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November 21, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Adam Rittenberg

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:00 PM)

Hey guys, I'm here. Slow week in the Big Ten, huh? Let's chat.

Mike (Paris, OH)

As an Ohio State fan please tell me that we will not get stuck with Rutgers and Maryland in the same division. Add in Purdue and Indiana and that would an awful schedule on an annual basis.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:01 PM)

Nothing is guaranteed, Mike, but I'd expect both Rutgers and Maryland to be in the same division as Ohio State. Definitely Penn State. The divisions should be fairly geographical in nature, so I'd expect the three Mid-Atlantic schools plus Ohio State definitely will be in the same division. The interesting question is whether Michigan will move into the division as well.

Jerry (Cortland, IL)

Why is there no love for Jordan Lynch for the Heisman? He continues to set the record for consecutive 100+ yard rushing games by a quarterback, he's only the second player ever to get 2500 passing and 1500 rushing in one season (and 3000/2000 isn't out of the question), he's the leader of 10-1 NIU. Maybe he's not playing "top" competition, but he also doesn't have 10 other highly-recruited players making his job a little easier, either.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:02 PM)

Jerry, great points. I had a chance to watch Lynch in person last week when I attended the NIU-Toledo game. What a player. He passed for nearly 300 yards in the third quarter alone! And he's doing this in a year where the MAC is very solid. He's not getting Hesiman love because people are only finding out about him now, which is too late for a midmajor player. But he'll be mentioned entering the 2013 season.

J.P. (il)

What's the key to OSU/Michigan on Saturday?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:04 PM)

JP, I think it comes down to the Michigan offense vs. the Ohio State defense. Devin Gardner has energized Michigan at quarterback and maximized the talent at WR that was being wasted a bit with Denard Robinson at QB. Ohio State's defense, meanwhile, is playing a lot better than it was a month ago. So who gets the edge there likely translates to who wins the game.

Karen (Akron, Ohio)

Hello Adam.... Nobody out of Penn State is saying anything about Mauti's injury..Do you know anything?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:04 PM)

Yeah, they're being very tight-lipped about the whole thing. Doesn't seem to be a clear diagnosis up front. The bottom line, unfortunately, is that he'll miss the final game. We all hope Mike makes a speedy recovery. He's an exceptional player when healthy, as he showed in the first 10 games.

matt (nyc)

I asked this question once previously to no avail (ignored). Let me try once again. As an OSU fan, I am naturally thrilled by the potential prospect of an undefeated season. Yet I am not convinced that this sets the table so perfectly in 2013. The woes of the B1G loom large. Poor coaching hires, demographic shifts, anemic recruiting and national perceptions have caught up with the conference. Even if the Buckeyes manage to run the table, I doubt whether that will be enough to punch a ticket to the BCS championship. Their 2013 schedule manages to be weaker than this year. Schedules are, of course, hammered out years in advance. Nonetheless, it is hardly a murderers row of non-conference opponents. Even their B1G lineup is suspect--no Nebraska or MSU. Thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:07 PM)

Matt, you make some good points, and this is an issue Brian and I will debate heading into next season. After all, a 13-0 Ohio State squad likely wouldn't make the national title game this season because of its weak non-league schedule and the Big Ten's relative weakness. But I think the Big Ten takes a step forward next year. Teams like Nebraska, Northwestern, MSU and Michigan return a lot of key pieces. Minnesota and Indiana are trending upward, and Bret Bielema has targeted 2013 as potentially his best team at Wisconsin. If the Big Ten can just hold its own in non-league games, an undefeated champion should have a decent chance of reaching the title game.

Aaron (Ann Arbor)

How big has Gardners emergence been? Michigan did nothing but kick field goals against ND, MSU, and Nebraska and all of a sudden Roy Roundtree is an impact player again

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:08 PM)

It has been huge, Aaron. You're seeing now what Michigan's wide receivers can do in a more effective passing game. With the running backs still mostly ineffective, Gardner's emergence has been exactly what Michigan has needed to run Al Borges' offense. I know Roundtree and Jeremy Gallon have to be pleased with what they see at QB.

Matt (New York, NY)

Adam, it's clear that no one from the B1G wants MD and RU. Is there an escape clause in these deals? Could the backlash be so great that the B1G has no choice but to drop these school?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:10 PM)

No, Matt, the Big Ten wouldn't make these moves and go back on them so quickly. They're seen as long-term in nature, and from speaking with commissioner Delany the last two days, I know he sees potential in both programs, particularly Rutgers. This isn't the first Big Ten move the fans haven't liked, but the league wouldn't do this and then back off.

