Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

October 25, 8:28 AM ET
Chat with Adam Rittenberg

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:00 PM)

Hey guys, back for another chat. Whether it's Big Ten, BCS or whatever else is on your mind, fire away.

Kenny: (East Lansing, MI)

Hey Adam, after reading your blog, "Spartans schedule could pay off in title race", it got me thinking about if the Big Ten should employ a conference championship games such as the Big 12, SEC, ACC, etc. While I would love to see the Spartans head to the Rose Bowl, I can't say they would be more deserving than Penn State, even if we manage to beat them. Do you think the Big Ten should have a championship game and/or split the league into two divisions(maybe add Notre Dame)? I think this would help decrease the scrutiny against the Big Ten from all around the country.

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:02 PM)

There's definitely a growing clamor among fans for a Big Ten title game. This would involve getting a 12th team, which seems unlikely at the moment. Looking at it from the league's perspective, the Big Ten gets more teams in BCS bowls with the current setup, so my sense is they're hesitant to change. But I do agree it could decrease nationwide scrutiny for the league.

Lee, Gainsville

How long until the Illini fans come to there senses and create there own version of

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:02 PM)

Lee, do you remember the Ron Turner era, where tackling was option? C'mon, man.

Jonny Chicago, IL

Do the Gophers have a real shot at winning out? Are they better than MSU?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:04 PM)

It's honestly tough to get a read on Minnesota. The Gophers have a nice win against a very inconsistent Illinois team and only one victory over a team with a winning record (NIU). I love the way they play (forcing turnovers on defense), but it's hard to say they're better than Michigan State until they beat more quality teams. That said, the Gophers are No. 3 in the power rankings until proven otherwise.

Ali, Gatorville

Florida or Georgia? Why?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:04 PM)

Florida gets revenge. I really like the way Tebow and the offense are clicking. A great matchup, but Florida has more weapons right now.

Joel: (Riverside, RI)

What are the keys to Penn States last 3 games and how does Iowa, Indiana and MSU stack up against the Nittany Lions?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:06 PM)

Iowa will be a tough matchup because of the defensive line (King, Kroul). Penn State will need to attack the secondary more than it did against Ohio State. But the way the Lions' defense is playing, I can't see Shonn Greene having a big day. Indiana will be a blowout, but Michigan State could be a grinder-type game that Penn State wins at home.

NittanyApology (Kansas City, MO)

You can't go wrong with Keys Cafe and Bakery in downtown Minneapolis. The breakfasts are incredibly tasty and lunch is good too.

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:06 PM)

Thanks for the tip. 'ppreciate it.

Cramer Wilmington NC

Do you see any one loss team jumping Penn State? who is the Second best team in the big tenn?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:07 PM)

I don't, and no team should. If Penn State was winning all its games by three points, than OK. But the Lions have crushed everyone but Ohio State, including an Oregon State team that beat USC. Second best team is still Ohio State because the Bucks beat both MSU and Minny.

Colin NY

ND in the Big 10? Never going to happen. But if we did go to 12 teams, who would be the most likely candidate for that spot? Maybe Toledo was pleading their case in AA earlier this year.

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:08 PM)

I agree with your first point. Too much money at stake for ND to join a conference. But it won't be Toledo, either. I could see a team like Pitt, perhaps.

john (cincinnati)

adam, i don't think the osu-psu game helped the big ten. both teams looked offensively challenged and we know the speed question will remain a question mark vs teams from big12, sec or usc. if penn st goes to title game vs big12/sec/usc and gets beaten by 2+tds, what will big ten apologists say then???

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:09 PM)

The apologists will have nothing to say because two Big Ten teams will have been blown out on the national stage. But I don't think that will happen. Not saying Penn State wins it all, but this is a balanced team that should perform better than Ohio State.

KJ (Denver,CO)

Since Minnesota's been having a much better season, what's the word on recruiting? Will they be able to top last seasons class?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:10 PM)

Minnesota continues to recruit nationally, which will help at the skill positions. The key will be keeping in-state studs like Michael Floyd at home. Brewster has about 10 commits right now, and I'd imagine it will be a solid class, though not nearly as big as last year's (31)

Lee Gainsville

No I actually dont remember Ron Turner era I am gator fan that still remembers the Ron Zook era

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:11 PM)

Well, Lee, Illinois fans remember the Ron Turner era, and most of them want to forget it.

