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)
Welcome to the Big Ten football chat. I'm your host, Robert Morris. Seriously, there is some football news today, as Michigan decided to play a night game at the Big House (finally!). Can't wait for Sept. 10, 2011
Caleb (Los Angeles)
Hey Adam, with how well Iowa has reloaded at linebacker the past decade should we Hawkeye fans have any concerns about replacing Angerer and Edds?
Adam Rittenberg (4:01 PM)
If there are two positions where Iowa usually reloads, they're linebacker and offensive line. I would be much more concerned about the O-line, as it's always hard to replace the left tackle and the center in the same year. Iowa should be OK at LB, though Angerer and Edds were two good ones.
Thanks David Brandon for the great news that Michigan will FINALLY play at home in primetime. I believe this is lonnnng overdue. Can only hope that this becomes a yearly tradition! Home night games are great recruiting tools that Michigan has never been able to use....Your thoughts?
Adam Rittenberg (4:02 PM)
Brandon said today that they'll use Notre Dame as an experiment, but he seems open to playing one night game a year (before Nov. 1, according to Big Ten policy). I think the night environment would definitely enhance the atmosphere.
Aces Malone (Jackson, MS)
Will Campbell from Michigan has great size for the DT position, but do you think he can develop into a Suh or Cody type player in the next few years?
Adam Rittenberg (4:03 PM)
Wow, tough to see many players developing like Suh did in 2009, and, to a lesser extent, Cody. A lot depends on Campbell's personal development and whether the defense as a unit can take some steps forward. It'll be interesting to see how they use him this fall.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Which College Football Players that played at Michigan State in 2009 will Play in the NFL in 2010?
Adam Rittenberg (4:04 PM)
Wide receiver Blair White has really improved his draft stock in the last two months. Kicker Brett Swenson will find a spot, and defensive end Trevor Anderson seemed to perform well at pro day on Wednesday.
Woolfolk seems to be a sure lock at starting cornerback, who do you see winnning the other starting cornerback position and nickel position?
Adam Rittenberg (4:06 PM)
It'd be hard to imagine Demar Dorsey not playing significant time at cornerback this fall. He clearly projects as a guy who can contribute right away. I'm also interested to see how J.T. Turner and J.T. Floyd factor into the mix.
Where can I find the complete 2011 schedule? Any other night games on there?
Adam Rittenberg (4:08 PM)
Since the full 2010 schedule hasn't been released by the Big Ten, you'll be waiting a while for 2011. Most teams already have games scheduled, but night games aren't determined until the winter/late spring before the upcoming season. For 2010, we'll know the full primetime schedule for the Big Ten pretty soon.
Andrew (Columbus, OH)
If the Big Ten decides to move ahead with expansion, what is the time table for the expansion to take place?
Adam Rittenberg (4:09 PM)
I would expect the pool of candidates to be narrowed by late spring, most likely in time for the Big Ten ADs and coaches' meeting in Chicago in late May. The Big Ten ultimately needs to get the university presidents on board with an expansion target before reaching out to a league or Notre Dame. Bottom line: I don't think you'll see any major movement for at least a month.
How do you see michigan state's overall record this year?
Adam Rittenberg (4:11 PM)
Anything less than seven wins would be a disappointment for the Spartans. Notre Dame is the toughest nonconference game, and MSU gets the Irish at home. I'd put Michigan State between 7-9 wins. Big concerns for me are both lines and the secondary.
Morgan (Columbus, OH)
straight away, adam - who is going to win the big ten this coming season?
Adam Rittenberg (4:13 PM)
Morgan, it's hard to go against Ohio State. The Buckeyes return just about everyone on offense, and Cameron Heyward and Ross Homan lead a pretty stout defense. Ohio State must visit both Iowa and Wisconsin, but the Buckeyes have been so good on the road in league play the last few years. Ohio State is definitely the favorite, followed by Iowa and Wisconsin.
Hey Adam, love the blog. With all of the Texas talk out of the way finally (its way too far away from the big 10's geographic area) we can focus on ND and others. I've always thought that they won't join one because of the NBC deal but also because they have so many contract games they "have" to play every year. If they join the big 10 that takes care of Mich, Mich St, Purdue but what about USC, Navy, Pitt, BC. Thats a pretty rough non-conference schedule considering they will already have a tough go in the big 10. Thoughts?
Adam Rittenberg (4:16 PM)
I've thought about this a bit, Doug, and Notre Dame definitely would have to keep both USC and Navy on its schedule. I would see a rotation of teams like BC, Pitt for a third non-league game and then a lower-level team for the fourth non-league game. It'd still be a pretty brutal schedule, especially if you add Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin, etc.
