Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Big Ten mailblog
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
After further review, I've decided to go back to two mailblogs per week, Tuesday and Friday. Keep sending in your questions and comments. Ohio State fans certainly have the last few days.
Steve from Chicago writes: Adam:How can you say that OSU shouldn't carry the BCS torch this year? Its September! And they are the only Big Ten team to play a decent opponent thus far (Notre Dame is not included as a good team).I look forward to reading your biased reports the remainder of the year.Thankfully, the decision will be made on the field.
Adam Rittenberg: That's the beauty of it, Steve. Things will be settled on the field. But when I look at Ohio State, I don't see a BCS bowl champion. I see a young team that has no identity on offense and hasn't had one for quite some time. Terrelle Pryor will continue to progress, but he doesn't have a great supporting cast right now, and the line has been disappointing for several years despite strong recruiting. Ohio State will be a force in 2010, but every national champion and most BCS bowl winners in recent memory have had offenses that opponents fear. The Buckeyes don't.
Jake from Columbus, Ohio, writes: Adam, I have lost a lot of respect for you as an analyzer with your recent big ten power rankings. I understand Penn State being number one. But Michigan at No. 2 ahead of Ohio State! Really? And what makes you think that Michigan could of stuck with USC like OSU did, they wouldn't, they would get rolled. Sure, they had a great win against Notre Dame, but what makes you think Notre Dame isn't just the usual frankly average Irish team they usually are in current times? And Ohio State's defense proved that they were probably the best defense in the Big Ten on Saturday. What other Big Ten defense has been able to control USC like that? None this decade is the answer, and that's including Michigan the several times they played USC after losing to Ohio State at the end of the regular season. I was just wondering what was going through your mind when you made that bold statement? You always have seemed to dis like Ohio State though, so it really doesn't come as a surprise to me. I guess it will take a 6th straight year of utter domination against the Wolverines to put us ahead of them right? Thanks in advance for replying.
Adam Rittenberg: Thanks, Jake. As I've explained numerous times, the power rankings will reward big wins and penalize losses, even those to USC. Don't freak out about Ohio State being a notch below Michigan for one week. The Buckeyes have plenty of opportunities to jump ahead of the Wolverines, long before their Nov. 21 matchup. If Ohio State pounds Toledo this weekend and Michigan struggles against Eastern Michigan, the Buckeyes will move ahead. As for Notre Dame, the Irish are overrated as a BCS bowl contender, but they're a pretty solid team overall. They have arguably the nation's best wide receiver tandem and an improved run game. The power rankings are fun, but a lot of people seem to take them too seriously. And if you check the blog in the past, I haven't dissed Ohio State. I had them No. 1 in the Big Ten entering the year, ahead of a Penn State team that won in Columbus last year.
Steve from Indiana writes: In last weeks' power rankings you said if Purdue could keep it close with Oregon, they would make a big jump. Not only did they keep it close, they would have won if not for numerous mistakes, yet they move down a spot in this weeks' power rankings. What is your reasoning behind this?
Adam Rittenberg: That's a good call, Steve. I should have had the Boilers a bit higher. Still, I'm not quite sure what to make of this team. Toledo has turned out to be a decent win, but Colorado is pretty awful and I'd like to see how the Rockets fare against the Buckeyes. Purdue turned in an impressive effort in Eugene, a very tough place to play, but clearly Oregon isn't the team most thought it would be. And Purdue made a ton of mistakes, which makes it hard to warrant a big move up. The Boilers should have been at least a spot higher, if not two, and they will be (this time I mean it) if they beat Northern Illinois.
Mark from California writes: Adam, I can't believe you had the nerve to say Penn State is clearly the best team in the Big-10. You're basically rewarding them for playing cupcakes.Anyone who says Penn State's performance vs. Syracuse was more impressive than Ohio State's vs. USC needs to give up their right to an opinion.
Adam Rittenberg: I'm not sure what you're looking for here. Ohio State LOST THE GAME. This isn't Little League, where everyone gets a pat on the butt for losing. Ohio State put up admirable efforts as an underdog against both Texas and USC. But the Buckeyes didn't get it done. End of story. People remember winners, not near-miss losers. Penn State hasn't been overly impressive so far, and we'll see if the Nittany Lions are a good team or not in the coming weeks, but I'm not going to put a 1-1 Ohio State team with a close victory against Navy at No. 1. When the Buckeyes start looking impressive on both sides of the ball, they'll be rewarded.
Eric from Naples, Fla., writes: Adam what do you know about Jeff Brinson for Iowa? I would think he would be a better RB for Iowa instead of Robinson? Granted Robinson is a good back but isn't Jeff Brinson bigger and maybe more explosive? He did come from the speed state (florida).....
Adam Rittenberg: Eric, Brinson has had a little trouble staying healthy, both in spring ball and in preseason camp. An ankle injury kept him out for much of the preseason, and he fell behind the other backs in practice time and conditioning. Brinson had a 7-yard run last week and has logged time on special teams, but freshmen Brandon Wegher and Adam Robinson seem to be in the lead at running back. Still, I'd expect Brinson to see more action soon.
Darrin from Chicago writes: Hey Adam...im a Michigan grad and a long time fan. I made it to the game saturday and what a change in this program! Last year was just a drag to go to games. I still have to question the hype around this team. Im afraid its going to go to the heads of our players and disappoint all of the fans when we start playing better teams. I honestly dont feel we are in the top 25 in the nation or according to you...the 2nd best team in the Big10 power rankings?? I appreciate the respect and love the direction our team is heading, but i still feel like we have to prove ourselves. Nevada was a cupcake and ND was pretty overrated like they are every year. If our team can hang with OSU, PSU, MSU, Iowa, Wis, etc in the Big10...then we deserve the respect.
Adam Rittenberg: I wish more fans had your wait-and-see perspective, Darrin. It's refreshing to see. Michigan still has a lot to prove, especially on the road with trips to Michigan State and Iowa, but the Wolverines look like a totally different team this year. You bring up a good point about the players' mind-set, and it'll be key for Rich Rodriguez to keep his young players focused. But there's a lot to like about Michigan right now, from Tate Forcier to the run game to the abundance of good young players to the obvious unity on the team that wasn't there in 2008.