Chat with Adam Rittenberg
Rittenberg joined ESPN.com in 2008 after four years at the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald, where he covered sports at Notre Dame, Northwestern, DePaul and several other colleges. He lives in Chicago.
Send your questions now and join Rittenberg in The Show at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday!
Adam Rittenberg (1:01 PM)
Greetings, college football fans. My big toe is fine, thanks for asking. Now let's chat!
like CAL? Riley, Best, Vereen, Morrah -- some good offensive weapons. Just need the WRs and D to come thru.
Adam Rittenberg (1:02 PM)
KC, the first name you mentioned is key. Cal HAD to go with Riley at quarterback. He gives them so much more than Longshore in terms of mobility. Another running threat to go along with Best and Vereen, who I was really impressed by.
Adam, New York, NY
Question about Florida Offense? Is their success due primarily to athletes, scheme, or execution? As a Florida fan and alum I am hoping the latter but against Hawaii it did not seem that way. With the SEC Schedule we have, I'm concerned. Your take?
Adam Rittenberg (1:03 PM)
They obviously have athletes and I wouldn't question Urban's scheme. The key to that offense is a running game from both the quarterback and other sources. They'll get that from Tebow, but the running backs need to step up as well. I wouldn't worry too much about execution in Week 1.
What is your prediction on the Ohio State game vs. USC assuming Chris Wells has not healed from injury and does not paly in the game? What would your prediction be if Chris Wells comes back from injury and is 100% for the game?
Adam Rittenberg (1:04 PM)
I've got to go with USC with or without Wells. Ohio State has some matchup advantages but that's such a tough place to play. Any early momentum for the Trojans could get the Buckeyes losing some confidence. Could go either way, but I've got to stick with SC.
Tim (Madison, WI)
Any chance the Badgers get back to the Rosebowl and reclaim their legacy?
Adam Rittenberg (1:05 PM)
Tim, they've got to get healthy first. Way too many concerns on the injury front right now. It's good Travis Beckum will play Saturday to establish some in-game chemistry with Allan Evridge. They could use Jonathan Casillas on the field as well. I'm just not sold on the Badgers quite yet, but they have all the big games at home in league play.
Blair - Chicago
Threet this weekend? Have Jake Long and Steve Hutchinson been given an extra year of eligibility?
Adam Rittenberg (1:07 PM)
Yes and unfortunately for you, no. Rich has got to start Threet -- he started to gain some confidence toward the end of the Utah game and doesn't make too many major mistakes. But the line and especially the running backs have to help whoever takes the snaps this week.
Skip Holtz (Greenville, NC)
Do you see my Pirates as having a 50/50 shot of beating WV this weekend? Can the rain be an equalizer?
Adam Rittenberg (1:08 PM)
Skip, I'm sure you're on weather.com all day. If West Virginia was a big passing team, I'd say the weather will be a huge factor, though it will have somewhat of an impact. The Pirates have a shot with their defense, but it won't be easy.
After talking with Commissioner Delaney, do you think the Big Ten would ever consider a Pac-10 approach to scheduling (play all teams in the bunch)? Might there an elusive 12th team out there somewhere that finally gets the Big Ten to an SEC/Big 12 divisional model?
Adam Rittenberg (1:09 PM)
No round-robin in the Big Ten, at least not in the near future. As far as a Pac-10 approach to non-league scheduling, my fear is the Big Ten has too many big stadiums and needs the cash from home games. They should be a little bolder with scheduling (at least two BCS teams), but I doubt much will change unless the league continues to struggle in big bowl games. Don't hold your breath on a 12th team. Not happening right now.
Brody: (Cleveland - OH)
Hey Adam, I've been reading a lot about hwo bad Michigan looked, they couldn't run the ball, Sheridan looked lost, blah blah blah...but what I haven't read is that despite all of this they were a failed 2 point conversion from tying it. Am I crazy to feel somewhat good about the Utah game?
Adam Rittenberg (1:10 PM)
Brody, feel good about the defense. They competed hard in the second half and were constantly in Brian Johnson's face. But Utah could have blown open that game. Tons of special-teams miscues, stupid penalties. Easily could have been a 14-point win for the Utes. But Michigan's D kept things close, and that means something going forward.
Fred (Columbus, OH)
Jim Tressel just mentioned on his weekly call in show that benie wells will not play this weekend.