Mike (Las Vegas NV)

If Ohio State beats Michigan, and Notre Dame loses to USC this weekend, is an AP National Championship for the Buckeyes a realistic chance? I don't think theres a chance if only ND loses to USC, But I think if Bama and/or Georgia drop a game, the chances get better. Your thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:12 PM)

Mike, anything is possible, but I don't think Ohio State would get the nod against a team that has won its conference title game and the national title game. Ohio State also is hurt by its strength of schedule and the Big Ten's relative weakness. Could it happen? Maybe. But I'm not holding my breath.

tee (UnitedStates)

I think expansion ends at 14 for SEC, B1G and ACC. PAC stays at 12 and Big 12 stays at ten. concur?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:13 PM)

Doubt it, Tee. While I'd like to see realignment cool down a bit, I think we're headed for 16-team conferences eventually. The Big 12 in particular can't stay at 10 very long, in my view. The Big East obviously is in major trouble and will lose more teams.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:13 PM)

Doubt it, Tee. While I'd like to see realignment cool down a bit, I think we're headed for 16-team conferences eventually. The Big 12 in particular can't stay at 10 very long, in my view. The Big East obviously is in major trouble and will lose more teams.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:13 PM)

Doubt it, Tee. While I'd like to see realignment cool down a bit, I think we're headed for 16-team conferences eventually. The Big 12 in particular can't stay at 10 very long, in my view. The Big East obviously is in major trouble and will lose more teams.

Mike (Paris, Oh)

Now you peaked my curiousity... what are the chances that Michigan ends up in the same division with Ohio State?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:15 PM)

I think it has to be considered, Mike. The Leaders division already is weak, and if Penn State's program declines because of the NCAA sanctions, you're looking at Ohio State and Wisconsin as the only truly strong programs. I was opposed to putting three brand-name programs in one division, but I think it can be done for the sake of better competitive balance. It also would prevent an Ohio State-Michigan rematch in the league title game.

Nate (Dallas)

With the B1G going east I think this is still about Notre Dame. ND does not want to leave the east coast (Big East now ACC) so now the B1G has made a path to New York. If I handle the B1G I would let ND keep the USC game and bring them and another football school like Va Tech to help Maryland. Rutgers is a diamond in the rough with the help of MI,OSU,NEB, and Penn St coming in every year along with $. They could be the USC of the east in 15-20 years. your thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:17 PM)

Nate, here's something all Big Ten fans need to understand. The Big Ten will NEVER give Notre Dame the same deal the ACC did. It just won't happen. So if Notre Dame wants to give up its football independence, the Big Ten's doors are open. Notre Dame hasn't expressed that desire and will do all it can to remain independent. Until that changes, there's nothing to discuss. Agree on Rutgers' potential. It's definitely there.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:17 PM)

Nate, here's something all Big Ten fans need to understand. The Big Ten will NEVER give Notre Dame the same deal the ACC did. It just won't happen. So if Notre Dame wants to give up its football independence, the Big Ten's doors are open. Notre Dame hasn't expressed that desire and will do all it can to remain independent. Until that changes, there's nothing to discuss. Agree on Rutgers' potential. It's definitely there.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:17 PM)

Nate, here's something all Big Ten fans need to understand. The Big Ten will NEVER give Notre Dame the same deal the ACC did. It just won't happen. So if Notre Dame wants to give up its football independence, the Big Ten's doors are open. Notre Dame hasn't expressed that desire and will do all it can to remain independent. Until that changes, there's nothing to discuss. Agree on Rutgers' potential. It's definitely there.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:17 PM)

Nate, here's something all Big Ten fans need to understand. The Big Ten will NEVER give Notre Dame the same deal the ACC did. It just won't happen. So if Notre Dame wants to give up its football independence, the Big Ten's doors are open. Notre Dame hasn't expressed that desire and will do all it can to remain independent. Until that changes, there's nothing to discuss. Agree on Rutgers' potential. It's definitely there.

linda (Omaha Nebrsaska)

How do you like the huskers going into next year since they will be returning All their main guys on offense and taylor comes from camp again how do you see them doing?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:18 PM)

Linda, I really like the potential on offense. Martinez made major strides this season and will be one of the nation's most experienced QBs in 2013. While it was unfortunate to see Rex Burkhead miss almost the entire season, it allowed Ameer Abdullah to establish himself as a featured back. Nebraska loses its tight ends but brings back everyone else. The Huskers should be a top 10 offense. There are bigger questions on the defensive side, as Nebraska is still looking for some star power on D.

