Chat with Adam Rittenberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Adam Rittenberg (2:58 PM)
Glad you stopped by. Let's get chatty.
Alex (Fontana Ca)
if wisconsin wins there bowl game against will they be ranked in the top 25 to start next season?
Adam Rittenberg (2:59 PM)
Alex, Wisconsin might be a preseason Top 25 team even if it doesn't win the Champs Sports Bowl. Bret Bielema has a lot coming back on both sides of the ball. Only major losses are DE O'Brien Schofield, LB Jaevery McFadden, TE Garrett Graham and S Chris Maragos. Very excited about the Badgers in 2010.
Adam, you mentioned on your blog previously that the Big 10 would consider expanding to beyond 12 teams, possibly to 14 teams. Do you think it's possible that the Big 10 goes for BOTH Mizzou AND Nebraska?
Adam Rittenberg (3:01 PM)
Chris, the Big Ten has to look at all options, but I really doubt you'll see a 14-team league. I doubt all the Big Ten schools would want to share revenue 14 ways. This is a move made to add one very good TV market and allow for a division split and a lucrative football championship game. The Big Ten is extremely healthy at 11 teams, and would be better at 12. No need for 14. That said, I think the league should investigate both of those schools to gauge interest.
David (Evanston, IL and Columbus, OH)
Two questions. Do you think the absence of Duron Carter will really affect the Buckeyes' offense much, since they really don't open up much their passing game anyways. I feel like Rob Rose's absence will hurt more, since they do rotate him into the defense a lot.
Adam Rittenberg (3:03 PM)
David, Carter's absence shouldn't hurt too much, but if Ray Small is also out, which appears to be the case, you're a little thin at wide receiver. Rob Rose did some nice things in the Michigan game, but he's not an essential part of that defense. Ohio State has enough playmakers up front.
If Wisky and Northwestern both win, does the Big 10 end up with 5 ranked teams? How will that help the Big 10's image?
Adam Rittenberg (3:04 PM)
Sammy, it would help, but only if the Big Ten wins at least one of the BCS bowls. The league could go 5-2, but if the two losses come in Pasadena and Miami, no respect will be coming the Big Ten's way. You can count on it.
What do you think can be learned by PSU related to the Bobby Bowden dismissal at FSU? Also, with the talk of the Big Ten looking to add another team- would WVU be considered?
Adam Rittenberg (3:06 PM)
Second question first. West Virginia won't be considered because of academics. ... As for Penn State, there's certainly a lesson that can be learned from Florida State. A coach-in-waiting situation doesn't always work out and can create unrest on a staff. Penn State's staff, meanwhile, not only remains extremely loyal to Joe, but they work well together and have revitalized recruiting in recent years. I really like what Penn State's staff has done since 2005.
Joe (Augusta, GA)
Obviously, the BigTen would love a sweep by Penn State, Ohio State, and Iowa. Who do you think has the best chance of winning, and who has the most daunting task of the three?
Adam Rittenberg (3:07 PM)
I like Penn State's matchup in Orlando. Now I realize the Nittany Lions lack a signature win, but they're more experienced than LSU and LSU doesn't have Charles Scott. Ohio State undoubtedly has the toughest matchup of the three.
Bret (Nevada, IA)
Hey Adam, great blog. What are the chances the Big 10 can get the Ferentz option looked at? If the Big 10 can petition for a 13th regular season game instead of a championship game, the conference could have round robin scheduling and still have 3 OOC games.
Adam Rittenberg (3:09 PM)
It would have to go beyond the Big Ten, Bret. The NCAA would have to agree to 13 regular-season games, which I don't see happening. There was plenty of resistance to the 12-game format. Now the Big Ten could create a model with two bye weeks and the final weekend of conference play in December, but I don't see several members of the league going for that model, either.
I asked your esteemed colleague H. Dinich yesterday. We all know about the Iowa D v. the Ga Tech O in the OB but how do you see an average Iowa Offense taking on an average Ga Tech Defense?
Adam Rittenberg (3:11 PM)
Bob, it all depends on which Ricky Stanzi shows up. If Iowa gets the good Stanzi, he'll attack downfield to Marvin McNutt and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Iowa will be pretty potent on offense. If Iowa gets the bad Stanzi, he'll throw picks and kill drives. Iowa has the potential to be explosive on offense, but a lot depends on No. 12.
