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December 31, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Adam Rittenberg

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:05 PM)

Hey guys, sorry I'm late. Just finished taping a video segment with Ivan Maisel on the Rose Bowl. Excited the big games are nearly here!

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:05 PM)

Let's get chatty.

Jason (C-bus, OH) and the Pac-10 blogger picked the other team to dispell the "blogger homers" sterotype!! ;-)Happy New Years to you and your wife!

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:06 PM)

Well, that's not the only reason, but Ted and I like to go against the grain. We're bloggin' mavericks.

SAM (Lincoln)

Does last nights Holiday Bowl change your perception of the title game? Texas maybe wont get blown out now? Do you think Nebraska could break next years preseason Top 10?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:07 PM)

Very impressed with Nebraska, Sam. I think it's safe to say the bowl practices really helped that offense, which looked pathetic against UT. On the other hand, Texas' defense has been overlooked a lot this season. That's a pretty darn good unit, and it looks even better now.

IowaFan_UNIAlum (SE Iowa)

Adam, are you going to any stories on the other Big 10 team in a BCS game? JK. Are you going to the Orange Bowl after the Rose Bowl is over? And what do you think about the possibilty of Iowa rearranging their OL?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:09 PM)

Yes, yes, be patient, Iowa fans. You get three full days to yourself, beginning Sunday. Though I won't be at the Orange Bowl -- colleague Heather Dinich is all over it -- I'll be tracking and blogging Iowa a lot beginning Sunday. ... As for the O-line, Reiff is pretty solid at tackle, and he's the future there, especially if Bulaga goes pro. I'm very intrigued by the situation, but it wouldn't surprise me if Iowa sticks with the current lineup.

Jonathan (Ohio)

What do you think will be the reaction of the media if OSU beats Oregon but doesn't do it in a convincing fashion? Will people just say OSU is lucky?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:10 PM)

People could, Jonathan, but it would be incredibly hypocritical. Ohio State made Texas look very mortal last year in the Fiesta, and yet Texas still gets credit for a close victory and Ohio State's loss gets lumped in with the blowouts. I would hope the Buckeyes would get credit for beating a great Oregon team.

Mike (Lewis Center, OH)

Okay. Big fans of you and Ivan Maisel. But watching the video notebooks....are you 5'1" or is Ivan 6'10"....or both?!? :-)

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:11 PM)

Ivan is actually 8 feet tall. Seriously. ... I'm not 5-1, but not far from it. We did one video interview with an Oregon D-lineman where he's sitting down and I'm standing, and we're the same height!

Stephanie (Denver, CO)

Not to harp on an old story as expansion, but if Notre Dame isn't available, do you think Jim Delaney has enough forthright to bring in three teams to make it 14? Missouri argues against breaking rivalries, what if the Big Ten brings in their rivals?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:13 PM)

I'm hearing mixed things about the possibility of 14 teams. Certainly, if Notre Dame says no again, it would make sense from a TV perspective to corner a new market (New York) or bring in a bunch of new ones (Boston, New York, etc.) But Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez told me yesterday that adding a 12th team is hard enough and he doesn't see 14 happening. I'm sure it'll be discussed, but it's not an easy process.

Vince (Salt Lake)

Really, will the light ever turn on for Terrelle Pryor as a passer, because sometimes kids just can't develop into a pocket passer overnight?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:14 PM)

I don't think Pryor will ever be a great passer, but he can develop into a good passer and a great decision-maker. His natural running ability always will be his greatest attribute, and I believe Ohio State should turn him loose more often on designed runs.

Danny (Iowa)

Whats your prediction on the Big 10'S Bowl Record?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:15 PM)

I'm looking at 4-3 or 3-4. Haven't fully decided yet.

Ted (cali)

Your thoughts on Big Ten expansion? Who or is it just hot air?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:16 PM)

It's not hot air because the league issued a statement saying it's actively exploring expansion options, but expansion is not just automatic either. It might happen, it might not. Although after talking with Alvarez yesterday, it sounds like it'll happen.

Michael (Dallas)

It's not like Tim Brewster had a sterling record at Minnesota, but why were the Gophers so much in a hurry to extend his current contract when I think he had two years left?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:18 PM)

For recruiting purposes, Michael. It's hard to recruit when you only have two years left and no guarantee of an extension. Minnesota already lost a key commit because he was concerned about Brewster's future there. This is the point where you decide whether to fire the coach or extend him. It doesn't make sense to sit idle.

Jason (Chillicothe, OH)

Adam, I have seen the Buckeyes mention it, and I saw where Odrick (Penn St) said that Bielema (Wisconsin coach) told him to "represent". From talking to them, do the Big Ten teams have a feeling of battling the world this bowl season? A lot of conference loyalty this bowl season vs other seasons?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:19 PM)

Definitely a lot of conference loyalty, but it's not a new concept. Big Ten teams have always pulled for one another in bowls, at least since I've been covering the league. But certainly there's a greater sense of urgency now after the last few years. Bret Bielema is here in Pasadena to root on OSU after Wisconsin did its part Tuesday night.

