success Michigan has had just in the past few days and that doesn't even count what Coach Hoke has done the last couple years. So how do you see Hoke and Co doing as far as developing these highly ranked players into the next stage of their careers ie. the NFL?

Adam Rittenberg: I'll have a better answer for you in a year or two, but I fully expect Brady Hoke and his staff to maximize the talent they've brought into Ann Arbor. Veteran defensive coordinator Greg Mattison has a long track record of developing pros, and his recent experience with the NFL's Baltimore Ravens should only help him understand what players need to do to be great at the next level. Michigan should have no issues producing NFL-ready defenders, and the move to a more traditional pro-style offense also should help on that side of the ball. I fully expect the Wolverines to become an offensive line factory of sorts for the next level. They have recruited extremely well there. It'll be interesting to see how quickly Michigan gets back to producing NFL-ready wide receivers, quarterbacks and running backs.




Charlie from Chicago writes: Can you settle an argument I keep having with other Northwestern fans? I contend that if NU is 4-0 heading into Big 10 play and upsets No. 1 ranked OSU that Northwestern should be at least ranked in the top 3. Most people disagree, however. If the upset were to happen, do you think the polls would view it as a sign that Northwestern is a legit team or simply that the Big 10 is having another down year?

Adam Rittenberg: Charlie, while teams can make major moves in the polls with signature wins, I don't expect Northwestern to be anywhere near the top 3 even if it starts 5-0. It underscores the problem with preseason polls, but Northwestern's preseason ranking will have more to do with how much it can climb by beating Ohio State. The Wildcats likely will be ranked somewhere between 18-23 in the preseason polls. None of their nonconference opponents will help much, so a move of 15-20 spots just by beating Ohio State, even if the Buckeyes are No. 1 nationally, seems highly unlikely. A Buckeyes loss likely would hurt the Big Ten's national perception more than a Northwestern win. That's just the way these things go. This is a great example of why preseason polls are silly as teams should only be rated after we get a better gauge of how good they really are.




Doug from West Bloomfield, Mich., writes: Just reading the mailbag from Friday and had some thoughts on Black Friday football games. As a season ticket holder for Michigan State for the last 15 years, I would hate to see MSU have a home game on Black Friday every year. As someone who travels for the Thanksgiving holiday most years, that would be a game I would not be able to attend without making special plans and changing family tradition. I'll admit, I'm bit hypocritical though, because I love that there are Black Friday games elsewhere so my family and I have a game or two to watch while our wives go shopping. Just my two cents.

Adam Rittenberg: Doug, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think Black Friday games would cause some adjustment and angst for any fan base that isn't used to them. Nebraska fans have grown up with these games for years and plan accordingly. But these games are new for other fan bases, especially in the Big Ten where post-Thanksgiving regular-season games are a relatively recent phenomenon. A lot of this also depends on whether fans either live far from their team's stadium or will be traveling for Thanksgiving. Fans who can easily access home games on Black Friday likely will have fewer issues with games being played on that day. As you note here, the exposure teams get from playing that day is tremendous.




Thaddeus from Denver writes: It sure seems to me that Nebraska fans have an over-inflated sense of their program. I keep hearing complaints about how they should be playing Penn State or Wisconsin in the final week of the regular season. I have no argument that the program is more historic than Iowa's. Three national championships in four years is a major accomplishment. However, that was the 1990s. I was in college when they won their last title, and that seems like ages ago. From 2002 to 2013, Nebraska's winning percentage (.639) is actually slightly less than Iowa's (.640), and Nebraska has had at least four losses in every season since 2003. You could also say that there have been two or three Iowa teams during that period better than any Cornhusker squad since their title run. Sure, Iowa has had a couple of down seasons, but it is not like Nebraska has blown Iowa out the last two years. The truth is, the Cornhuskers have been a slightly above average football team over the past 15 years, not a national powerhouse as their fans would have you believe.

Adam Rittenberg: Thaddeus (love that name), we should all by shocked that a college football fan base has an inflated sense of self. It just never happens in this sport of humility and pragmatic supporters. Nebraska fans might be living too much on the glory days, but they're certainly not alone. I was listing to the "On Iowa" podcast this week and hosts Scott Dochterman and Marc Morehouse brought up this topic and how since 2000, Nebraska and Iowa haven't been too far apart in on-field performance. The problem is that Iowa has yet to add any juice to the rivalry the past two seasons. Both games have been total snoozers. As soon as Iowa beats Nebraska or the teams play an entertaining game, the rivalry will get legs. I do think Nebraska fans have a stronger affinity for Penn State because of the teams' similar histories. The bottom line is something needs to happen soon in the Iowa-Nebraska series or we could see a change to rivalry weekend, possibly Nebraska playing Wisconsin and Iowa playing Minnesota.




Mark from El Centro, Calif., writes: Can you do an article letting us know when each school will be starting their fall camps in prep for the season?

Adam Rittenberg: Mark, I have you covered with this post, but it's worth listing the camp dates again, so here you go ...

ILLINOIS

Aug. 2: All players report
Aug. 3: First practice in Champaign
Aug. 12-20: Practice at "Camp Rantoul" in Rantoul, Ill.
Aug. 21: Practice resumes in Champaign

INDIANA

July 31: Freshmen report
Aug. 1: Returning players report
Aug. 2: First practice

IOWA

Aug. 3: Freshmen report
Aug. 4: Returning players report
Aug. 5: First practice

MICHIGAN

Aug. 3: Freshmen report
Aug. 4: Returning players report
Aug. 5: First practice

MICHIGAN STATE

Aug. 2: All players report
Aug. 3: First practice

MINNESOTA

July 30: All players report
Aug. 2: First practice

NEBRASKA

Aug. 1: All players report
Aug. 3: First practice

NORTHWESTERN

Aug. 5: All players report
Aug. 6: First practice in Evanston
Aug. 13-19: Team practices at "Camp Kenosha" in Kenosha, Wis.

OHIO STATE

Aug. 4: All players report
Aug. 4: First practice
Aug. 12-24: Team practices at Ackerman Road fields (on campus)

PENN STATE

Aug. 4: All players report
Aug. 5: First practice

PURDUE

Aug. 2: All players report
Aug. 3: First practice

WISCONSIN

Aug. 4: All players report
Aug. 5: First practice

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