Adam Rittenberg (1:11 PM)
Fred, thanks for the update. No surprise, though. There was no chance he'd play in this game as soon as he went down. They don't need him.
Randy (St. Paul)
Do you think the Gophers can win 5 or 6 games this year? I know the game last week was close but they were a bad call and two big plays away from blowing NIU out, I know I am being optimistic but they should only get better right?
Adam Rittenberg (1:12 PM)
They'll be better for sure. The speed and the athletes are there on defense, but building chemistry as a unit could take some time. That's why you saw a few breakdowns against NIU. Get ready for more against Bowling Green, but Minnesota should be a solid team by the second half of the season. I love Adam Weber and the offense.
How do all of the knuckleheads at ESPN feel about picking Pitt to be a contender? They were living off of a fluke win that happened last season.
Adam Rittenberg (1:13 PM)
Guilty as charged, Adam. Serves me right to ever put faith in Wanny.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Adam, how long do you think coaches at new schools get to show their progress? Rodriguez and Michigan losing to Utah isn't good, but it's much more respectable than Sherman and Texas A&M losing to Arkansas St. That's just unacceptable.
Adam Rittenberg (1:14 PM)
It's definitely the less-damaging loss, but both guys have a lot of work to do. I'm not as familiar with A&M's personnel, but Rich has the talent at the skill positions at Michigan. He said this week that the big plays were there to be made, but just not executed. That will happen sooner or later.
Give me an honest opinion, how do you think UCLA will do at BYU? I loved them besting Tenn but I just have a hard time seeing them beating BYU, but I want to hope.
Adam Rittenberg (1:15 PM)
John, I don't see it, either. BYU will test the Bruins defense more than Tennessee did, and Craft won't be able to survive those interceptions on the road. UCLA has a ton of confidence, which helps, but I see BYU winning that one.
Tony (Newport News, VA)
Based on schedule and future BCS rankings, who has a better chance at winning the national championship this year, UGA, OSU, USC, or WVU..?
Adam Rittenberg (1:17 PM)
I'd say West Virginia if they can survive this week. The Big East doesn't look too strong, and the South Florida game is right at the end. I could see Pat White and co. making a run.
Will J (Portland, OR)
How much do you think Penn St. will beat Oregon St. by? I know Stanford isn't very good, but the fact that they didn't give up being down by 16 in the 4th, shows a lot of character.
Adam Rittenberg (1:18 PM)
Oregon State couldn't stop the run against Stanford and will have a ton of problems with Penn State. Expect QB Daryll Clark to run more this week, and the Beavers will get a heavy dose of Evan Royster and Stephfon Green. In terms of playmakers, Penn State has the most it's had in a while. Oregon State will test the Lions defense, but I see a 7-10 point win for PSU.
Jonathan B (Burlingotn, NC)
Adam, What is your take on the QB situation at FSU? Are you surprised Weathford is the 3rd string QB?
Adam Rittenberg (1:19 PM)
It shows that Jimbo Fisher can make a tough decision and go with his instincts over experience. Weatherford just didn't get it done consistently, and it's time to try someone new. I was amused how much Bobby Bowden seemed to be in the dark about the whole situation.
Paul (Wausau, WI)
I was encouraged by the performance of the Illini on Saturday night - particuarly the half-time adjustments. I thought the D got (marginally) better and the offense really started to click. What do you think their chances are to repeat with a January bowl date?
Adam Rittenberg (1:21 PM)
The key word on defense is marginally, and I'd probably use a less-flattering term. Spoke with Brit Miller this week and he was still steaming about the missed tackles and such. Illinois will get it together, and Juice Williams has gotten a lot better as a passer. The road schedule isn't easy, though, with trips to Wisconsin and Penn State. A January bowl date certainly is within reach, but no return trip to Pasadena.
Adam, I can see the Gamecocks being 10-1 or 9-2 going into the Clemson game. What do you see?
Adam Rittenberg (1:22 PM)
The road schedule doesn't really get tough until the end (Florida, Clemson), so start like that is possible. But I wouldn't put too much stock into the N.C. State win. The ACC looks horrible and the Pack have no quarterback. So let's wait and see a bit.
Paul (Roseberry, NH)
Adam, you're suprised about Bobby Bowden being confused? Here's a story for you. Last year he was pacing the sidelines and was jotting down some notes. The camera zoomed in on what he was writing and it said: Milk, eggs, butter. He was making a grocery list for crying out loud!
