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December 12, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Adam Rittenberg

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:00 PM)

Hey guys, I'm here. Let's get started.

Fred (Tampa)

Salary aside is the Arkansas job really a significant better than the Wisconsin job?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:01 PM)

It's better from a facilities standpoint for sure, and the location is closer to more of the elite recruits. But it's in a harder league, and the track record at Arkansas doesn't come close to what's happened at Wisconsin since 1993. It'll be a challenge for Bret to get things going there.

Tom (Harrisburg, PA)

What is the ultimate goal in Big Ten expansion? 14 teams? 16, 18, 20?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:02 PM)

16 makes the most sense. Anything beyond that, and you shouldn't even call yourself a league any more.

Mike (Brooklyn)

If Steven Bench is PSU's starting QB at the beginning of next season, does this mean BoB has to scale back the playbook and plays he used this year with McGloin?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:03 PM)

Most likely, yes, but Bench has a full offseason to master the playbook. The coaching staff really liked him when they added him late to the 2012 recruiting class. But it's hard to expect him to do all the things McGloin could do after so much more experience.

Nelson (DE)

Which team do you think will end up being the better addition to the Big Ten? Nebraska (great tradition, not so much their TV market) or Rutgers (great TV market, not so much their tradition)?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:04 PM)

Nebraska. And it's not close. I understand why the Big Ten added Rutgers, but the Big Ten is betting more on itself to be successful in the NJ/NY market. Nebraska was a big-deal addition, one that moves the needle. Rutgers isn't.

Jon (Colorado)

What did you think of Jeff Potrykus's reasoning about Alvarez getting his man? It seemed pretty reasonable to me, but I have a hard time believing a secret could be kept that well in today's business of college football. What do you think?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:05 PM)

Jeff is one of the best beat writers in the country, and he's very plugged into what's happening at Wisconsin. I think his point is not to panic if you're a Wisconsin fan because Alvarez has a plan here. I do think the pool of candidates has shrunk a bit because of all the hires made in the last two weeks, but I still think Alvarez can bring in a really good coach to UW.

Bob (Columbus, Ohio)

Adam,Brian answered this same question of mine on Monday, just wanting your take on it. We'll see who has better predictions. Breakdown the bowl season. Who do you think has the best chance to win? Who has the toughest matchup? Early bowl record prediction? And what would a good bowl record mean to this conference's perception? And if they have a successful bowl season, what do they have to do to sustain it?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:06 PM)

Too many questions, Bob, but I'll answer a few. Best chance to win: Northwestern or MSU. Toughest matchup: Minnesota. What would a good record mean: an offseason with a bit less criticism. But it's all about getting back to the national title game in 2013 and raising that crystal ball.

Floyd (Memphis)

Your Heisman ballot?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:07 PM)

1. Manziel 2. Te'o 3. Klein. Just the way it finished.

Jack (Ohio)

According to other sites, the BIG might keep Rutgers/Maryland off Big Ten Newtork(something to due with Cable)? Thoughts

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:08 PM)

It's similar to what you saw with Nebraska. The Big Ten will fight/negotiate with the local providers to get BTN on an expanded basic cable tier. It could lead to some Rutgers/Maryland games being off the air locally for a while.

Jim (Grand Junction, Colorado)

Adam: I wonder if Syracuse isn't the Big 10's best next expansion choice. Rutgers does capture some of the east coast's TV appeal but Syracuse seems to me to offer the best chance for NY, etc. Thanks.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:09 PM)

Jim, I agree that Syracuse resonates the most in the New York market of any of those schools, but Cuse already made its move to the ACC. Unless the ACC really finds itself in trouble, I don't see Cuse changing course again, and moreso, I see the Big Ten's next move being toward the southeast (Georgia Tech).

Nick (New Mexico)

I know that Alvarez said he would not come back. However, I read an article this morning that he is the perfect fit for the job. How likely do you think it would be for Alvarez to come back to coaching?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:10 PM)

Nick, an NFL scout told me there's some chatter about Alvarez coaching the team in 2013 and naming a coach in waiting (who would take over in 2014). Could I see it? Sure. But I think he's going to try and name someone before then. I don't know if he wants to take on two jobs again, and he enjoys his life as an AD.

Boilerdmac (West Lafayette)

From what you hear, which teams are having the most difficultly selling their allotted bowl tickets and which are selling the tickets like hot cakes?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:11 PM)

We're still waiting on the Northwestern numbers, but Nebraska, Michigan State, Minnesota and Purdue are really having a rough time. Wisconsin is close to 15K and Michigan is close to 10K. Not much enthusiasm around the league this year.

Brandon (State College)

Can you explain how Michael Mauti could possibly be left off the AP All-American teams? He should've be a sure fire second team pick, and maybe a first team pick.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:12 PM)

Can't explain it, Brandon. I don't vote for that team. I can just say in my view, there aren't six linebackers better than Michael Mauti, much less nine. It's a joke he didn't make the AP team.