Tim (CA)

You've probably seen the rumors of unrest by both Taurian Washington and Lamaar Thomas of Ohio State. Is it at all a good thing that both Duron Carter and Ray Small out, since both of those players get more PT now?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:20 PM)

Lamaar definitely sounded excited about his opportunity when we talked to him yesterday, Tim. He feels bad for Ray and Duron, but he knows this could be his big moment to showcase his skills. I wouldn't be surprised if one or both transfer, but Friday could be big.

Travis C. (Lake Highlands)

Quick question: what percentage chance do you give that Texas joins the Big 10?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:21 PM)


Ryan (your house)

Adam if the big ten goes 7-0 you should do something to celebrate it then post it on the blog?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:21 PM)

Great idea. Any suggestions?

Sandy (Mount Vernon, OH)

Some in the Columbus media have said that all Jim Tressel has to do is stick to "Tressel-ball" and not divert just for the bowl. In other words, execute. Do you think Tressel needs to change his ways for such a big game and do you think it's a good thing if he does (or should he just stick to vanilla)?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:23 PM)

Sandy, I think there's some truth to what the Columbus media is saying. Tressel has hurt himself at times by catering his scheme too much to the opponent rather than to what Ohio State does best. He has thrown some wrinkles in for bowl games, like Todd Boeckman at QB and Terrelle Pryor at WR last year, but he also knows his team and its strengths. If Ohio State can run the ball Friday like it did down the stretch of the regular season, I like the Bucks' chances.

jeremy (ohio)

You should shave 7-0 in the back of your head

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:23 PM)

Can you pay for my impending divorce?

Donovan (Atlanta)

Would Mike Leach ever go to a school like Indiana or Illinois and would those schools ever take a chance on a "pirate" like Leach? In a larger aspect, how come the Big Ten doesn't go big with hires like say the SEC (i.e. Bill Lynch, Danny Hope and Tim Brewster)? It can't be money?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:25 PM)

I think Illinois would be a GREAT spot for Leach, especially if things don't work out next year for Ron Zook. Illinois has shown that it can pay coaches, and Leach wants more money than he got at Tech. ... To your larger point, I agree it's not about money in the Big Ten, which is the richest conference. But the big-splash hire doesn't always work out (like at Michigan right now).

Idris (Miami)

How concerned is Penn State with the turf in Orlando? Is there anything that can be done in such a short turnaround with cold weather? Should the Citrus Bowl discontinue the high school playoffs to ensure good turf?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:27 PM)

Idris, Daryll Clark mentioned that Penn State would be wearing longer cleats that screw into their shoes for Friday's game. I'm not a field expert, but that thing looked horrible Tuesday and with rain possible tonight, it could be bad tomorrow. It could also slow down LSU, so let's look on the bright side.

Kevin (Evanston, IL)

Looking at all the stats, having watched the 'Cats all year, and seeing what Auburn is saying, it seems NU has a big advantage--just not in the running game. Obviously I'm biased, but Auburn just doesn't seem that impressive or seem to have the emotional advantage. What I'm worried about, though, for NU, is this perceived notion that Auburn is bigger, faster, and better because they are Auburn from the SEC, legitimate concern, because other than that as an NU fan I'm not nearly as worried as I was last year.

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:28 PM)

Auburn has some athletes, but as Wisconsin showed Tuesday night, the Big Ten can play with and beat athletic teams. Northwestern needs to play very disciplined on defense, but I think Mike Kafka and the offense will put up points on the Tigers. It certainly looks like a more even matchup going in than NU-Missouri last year in the Alamo Bowl.

Nathan (Houston)

Football drives everything in an athletic department. But do you believe Delaney and Co. would look further than football and/or a media market? For example, all other sports for Rutgers is somewhat mediocre and does Rutgers really carry the New York market (like Michigan does with Detroit and Ohio State does with Ohio)?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:30 PM)

Jim Delany will look at everything, Nathan. Obviously, the revenue sports matter, and Rutgers men's basketball isn't anything special (women's hoops is great). Rutgers would satisfy the Big Ten's academic demands, but it would need to make a great pitch to the league about its potential to capture NYC.

Craig (St. Paul, MN)

Who has a better shot at ending the Big Ten BCS streak, Buckeyes or Hawkeyes?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:31 PM)

Iowa's matchup looks a little easier, but both teams have decent shots this year. Oregon and Ga Tech are good, but they're not USC and Texas.

Jon (East Lansing, Michigan)

Admit that Michigan State is the best team alive. Do it!

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:31 PM)

I'll admit Michigan State is one of the two best 6-6 teams in the Big Ten. How's that?