Troy (La Plata, MD)

Adam there are many a people who are saying Georgia Tech will beat Florida State this weekend. Do you agree?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:12 PM)

Wow, that's a tough call. Good game there in the ACC. I've been burned earlier this season saying this, but I think Florida State wins it. I like what they've done in recent weeks.

Jason, Minneapolis, MN

If you've got the time, go to Solera in downtown Minneapolis. It's on Hennepin Avenue and 8th street, about 10 blocks west of Metrodump. Question: do you think the Big Ten should alter its rotating schedule so that teams with trophy games play each year no matter what? After this year, the winner of the Little Brown Jug will keep it until 2011. That seems ridiculous for the best traveling trophy out there. And maybe this leads to a different question: do you think the Big Ten should emulate the Pac Ten, avoid tie-breaker ambiguities, strength of schedule arguments, and strengthen conference rivalries, and have each team play 10 conference games? Fantastic work Adam. I read your blog every day. Thanks. JEG

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:13 PM)

Thanks, Jason. In Minnesota's case, it would be tough to do that because there are so many trophy games. But I'd agree that it would be nice to have the Minny-Michigan game every year. The Big Ten will never go to a 10-team round robin. It would decrease the number of bowl teams, and in turn, the number of dollars for athletic departments.

Mike (Kansas City, MO)

There are some rumors that Boise State is looking at joining the Mountain West. Would that be enough to give the MWC an automatic BCS berth?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:14 PM)

Boise State has been pretty open about its desire to join the MWC, and this season should only reinforce that goal. Wow, with Boise State, Utah, BYU, TCU, there would be a strong argument to add an automatic berth. But nothing will change for some time.

Brett (Happy Valley)

Is it just me? I don't know about you but I'm getting a little sickened by how willing people are to discredit Penn State of their undefeated season so far. Yes, we only won by a touchdown in the shoe, which is tough no matter which way you cut it. Every other game was a blowout by an average of 35 points. Winning games HOW you're supposed to win them and the college football world still seems to love denying the Big Ten's best their due this season.

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:15 PM)

Brett, I'm a bit surprised at how little credit Penn State gets for thumping Oregon State. The Lions' Big Ten blowouts aren't going to do much for their cause, but the Oregon State win should carry more weight, even though the Beavers are a better team now than they were on Sept. 6.

brent Turks and Caicos islands

Adam If the gophers win out. what bowl do you think they will get and how much will it help with recuiting

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:17 PM)

Man, I wish I could trade places with you right now, Brent. Anyway, Minnesota will go to the Capital One or Outback bowl if it wins out. As far as recruiting, the season will help, but as coach Brewster told me this week, they already put such a premium on recruiting and do it at a high level.

David (San Jose)

If Iowa runs the table, where do you think they land in the bowl picture?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:18 PM)

Iowa travels extremely well, but I see the Alamo Bowl as the top destination for the Hawkeyes. Running the table would mean a win against Penn State, which would mean only one Big Ten team in the BCS. So I think the Hawkeyes would head to San Antonio.

gary (dumas, tx)

Tech or Texas..... and why?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:19 PM)

A lot of people are picking Tech, but I like the Horns. They've faced more adversity this season with tough wins against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and a dominant effort against Mizzou. Tech has looked good as well, but besides the Nebraska game it's been smooth sailing.

Stephen East Lansing

As I sit here in my math lecture I cant help but notice the similarity between these graphs that go up and down and how they seem similar to Hoyers completion percentage and total yards from game to game. Will Hoyer be more consistent the rest of the season or can we expect a let down this weekend.

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:20 PM)

I hated math class. Did by best to skirt the math requirement at Northwestern. I wouldn't get too hung up on Hoyer's completion percentage. If he's not throwing interceptions and Michigan State moves the ball, the Spartans should be fine. I expect a conservative, solid performance from Hoyer this weekend.

Bill, New Bern NC

Adam, Do you think the Spartans can avoid their tendency for a late season letdown versus the Badgers this weekend? It seems that Coach Dantonio has his players on the right track. Also, will we know if there are any official sanctions made against the replay official who changed the field ruling on Michigan's first TD. Even the UM fans surrounding me in the "Big House" thought the call should not have been overuled. I have to hand it to the Wolverine fans, I was treated very respectfully on their home turf. Several expressed congratulations on the Spartan win while exiting the stadium. I had a great time at the game and tailgating with my Wolverine friends.

