Chat with Adam Rittenberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg will stop by to talk college football.
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 Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
Adam Rittenberg (4:00 PM)
The clock says 4 p.m. (actually 3 p.m. where I live), and that means chat time. So let's do this.
Do you se Iowa dropping a home game to Indiana, Northwestern, or Minn? If so which, and if not which will be the closest game? I would have to say it will be Northwestern. They seem to have our number the last few years.
Adam Rittenberg (4:01 PM)
I think Iowa wins its remaining home games, but I'd agree the Northwestern games gives the Hawkeyes the most trouble. Northwestern has won back-to-back games in Kinnick Stadium, including last year, and seems to give Iowa some trouble ever since 1995. The Wildcats are banged up and not great this year, so Iowa should survive, but it might be a tight game.
Will (Iowa City)
I saw your Cincy/Iowa debate, and I must say, I'm a little disappointed in your lack of faith. The Hawks may not know how to win pretty, but if there is something they've figured out... it's how to win. How long before the rest of the media realizes this fact?
Adam Rittenberg (4:03 PM)
They do know how to win, Will, but you have to admit the Big Ten doesn't have an offense as dynamic as Cincinnati's. You have to wonder if the Big Ten defenses are really legit, or are the offenses just that bad. Iowa certainly knows how to win and would beat UC in a close game, but if that offense gets going, I don't know if the Hawks can keep up.
If Penn State runs the table do they make a BCS bowl?
Adam Rittenberg (4:04 PM)
I think they do, J.C., because Penn State has an enormous fan base willing to travel, and the Lions would show that they're worthy of an at-large pick. They might need a few things to fall their way, as well as Notre Dame to be out of the running, but I think an 11-1 Penn State team plays in one of the BCS bowls.
Brian (New York)
Who are the AP Voters? Why do they hate Iowa so much and love the media darling ' USC so much? Iowa's ranking fluctuated alot so far and USC did not earn their way back to where they are. (2 weeks after a loss)
Adam Rittenberg (4:06 PM)
You can check them out right here, Brian (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/external/onlinenews.ap.org/collegefootball_rankings/voters.php?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME). They're sports writers from around the country. They care about style points and the strength of a conference and winning big bowl games. That's why USC still gets so much love.
Paul (Detroit, MI)
If Michigan is found by the NCAA to even have committed minor violations, will that be the end of Rich Rod?
Adam Rittenberg (4:08 PM)
I don't believe so, Paul. Michigan won't want to go through another coaching change so quickly, and firing at coach after two years at a program like Michigan just seems too out of character. It has been a very rough start for Rodriguez, who wants to do things his way and probably has been a bit stubborn in doing so, but he deserves a little bit longer in Ann Arbor.
Adam, you featured Minnesota/Mich state as your Thursday videoblog game. However, you didn't mention the emergence of MarQueis Gray for the Gophers. Gray looked fantastic in limited time against the Buckeyes, including leading a long TD drive where he ran and threw the ball effectively. Gray looks like Vince Young running the football. Do you think there is potential for him to play more this week and wreak some havoc on the Spartans through the zone read runs and intermediate passing game?
Adam Rittenberg (4:10 PM)
Gosh, I'd hope so, Bjorne. But Tim Brewster remains very loyal to junior quarterback Adam Weber, who has really struggled this season. Without Decker in there, I'd imagine Minnesota will get more creative with Gray. My big question is how much he can handle at this point. It has been Weber's show for two and a half years, but you need to try new things now.
Doug (Troy, OH)
So, if OHIO STATE wins out, do they play USC in the Rose Bowl or are you expecting Oregon to win this week?
Adam Rittenberg (4:11 PM)
If Ohio State wins out, the Buckeyes would go to the Rose Bowl, yes. Wow, tough game to pick in Eugene. I tend to think Oregon wins, but USC is so tough in big games. From the Big Ten perspective, you want to see Oregon in Pasadena. Anybody but the Trojans.
