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Curt from Des Moines, Iowa: Adam - With the Buckeyes suspended from the BIG championship next year, do you like the Badger's chances of a 3 peat in Pasadena? Who could be a sleeper team in the Leaders division?
Adam Rittenberg: Curt, Ohio State's ban makes Wisconsin the clear-cut favorite in the Leaders division. It's hard to size up Penn State's chances without seeing the new coach, but the Lions will face some obstacles for sure. Could Purdue be a sleeper team? Perhaps. But the Boilers need to upgrade several areas and be much more consistent in 2012.
Myles from Ohio: Hi Adam, how do you think the Big 10 will do this year in bowl games? Particularly Iowa against a hugely talented Oklahoma team and Wisconsin against the 'speedy' Ducks. And what will the Big 10/SEC record be when all is done?
Adam Rittenberg: Myles, this has the potential to be another rough bowl season for the Big Ten. It's imperative the league gets at least a 1-1 split in the BCS games. The Big Ten-SEC matchups look more favorable than they did a year ago, and the Big Ten should win 1-2 of these games. The Big Ten-Big 12 matchups, however, look extremely tough. Would expect the Big Ten to go 0-2.
Illini Zach from Highland Park: Hi Adam, sitting in class with a professor with your same last name. You're a bit more fun though. Why is it that a team near a city like Chicago is struggling to find good recruits and coaches while the Michigans and Ohio States of the world seem to get whoever they please?
Adam Rittenberg: Really? Wonder if it's a long-lost relative? As far as Illinois goes, the Illini had some recruiting success in the Chicago area during Ron Zook's tenure, luring players like Juice Williams and Martez Wilson to Champaign. A lot of it has to do with winning and having tradition. Illinois actually has a great football history, but recent years have brought struggles and inconsistency. If Tim Beckman can win at a reasonable rate, he should be able to recruit well in the Chicago area. Will Illinois beat out Ohio State and Michigan for top recruits? It can happen, but not too often.
Greg from Louisville: As a life long Hawkeye fan and alumni, do you think it's crazy if i'm starting to think Ferentz's time should be up at Iowa? I'm not expecting national championships by any means but for a guy who is getting paid almost $3.7mm, it sure seems like they should be better than they are consistently compete in the top 15 in the nation?
Adam Rittenberg: Greg, while I don't think you should want Ferentz out, you have every right to expect more from a coach making what he makes. The program has backslid since the Orange Bowl, and the Big Ten has become more competitive with the arrival of Nebraska and Wisconsin's surge the past two years. Iowa can get a lot of coaches who can go 7-5 and be paid much less. It's fair to expect Ferentz's teams to win 9-10 games, beginning in 2012.
Mike from Madison: keep hearing from people that oh time of possession means nothing for the Ducks because thata??s how their system operates. But it actually is a huge deal considering it plays right into the hands and strength of this Wisconsin team because the Ducka??s have not yet faced an opponent that is as potent, as efficient, and as consistent on offense as Wisconsin. Looking at the stats, I think that if the Badgers hold onto the ball for 36+ mins they hands down win, 35 mins they have the advantage, 34-35 mins ita??s a close and even match, and anything less than 34 mins the Ducks win. Your thoughts?
Adam Rittenberg: Mike, Wisconsin will have an edge in time of possession, but Oregon can score on almost every play it runs. I don't think the game necessarily comes down to how long Wisconsin holds the ball. Wisconsin needs to tackle well in space, certainly better than it did against Michigan State in the Big Ten title game. Ball control is important, but Oregon will have chances to score in this game. Wisconsin needs to get the Ducks off of the field.