Adam, do you think with the expansion talk that the Big 10 might ever go after TCU?
Adam Rittenberg (3:13 PM)
I highly doubt it, Chuck. The Big Ten has only one private school (Northwestern), and wants to find a 12th member that fits the general demographic. Plus, you bring in a major challenge geographically with TCU. Penn State is already a bit of an outlier. So I don't see TCU, I don't see Texas, I don't see Boise State, etc.
Adam, I agree that the Big 10 isn't looking to go to 14 teams, however I could see both schools wanting to maintain their rivalry. For expansion, do you think there is anyway the Big 10 would man up and attempt to buy Notre Dame out of its TV contract?
Adam Rittenberg (3:15 PM)
Chris, here's the thing with Notre Dame. ND would actually make a ton of money by getting rid of its NBC contract and joining the Big Ten. The Big Ten's TV deal is a cash cow for its teams, and ND would benefit big time. But what Notre Dame would lose in the process -- its independent status, the constant media spotlight, possible annual rivalries -- likely prevents the Irish from joining.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Adam: Can you see Joe Pa pulling out a few gimmick plays for the Capital One Bowl? I'm thinking some two QB sets and maybe even Royster throwing one. Thoughts?
Adam Rittenberg (3:16 PM)
Does the fullback dive count as a gimmick play? If not, then no.
sweatervested1 (Mobile, Al.)
I don't ever come on the Big Bore Blog (sorry Big Ten Blog). However, what's your take on the National Championship Game?
Adam Rittenberg (3:17 PM)
Well, we don't want you, anyway (just kidding). Texas by 30. Also kidding.
If the 2 other Jr. Iowa players return to school, where do you see them rated in the preseason? With the bowl win, or without the win
Adam Rittenberg (3:18 PM)
Good question, Jeff. If everyone comes back and Iowa wins in Miami, I could see a preseason rank of 8-12. No matter what, Iowa should be a preseason top 20 team and likely in the top 15.
How much does Warren leaving hurt the Michigan D next year?
Adam Rittenberg (3:19 PM)
It hurts, TS, because he was one of few standouts on that side of the ball. I like what Troy Woolfolk brings, but Michigan really needs to upgrade the safety position and find another cornerback. Teams will certainly try to attack Michigan through the air next fall, and Greg Robinson must be prepared for it.
Saw Heyward and Gibson are still on the fence when it comes to the draft...would a big Rose bowl push them to declare?
Adam Rittenberg (3:20 PM)
Kevin, the bowl result certainly can impact the decision for these guys. I'm hearing Gibson is much closer to turning pro than Heyward, even though Heyward might be the higher-rated pro prospect.
Miami pretty much shut down the running attack of GT (held them <100yds rushing)...if Wisconsin tries to bang its head against the wall like GT did... I expect this to be a 1 sided game...That said do you think Wis. will come out throwing...to trying and set up the run?
Adam Rittenberg (3:22 PM)
The difference is Wisconsin has more balance in its offense than Ga Tech. Scott Tolzien can execute the play-action well, and he's got some targets in Garrett Graham, Nick Toon and others. Wisconsin can't just expect to pound away at Miami's defense with John Clay. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if UW comes out throwing.
Adam - I disagree slightly that only the BCS games are important for the Big Ten. I think a Penn State win over LSU would really expose the SEC, showing it to be the two-team league it is. Why doesn't anyone realize that LSU just isn't that good?
Adam Rittenberg (3:24 PM)
Jeff, let me ask you this question. Does anyone remember that Michigan won the 2008 Cap One Bowl against Florida? Big Ten fans sure do, but it didn't matter nationally after Ohio State and Illinois got crushed in BCS games. The BCS bowls shape national perception, whether we like it or not.
How big of an advantage is it that Norm Parker has already prepared for Johnson's triple option offense once before (Michigan St./Hawaii) and shut it down?
Adam Rittenberg (3:25 PM)
Parker faced it back in 1989, so I don't know how useful that experience will be as both coaches have evolved a lot. But I have no doubt Parker will have his defense prepared for the triple option. Whether Iowa can actually stop it remains to be seen.
Which coach's seat is hotter next year...Zook or RichRod?