Hey Adam, my boyfriend is in class right now and wanted me to ask you this question. What do you see Michigan's record being at the end of the season and which bowl game do you see them attending?
Adam Rittenberg (4:12 PM)
I nominate Elizabeth for world's greatest girlfriend! I have Michigan finishing 7-5 and going to the Champs Sports Bowl or maybe the Alamo Bowl, depending on how things shake out.
The Kitchen Sink (East Lansing)
Can you believe Coach D threw me at that Hawkeye-D and they still won?
Adam Rittenberg (4:13 PM)
I know! It's certainly a bummer for Spartan Nation. But on the last play, you have to make Stanzi throw to the outside. That slant route was way too easy in a situation like that one.
Lou (Rockville, MD)
Adam, Beano said the same thing yesterday that Notre Dame at say 10-2 would probably get a nod over 11-1 PSU. I'm not so sure given PSU's long (and strong) relationship with the Fiesta.
Adam Rittenberg (4:13 PM)
Never doubt the power of Notre Dame in this situation, Lou. It isn't right because Notre Dame rarely actually deserves a BCS berth, but that's not how these things work.
Oregan beats USC, Iowa goes to Rose vs. Oregan, PSU wins out. Does USC or PSU get a BCS invite?
Adam Rittenberg (4:15 PM)
Great question, Adam. I actually wrote this week that Penn State fans should root for USC to win out and go to the Rose Bowl, clearing a path for the Nittany Lions to snag an at-large berth. I would think most bowls would take Penn State because PSU travels MUCH MUCH better than USC, but the Trojans remain a sexy draw.
wisconsin in the fiesta bowl this year or clay for heisman in 2010 which do you see as more realistic?
Adam Rittenberg (4:16 PM)
Oh, definitely Clay for Heisman, David. Wisconsin isn't going to a BCS bowl. But I'm a huge John Clay fan. If he can stay healthy and keep picking up the nuances of the game, he's going to be insanely good next fall.
Dave (New York)
Adam I watched your video on Darly Clarks Heisman push. Do you think a big game next week verse Ohio State will give him more national respect. Ecspecially against the Silver Bullets D?
Adam Rittenberg (4:17 PM)
Thanks for watching Dave. Clark would need a huge game against the Buckeyes to get any sort of Heisman love. He's victimized by Penn State's soft schedule and the 3 INTs vs. Iowa. But if he can put up big numbers against OSU and lead a game-winning drive for the first time, you'd have to put him on the radar.
If Iowa, Ohio State, and Penn State win their respective bowl games this year, will that be enough to finally gain some respect for the Big Ten nationally, or do you think it will take a few years of continued success?
Adam Rittenberg (4:18 PM)
It will certainly help, Dan. The Big Ten won't hear about 1-6 any more, and its losing streak in BCS bowls also will be over. But it will probably take another year or two of sustained success for the reputation to truly change.
Shonn Greene (New York)
Hey Adam, The Loveseat here. Did you catch my 19carries/144yds/2TD performance in my first game with a real opportunity for substantial NFL carries? Leon Washington is undoubtedly explosive, but can he haul furniture? If you could do it over, are you still taking any of the other rookie running backs ahead of me in the draft?
Adam Rittenberg (4:19 PM)
Shonn, you da man. Nice game the other day. You busy Saturday? Your old team could use you at running back.
Kent Youngblood, a very neutral and impartial writer for the Star Tribune, wrote a column in which he stated he believes the Gophers have turned a corner and will win Saturday. If the Gophers win Saturday, how many games do you see them winning and what place do they end up occupying in the final Big Ten standings?
Adam Rittenberg (4:22 PM)
Kent is very good at what he does. ... I would say Minnesota can finish 7-5 if it knocks off Michigan State. The next two weeks the Gophers will be favored against Illinois and SD State. Don't see Minnesota winning in Iowa City. ... At 7-5, Minnesota might be as high as fifth in the league standings.
Penn St and Arizona win out, giving Iowa two wins over top 10 opponents. Does Iowa pass undefeated Texas?