Craig (Braintree, MA)
It was cool to see that you were doing stuff for the Big Ten BB Tourney. Anyway, the Gophers have stumbled along with ever changing offensive coordinators each year. Why did Brewster select the current coordinator and how justified was he with his choice?
Adam Rittenberg (4:18 PM)
Thanks, Craig. I enjoyed my basketball detour last week. I don't mind Brewster's choice of Jeff Horton, as Horton better understands the college game than Jedd Fisch and knows he can only throw so much at these players. Brewster's bigger decision, and one that can come back to haunt him, is switching away from the spread to the pro-style offense. Still don't know if the personnel Minnesota has can successfully execute a power scheme.
The OSU is the current favorite for next year. But their schedule is going to be brutal. Going to Iowa and Wisconsin will be tough along with big rivalry games against PSU and that school up north. WHich game do you think will be the toughest for the bucks?
Adam Rittenberg (4:19 PM)
Hmmmm, tough call, Kevin. Wisconsin has been so good at home under Bret Bielema, so I'll go with the Badgers. Before Iowa fans kill me, remember that the Hawkeyes played better on the road than they did at home last year. Easily could have lost three home games. But Ohio State has been better on the road than at home in Big Ten play the last few years, so the Buckeyes can handle a rough road slate.
Anthony (Dewitt, IA)
I know its not a football question, but who could you see Iowa hiring for the open basketball position, as well as keeping the already recruited high profile players?
Adam Rittenberg (4:21 PM)
Bruce Pearl certainly would make waves in Iowa and get some buzz around that program. But I don't know why he'd leave Tennessee. Keno Davis is an interesting name. The UNI coach could be a good hire as well. Iowa can't let that program slip much further than it has, so this hire is critical.
Whats your prediction on OSU's RB depth? Do you think Boom Herron might fall behind one of our other young RBs, like Berry?
Adam Rittenberg (4:23 PM)
Ohio State should have excellent running back depth this year, and Herron could fall back in the pack. I did like how both Boom and Saine finished the season, and Boom adds some nice between-the-tackles running. But there's a lot of talent there. Excited to see if Jaamal Berry can move up the depth chart.
Hatboro, PA [via mobile]
Will Notre Dame make it to the top 25 this season?
Adam Rittenberg (4:24 PM)
I still have some major doubts about Notre Dame's defense, and the Irish will be tested early by Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State. But Brian Kelly has won everywhere he's been, so I wouldn't doubt he'll get ND back in a decent bowl game.
The newest thought on blogger Frank the Tank's message board is that Boston College may be asked to join the Big10 in a package deal for ND. That brings in 2 Catholic schools, and BC + ND might be able to wrap up the boston area better than any combo can attempt to solidify the NY metro area market. Your thoughts?
Adam Rittenberg (4:26 PM)
Well, Frank has been all over the expansion topic, and it's an interesting take with BC. Boston College has been one team I thought would gain more attention. I continue to believe there's no reason to go beyond 12 teams if you add Notre Dame. Why share the money more ways and muddle up the schedule? Notre Dame makes you the most relevant conference in the country from a fan standpoint. But yes, BC and Notre Dame would nail down the Boston market.
What teams do you see dominating the big ten in football over the next decade?
Adam Rittenberg (4:28 PM)
Until someone knocks off Ohio State, the Buckeyes remain the team to beat in this league. It'll be interesting to see what happens in State College, as Life after JoePa likely begins in the next decade. Penn State continues to recruit extremely well, so the Lions should be up there at the top. Same with Iowa and Wisconsin. The key team to watch is Michigan. Can the Wolverines get back to the top of the league?
Gino Capone (State College)
I am ready to hit somebody, can we start spring ball already! Bottom line, who's the starting Penn State qb come September & do you see Joe resorting to a 2 or 3 qb platoon if no one rises above the pack?
Adam Rittenberg (4:30 PM)
Gino, definitely excited that spring ball is starting. I was at Wisconsin's practice Tuesday, and it was great to see some football again. ... I think a two-QB system is likely at Penn State, unless someone like Kevin Newsome really separates himself this spring. Penn State is so young and inexperienced at QB, and those situations usually translate to multiple QBs being used.
Adam Rittenberg (4:31 PM)
Wow, tough blocking foul there on Murray State.
