Friday, January 8, 2010
Big Ten Friday mailblog
By ESPN.com staff
A few questions and answers on a frigid Friday in Chicago.
Matt from Pittsburgh writes: Adam, Where do you see Iowa ranked going into next year? How do you feel about their offensive line situation cause that seems to be their biggest question? Do you see any possibility of them going out and hiring Chuck Long as a QB Coach?
Adam Rittenberg: Iowa will enter the 2010 season ranked anywhere from No. 7 to No. 12. If voters do their homework, they'll see what Iowa has coming back on both sides of the ball. Linebacker and offensive line are the only questionable position groups, and there are several exciting young players in both spots. Offensive line is certainly the biggest uncertainty, though you have to like Iowa's history there. If a few more Riley Reiffs emerge, the Hawkeyes will be fine. As for Chuck Long, he was just named co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Kansas, so he's not coming to Iowa right now.
Will from Cambridge, Mass., writes: Hi Adam,Enjoy reading the blog on a daily basis and your level headed analysis. I saw you mentioned Corey Wooten being a day 1 draft pick and am curious if you realize that day 1 is just the first round this year. Day 2 will be 2nd and 3rd round with day 3 being 4-7. I think Wooten has the ability to play in the NFL, but I can't see a team risking a first rounder on him.Regards,Will
Adam Rittenberg: Good catch, Will. I don't see Wootton as a first-rounder, either, so he's a Day 2 pick in my book. Forgot about the change to the draft schedule, as I'm not one of those folks who believe Christmas comes during a weekend in April. Thanks for your note.
Andrew from East Lansing, Mich., writes: So, Adam, given the national outrage directed toward Ohio State and Iowa after they played conservative football for three minutes, I am eagerly awaiting the upcoming columns berating Nick Saban for the most conservative gameplan of the last half-century. Not even Tressel could execute an entire 40 minutes of punts and runs exclusively up the middle, so I am sure the national pundits will be equally vicious in their treatment of Saban, regardless of the game's outcome.
Adam Rittenberg: In case it isn't obvious, Andrew is being sarcastic. But he brings up a good point about Saban, who would have been skewered if Texas had rallied at the end for the victory instead of giving the ball away 14 times in the final three minutes. Then again, he's an SEC coach, so the media would have gone easy on him. Going back to the Ohio State-Iowa game, I had a bigger problem with Ferentz's decisions at the end of regulation than what Tressel did. You expect that from Tressel, but Ferentz had a chance to get to the Rose Bowl but opted for overtime and lost.
Aaron from Iowa City, Iowa, writes: Hey Adam, you have mentioned in several posts that Iowa loses 2 starting OL next fall. Am I miscounting? From my knowledge, Bulaga, Richardson, Calloway, and Eubanks all started and are all not returning.
Adam Rittenberg: I've been writing the Hawkeyes will lose three starters: Bulaga, Richardson and Calloway. Rafael Eubanks started every game at center, so that makes four. Then again, Riley Reiff started 11 games and Julian Vandervelde started eight games, so both of them could be considered returning starters next year. I think it's safe to go with either three or four starters gone and two, Reiff and Vandervelde, coming back.
Eric from Navarre, Fla., writes: Adam, Thanks for your blog. It's always my first stop on ESPN. I did have a question regarding the recent bowl success and the Big 10 expansion. Do you think that the recent bowl success will pacify the ADs and will reduce the probability of an expansion? It seemed some the ADs wanted the expansion in order to make the Big 10 more competitive versus the other conferences. As one that wants the expansion, I hope not!
Adam Rittenberg: That's a great question, Eric. I was thinking the exact same thing after the bowls, especially after several teams with long layoffs (Iowa, Ohio State, Penn State) scored huge wins. I don't think it'll slow down the expansion movement too much, especially since the league has already come out publicly and said something. Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez told me in California that all the ADs and the coaches want expansion, so the league will be active in its search. But this year's bowls did somewhat disprove the argument that a long layoff and no championship game hurts these teams and these coaches. Norm Parker and Jim Heacock certainly benefited from having time to prepare for Georgia Tech and Oregon.