Big Ten: Drew Combs

Big Ten Friday mailbag

January, 23, 2009

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Mailbag traffic was a bit light this week, aside from the standard why-do-you-hate-my-team stuff. I know it's the offseason, but if you have questions on recruiting, personnel, coaching changes or scheduling, please send them my way.

Thom from Lancaster, Pa., writes: The prestige rankings are something else ... in some cases, comical. Please run some questions past your ESPN stat guys as to how they came up with their point awards. Why is an NC worth 25 points (why not 20 points?, 30?, 50?) My bottom line question is what was the formula and who/what determined the amount of points to be awarded (ie, what is the logical relationship between +25 points and -2 points (why wasn't it -25 point). (And, how many points did PSU get for 1994 when PSU would have done the huskin')

Adam Rittenberg: I'll try to check into this, Thom, but for now, here's the explanation of the scoring system for the Prestige Rankings. I think a national championship should carry more weight than anything else, even though the system for determining titles is certainly questionable. I'm a little surprised teams weren't docked more points for NCAA violations, probation, etc. According to my calculations, Penn State would have received 60 points in 1994 (10 for berth in major bowl, 10 for major bowl win, 10 for best win/loss record in conference regular season, 10 for final AP top-5 finish, 3 for bowl appearance, 3 for bowl win, 2 for 10-win season, 4 for two weeks as AP's No. 1 team, 3 for first-round NFL draft pick and 5 for All-Americans).

Craig from Parts Unknown writes: do you know the dates of spring games for the big ten teams, especially IOWA?

Adam Rittenberg: Craig, I'm currently in the gathering process for spring football dates. I know some spring games already -- Michigan (April 11), Ohio State (April 25), Michigan State (April 25), Purdue (April 18) -- while others haven't been set in stone just yet. Iowa hasn't announced its spring game, but it likely will take place April 18 or April 25.

Dylan from Madison, Wis., writes: Hey Adam, I was wondering when you were going to mention how Otis Wiley was robbed of the coveted (ok, well not really) Rudy Award. The other three "finalist" failed to even be mentioned as honorable mentions on their all conference team while Mr. Wiley was all Big Ten 1st Team after coming in as a walk-on. And who cares if he exhibited character, courage, contribution and commitment during his college career, the guy was amazing (when healthy).

Adam Rittenberg: Dylan, it's hard to say someone was "robbed" of the Rudy Award, which goes to a player who demonstrates extraordinary courage and character during their time in college football. TCU kicker Drew Combs, who was born with a left arm that ends below the elbow, certainly seems like a worthy recipient. Otis Wiley was a consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection and a tremendous contributor this season. He would have been a deserving recipient as well, but I doubt he's too torn up about not getting this award.

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