Adam Rittenberg (3:26 PM)
Wow, that's a tough question. It has to be Zook, if only because he's entering his sixth year with five losing seasons under his belt. Everyone knows he'll be gone unless Illinois makes a bowl game. Then again, the same can be said for Rodriguez.
How do you see the Rose Bowl shaping up? Can you give me a quick analysis on the game from your perspective?
Adam Rittenberg (3:28 PM)
Troy, obviously the big matchup is Oregon's rush offense vs. Ohio State's rush D. Both units are outstanding. But I'm also very interested in Ohio State's offensive approach and specifically Terrelle Pryor. Does Jim Tressel actually turn him loose, or does he believe an improved run game can control the clock and wear down Oregon's defense. Ohio State wants to keep Masoli and James off the field, but being too conservative could prove costly.
Herron and Saine aren't exactly bulldozing plodders... Can you comment on the relative speed matchup between the Ohio State and Oregon RBs?
Adam Rittenberg (3:30 PM)
That's a good point, Tom. Saine is extremely fast in the open field, and Herron showed against Iowa that he can turn a corner and score. There's probably not as much of an explosiveness-power dynamic as James and Blount, but Ohio State's backs shouldn't be overlooked.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Personally I don't worry about the overall image of the Big Ten. I want to see PSU perform well during the season and in its bowl game. How many fans of Big Ten teams really care about the image of the entire conference?
Adam Rittenberg (3:32 PM)
J.B., I bet a lot of other Big Ten fans will read your statement and scoff at it. This could be a difference in mentality between Penn State fans, who are used to being independent, and fans of the other Big Ten schools. Now this certainly doesn't apply to everyone in each fan base, but my sense is most Big Ten fans are rooting for the entire league so the league's reputation improves.
Do you pick the questions that you answer?? Or do you have somebody sorting through them?.......any chance we'll see Hello Kitty back in a video over the Christmas bowl season? I'd say hello Kitty would look pretty good in black and gold! Go Hawks!
Adam Rittenberg (3:33 PM)
I pick my own questions, Mark. While I don't think you'll see Hello Kitty in any more videos, you never know ...
Do you know which bowl game(s) your going to yet Adam?
Adam Rittenberg (3:34 PM)
I'll be with the Buckeyes in Pasadena for the Rose Bowl. Very excited to get out of the deep freeze here in Chicago. and back to California sunshine.
What do you think of the National Title Game
Adam Rittenberg (3:35 PM)
I've got a lot of respect for Colt McCoy as well as Texas' defense. But Alabama is simply too physical. Ohio State was able to keep Texas' offense in check for much of the Fiesta Bowl because of its physical defense. Alabama will turn things up even another notch. McCoy plays valiantly, but this one goes to Bama.
Adam, I know this might be a stretch, but what would the chances be of the Big 10 looking at adding Louisville or UK?
Adam Rittenberg (3:37 PM)
Very unlikely, Chris. I'd have to check on it, but I don't believe Louisville would really match up academically with the Big Ten, much like Cincinnati or West Virginia. People can scoff at the academics argument all they want, but trust me when I say it matters to the Big Ten. ... As for UK, I'm somewhat intrigued there, but I don't think Kentucky ultimately wants to leave the SEC.
Hello Adam, wanted to let you know that a lot of us down here hate the Big 10. My question to you is, what do you think of that?
Adam Rittenberg (3:38 PM)
I'm absolutely shocked! Really? You hate the Big Ten? I had NO IDEA!
Man.....I type questions for 35 minutes and the one you pick is about Hello Kitty! How about a football answer! Give me your pick for the Big Tens overall record in bowl games this season. I'm the optimist who DOES SCOFF at JB in PA. I say 5-2....and because of J.B I'm changing my mind about the Penn State game! Everybody except PS and MS win! Your thoughts?
Adam Rittenberg (3:39 PM)
Mark, you and everyone else will have to wait a little longer for my bowl picks, but I'll say this. I don't see another 1-6 clunker for the Big Ten.
Alex (Fontana Ca)
Can u explain to me about teams jumping confrences can any team change confrences or are they under some sort of contract? would hate to see the big ten lose any of its members ever?
Adam Rittenberg (3:40 PM)
No contracts, Alex. Teams can leave their conferences and join other ones. It has happened before and will happen again. So the Big Ten can go after anyone it wants. On the flip side, the Big Ten could conceivably lose a team as well.