Rob (Chicago)

How would it been fair to have the top two teams (over the long haul) in the same division? Wouldn't that ultimately mean the other division would be soft?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:21 PM)

Rob, that was my concern at the time. And it still is, to a degree. I wouldn't want people to focus only on one division. That's the risk in moving Michigan. I actually could live with Michigan along with Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Indiana and Purdue. You would still have Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Northwestern and Iowa in the other division. All of those programs have been pretty solid as of late. I think the Big Ten would be OK.

geroge (north bend)

who would win the b1g title if ohio st and neb played this year??? and if st won wouldn't they play for the ncg??

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:22 PM)

After watching Ohio State crush Nebraska on Oct. 6, I'd have a hard time picking against the Buckeyes. Would it be enough to get the Buckeyes to the title game? Probably not. But if Notre Dame loses this week, Ohio State might have been able to get into the title game against the SEC champ.

Trevor (Sawyer)

What is Jake Ryans ultimate ceiling? He is all over the place on the field

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:23 PM)

He's terrific, Trevor, and a contender for national awards the next two years. He has tremendous football sense and all the skills to be an All-American. Ryan is a guy you notice on every play. Michigan must continue to build around him, but he'll be the leader of the defense the next two seasons in my view.

Gill (Mpls, Mn)

Might answer more questions if you'd respond once not three times to each...:)

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:24 PM)

Sorry, Gill, working on a new connection outside of the house. Forgive the multiple responses.

Steven (Kingsport)

Problem for Rutgers is while they may be sitting in New York/New Jersey, Notre Dame has more fans there. Completely overated.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:25 PM)

Steven, while I agree Notre Dame football resonates in the New York market, there also are a ton of Big Ten fans there. There are Big Ten bars for almost every team in New York City, as well as alumni clubs and the like. It's a lot like Chicago -- a pro-sports town filled with Big Ten fans. So having the Big Ten product in the area more often will help.

Steve (Columbus, OH)

Eventually adding schools has to reach a point of diminishing returns for the B1G, right? Eventually adding these television markets (which I still don't see as anything buy negotiating points for cable deals and not as actual benefits to the product) is going to bring in less money than needs to be divided. My thought is that soon the conference won't be able to offer every memeber 25-30 mil a year because they'll have to break up the pie into so many pieces. It seems to me like they might be slowly killing the golden goose here. Is that crazy?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:27 PM)

Steve, you make some great points. It is a risk, and Jim Delany knows that. But he also sees the growth potential and has analyzed the situation very closely as far as projected revenues. No one knows for sure if it will work, but college football's popularity has never been better, and the Big Ten Network has exceeded everyone's expectations.

Tony (Lincoln, NE)

After almost two years in the Big Ten, are the Huskers starting to develop any legitimate rivals with any of the teams? Wisconsin looks like one, after splitting the last two games and potentially seeing a rematch in the Big Ten Championship, but we won't see them on the schedule the next two years. Maybe Michigan?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:29 PM)

Tony, I think Michigan has potential to be a very nice rival for Nebraska. Being in the same division is huge, and we'll see if division realignment changes things, but for now the teams know they'll play every year. If Nebraska was guaranteed to face Wisconsin and Ohio State every year, I'd see the rivalry potential there. If and when Iowa improves, there's also potential there.

Logan (Indianapolis)

What are UM's chances at a BCS bowl, assuming the beat OSU (a big assumption, I know)?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:30 PM)

Logan, I covered this in Rooting Interests on Monday, but the key things to root for are: the top ACC teams (FSU, Clemson) to lose; UCLA to beat Stanford (helping chance of just one Pac-12 BCS team); and both Oklahoma and Texas to lose. The SEC is guaranteed of two BCS bowl teams, and Notre Dame will be in there, too. The ACC might be the biggest obstacle for the Big Ten. A Clemson loss to South Carolina would be big if Michigan goes on to beat Ohio State.

Steven (Kingsport)

What scouts want to see: Denard Robinson catch the football & return kicks - if he gets those opportunities while playing RB, Hoke would have done him a huge favor. Scouts know Robinson is explosive in the open field, they need to know they can get him the ball for it to matter.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:33 PM)

Steven, I think Robinson will have plenty of time to show the scouts what they need to see. He was a very effective quarterback at Michigan for a long time, especially in the spread offense in 2010. And all those long runs he had won't go unnoticed. Could Michigan have moved him away from QB sooner? I guess. But I don't think the Wolverines knew what they had in Devin Gardner until the last few weeks.

Steve (Columbus, OH)

What do you think has been the biggest difference leading to the success of the Big Ten Network as compared to the less successful Pac-12 and Longhorn networks?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:34 PM)

Just more fans and viewers. The best thing the Big Ten has going for it is the size of the fan bases and the passion they have for sports. There's an audience in Big Ten territory that isn't there as much in other parts of the country.

