Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Big Ten chat wrap: Sept. 19
By Adam Rittenberg
Miss today's Big Ten chat? Yeah, I know you feel terrible.
Not to worry, as I've always got you covered with the full chat transcript. A lot of good questions on today's gab session, and hopefully, some decent answers.
Here are a few highlights:
Mr. T from Columbus: After watching Ohio State's performance against Cal I would have said they'd lose to MSU by at least two touchdowns. I'm not so sure anymore after watching Michigan State against Notre Dame. Thoughts?
Adam Rittenberg: The complexion of that OSU-MSU game changed quite a bit after Week 3, didn't it, Mr. T? I agree that it's tougher to forecast now after watching Michigan State's struggles against Notre Dame. I'll say this: the MSU defense will be by far the best unit Miller will have faced. I'd be surprised if he runs wild against the Spartans. The key to the game could be the Ohio State defense vs. the Michigan State offense. Both units have been a bit shaky early on. The one that steps up Sept. 29 likely gets their team a win.
Brian P. from Brussels writes: What is a realistic expectation in a recruiting boost for Northwestern after the announcement of the new lakefront practice facility? I know not to expect a bunch of 4-5 star prospects, but its location is by far the most stunning of any in the conference. I also take into account their academic standards, which are equalled only by ND and Stanford (and maybe Duke).
Adam Rittenberg: Brian, the new facility helps Northwestern recruit better against some of its Big Ten brethren, but also against a team like Stanford, which has recruited at an extremely high level despite being an academic power. I think the facility helps Northwestern get further with more of the recruits also considering Stanford (and maybe Vanderbilt as well, as James Franklin is a stud recruiter). I don't expect Northwestern to start luring top 20 classes every year. The academic requirements are too tough. But the overall quality of player should continue to rise.
Bucky's Fighting Spirit from Camp Randall: Hey Adam, remember in 2006 when the Badgers were barely beating bottom 10 teams "winning ugly" was the given slogan. We went 11-1. Remember in 2010 when we were struggling until game 4 when we put up 70 points on Austin Peay? Took down #1 Ohio State too and went 11-1. I'm not saying we'll be 11-1, but don't be surprised if things start to click on offense suddenly.
Adam Rittenberg: I know a lot of folks in Badger Country would be relieved, Bucky. I've definitely thought a bit about the 2010 season and the parallels there. Wisconsin was very fortunate to beat Arizona State, and then surged after its loss to MSU. That said, the Badgers' problems now seem to run deeper. There weren't so many question marks about the offensive line and the quarterback position, and Wisconsin had a few more options at receiver. I'm not saying the Badgers can't have a similar turnaround to 2010 and 2006, but the 2012 squad has more problems, in my view.
Brett (Conshohocken (soon to move back to Scranton), PA): Tight ends are getting quite a bit of love in Bill O'Brien's offense, as expected. Would you expect their production to increase more, and/or the slot receivers, as defenses (starting with Temple this week) try to shut down Allen Robinson?
Adam Rittenberg: Robinson has put himself on the radar, and opposing defensive coordinators will be very aware of him in their game plans. I think it's more important another receiver emerges to complement Robinson. I like the mix Penn State has at tight end with Carter, James and Gilliam, but it'd help if another receiver stepped forward. Robinson should see some double coverage in the near future.
John from Detroit: How important is it that Devin Funchess and/or Devin Gardner have a big game saturday?
Adam Rittenberg: Huge, huge, huge. And add Roy Roundtree to that mix, John. Notre Dame's defense is very good, but its weakness is the secondary, especially after losing top safety Jamoris Slaughter for the season. Michigan State didn't have the receivers or the quarterback to consistently attack ND's secondary. Michigan has a better chance with Denard and his receiving corps. But those guys absolutely need huge games as Notre Dame will make it tough to run the football with its front seven.
Thanks again for the questions and for participating, and my apologies to those whose questions didn't make it. Try again next week: same time, same place.