Adam Rittenberg (1:23 PM)
Can't forget milk. Those are key details.
wildboar: (Moultrie, GA)
Sounds fishy to me. USC jumps to the top of the polls before their big game with OSU. Is that the media's way of making OSU the underdogs and giving USC the big head before the match-up. Just seems so contrived.
Adam Rittenberg (1:24 PM)
It was pretty hard to ignore how good the Trojans looked in the opener. This is the advantage of actually going out on the road and playing other BCS teams (hello Big Ten?). I don't think it's a major conspiracy. The winner of USC-OSU always was going to be No. 1. Pete Carroll will keep those guys in check. They're used to being No. 1 anyway.
Brad, West Virginia
Do you think there is a legitimate chance for WVU to run the table and Pat White win the Heisman?
Adam Rittenberg (1:26 PM)
I'd love to see White get more hype for the Heisman, but he's got some big names to leapfrog. A 10-0 start certainly would help him out, but this week won't be easy.
JT Atlanta, GA
Hey Adam, Why would UGA move down in the polls after a win? If they were thought to be the best team, then they go up 38-0 and call of the "Dawgs", then why the drop? Is this punishment for having class and not running up the score? (Example... USC vs a very, very soft VA team)
Adam Rittenberg (1:27 PM)
JT, they moved down because of the injuries. This is the reason the preseason poll doesn't work. If those votes were taken right before the season, there's no way Georgia would be No. 1. Things change between Aug. 1-30, and that's why the preseason poll should be chucked.
Luke New York, NY
Do you see the Ohio State and USC game being low scoring or a shootout?
Adam Rittenberg (1:28 PM)
The strength of both defenses indicate a low-scoring affair, and I'm sure Jim Tressel wouldn't mind a field-position, grind-it-out type game. But I don't think he'll get one. It won't be a shootout, but there will be more than 40 points scored.
I just heard on ESPN Radio that 4 Penn State football players might be involved in a marijuana bust? Anything else on this?
Adam Rittenberg (1:30 PM)
Marc, we're tracking this story closely. There are no charges filed at this time, and as of this morning, all four players remain with the team and available for Saturday's game, a team spokesman told me. When the charges come out, that's when we'll see how damaging this incident could be. From what I've read, charges will be mailed out (misdemeanors), so it could be a little while.
Ben (Lexington, KY)
How much of a legitimate shot does Cincinnati have against Oklahoma this weekend?
Adam Rittenberg (1:31 PM)
I really like Cincinnati's personnel, particularly on the defensive side. But Oklahoma simply has too much firepower. The Sooners could be the most exciting offense in the country -- they were early on last season -- and I can't see them falling short at home.
Of all the conferences to knock on non-conference scheduling, you knock the Big Ten? MSU just went to Cal, OSU goes to USC next week, Iowa goes to Pitt, Illinois just played Mizzou, PSU is hosting Oregon State, and ND seemingly plays half the conference. The SEC deserves just as much criticism when it comes to OOC scheduling.
Adam Rittenberg (1:32 PM)
All of the leagues besides the Pac-10 deserve some criticism, as I pointed out in the post earlier today. But the Big Ten seems especially resistant to road games, and that's how you end up with a schedule like Saturday's, which is downright awful.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Are any of the Penn St. players "involved" starters?
Adam Rittenberg (1:32 PM)
Two of them are, and another is a possible starter.
Most people have written off Texas for 2008 in Big 12 and they may surprise everyone. Thoughts? They are loaded for a NC run in 2009?
Adam Rittenberg (1:33 PM)
I do think the Horns are a little under the radar, as amazing as that sounds. People are obviously enamored with Missouri's offense, Oklahoma's offense, Kansas' offense and the new guy at Nebraska. But Texas is a pretty good team, too, and could be a surprise.
With FSU playing two non FBS teams do they need to win at least 8 to be bowl eligible or would the wins against Western Carolina and Chattonooga count?
Adam Rittenberg (1:34 PM)
Nah, this isn't college basketball. Every win counts.
Jon (Atlanta, GA)
Based on Sunday's performance, do you see Louisville getting more than 4 wins this year??
Adam Rittenberg (1:35 PM)
Wow, I was stunned at how bad the Cardinals looked. I saw Hunter Cantwell on some NFL draft boards as one of the top QBs for '09, but he must need a ton of help from other guys. Could be a long year for the Cards.