Jeff (Pittsburgh, PA)

Any possibility that Legends and Leaders goes away?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:35 PM)

It's possible, Jeff. The presidents and athletic directors will discuss the possibility of renaming the divisions. Big Ten commish Jim Delany said this week that he's open to changing them, although he likes the "honoring legends, building leaders" concept. It'll be interesting.

Mike (Jackson)

I just heard on the radio that the Big 10 is actively looking for 2 more teams to make the conference 16 teams. The two teams mentioned were North Carolina and Kansas with a possible couple of other teams in the mix. Have you heard this and how much truth is there to the rumor?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:36 PM)

Mike, there are a lot of rumors right now, and they're just that -- rumors. I think North Carolina makes a lot of sense for the Big Ten. Great academics, athletic tradition, a new market. Doesn't hurt that Jim Delany played basketball there. I'd also look at a school like Georgia Tech ahead of one like Kansas, which doesn't bring you that much from a new market perspective.

Mark (Jersey)

Nate Silver of NY Times has did some analysis and showed that Rutgers has much more fans than ND in the NYC area. ND may have had more 20 years ago, but definitely not anymore. I know RU is overshadowed by pro teams, but do B1G fans generally believe that RU does not have any sort of fan base?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:38 PM)

No, I think smart Big Ten fans know Rutgers resonates in New York, especially when the Knights are really good. Who can forget the year when Big East teams -- Rutgers, West Virginia, Louisville -- were all over the top 10? Rutgers has played football forever, but the school didn't really invest in the program until the 1990s. I think there's good growth potential there.

Steven (Kingsport)

If I were Delany, I'd go after North Carolina and Florida State

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:39 PM)

North Carolina seems to make more sense to me. Florida State's academics, while not bad, might be a tough sell for the Big Ten presidents. Not as strong of a cultural fit as UNC, Georgia Tech, Virginia, etc.

Jesse K. (Lincoln, NE)

Thoughts on a potential UCLA-Nebraska rematch at the Rose Bowl?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:40 PM)

It would be interesting, Jesse. UCLA is incredibly explosive, and the Bruins running back is one of the best players in the country. Then again, Nebraska is a different team now than in Week 2, and the Huskers' offense would challenge UCLA's D.

Yinka Double Dare (Chicago)

We couldn't possibly honor legends or build leaders while having normal division names though. Oh, wait, what were they doing for the last 100 years?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:41 PM)

Love the name! Yes, you could keep that slogan while having normal division names. No one would object.

AAWolv (Ann Arbor)

At this point, would you rather have Miller and Hyde in your backfield or Gardner and Robinson?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:42 PM)

I haven't seen enough of Robinson at the RB position to really make a strong assessment. You're talking about a Heisman Trophy candidate in Miller and a running back in Hyde who has been incredibly effective. Would probably go with Ohio State, but need to see more of Denard at RB.

Ty (Tennessee)

I personally think that Iowa State would make a good team in the B1G. It would add another rivalry game(vs Iowa, and possibly Nebraska).

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:43 PM)

Not happening, Ty. It's all about the market, and the Big Ten already has the market cornered with Iowa and Nebraska. I would be utterly stunned if the Big Ten considers Iowa State. It's not ISU's fault -- just in the wrong place.

Joe (Lewistown)

As a PSU fan I could not be more proud of the first year coach and of the team. I know that there are a ton of people that said horrible things about PSU and the players...and I commend them...for the way they played this season and the class they showed.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:44 PM)

Agree, Joe. Bill O'Brien has done a terrific job with all the challenges he has faced in State College. He also received a lot of help from a senior class the school will honor Saturday. Should be an emotional day at Beaver Stadium.

Dave (Lewis Center, OH)

Adam, Could you please explain to B1G fans that it doesn't matter how many fans of a given team are in a market, what matters is the number of TVs in that market. The only impact the fan base has on revenue is the demand to add the network. Once the network is added to basic cable then the B1G Network receives money based on subscriptions.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:45 PM)

I couldn't have put it better, Dave. That's why the Big Ten demand in those markets -- from fans of Big Ten teams that want BTN -- is what's most important.

Keenan (Maine)

If Borland and Pedersen stay, and A.J. Barker goes to school with his brother, Stave starts, Houston backs up. How good does Wisconsin look next year?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:47 PM)

Interesting assumption about A.J. Barker, Keenan, and one that I've thought about a bit this week. Wisconsin should be very good next year and have more depth on the offensive side. I wouldn't expect Borland or Pedersen to go anywhere. The big keys are bolstering the pass rush and the secondary, but I expect Wisconsin to be more consistent on offense.