Bobby (VA)

How much of an impact will the size difference in the trenches be in the Rose Bowl? Couldn't Oregon just hit the sidelines to negate the huge difference? If they hit the sidelines, do you think OSU is fast enough on the edge?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:32 PM)

Size will be a factor one way or the other. Oregon certainly will try to get to the outside on offense, and Ohio State's linebackers (Rolle, Homan, Spitler) will be tested in the open field. I think Ohio State's O-line could have the edge against Oregon. If the Buckeyes generate good push up front, they'll be able to control the ball and the clock.

Doug (Portland)

Adam, does Wisconsin's dominating win change your prediction on how well the B10 will represent this bowl season?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:34 PM)

Doug, it definitely makes me more encouraged about the league. The Champs Sports certainly looked like a swing game for the Big Ten going in. Few expected Wisconsin to win, but the Badgers really controlled the game. Now it's up to other teams to take care of supposedly better matchups.

Jason (Ohio State Campus)

Speaking of divorces (shave 7-0 in your head), if my wife knew that the only reason I am still at work is to finish this chat, I would be in serious trouble. :-/

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:34 PM)

Ha! Jason wins Big Ten Chatter of the Day. Good stuff.

Maggie (Ohio)

Please say you heard the rumor of a Terrelle Pryor knee injury in November (not just Monday), because people in Ohio have heard that rumor since the New Mexico State game. Please say you heard it and just didn't say anything (b/c it was a rumor)?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:35 PM)

Maggie, I did hear the rumor back in November. A source told me Pryor underwent an MRI on his knee after the game, but it didn't show any damage. Clearly, there was a little, but I really don't think he'll be slowed down too much.

Jonathan (Chicago)

Since Mike Leach called all the plays on offense, will his absence have a huge impact on the game or are the players relieved (as some comments suggested)? Will Texas Tech play free now that McNeal is coaching?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:37 PM)

Most of the anti-Leach comments were from one player, so I don't know if his firing frees Texas Tech. Mike Leach made that program relevant. It's pretty easy to forget about Tech now. ... This thing could galvanize the team, but I think it'll be a distraction, which helps Michigan State.

Kurtis Smith (Murfreesboro, TN)

How do you feel Penn State will match up against Alabama next year?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:38 PM)

It's going to be a tough ballgame for the Nits. You'll have a new quarterback (likely Kevin Newsome) starting his second career game. There are also some question marks on defense. Penn State probably will be a heavy underdog in Tuscaloosa.

Juan (Infante)

Adam,What do you think about Michigan's chances to contend in 2010 and after? Does Rich Rodriguez succeed in A2?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:39 PM)

I'm confident that Rodriguez's offense will be pretty dangerous next fall. It's the defense that really worries me. No Brandon Graham. No Donovan Warren. A very suspect secondary. Somebody has got to step up.

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:39 PM)

Oklahoma a PAT away from tying up the Sun Bowl, btw.

Matt (Big Ten Country)

Lets say that Ohio State dominates the Ducks then with other teams like Oregon State and Arizona have lost in big ways where would the Big ten rank in the rankings of conferences if they win all their bowls and the SEC losses the championship and the Sugar bowl? Does it mean that you have to start talking about the Big Ten as being the #1 conference in college football?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:40 PM)

I might mention it, Matt, but I doubt many of my media colleagues will. It's going to take more than one good bowl season for the Big Ten to right itself. You're assuming a lot of stuff here, but if everything works out as you say, the Big Ten certainly would be in good shape next fall.

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:41 PM)

Got time for a few more before I get back to the blog.

Mark (IL)

What's your gut feeling on the new look staff at Illinois next year

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:42 PM)

Vic Koenning was a great hire at defensive coordinator. He did an excellent job at Clemson and should get better things from that unit in 2010. The offensive staff is interesting. Petrino is a great WRs coach, but he's never been the primary play-caller. Illinois doesn't have as much to work with on offense next fall, so those assistants will be tested.

Justin (New York)

I'm somewhat surprised that the PSU-LSU game isn't getting a ton of national publicity. While I realize that it isn't a BCS game and it is overshadowed by the Rose Bowl later on in the day, the matchup is not only historic but has the potential to be one of the best bowl games of the season. What are your thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:43 PM)

I get what you're saying, Justin, but both of these teams are somewhat disappointing. Neither really has a signature win, and both offenses flat-lined against better competition. I love the coaching matchup (JoePa-Hat) and the fact it's just the second meeting between the teams. But some of the other non-BCS bowls (Sun) are more compelling.

Brian (OH)

Is it better to play Aaron Pettrey at 90-95 percent or a 100 percent healthy Devin Barclay? Is there that much of a difference in leg strength (from what you saw at practice)?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:44 PM)

Pettrey said he's been making 50-yarders with ease and even booted a 63-yarder the other day in practice. I think you go with Pettrey on anything beyond 40 yards. Barclay can handle anything under 40 yards.

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:44 PM)

OK, guys, that's all the time I've got today. Enjoy the Big Ten bowls and I'll be back with you next week!