What do you think about the new scandle coming out of the pac-10 where Oregon tackle Fenuki Tupou for the Ducks turned himself in to Pac-10 officals after recieving money from agent? The agent has denied the claims, so the NFLPA is investigating... What is going to be the outcome of this?
Adam Rittenberg (1:38 PM)
Great to hear from my Finnish friends. That's not a good situation at all for Oregon, which has already lost Nate Costa to injury. Tupou is only missing one game, but that program will be watched pretty closely, I'd imagine.
Will (Potomac Falls, VA)
Adam, I know the Vols didn't play their best game agains UCLA on Monday, but in his chat, Tim said he didn't think Tennessee could rebound against the likes of Tebow and Stafford. Tennessee will be at home this year against Florida (they were undefeated last year at home)...and I don't think I need to remind a CFB analyst what the Tennessee did to Stafford last year do I?
Adam Rittenberg (1:40 PM)
No you don't, Will. And some teams are just more comfortable playing against familiar opponents. Tennessee could be one of them after consecutive losses to Pac-10 teams (UCLA and Cal). I also see the Vols winning a big game in league play (Florida, Georgia, Alabama).
Jonathan B (Burlington, NC)
Adam, Who ends up with the most all time wins, Jopa or Bowdin?
Adam Rittenberg (1:40 PM)
Penn State should win more than FSU this year, but who knows when those two will hang it up.
Brian (Suwanee, GA)
Fundatmentally, does Penn State possess the necessary tools to make a run for the Big 10 title?
Adam Rittenberg (1:42 PM)
I'm a little concerned about the inexperience at linebacker. Hopes are very high for Josh Hull and Tyrell Sales has been around, but Sean Lee would have made that defense spectacular. Cornerback also might be a bit iffy, but they have three guys (Davis, Wallace, Sargeant) who can play.
Will J (Portland, OR)
I'm excite to see how Purdue fares against Northern Colorado. They'll definitely need a tune-up game for the following weeks battle versus Oregon.
Adam Rittenberg (1:43 PM)
Purdue might beat this team by 70. I didn't go that far with my prediction, but Northern Colorado averaged 11.3 points last year and is picked last in its league. The Boilers better hope for a big game because this is the only nonconference gimme
One last question, how many points can Oregon put up against Utah St? Utah St has been ranked dead last in D1 football, and they are coming off of a lose to UNLV. While Oregon is coming off a big win against there rival Washington. Can the ducks put up 70 and pitch a shutout like Arizona last week?
Adam Rittenberg (1:43 PM)
Sure, more from the Finnish guy. I'd say the shutout is more likely than the 70 points, but the Ducks shouldn't have much trouble with Utah State.
Alex (Richmond VA)
I'm a Hokie fan. Should I be excited about Tyrod taking off the red shirt or should I be angry he is going to blow a year of eligibility when VT is obviously not up to par?
Adam Rittenberg (1:45 PM)
You might be more angry if he didn't take off the redshirt, given how the team looked against ECU. Despite some faults, the Hokies can still make some noise in that league, and Taylor might give them the best chance to do so.
When does max hall at BYU have to do to get start getting heisman attention.
Adam Rittenberg (1:46 PM)
It's going to be tough for Max. Dan LeFevour at Central Michigan seems to be the only non-BCS player getting much Heisman attention. Beating Washington and UCLA will help, but Hall needs to put up Ty Detmer-like numbers in Mountain West play. The good news is he has another year left.
What is the most interesting aspect of the OU-Cinci game this saturday to you?
Adam Rittenberg (1:47 PM)
It might not matter much to Oklahoma fans, but I'm interested to see the Cincinnati quarterbacks. I was down in Cincy this spring to do something on Demetrius Jones, so I'm looking forward to see the passing attack go up against the Sooners.
People "enamored with the new guy at Nebraska?" Compared to new guys at Michigan, UCLA, Arkansas, & Mississippi, and Weiss at Notre Dame, he is totally under the radar. I'm not surprised you didn't mention his name: I'm not sure anyone at ESPN knows it. It's Pelini, for your information.
Adam Rittenberg (1:48 PM)
Thanks for the spelling lesson, Dennis. And it's Weis with one 's'. I don't think Pelini has been under the radar. He's got to win, too, remember.
Blair - Chicago
For Michigan, linebacking in the UM/Utah game was brutal in the first half, much improved in the second. Does Jonas Mouton see more time this weekend?