Adam Rittenberg (4:23 PM)
Interesting question there, Grant. Iowa would have to start winning big. I know Hawkeye fans hate to hear it, but style points do matter. Not saying it's right, but it's a fact. ... I'm not certain Iowa would pass Texas, but it would be close given the Hawkeyes' computer ranking.
So.. The old school UM boosters dont like RR, the AD is retiring.... any chance the boosters bring in a AD that they can control and get RR out.... ya know given that UM doesnt have a strong finish?
Adam Rittenberg (4:24 PM)
Well, the president has to hire the AD, and she hired Rodriguez, so I don't think that will happen.
Brock ( Budget Car Rental, Iowa City)
Hey Adam, when are you coming back to Iowa City? I can hook you up with a rental car. Anyway, what are you predicting for the Iowa score this week?
Adam Rittenberg (4:25 PM)
I'll be there tomorrow, Brock. Won't need a rental car, though. Going to pick one up after we get done chatting here. I picked Iowa to win 27-10.
jammie kirlew (indiana)
what do i need to tell my coaches to focus on to have a chance saturday. also, am i a 1st rounder in the upcoming future. best wishesxoxoJK
Adam Rittenberg (4:27 PM)
Tell your coaches to be aggressive and send yourself and Greg Middleton into the backfield to get after Ricky Stanzi. Iowa is very thin at running back right now, so Stanzi will need to throw more than usual. In my opinion, you, Jammie, are Indiana's best chance to change this game. I don't know if you're a first-rounder, but I bet you get picked on Day 1.
Quentin (Green Bay)
Will Northwestern be a power in the Big Ten under Pat Fitzgerald?
Adam Rittenberg (4:28 PM)
I don't know if the Wildcats will ever be a consistent powerhouse, but they also won't start losing eight or nine games again. Fitzgerald has stabilized the program and put it in position to compete for bowl games every year and league titles every 3-5 years. That's a reasonable expectation at NU, which has a small recruiting pool.
DJ (Phila (Penn State country))
Adam--IF Notre Dame does win out, how can you say they don't deserve a BCS berth? The Irish would have beaten teams that have had pretty decent seasons (e.g. Pitt, UConn, Stanford, etc.) and came within a few seconds of beating Michigan and forcing overtime with USC. Enough of the ND bashing--10 wins and the BCS invitaion IS deserved!!
Adam Rittenberg (4:30 PM)
Man, I wish I could take about 30 minutes to tell you why Notre Dame doesn't deserve a BCS berth. Here's the short version: the loss to Michigan looks worse and worse every week. Notre Dame barely escaped against Purdue and Washington, two teams likely to finish with losing records. And are you really touting UConn and Stanford? Listen, Notre Dame could get into a BCS game for the same reason it always gets in, the fan base.
Which loss would be worse for a Michigan school this week: Michigan losing to Illinois or Michigan State losing to Minnesota?
Adam Rittenberg (4:31 PM)
Oh, that's easy. Michigan losing to Illinois. I wouldn't want to be around RichRod if that happened.
Does Indiana have the linebackers to cover Moeaki like MSU did?
Adam Rittenberg (4:32 PM)
Middle linebacker Matt Mayberry is scary fast and had an interception last week, so I'd imagine he can stay with Moeaki. But that could open up running lanes for Brandon Wegher.
Zach (Toledo, OH)
Hey Adam, love the blog. Quick! Best chance of an upset this week in the Big 10? I'm calling Illinois over Michigan. Crazy!? What say you Adam!? Speak to me!!!!!
Adam Rittenberg (4:33 PM)
A lot of people seem to have faith in the Illini, but I don't. Bad rush defense against a team that can run the ball. It could happen, though. I think Purdue upsetting Wisconsin is the better bet.
Oregon USC score prediction? And if Oregon wins out where do you see them playing, Rose Bowl or possibly National Championship?
