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Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Big Ten chat recap: Feb. 8

By Adam Rittenberg

After a few technical glitches, the Big Ten chat got under way earlier today, and we had some good discussion about all things Big Ten.

Missed the chat? Tsk, tsk. No worries, as you can check out the full recap.

Some highlights.
Nastradamus from Los Feliz: Adam, I bleed Maroon and Gold and I thought that Jerry Kill did a good job recruiting in state and JUCO talent in the 2012 class. However, the out of state recruiting was extremely weak (most guys didn't have multiple BCS offers). I believe Jerry Kill needs 7 to 8 wins this fall in order to recruit better out of state in the future. What say you?
Adam Rittenberg: That's part of it, Nastradamus, but give Kill credit for keeping some of the top in-state players at home. That's the way you build a program, and that's what he's doing at Minnesota. Think about all the good in-state prospects who have gone elsewhere, whether it's Michael Floyd to Notre Dame or Seantrel Henderson to USC and then Miami. So keeping good players at home is a good start. But I agree that in the long run, Kill and his staff need to do better outside the area. The WR from North Carolina was a nice get.
Jason from Iowa: Hey Adam! Who would have guessed that Kirk would go vanilla on his DC hire? Ha...can't wait for more "bend but don't break (but actually break)" defense!
Adam Rittenberg: Jason, you're not alone in this belief. I don't think Iowa fans would have been upset had Kirk promoted Phil Parker back in December. But there was more to this search and outside candidates were contacted, I'm told. Ultimately, Iowa went with Phil Parker, who will maintain the defensive structure we've seen under Norm. The bigger issue in my mind is Reese Morgan moving from O-line to D-line. Morgan is a veteran coach who has seen it all, but he hasn't coached offense at Iowa. The defensive line, in my view, is the most critical area on the team in 2012 because of all the inexperience.
Jon from Colorado: Why is there so much confidence that MSU's running game/o-line will be so improved next year? That was supposed to be the strength of the offense last season and we all know how that turned out. They lose their best offensive lineman and I don't think the returning starters would start for a lot of other Big Ten teams. What exactly is causing the confidence that you and Bennett both seem to have? I think Maxwell will need to be exceptional (close to Cousins) for their offense to be in the same ballpark as last year's team.
Adam Rittenberg: Jon, who said the offensive line was supposed to be a strength in 2011? Anyone who did doesn't study Michigan State, which lost its starting offensive tackles and its starting center. Any time you're replacing those three linemen, you're probably in trouble. I think the Spartans will have fewer issues on the line because more players saw the field in 2011. Foreman is a big loss, but you can replace a guard easier than a tackle or a center. And I like Le'Veon Bell's potential, which he showed in games like Iowa.
Patrick from Chicago: Adam, if the Rose Bowl can't be protected, and is sort of left to twist in the wind, what sort of scenario do you see happening? Does it limp on with No. 2 teams from conferences, or does it fold up shop?
Adam Rittenberg: It doesn't fold up shop, Patrick. The Rose Bowl is the one major bowl that, in my view, still would be celebrated even in a playoff environment. And I think the access points are pretty clear. If the Big Ten and Pac-12 champs aren't in the top four, they play in Pasadena. If one is and one isn't, the champion plays the No. 2 team from the other league. If both champions are in the top 4, which likely will be pretty rare, you could see No. 2 vs. No. 2.

Thanks again for all the questions, and my apologies to those whose questions weren't asked. Let's do it again next week.