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

Thursday, December 5, 2013
Big Ten chat wrap: Dec. 5

By Adam Rittenberg

The Big Ten chat came to you an hour earlier than normal, as we discussed the upcoming Big Ten championship game and much more.

If you missed out, check out everything we had to say in the full transcript. It got a little ugly at the end -- thanks, Buckeyes fans -- but still was fun overall.

To the highlights:

Colton from North Carolina: Wisconsin went into the game against Penn State as huge favorites with home field advantage as well. But they came out playing like they hadn't played a down together as a team this year. So my question is, what went wrong? What caused them to play this way?

Adam Rittenberg: It's baffling, Colton. Penn State deserves a lot of credit for a great plan and great execution, especially by Hackenberg. But Wisconsin didn't show up for the biggest game of its season, with a potential BCS at-large berth on the line at home, where it has been dominant. Not sure if the Badgers underestimated Penn State, which hadn't played well on the road, but the team we had seen for the past two months wasn't there on Saturday. We've been very positive about Gary Andersen this season, but I'll admit that game gives me some pause about the new Badgers coach.

Zach from St. Paul: Do you see any movement in the B10 head coaching carousel this offseason? Assuming Nebraska doesn't get embarrassed in their bowl game it looks like everyone is staying put, right?

Adam Rittenberg: It does, Zach. Tim Beckman is safe at Illinois, and Bo seemingly is safe at Nebraska. Brady Hoke never was in danger at Michigan but received a vote of confidence from his AD. Unless Bill O'Brien leaves Penn State for the NFL, which doesn't seem too likely, we'll see the same group of coaches back in 2014.

Nick from Houston: So Mizzou, who was practically begging the B1G to take them is going to the SEC championship game with an outside shot at the NC game while the B1G has a credibility problem on the field is bringing in the almighty Rutgers and Maryland next year. Do you think behind the scenes top league officials are second guessing themselves and wondering if they were trying to get too cute with the media market thing?

Adam Rittenberg: It's a fair point to raise, Nick, but the Big Ten made its expansion motives clear and isn't about to go back on them. We'll see if it works out, but Missouri didn't fit the criteria the second time around. Should the Big Ten have taken Missouri back in 2010? Perhaps. But not for a football team that only occasionally has seasons like this.

Pat from Detroit: can connor cook and the msu receivers get big chunks of yardage vs OSU? they dont throw too many screens, but they've made huge strides since the early part of the season. plus, since no one emerged early, they have 4-5 legit weapons. mumphery seems to only catch long TDs.

Adam Rittenberg: Pat, it will be interesting to see how creative Dave Warner gets with his play calls. Michigan used the screen game very effectively against Ohio State last week. Will MSU ramp those up, especially with a guy like Langford who used to play receiver? That might be a good approach. I also think the Spartans will test Doran Grant and Ohio State's safeties quite a bit, as there are plays to be made in the middle of the field.

Matt from work: So Iowa had a reverse year from a year ago and went 8-4. Would you say they beat everyone they were supposed to and lost to everyone they should have? Or were they fortunate to end up with that record? You said just minutes ago Iowa fans shouldn't be too ambitious next season, even with a favorable schedule squeaking wins out this year at home against NW and UM. Well we were in every game we lost too, and those could've gone either way. I'm very ambitious for next year, but I'm looking at 10 wins coming from a bowl victory. Ah Thank You So Much!

Adam Rittenberg: Matt, Iowa was beaten rather convincingly by MSU, Wisconsin and Ohio State, and lost a heartbreaker with Northern Illinois. The Hawkeyes were fortunate to beat Northwestern and Michigan. Overall, Iowa ended up about where it should. You're an Iowa fan, so you have the right to be ambitious and excited for the future. I'm looking at it from a more realistic/objective point of view. That said, it wouldn't surprise me if Iowa wins the division next season. Kirk Ferentz told me yesterday that this team reminds him of the '08 squad, and we know what happened the following season.

Thanks again for the questions. We'll chat again soon.