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:22 PM)

I think Michigan State might be past its late-season slides. The win last week was huge, and especially the way the Spartans rallied. I would be surprised if the replay official works another game for the Big Ten. A mistake like that is totally inexcusable, especially since the on-field refs had it right. The Big Ten doesn't comment publicly on officiating assignments, but I'd be surprised to see that guy again.

Chaz, Vermont

What Big 10 team is getting the best QB play right now?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:23 PM)

Daryll Clark has been the most consistent quarterback in the league, though Adam Weber from Minnesota is pretty close. Juice Williams has been the most dominant, but he's still prone to games like last Saturday's at Wisconsin.

Ben, Des Moines IA

Adam, what are Shonn Greene's chances of getting a heismen invite?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:24 PM)

Greene needs a huge game against Penn State on national TV. It's as simple as that. He's still somewhat under the radar to this point and Javon Ringer has gained more attention. But if Greene lights up a tough Lions defense, he could get an invite.

Matt (Madison WI)

Last weekend was the first 4-quarter game Wisconsin played and looked pretty good. The play calling from coach Chryst actually made sense. If we can put 4 full-quarters together do you think there's a chance Bucky beats MSU this weekend?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:25 PM)

Chryst is a good play-caller. That guy hasn't forgotten how to coach. Sherer needs another mistake-free performance against a superior Michigan State defense, but if Wisconsin's defense can force mistakes from Brian Hoyer and Javon Ringer, the Badgers will be right there. Should be a good game.

Joe (Austin, TX)

Does anyone remember that UF lost to Ole Miss? at the swamp? why are they still getting nc discussion?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:26 PM)

The Gators have looked good since then, that's probably why. But any talk of a 1-loss Florida team that lost at home to Ole Miss leapfogging an undefeated Penn State team is misguided. Shouldn't happen.

Matt (Georgia)

I bet you wont answer questions from 2 Matts in a row All I hear is "How is Georgia gonna stop Florida's explosive offense?" Lets start asking "How can Florida stop Knowshon Moreno (who torched them for 188 & 3 TDs last year) while still stopping the SEC's #1 passing offense?"

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:28 PM)

It won't be easy, and this game could go either way. Moreno will get his yards, but I think Florida has a little more offense to get the W.

Mike (Minneapolis)

So you are saying I shouldn't book my tix to Pasadena if the Gophers and Nittany Lions both win out? Also, check out Maxwell's Bar, about 3 blocks from the Dome, and enjoy a great burger.

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:30 PM)

If Ohio State also wins out, Ohio State likely would go to the Rose Bowl ahead of Minnesota because of the head-to-head. The problem for the Gophers, and a greater problem with the Big Ten's unbalanced schedule, is that Minnesota doesn't have a chance to prove itself against either Penn State or Michigan State.

Kyle (Humanities Class, East Lansing)

Hey Adam, With Ringers numbers and having a big game against UM. Is there a chance he could get an invite to NY if he goes over 100 for the last three games? or maybe goes huge against Penn State?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:31 PM)

Man, these Michigan State professors have to be loving this. Ringer is in pretty good position for a Heisman invite, but like Greene, a big game against Penn State is key. If he gashes the Lions, my sense is he'll get an invite to New York.

Stephen East Lansing

Oh yeah I forgot to ask what game will you be at this week? Since the Eyes and PSU are both on byes? Thanks for the response earlier!

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:32 PM)

I'll be in Minneapolis checking out Minnesota and Northwestern.

Rick (Dublin, OH)

I am going to my first Notre Dame game this weekend! I can not wait! How do you see this game playing out.

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:33 PM)

Rick, you're in for a treat. Though Notre Dame has never been my favorite team to cover, the game day experience in South Bend is awesome. Should be an interesting game as Pitt tries to bounce back from an embarrassing defensive performance against Rutgers. Notre Dame will win, but it could be close.

Chris (Pittsford NY

Hey what do you think about Boise State are they the real deal or not

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:34 PM)

Every time they look "down," the Broncos continue to win. Moore is a terrific quarterback, and I see Boise State winning out. Washington should do whatever it takes to get Chris Petersen as its next head coach.

Mickey (Iowa City, IA)

Hey Adam, what do you think of Ricky Stanzi's performance this year so far?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:36 PM)

He's done a nice job in recent weeks. Iowa took way too long to name him the starter, and Ferentz'z loyalty to Jake Christensen cost him a game or two early on. But Stanzi is managing the game well. Iowa won't ever be a dynamic passing team, but if the QB doesn't make mistakes, the Hawks usually win.