Jeffrey (Marysville Ohio)
Adam,Considering the fact that OSU almost lost to Iowa last year at home, do you think that Iowa can take OSU you down at Kinnick? From the horribly clost game it seems that maybe OSU won because of homefield advantage, that given to the Hawkeyes, what do you see happening?
Adam Rittenberg (4:32 PM)
Jeffrey, given how Iowa won at Madison, State College and East Lansing, I don't know how much home-field advantage had to do with it. Iowa went too conservative at the end of regulation and paid the price in overtime. The Hawkeyes also could have used Ricky Stanzi, though James Vandenberg really played beyond his years.
Brandon (Las Vegas, NV)
With Posey, Sanzo, and Duron Carter, do the Bucks have the best WR's in the B10?
Adam Rittenberg (4:34 PM)
I'm a huge DeVier Posey fan and include him among the league's best WRs with Smith, Doss and Nick Toon. Sanzenbacher is a solid No. 2 option, but I wouldn't call Ohio State the league's best receiving corps until I see more from them and more from Pryor.
Jeffrey (Marysville, Ohio)
Adam,Do you think PSU can stop Bama?
Adam Rittenberg (4:35 PM)
It's going to be awfully tough for the Lions, especially since the game is so early in the season. It'll just be the second start for Penn State's new QB, and I can't think of a rougher setting than going against the defending national champs on the road.
Well, adding BC would also free up one OOC game for ND each year because that could now be an in-conference rivalry. Also, yes, adding ND makes the Big10 the most relevant conference, but expansion isn't about fan relevancy, it's about adding money. BC + ND would add a ton of money from the NorthEast. Also, hockey would get a major boost, and that would definitely add lots of good content for the Big10 Network
Adam Rittenberg (4:37 PM)
The Big Ten would have to weigh the potential payoff from adding more than one team versus the potential losses of having to share revenue more ways. If I'm a Big Ten president who's athletic department loses money almost everywhere but football and men's basketball, I don't want to part with any TV revenue unless a new member creates more opportunity for growth. If I get Notre Dame, I don't care who else is out there. I've greatly enhanced my league.
Brandon (Las Vegas, NV)
Adam, you once said Wisc was probably the best football/basketball school in the B10. With the sucess OSU has had, care to reconsider?
Adam Rittenberg (4:39 PM)
Good memory, Brandon. Man, you guys don't miss a thing. ... This year, Ohio State certainly has been the league's most dominant athletic program, winning titles in football and both men's and women's hoops. If you look at the last five years, Ohio State has had the best combination. Wisconsin isn't far behind, but Ohio State would have to get the nod with all those titles in football plus a Final Four appearance.
Adam, how tall are you? You look awfully small next to some of these players. But so would I...
Adam Rittenberg (4:40 PM)
I'm actually 6-6. Minus 10 inches. And after I finally found a guy my height (Wisconsin safety Jay Valai), he turns out to be absolutely ripped and dwarfs me in that video interview. Pretty depressing ...
Keith (Cedar Rapids)
Adam with all this talk about Big Ten expanaion what team do you think has the best chance at coming into the conferance and wining a big ten tittle with in the first three years of competition?
Adam Rittenberg (4:42 PM)
Interesting question, Keith. Obviously, Notre Dame as the potential to be really good with how the Irish have recruited, but I need to see it on the field. Nebraska, Pitt and Missouri also are all potential conference title candidates. Nebraska could be really, really good in 2010.
Adam Rittenberg (4:42 PM)
Adam Rittenberg (4:43 PM)
Sorry, I know this is a football chat, but that was awesome (sorry, Vandy fans).
Hi Adam,Ever been to one of the Service Academy matchups at the AFA? I know West Point and Annapolis are beautiful and they have a longer tradition, but the flybys all morning and the Rocky Mountains are a great backdrop to that venue too. Wish we could see more of the AFA in that CiC Trophy competition nationally.
Adam Rittenberg (4:44 PM)
RJ, I'd love to get out there for a game. I haven't had the privilege to cover a game at a service academy yet. A trip to Air Force definitely is in order at some point down the line.
Jeffrey (Marysville, Ohio)
Is West Virginia a good idea for expansion? (Though I imagine RichRod wouldn't go for that one.)
Adam Rittenberg (4:46 PM)
West Virginia makes sense from a football/hoops standpoint, but not much else. And WVU doesn't have the academic reputation that the Big Ten wants if it expands.
Adam Rittenberg (4:47 PM)
OK, you guys are a pretty quiet with the questions today. Understandable as it's the first day of the NCAA tournament. Enjoy the hoops and I'll be back at ya next week.