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Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Big Ten chat wrap

By Adam Rittenberg

Excellent job on the chat today. The season is barely a week away, and I can tell you're ready for it.

In case you missed out on all the fun, here's a full transcript. And because I'm such a nice fellow, here are some highlights from the chat.
Pavlov's Dog from Mother Russia: Do you think Redd made the right choice going to USC? PSU fans don't think so, but IMO it was a great move.

Adam Rittenberg: From an exposure standpoint, yes. He'll be in the national spotlight more at USC this season than at Penn State, and he'll have a chance to have big performances in nationally significant games. But he'll also be pushed more in Los Angeles, and he might not be the Trojans' featured back like he would have been in State College. As I said all along, if Redd cared about getting to the NFL, staying in State College wouldn't have been a bad move at all. He'd be the featured back in a run-heavy, pro-style offense led by a coach coming straight from the New England Patriots. Not a bad situation for a guy wanting to play at the next level.

Andrew from New York: Will Wisconsin ever become recognized as a nationally elite program until they get bigger names in the non-conference schedule? Oregon State may occasionally be a decent team, but they do little to move the needle.

Adam Rittenberg: Andrew, this is sort of a chicken-and-egg question, as I've learned today in Madison. Here's the problem: no one wants to play Wisconsin in Madison. And Wisconsin isn't in a position to be giving up home games if not getting any in return. The problem is Wisconsin isn't seen as a big enough program to allow opposing coaches to justify getting beat at Camp Randall. For some elite coaches, a loss at Camp Randall will look a lot worse than a loss at, say, Michigan Stadium or Ohio Stadium. Wisconsin just doesn't have that national prestige just yet. Do the Badgers need to be aggressive with scheduling? Sure. Do they need to be creative with neutral-site opportunities, etc? Sure. But it might take a few more Big Ten titles to raise the program's profile and justify the trips to Madison for big-time opponents.

Jason from Iowa: Word out of Iowa City is that the Hawks will be a little blitz happy this year. A welcome change for most fans. However, I tend to think that while it's nice to have an extra sack or two a game, we may be also looking at more huge plays given up per game...thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: Interesting stuff, Jason. I think Iowa has to take some calculated risks on defense and mix it up more with such a young front. I don't think Iowa can simply rely on its front four to get home, as it has in years past. The strength of the defense is in the back seven, and if Phil Parker thinks he has some blitz opportunities with linebackers (Kirksey, Morris), corners (Hyde) and others, he should capitalize. Is there a risk of giving up big plays? Sure. Will big plays happen? Sure. But this might be the best approach for Iowa given the youth up front.

JP from DC: I know this item will probably hit the back-burner with games being played in less than 2 weeks, but do you think three is any chance that talk of a B1G - ACC partnership will boil back up in the offseason?

Adam Rittenberg: Interesting you say that, JP. I'll go on record as saying if the Big Ten ever forms another scheduling partnership, it'll be with the ACC. That's the sense I get from talking to folks around the league. Now that said, the ACC is going to a 9-game conference schedule. The 9-game schedule was the big stumbling block for the Pac-12 in its brief alliance with the Big Ten. There's a feeling that soon enough, all leagues will go to nine league games (yes, even the SEC and Big Ten). So while I wouldn't rule out a B1G-ACC partnership, I wouldn't hold my breath, either.

Jared from Work: Does The Ohio St. end up causing the B1G to only put one team into a BCS bowl? Also, I've noticed a worrying lack of smack talk towards B.B. regarding your upcoming fantasy season . .

Adam Rittenberg: After last year's whupping, I'm keeping my mouth shut until at least Week 2. But I also get the first pick in this year's draft, taking place tomorrow (Montee Ball, come on down!). ... As to your question, with both Penn State and Ohio State banned from postseason play, the Big Ten could get only one team into a BCS bowl. That said, every year I think the streak of two BCS entries will end, and it never does. The key is whether enough Legends division teams get to 9 or 10 wins. I think Wisconsin is probably the only Leaders division contender for an at-large BCS spot, so it comes down to if there are enough from the Legends division.

Thanks again for the good questions today, and my apologies to those whose questions weren't answered. As a reminder, the Big Ten chat has moved to a different time -- Wednesdays at 3 p.m. ET -- for the season.