Chad (Chicago, IL)

Tell me why Northwestern could still win 2 more games despite the disaster that was the IU game, and thus keep me from heading to Detroit come bowl season....

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:37 PM)

It will be tough for the Cats, depending on how long Bacher is out. They will need one dominant defensive performance, perhaps this weekend against Minnesota. Northwestern always gets crushed by Ohio State, but Michigan and Illinois are certainly winnable, especially if Bacher is healthy.

Matt (St. Paul)

Although, make sure you do swing by the campus on Saturday and check out the new're in for a treat!

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:37 PM)

Will do, Matt. I'm supposed to check it out Friday after I arrive. Looking forward to it.

Mike (Kansas City, MO)

Who has the best D-line in the Big Ten right now? Iowa? Penn State? OSU?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:38 PM)

It's not Ohio State, though the addition of Thad Gibson has really helped that unit. I would go with Penn State, but Iowa is right there two with King, Kroul and Clayborn.

Rick (Dublin, OH)

Do you think ND could improve enough through the rest of the season to have a decent shot at knocking off USC?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:39 PM)

No chance. Notre Dame is still very overmatched in that game, but the Irish could win out until heading to the Coliseum.

Jason (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

Is it possible that R-Rod's rebuilding process is going to take longer than anticipated. It seemed like we'd be back to 9-10 wins by the 2nd or 3rd year. But after watching this team, especially the D, it seems like we have a longer way to go.

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:40 PM)

Yeah, it might be longer than expected. Michigan will be starting a new quarterback next year, most likely a freshman, which will be good and bad for the offense. It should look more like Rich's system, but more mistakes are inevitable. The defense's struggles are really a surprise. That unit carried Michigan through the first four games but has fallen apart since.

joe (new orleans)

don't you kind of feel bad for Vandy? They storm out of the gate and now are falling apart yet again. At some point, it would be nice to see those guys in a bowl game.

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:41 PM)

I really do, Joe. I used to cover Northwestern, which has tried to get rid of the loser label forever even though it actually has made several bowl games. But Vandy's bowl drought is really stunning. I hope this will still be the year, but the Duke loss could sting.

Adam (Dayton, OH)

Do you think that Evan Royster has a good argument at being the best back in the Big Ten? Greene and Ringer are only up there because they have more carries and Clark does a ton with touchdowns.

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:42 PM)

We just don't know, Adam, because Royster only gets 15 carries a game. Is he durable enough as Greene and Ringer? Could he handle a greater load? We don't know the answers to these questions, so it's hard to make a judgment. What we do know is he's certainly an explosive runner who can get yards in big chunks.

Mike, Chicago, IA

Adam, what's your prediction for the Iowa/Illinois game? Will Shonn Greene run for 400 yards?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:43 PM)

I have Iowa winning, but it could go either way. Illinois is really desperate for a win, and Ron Zook said changes are on the way. Greene will have another big day, not quite 400 yards-big, but certainly more than 100.

pat (storrs, ct)

What do you think of the UConn-WVU matchup this weekend? Can Donald brown carry my huskies?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:44 PM)

I'm excited to see Donald Brown go against the Mountaineers, who looked vulnerable early against Auburn before locking it down. Brown and Shonn Greene have been the most consistently productive backs in college football this year. But both need to give their teams a boost here down the stretch.

Michael (PA)

Adam, can you explain why it's ok for Alabama to play Western Kentucky and Arkansas St (who PSU dropped for Oreg St) but Penn State gets scrutinized for a soft schedule? I wonder if people remember Bama and PSU were supposed to play this year and next but Bama backed out. Penn St then had to scramble for a team and ended up with Coastal Carolina. What gives?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:46 PM)

The SEC teams -- and for that matter, the Big Ten squads -- don't get criticized for their non-league schedules because their leagues are stronger, top to bottom. At least things are perceived that way. The Big Ten is hurt by two factors nationally: 1. Ohio State's recent big-game flops. 2. Michigan not being up to par. This drags down the value of going undefeated in conference play, which, in my opinion, is pretty tough no matter what league you're in.

Jeremy (East Lansing)

What do you think of this? Jackie Moon from "Semi-Pro" for halloween. I think it's gonna be a hit!

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:47 PM)

There ya go, Jeremy. And you're pretty close to Flint, so the local connection works.

Jerry Jones, Dallas

I think I might go after Nick $aban after I fire Phillips. You think he'd entertain the idea?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:47 PM)

Oh, I'm sure he'd listen, Jerry.