Adam Rittenberg (4:34 PM)
I'll go Oregon 31-30 on a last-second field goal. The Ducks aren't going to the title game, though, because they'll have lost to a team (Boise State) that likely goes undefeated.
Where would you see Wisconsin ranked if they won out?
Adam Rittenberg (4:35 PM)
Interesting question, Grant. Wisconsin really doesn't have any marquee games left on the slate. I could see the Badgers somewhere in the 18-22 range, depending on who stumbles down the stretch.
Give us a scenario that puts the big ten in the national championship Adam
Adam Rittenberg (4:36 PM)
Iowa is the lone Big Ten team with a chance. Let's see ... Iowa wins out and thumps Ohio State by 10 points in Columbus. Texas gets obliterated this weekend. Oregon beats USC to take the Trojans out of the picture. Cincinnati falls against West Virginia or Pitt. TCU loses to someone. ... Not saying all those things need to happen, but it could clear a path for Iowa to face Florida or Bama.
Matt (Ann Arbor, MI)
Adam, when I look at Michigan's defense, I see two NFL players (Graham and Warren) and mostly mediocre talent after that,which leads me to question the recruiting on that side of the ball. How many years of recruiting primarily defense does Michigan need to become competent defensively?
Adam Rittenberg (4:38 PM)
Totally agree with you, Matt. I would throw Troy Woolfolk into the mix of decent Wolverines defenders, and Craig Roh and Ryan Van Bergen will get better with time. But that side of the ball certainly needs to be upgraded. Greg Robinson's schemes clearly aren't working, and some returning players seem to have regressed. It'll be key for Michigan to get its young defenders up to speed fast.
Mike (Shaw AFB, SC)
Adam, If Iowa is undefeated going into the 'Shoe, who would be favored and by how much? Thanks and love the blog.
Adam Rittenberg (4:40 PM)
Mike, thanks for what you do as well. That's much more important ... Ohio State probably would be favored it it wins the next two weeks. It would be interesting to see what would happen if Ohio State loses next week at Penn State and Iowa posts two blowout wins against IU and NU. I would favor Iowa, but I doubt Vegas would.
Is the Adam Robinson injury a big concern out in Iowa City or will Wegher be alright?
Adam Rittenberg (4:41 PM)
It's a big concern, Anthony. Robinson was really one of the unsung heroes for Iowa this season. He's definitely a big loss. Wegher doesn't seem fully ready to take on a 25-carry load, and there's not much depth behind him. It'll be interesting to see how Iowa's other freshmen perform on Saturday because all hands are now on deck.
Mike C. (Portland, Or.)
Just a little clarification on a previous answer. You mentioned that the Big 10 wanted to see anyone but the Trojans in the Rose Bowl. Is that because you think USC has better athletes? It can't be matchups because you didn't make the statement for a specific team. Shouldn't the Big 10 champ be MORE afraid of the Ducks if they prove they're better than USC?
Adam Rittenberg (4:43 PM)
Mike, I think if you asked any objective talent evaluator, he or she would tell you USC has the best athletes in the country every year, including this one. Couple that in with the Big Ten's struggles against USC and the fact that it's basically a home game for the Trojans. So no, no, no, you don't want to see USC if you're a Big Ten fan.
Is my addiction to the Big Ten Blog and Chat while at work healthy?
Adam Rittenberg (4:44 PM)
Yes. I expect you to be promoted within two months.
Ryan (Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA)
If the Hawkeyes had Shonn Green this year are they ranked in the top 3? With dominating offensive and defensive performances?
Adam Rittenberg (4:45 PM)
Great question, Ryan. You're giving me an idea for a blog post or video. ... Yes, having a signature offensive threat would help Iowa with the human voters. When people don't actually watch every game, they need someone to latch onto, and Greene would be that guy this season. If Greene returned, dominated again and helped Iowa avoid those close wins against UNI and Ark State, the Hawkeyes would be No. 3.
