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Friday, December 16, 2011
Big Ten Friday mailblog

By Adam Rittenberg

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Let's get to those questions:

Luke from Omaha, Neb., writes: Adam,Love the blog, I read it daily. I read Heather Dinich's article on the overall bowl record by conference. The B1G unfortunately only has a .482 winning percentage (122-131-3). Which is good for 6th. My question for you is what is each B1G team's bowl record and how well have they done in the last 10 years? Thanks!

Adam Rittenberg: Luke, here are the bowl breakdowns for each Big Ten team, both overall and since 2001.
John from Chicago writes: Your response to OSU getting a waiver from the NCAA: "People are upset because Ohio State seems to be benefiting from making the coaching change when it did, and Meyer certainly is no ordinary recruiter. But Ohio State isn't the only program looking to capitalize on the situation."My question: do you really think OSU should be able to "capitalize on the situation" when they are in the situation because of NCAA rules violations, and are still under review for more penalties and sanctions? The only correct response from the NCAA was to deny the waiver request by saying "sorry, but we will not make an exception to this rule for a university that is in a coaching change situation due to rules violations and is currently under review for potentially more violations". If the NCAA grants every waiver request, then change the rule. But if a rule is in place, they should not waive it for a university that is not in good standing.

Adam Rittenberg: John, you bring up some good points. The NCAA's view, however, is that if a team hasn't violated rules relating to countable coaches used for recruiting, the waiver will be granted. As I wrote Thursday, the NCAA has granted the waiver to teams on probation or dealing with pending infractions cases related to other issues. The NCAA views the issues as separate. Ohio State's admitted violations, while serious, don't relate to this area. Should the NCAA look at the bigger picture in deciding whether to grant these waivers? There's a strong case that it should and not provide a program that has admitted to rule violations this temporary exception. But that's not the way the system is currently set up.


Matt from Philadelphia writes: What do you think the future holds for Penn State? Do you expect a huge slump over the next couple years like in the early 2000's? Worse, Not as bad? Will we be seeing a lot of transfers after the season? How much will their recruiting be effected? Obviously things will continue to get worse for a while, but how bad will it be for Penn State?

Adam Rittenberg: Matt, a lot depends on which coach is hired and what penalties could be coming down from the Big Ten and/or the NCAA. Penn State's short-term recruiting will take a hit, and Nittany Lions fans should really temper their expectations for the 2012 class, even if a coach is named soon. Transfers are almost inevitable with a coaching change, so I would expect some, particularly if Penn State hires a coach from outside the current staff. The hardest part for Penn State are all of the unknowns. Penn State has tremendous tradition, top-notch facilities and terrific fan support. For these reasons, it's hard to imagine the program to struggle for any extended period. But this case is unprecedented and there's no telling what will come down after all the investigations are complete. My sense is it will be bad for a little, but not for an extended period.


Keith from San Diego writes: Braxton VS TreIf Tre started as many games as Braxton did, would Tre be the top Big Ten QB of 2011? Taking off my Crimson goggles, they are both talented players. Braxton looks very mature for his age and obviously plays for a more high profile team (which could mean more pressure on a kid). But, after watching not only the IU vs OSU game, but it seems like at times Tre outplayed Braxton. I'm afraid Tre will always be in Braxtons shadows, regardless if he plays better than Braxton or not

Adam Rittenberg: While Braxton Miller certainly is a higher-profile player than Tre Roberson, they had comparable seasons this year. Roberson had several really nice performances for Indiana, including one against Ohio State in Columbus. Miller made fewer mistakes than Roberson and showed a bit more explosive play-making ability against better competition, but the two really weren't far apart this season. It will be interesting to watch both young QBs develop in systems where their skills should really thrive.


Zach from Granville, Ohio, writes: Hey Adam,Just wondering what do you think Northwestern will do with Kain Colter next year? I already see that they have converted Evan Watkins to Superback, and with the addition of Sieman, and Oliver as better "Throwers" than Colter. Do you see him going back to QB, or more of a triple threat as a RB/WR/QB? 100 yards: passing, receiving and rushing now that would be a game...I know this is way too far ahead just wanted to get your take.

Adam Rittenberg: It will be interesting, Zach. A lot depends on how much Colter develops as a passer during the offseason. He can have the strongest impact on games at the quarterback position, but he has to complete passes at a high rate like Dan Persa, Mike Kafka and other Northwestern quarterbacks. Northwestern's offense requires the quarterback to be accurate on short to mid-range throws and convert third downs at a high rate. If Colter can't do this consistently, he'd be best used in a slash role. A lot also depends on Trevor Siemian and Zack Oliver and how they progress during the offseason. Colter is the best athlete on the team, without a doubt, but his future depends on how much he can handle at the quarterback position.


Greg from Lincoln, Neb., writes: Hey Adam,Love the blog. Since the hire of Bo Pelini, it seems that Nebraska has had more players in trouble with the law than ever before. What do you make of this? Is it simply the change of our culture? Maybe Bo needs to grow up and set a better example for his players? As a die-hard Husker fan, it's disappointing to see things like the Eric Martin and Mike Caputo incidents. Feels like we're straying from our honest, hard-working selves that Nebraska is known for. Your thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: Greg, I'm not as familiar as you are with the number of player-conduct incidents at Nebraska before the Huskers joined the Big Ten. This year had been relatively quiet until the past weekend, when Nebraska had the incidents involving both Caputo and Martin. You have every right as a Husker fan to be disappointed by what happened. These incidents also are fairly common for football players, so perhaps it is a sign of the times. Pelini is the leader of the program and bears some responsibility, but I don't know if it's fair to say he needs to "grow up." Kirk Ferentz has had conduct issues at Iowa. Same with Mark Dantonio at Michigan State and former Penn State coach Joe Paterno. I don't think those coaches were necessarily setting bad examples for the players, who made some poor choices. I'm not excusing it and neither should Pelini, but I think these incidents are fairly reflective of the college football culture.