Adam Rittenberg (3:41 PM)
You want to know how important you people are to me? Phone just rang. It's Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi. Told him to wait 10-15 minutes until I'm done chatting.
Adam Rittenberg (3:42 PM)
And being the class guy he is, he agreed.
Another Big 10 expansion question: The Big Ten leads the BCS conferences with 9 at-large births (or is it 10, with Iowa this year). Is the revenue received from having a conference championship game worth the possibility of losing the revenue of placing a second team in a BCS bowl?
Adam Rittenberg (3:43 PM)
Chris, the short answer is yes. I believe the SEC made something like $14.5 million from its championship game last year. Conferences get only $4.5 million for each at-large BCS team. So it makes more financial sense to add a championship game and take your chances. But I do believe you'd see fewer at-large BCS teams from the Big Ten if a championship game is added.
Windy City Dogs (Chicago)
Adam, As a Hawkeye, one of the strengths we had to get to a BCS bowl was our fan following down in Miami last time we played in the Orange Bowl. I have heard that we still have about 3,000 tickets left to sell. Granted we went through the university last time we went to the Orange Bowl and got seated second row from the top! This year we went direct and are in the 3rd row 15 yard line. Question is how are other bowls doing in this economy and will the Orange Bowl Comm. be disappointed in Iowa not selling out their allottment? I heard a ton of fans went direct as well instead of through the university.
Adam Rittenberg (3:46 PM)
Windy, you can rest assured that the allotment will be paid for, either by fans or by the university/Big Ten. But this is a problem that seems to crop up more and more. The seats in the allotment aren't nearly as good as what you can find elsewhere, so a lot of fans aren't buying tickets from the schools. I can't really fault them because they're spending a ton of money to go down to the bowl. I'm sure the Orange Bowl committee will be pleased with the Iowa turnaround, but I know the university would prefer if fans bought tickets directly through them.
Connor (Novi, Mi)
When is the Michigan practice investigation supposed to end, and what are your expectations of their findings?
Adam Rittenberg (3:47 PM)
I was just thinking about this, Connor. It was supposed to wrap up by the end of the year, but now it seems more likely to stretch into 2010. There's not really a previous case like Michigan's, where time limits are the alleged violation. I could certainly see the NCAA setting an example here with major violations, but the actual penalties likely won't be too severe.
Adam, on the subject of the Big 10 possibly losing a possible BCS at-large team each year because of the conference championship: according to your own logic, wouldn't that be better overall for our conference? You have pointed out several times that the Big 10 is constantly forced to "play up" due to the extra BCS team. Wouldn't our bowl record improve thanks to the conference championship then?
Adam Rittenberg (3:49 PM)
Chris is catching on quickly, folks. Yes, I do believe the Big Ten would benefit from a season with only one BCS bowl participant. When you look at some of these other BCS conferences and who they're playing in the bowls, you have to wonder why the Big Ten makes things so tough in the postseason. I understand the need to play the best, but with several inherent factors working against you, it would be good to lighten things up just a bit.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Adam: Where would be the better setting for a Big Ten title game - Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis or other?
Adam Rittenberg (3:51 PM)
Indianapolis. Great venue, central location, near all the hotels. Detroit and Minny work well, too, but I prefer Indy, which has been a great site for the Big Ten hoops tournaments.
Beau (State College, PA)
How bout some love for the PSU women's volleyball team! 3 national titles in a row. Best program of any sport in the Big Ten??
Adam Rittenberg (3:52 PM)
Very impressive, Beau. Right up there with Northwestern women's lacrosse (4 straight titles). I know Jay Paterno is a huge fan of the volleyball team from reading his Twitter page.
Bernard (Princeton, NJ)
Doesnt it really make the most sense for either Missouri or Rutgers to join the Big Ten when you take into account academics, athletics, and location?
Adam Rittenberg (3:53 PM)
I would agree, Bernard. Missouri strengthens your presence in one large market (St. Louis) and might help you in another (Kansas City). If Rutgers can prove that it can capture part of the New York market, the Big Ten would have to listen. Rutgers is a bit stronger academically, while Missouri has elevated itself in athletics the last few years.
Adam Rittenberg (3:53 PM)
OK guys, don't want to keep Ricky waiting any longer. Thanks for another great chat. Only a week left until the Big Ten bowl season finally kicks off in Orlando!