Tyler P (Sandhills)

Rumors of schools being interested in Bo Pelini usually appear around this time of the year and well into the post season. If Bomanages to get a Big Ten ring this year, do you think he'll more likely stay put at Nebraska or maybe look at offers at other schools?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:49 PM)

Tyler, I think there's a reason why Pelini's name keeps coming up for other jobs. It doesn't just happen by accident. I actually think there's a decent chance Bo heads elsewhere in the near future. He's got a new boss at Nebraska, and there are things about coaching there that seem to bother him, although he has seemed a lot more comfortable lately. It should be an interesting month of December.

Hunterpsu (Chicago )

I am having trouble getting over Silas Redd leaving PSU. I find myself feeling happy at each USC loss and redd below par game. Is there something wrong with me? Btw fantastic job on the blog. Lved reading your comments over and over again.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:50 PM)

Thanks, Hunter. Yeah, I think you need to get over it. While it's fun to see Lane Kiffin struggle, Silas is a good kid who made a decision he felt was in his best interest. I wouldn't fault him for it, and Penn State's offense has been fine without him.

Stanzi the Manzi (Iowa City)

Is Kirk going to right the ship or will Gary Barta move for a buyout?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:51 PM)

Better chance Kirk rights the ship than Iowa pays the buyout. Big year in 2013 for the Hawkeyes as I think everyone else in the division gets better or stays the same. Kirk needs to get things back on track in a hurry.

Chris (New Jersey)

I don't know why any big ten fan would be upset with the recent expansion. The fact is that these conferences are going to continue to grow and the big ten has to be out in front of expansion orIt will be left with the remains. While Rutgers and Maryland aren't traditional football powerhouses, they are in huge TV markets, fertile recruiting grounds, and are both AAU members. Find me a better fit than these 2?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:53 PM)

Chris, a lot of it has to do with tradition, nostalgia, a fear of watering down the product and resistance to change. People also have a hard time grasping what expansion is really about these days. As Jim Delany told us this week, you can't add Penn State football or Nebraska football every time with expansion.

shazor (Findlay,OH)

do you think the Michigan O-line can keep John Simon & Co. Inc. from setting up shop in the backfield?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:54 PM)

It'll be a key mathcup, Shazor. Simon was a monster last week, and Wisconsin's offensive line had no answers. Michigan's offensive line has had its issues in run blocking, but Michigan is tied for 14th nationally in fewest sacks allowed. The Wolverines have done a good job of protecting the pocket.

Billy (Madison) [via mobile]

If Curt Phillips gets a sixth year of eligibility, does Wisconsin have a quarterback controversy next year?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:55 PM)

Wisconsin will have options, that's for sure. Joel Stave did some nice things this season, Bart Houston enters the mix and Phillips gives UW another capable signal caller. It'll be interesting to see how the competition plays out between them. And for Curt's sake, I hope he gets the sixth year. He deserves it.

Tom (NM)

Adam, the BiG goes and gets BC for the Boston market. Then Louisville, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Kansas St and maybe Virginia. 2 10 team divisions. Keep the Big 10 name but call it Big10x2. What do you think.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:57 PM)

Tom and others. Do yourself a favor and examine where schools rank academically before throwing them out as expansion candidates. The Big Ten won't add Louisville ... or Kansas State ... or West Virginia. Georgia Tech and Virginia? Sure, makes more sense.

Eric (Indiana (B-Town's on break))

How big would a Bucket win be for this year's team, and next year's team?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:57 PM)

It'd be a really nice springboard, Eric. Indiana has eight home games next year and a chance to be pretty solid in the Leaders division.

Mark in Denver [via mobile]

Wouldn't you say the best outcome for the BIG would have Michigan beating OSU, Wisconsin beating PSU this weekend. Then Nebraska winning the BIG with Michigan going against a great SEC team or possible BSC berth ? If we win our bowl games in this scenerio, that will give the BIG some respect.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:59 PM)

I agree, Mark. Having a 7-5 Wisconsin team in the Big Ten title game doesn't really help the Big Ten's rep. Having Michigan and Nebraska both at 9-3 or better -- along with Northwestern -- also helps the league. And it does come down to bowl games and especially the biggest one (Rose).

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:59 PM)

Last one for the day ...

Remy (Cincinnati)

Adam, what are your thoughts on The Vest returning to The Shoe for the honoring of the 2002 Championship team?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:00 PM)

He coached the team and had a lot of success at Ohio State. He should be there. And the fans should salute him.

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:00 PM)

OK, that's it for me. Enjoy Week 13 and Happy Thanksgiving!