Matt (South Bend)
Adam--so you say Notre Dame won't deserve a BCS bid in part because of close wins against Washington and Purdue. Are you willing to say right now that Ohio State doesn't deserve a BCS bid if it wins out? And Iowa doesn't deserve a spot in the title game if it wins out (due to close wins against 2 horrendous teams). I doubt you will confront the Big Ten fans with these facts, easier to dump on Notre Dame.
Adam Rittenberg (4:48 PM)
Ohio State absolutely doesn't deserve a BCS at-large bid, Matt. And the Buckeyes won't get one. The only way they get in the BCS is by winning out and winning the Big Ten. ... Are you seriously comparing Notre Dame's schedule to Iowa's? Really? Go play Penn State on the road. And Wisconsin on the road. And Michigan State on the road (where you lost last year). And Arizona. ... Notre Dame is an improved team this year, but the Irish have only two wins against teams with winning records.
Penn State's only loss this year has been to the 4th ranked hawkeyes. How does USC's loss to unranked Washington keep them in the top 5 and PSU's loss to a good team keeps them at distance
Adam Rittenberg (4:49 PM)
It's more because of who USC has beaten, and the sexiness factor, and the reputation the Trojans have built up this decade. USC can lean on road wins against Ohio State, Cal and Notre Dame. Penn State still lacks a true signature win and can't get one until next week against Ohio State.
Jon (st Louis)
Adam,What would style points be for the Hawkeyes against OSU? Is a 7 point win style points? It would be better than USC's win right?
Adam Rittenberg (4:50 PM)
Jon, it's more important that the Hawkeyes win big at home against IU, Northwestern and Minnesota. Iowa will take any win it can get in Columbus, no matter the margin.
Mac (Huntington, WV)
Which would be the bigger upset: Indiana knocking off Iowa this weekend or Illinois knocking off Cincy (assuming they're undefeated at the time) on Nov. 27th?
Adam Rittenberg (4:52 PM)
Excellent question, Mac. Hmmmm ... I'd have to go with Illinois upsetting Cincinnati. One team has been so good and the other so bad this season. At least Indiana has shown some improvement from last year.
How is at Pitt, Stanford, Purdue and Michigan any weaker then those teams you mentioned that Iowa played? Arizona is the only one i will give them credit for. I didn't see Iowa playing USC either.
Adam Rittenberg (4:53 PM)
Do you really want to do this, Tom? Michigan State beat Michigan. And guess what? So did Iowa. And don't trot out Purdue. The Boilers are still 3-5. ... As for Pitt and Stanford, Notre Dame hasn't played those teams yet, so let's see what happens. ... But winning at Penn State is a much better win than beating the Panthers or the Cardinal.
Joe Paterno (State College)
You young whippersnappers don't know what you're talking about...I WANT USC!!!!
Adam Rittenberg (4:54 PM)
Joe, it's time for your nap.
Adam....... Mel Kipper has Donovan Warren as the 2nd best corner in college football including seniors do you think he wil lopt for the draft and if so what round???????
Adam Rittenberg (4:55 PM)
OK, Al, you win. I'll answer this one. I'm not a draft expert like Mel, but I would guess Warren leaves after this season and ends up as a second-round pick. But Mel knows much more about these things than I do.
Brad Guy (Michigan)
Do you think that Michigan should try to switch things up and put Forcier and Robinson on the field at the same time? What do you think?
Adam Rittenberg (4:56 PM)
I've been waiting for this for weeks, Brad, and it still hasn't happened. Why not? A defense would really have to pick its poison on those plays. My only thought is they haven't had enough time to fine-tune the formation. Michigan had enough time simply snapping the ball with one QB last week.
Matt (Ithaca, NY)
Do you think Narvaro Bowman deserves more national attention in the awards than he is getting?
Adam Rittenberg (4:57 PM)
I do, Matt. He's the most well-rounded linebacker in the Big Ten, and it's a crime he wasn't a Butkus Award semifinalist. Don't get me started on that list.
Adam Rittenberg (4:58 PM)
OK, guys, I'm out. Enjoy the games this weekend and talk to you next week. Same time, same place.