Matt (Madison, WI)

As a CMU alum (and current Badger), it was nice to see you pick them to B=beat IU and get Dan L. his first BCS win. If they come into the Ball State game at Kelly-Shorts on a huge winning streak what do you think will happen in Mt. P?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:48 PM)

A very interesting game there, Matt. Ball State's ability to improve on the defensive side would seem to be the difference, but Central Michigan will give them a tough test at home. I'll go with Ball State by fewer than 10 points.

Mark (West Des Moines, IA)

Adam, love your blog by the way, great work. I think Iowa could finish 3-1 with that loss against Penn State. I know it is far away but it hasn't been asked yet. What do you think about the Hawks against the Gophers at Kinnick North on Nov. 22. Stanzi staying int free as of late could make it a great game

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:49 PM)

Mark, it could be a fascinating game, especially if Minnesota comes in at 10-1. The key to beating Minnesota is holding onto the ball. If Iowa does that, I like the chances.

Tom (IT class, East Lansing)

I'm glad the team isn't looking past Wisconsin, and also that I'm allowed the privilege to. Looking at the PSU game, what strengths would MSU have to play to in order to legitimately stay close and possibly beat PSU?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:51 PM)

This is awesome. I've gotten questions from math, IT and humanities at Michigan State. Doesn't anyone pay attention? Michigan State will need to control the clock with Ringer and keep the Penn State offense off the field. If the Spartans can come out hot like Michigan did in Happy Valley and force an early turnover or two, they should be able to hang around.

Rich (Burnsville, MN)

Adam, how would you rate Adam Weber's development as a QB. Do you see him becoming an elite QB in the next year or two?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:52 PM)

Absolutely. He's exactly what Mike Dunbar wants for the Spread Coast offense, an accurate passer who can hit the short routes and be an effective scrambler. Weber has an excellent future ahead of him.

Younger (Los Angeles, CA)

Prediction for tonight's game USF v Cinn?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:52 PM)

Wow, tough one. I like Cincinnati in the frigid weather at one of the coolest stadiums in the country, nestled right in the middle of campus.

Michael (PA)

Thats a terrible excuse! What about the other Big Ten teams, ie Penn St, who has a winning record against the SEC and the Big 12. To be judged by another teams failure is completely wrong. You can't pick and choose who you play in conference, good or bad. You're asked to go out and beat the teams on your schedule and Penn St is doing convincing fasion! Where's the playoff?!?!?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:53 PM)

Hey Michael, it's just the way it is. I'm not saying it's right, but the perception is the perception.

Matt (Madison, WI)

Hey don't count us out! I have 2 questions in chat today, and I should definitely be in lab (cellular and molecular biology grad student). Cut me some slack, though, the neighboring lab has a Halloween Party tonight and you know how we love Halloween in Madison!

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:53 PM)

Halloween in Madison is awesome. I've met several football and basketball players who would love to ditch their games/practices to spend Halloween in Mad-town.

Turner Gill (Buffalo, NY)

When will I get a chance to coach a BCS school?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:54 PM)

Pretty soon, Turner. You might even get a look down the road in Syracuse.

Dan Atlanta, GA

where do you see the future for Ohio State? Do you see a national powerhouse in the future or same as what has been this year?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:55 PM)

They have to do something different on offense, whether it's Tressel relinquishing the play-calling duties or bringing in a different coordinator. The defense and special teams are fine. But Ohio State simply isn't dynamic enough on offense, especially with the rest of the league upgrading on that side.

MSU Professor (East Lansing)

I love seeing students on here during class, don't tell my dean I'm here during a student lecture... What bowl to you think Northwestern will go to? I want to see my cat's some place warm!

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:56 PM)

Not sure this is a real prof, but I'll believe you. My sense is Northwestern wins one more game and goes to the Insight Bowl in Arizona.

Ray (Minneapolis)

If Brewster has a couple more seasons like this for Minnesota, do you think he'll bolt for bigger program if a school comes calling?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:57 PM)

He'll definitely get the chance to if he keeps this up. Brewster definitely wants to see the new stadium, and Minnesota should have the money to keep him around a while. Then again, he has ties to the south and southeast, and his recruiting exploits could make him a good fit for the SEC or the Big 12

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:58 PM)

OK guys, that's about all the time I have. Really enjoyed this one, especially the questions from the bored students sitting in class. Study up and talk to you next week!