Adam Rittenberg (1:49 PM)
I'm guessing you're excluding Obi Ezeh with your statement. He was a beast out there and earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors. They need some help at the outside spots and Jonas Mouton will be a factor along with Marell Evans.
Chris -- Washington, DC
Penn State showed the explosiveness of their newly unveiled "Spread HD Offense", but it was against an extremely weak opponent. Just how good is Penn State's offense really going to be?
Adam Rittenberg (1:50 PM)
Chris, we'll see pretty soon. Joe Paterno says they have more weapons than the 1994 team, which was pretty darn good. If they don't make mistakes at quarterback, they're going to put up a ton of points this fall.
Greg- Anchorage, AK
Adam, have you heard anything about the health of Brian Robiskie for this week? He went out of the game on Saturday and never returned.
Adam Rittenberg (1:51 PM)
I think he'll be OK for Saturday against Ohio. Much like Beanie Wells, they won't take any chances, and Robiskie didn't do a whole lot in the preseason. The goal is to have everyone close to 100 percent by USC, but he'll play some against Ohio.
Chad( Bloomington Indiana)
Adam, have you seen kellen lewis? do you think he has any chance at the heisman?
Adam Rittenberg (1:52 PM)
I really like Kellen Lewis -- he's a lot like Randle El at Indiana. As for Heisman chances, he has none this season, mostly because of Indiana's weak schedule. But another strong season (All-Big Ten) would definitely put him in the mix as a senior.
Chad Sexington (Salt Lake City)
Why is it that all you honks just focus on the angle, "Michigan didn't do this or Michigan didn't do that..." Just say it: Utah came to play and beat UM at their game, which UTES have been playing far longer. UTES deserve the props. Give it up!
Adam Rittenberg (1:53 PM)
I'll give it up to the Utes. Brian Johnson is a stud and I love the kicker, Louie Sakoda, who should be the first kicker taken in the draft. But Utah made a ton of mistakes that could have doomed them against a better offense. That should have been a much easier win for the Utes.
I think that a rematch between OSU/USC in the NC game is a real possibility. Do you agree?
Adam Rittenberg (1:54 PM)
I don't see it, Fred. An SEC team or a Big 12 team will get in there against one of those squads.
Lou (Bethesda, MD)
Adam, any idication that Pat Devlin would transfer? He seems to say no, and would otherwised be forced to 1-AA to get an extra year of eligibility anyway, but it's gotta sting a bit.
Adam Rittenberg (1:56 PM)
Lou, it's a really tough situation. He faces the possibility of only one year as the starter, this for a guy who set records in Pennsylvania in high school and turned away Miami, where he'd probably be starting right now. My guess is he stays, and at some point this season, he plays a lot.
Should WV fans be concerned that they actually got outgained and allowed 21 points by I-AA Villanova this past weekend? Villanova isn't even a good I-AA team.
Adam Rittenberg (1:56 PM)
Yeah, definitely a concern, especially given who the Mountaineers face this week.
Whats the deal with Pryor? I hear he's suppose to be good, but now Im hearing that people doubt his ability, what do you think of this freshman?
Adam Rittenberg (1:57 PM)
I'm heading to Columbus on Saturday and looking forward to seeing this guy in action. I want to see him lead a real drive, passing the ball as well as running it. He's got a ton of ability and seems to be maturing as a passer.
Josh (Mobile, AL)
Adam... What's going to happen sat night in Gainesville (UF/UM score)?
Adam Rittenberg (1:58 PM)
Close for quarter or a half, then Florida pulls away. Too much experience and depth for the Gators. Miami is a year away. I'll go 35-17.
jim (santa cruz)
what sort of game does ND need to have against SDSU to go into the UM game with some much needed confidence?
Adam Rittenberg (1:59 PM)
They need a big game from running backs Armando Allen and Robert Hughes, just to build some momentum in the ground game and with the o-line. Jimmy Clausen should be fine, but I'm interested in how the defense performs without Trevor Laws.
George (Juneau, AK)
Adam, Based on Fresno's performance against Rutgers, can they endure a slow start against the Badgers and still expect to pull-off an upset?
Adam Rittenberg (2:00 PM)
I doubt it, though that defense looked pretty good. Wisconsin will try to wear down the Bulldogs with their size and depth at running back. It's important for Brandstater, Matthews and the Fresno offense to start fast.
Adam Rittenberg (2:01 PM)
OK, guys, time's up. Enjoy Week 2!