- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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You had an extra hour to prepare for the Big Ten chat, and most of you brought your A-game, especially No. 1 fan, Jason from Wisconsin. For those who missed out, check out the complete transcript.
Jacob from Evanston: Northwestern: Unlucky team or unluckiest team? But seriously, a question: What are your thoughts on the call at the end of the NU/UM game? It seemed pretty obvious that Michigan's right line wasn't set before the FG attempt. And also, there's the whole substitution controversy. Was Northwestern robbed, or are they just unlucky?
Adam Rittenberg: Those end-of-game plays are really chaotic, and the officials usually aren't as locked in on pre-snap movement as they would be for a random play in the middle of the second quarter. But yes, there was movement, and Michigan should have been flagged for a game-ending, false-start penalty. Northwestern has been really unlucky, but the Wildcats also don't play or coach to win a lot of the time. Very conservative approach by Fitz, who hasn't had a good year, and players failing to make plays down the stretch. Northwestern easily could have 3-4 Big Ten wins.
Vernon visiting Berkeley, Calif.: Do you think if Michigan were having the season that Michigan State is having, the national perception of the Big Ten would be different. It seems to me the Big Ten as a conference is actually not having too bad a year, but there is a perception that this is a down year, and I cannot understand why.
Adam Rittenberg: Great to hear from my hometown, Vernon (and Bren earlier)! I think there's something to this, even though Michigan State is getting more respect nationally now. It just seems that for the casual observers in the media, the Big Ten is viewed in a better light when Michigan and Penn State are up there with Ohio State. That's not the case right now. It seems harder for outsiders to embrace a league where MSU and Wisconsin are really good and Michigan and PSU are average.
Jon from Seattle: Let's say Wisconsin is guaranteed a spot in the Orange Bowl. Who would you rather be: MSU and have a chance to take down the Buckeyes, win the conference and go to the Rose Bowl -- but with the risk of losing and missing out on the BCS? Or Wisconsin, no shot at the conference -- but guaranteed BCS spot? I think conference titles matter, and I think I'd prefer MSU's situation even with the risk.
Adam Rittenberg: Ah, hypotheticals are fun, aren't they? It would be interesting to see what Michigan State fans would say, as they really want to go to a BCS bowl after winning so many games in 2010 and 2011. But yes, you want a chance to play great teams for championships, and Wisconsin probably won't have that opportunity this season. Michigan State really wants to get back to the Rose Bowl, and the only way that happens is to beat Ohio State in Indy.
Jason from Wisconsin: Uhh ... any 5-star on Michigan is a true freshman. And an offensive lineman. You want them to be stars already? Cool. Also ... you know they play four or five years, right? So ... anyone that would be developed enough to be an upperclassmen would come from? You guessed it! Good call though. I'm going half dumb, half uninformed. About football in general though, not just the teams you cover.
Adam Rittenberg: Appreciate the kind words. Not every star player is a five-star. Look up the road at Michigan State and where [Darqueze] Dennard, [Shilique] Calhoun and others ranked as recruits. If you're OK with the direction of the program, I'm happy for you. I think Michigan fans should expect more than this in Year 3. Brady Hoke sets high standards, a refreshing approach. His teams aren't meeting them so far. They could next season. But I'm a little tired of Michigan talking about history so much and not making any.
Aaron from Iowa: What is Iowa's most likely bowl destination, factoring in their remaining schedule? Does the bowl scenario clear up at all after this weekend?
Adam Rittenberg: Winning out would change things for the Hawkeyes a bit, Aaron, but assuming Iowa goes 1-1, I see Kirk Ferentz's crew in either Gator or Texas. It could be Iowa or Minnesota for Gator, if the Gophers lose out to finish 8-4.
Thanks again for stopping by. I'll keep you posted about next week's chat, which may or may not happen because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Enjoy Week 13!
4dDan Murphy and Austin Ward