Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Big Ten [Print without images]

Thursday, December 24, 2009
Big Ten mailblog

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Coming to you a day early because of the holiday.

Matt from Marshalltown, Iowa, writes: With the expansion, should the Big Ten look more to add a team from the Big 12 (Missouri or Nebraska) then the others? With a Big 12 move then they could add TCU and shake up the conferences a bit to balance them out, which could make a domino effect and maybe Pac-10 and Big East could look to expand. What are your thoughts on what would be the easiest transistions for all the conferences for which ever way the Big 10 selects

Adam Rittenberg: Matt, while I agree a Big 12 team to the Big Ten would create an interesting domino effect, the Big Ten isn't simply looking to make a move that will balance out the other leagues. The Big Ten will try to add a team that best fits its interests (academics, athletic success, fan following, TV market, etc.). But if the Big Ten adds, say, Missouri, you could definitely see TCU to the Big 12 and maybe Utah and/or BYU to the Pac-10. It'd be pretty exciting.


James from Wheaton, Ill., writes: Hi Adam - hope you're staying safe and dry in Chicago. I've observed the Big 10 expansion comments and concluded that the top two benefits would be:1. Expanding to 12 team gives the Big 10 (12) the capability to host a conference championship game to be competitive with the SEC, Big 12, ACC, etc.2. Expanding allows the Big 10 (12) to continue playing into December, thus minimizing the long layoff between Thanksgiving weekend football and bowl games.Given the difficulty of cleanly dividing the league into divisions, why doesn't the Big 10 simply push the schedule back one week (each team would take a bye during the season) to allow for the final regular season game to be played during the first week of December (a la the Big East)? Are financial benefits of market expansion just too great to ignore?

Adam Rittenberg: You're right about the two primary objectives for the Big Ten in expansion. I'd throw in the opportunity to expand its TV reach with the Big Ten Network. The league certainly would want to strengthen its presence in a TV market or add a new one. Now the Big Ten will add a permanent bye week next year and regularly finish the regular season after Thanksgiving. What you're asking for is two bye weeks and the final weekend of regular-season play in December. I've heard that Ohio State and Michigan would never go for this -- there's enough grumbling about playing The Game after Thanksgiving -- but others in the league could be open to it.


Buck from Missoula, Mont., writes: Adam- Do you feel the Glenville High School Pipeline is still a good situation for Ohio State? Ted Ginn's dad coaches there (for those who don't know), and the Buckeyes have pulled tons of players from there. It is like "Dr. Krop High School" of Ohio. But since Ginn Jr. exploded on the OSU scene,the players since seem to drastically underachieve, almost like they think they are already stars. Rob Rose was a 5 star recruit, and Ginn Sr. said Ray Small was "the best receiver I've ever coached". All they have done is cause problems for the program. It seems to be going down hill. Your thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: Very interesting point, Buck. I wouldn't give up on the Glenville pipeline just yet, as guys like Jermale Hines, Jermil Martin, Bryant Browning and Marcus Hall are or will be key contributors for Ohio State. But Small and Rose certainly disappointed a lot of people, not only because they were big-time recruits but because they couldn't avoid Jim Tressel's doghouse. There are certainly some inherent risks with players from that area, but Glenville also produces a ton of talent, and Ohio State will continue to go back to the well.


Steve from St. Paul, Minn., writes: Adam, that passage about the monkey and your grampa has me concerned. That was just an active mind providing a little narrative writing to help us through the dark days, right? You're actually OK, right?Cool. I'll play along: I am hoping that the the really pretty girl (Nebraska) gets invited to the dance, and that she accepts. But I know that there are a few homely girls (Rutgers, Mizzou, Pitt) who have rich daddies (TV markets) that may leave a fella prosperous but slack in the shanks, so to speak. The pretty girl would give the Rittenberg division some much needed va-va-voom, eh?

Adam Rittenberg: That active mind was Kenneth Parcell's, not mine. So rest assured, I'm somewhat mentally there. After seeing Forbes' rankings of the most valuable college football programs, Nebraska certainly adds a lot on the gridiron. The Cornhuskers might lack a little in the other sports, namely men's basketball, but they're a big-name program in football and always will be. Nebraska would have a great rivalry with Iowa, especially if both programs continue to surge. Ultimately, the rich daddies (TV markets) could prevail, but I think the Big Ten should strongly consider the Huskers.


Sean from Stamford, Conn., writes: Adam, I understand that the Iowa Defensive Coordinator a versus Georgia Tech triple option is a good coaching matchup, along with the other matchups that you mentioned, but when you post a video titled "Great bowl coaching matchups" How do you leave Joe Paterno vs. Les Miles out of the conversation. As a Penn State alum, I admit that I am biased, and I would rank that matchup as #1; but how do you leave the all time winningest coach versus Les Miles, aka the Mad Hatter, a coach that has perfect record at his current school (which includes multiple BCS games)? This is a coach who is synonymous with tradition and old-school versus a coach that is synonymous with risk taking.

Adam Rittenberg: Sean, I'm a bit lukewarm on the JoePa-Hat matchup. Sure, both guys win bowl games, but from a strategic standpoint, I'm more intrigued with the matchups I listed in the video. Paterno's assistants do most of the work during games, much like Bobby Bowden's at Florida State, and Miles' biggest decisions this year drew nationwide ridicule after the loss to Mississippi. Now if I was ranking the most interesting coaching matchups at the pre-bowl news conferences, Paterno-Miles would be at the top. But when it comes down to the styles of play, I'm more excited about the other three pairings.