Erich (OKC) [via mobile]

Is FSU a legit candidate for the B1G? Or is this mostly a pipedream for FSU?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:13 PM)

The academic component ultimately would make it hard for Florida State. It's not a premier academic school and not part of the AAU. That still matters to the Big Ten. A lot.

Boilerdmac (West Lafayette)

Do you see Hazell keeping any current Purdue assistants?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:14 PM)

Good question, Boiler. I don't expect him to keep many, if any, although there are some good coaches on the staff. But Darrell had a really good staff at Kent State and has some ties to former Ohio State staffers (Jim Heacock, etc) who would be really good hires at Purdue.

Andrew (The Nasty Nati)

Adam since you live in Chicago I was wondering if you know anything about if Soldier Field will get turf anytime soon and that has to help ChiTowns case for getting the B1G Championship game in the future

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:15 PM)

No plans that I've heard, unfortunately. It's embarrassing to have such a poor field. It's also embarrassing to have a franchise that doesn't value offense (Bears fan, can say that).

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:16 PM)

But I would agree that a field surface change would make Soldier a more attractive option for the Big Ten.

Matthew (Midway, NC)

Next year looks like Ohio State has a very weak schedule. How much will this hurt their chances at the national championship (especially if people put a 2 loss T A&M team ahead of an undefeated OSU team such as Brian Bennett does)?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:17 PM)

Brian uses the transitive property way too much in his rankings. Although A&M is a good team. For Ohio State, it all comes down to the strength of the Big Ten. The Buckeyes won't get much of a bump from their non-league schedule, so they need other Big Ten teams to enter the top 10 or top 15 when they play.

Bill (Philadelphia)

Who do you see as the top 2 teams in both the Legends and Leaders divisions for 2013?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:17 PM)

Leaders: Ohio State and Wisconsin for sure. Legends: Nebraska for sure. Other team could be Michigan/Northwestern/MSU. Not sure yet.

93badger (Madison)

Two AAU schools that are located in states that touch BIG states to make the conference 16 schools would be Missouri and Kansas. Then you could have true East/West divisions. You could also include Colorado

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:18 PM)

The Big Ten won't pursue Colorado, and unless Missouri is really unhappy in the SEC, why would it leave? It's in the money big time as an SEC member. As for Kansas, I guess it's possible, but everything I hear is that the Big Ten wants to go south and east, not west.

Scott (Borculo, Michigan)

If the B1G gets two teams in the BCS next year, who do you think they will be?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:19 PM)

Ohio State will be one. Would go with Nebraska, Wisconsin or maybe Michigan as the other.

Chris (Ann Arbor)

When Fred Jackson retires as RB coach, there will be a dogfight for his job. Do they go with Tyrone Wheatley or Mike Hart?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:20 PM)

Hadn't thought of that, Chris, but those are two great options. Both great backs who love Michigan.

Todd (Los Angeles)

If Northwestern (hypothetically) were to have won the 3 close games this year that it lost and played & won the B1G championship game do you think they would have had a decent shot of getting selected for the National Championship game or do you think an SEC team would have played ND anyway?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:21 PM)

Interesting question, but I think Northwestern would have been in the same boat as Ohio State -- on the outside looking in. Now if undefeated Northwestern had beaten undefeated Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, maybe the Wildcats would squeak into the title game to play ND.

Matt (Indy)

Why not go for the ultimate Notre Dame revenge and take Duke & North Carolina?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:22 PM)

North Carolina is definitely on Jim Delany's radar. It's his alma mater. It would be his grand prize in expansion. Duke doesn't do a whole lot for the Big Ten in my view -- small school, terrible football tradition.

TK (Philly)

No WAY the put Michigan, OSU and PSU in the same division... right? What is this the SEC?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:23 PM)

TK, I had the same view when the Big Ten initially set up its divisions. Who is going to pay attention to the other division? But I think if you move Wisconsin to the Legends, you have enough firepower there with Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Northwestern, maybe MSU.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:24 PM)

Hold on one moment. Phone call.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:28 PM)

And we're back. My apologies.

Nick (New Mexico)

Alvarez has said in the past he would like have Wisconsin play Notre Dame in a non conference game. This would be great, but do you think Notre Dame would accept this offer?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:29 PM)

Wisconsin has tried this before but couldn't get the deal done. Notre Dame has a bit more scheduling flexibility in the out years, but I'd expect ND to look more to play games outside the Big Ten/Midwest.

Harrison (Atlanta)

What role does wrestling play in B1G expansion?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:29 PM)

Zero.

Mr. Wesley (Philadelphia)

Who do you see as PSU's starting QB going in to 2013?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:29 PM)

Can I tell you after the JC quarterback Waters makes his decision Thursday?

Anonymous (Parts Unknown)

Adam, Do you think Tom Bradley will get any serious considerations for any of the HC (or DC) openings?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:30 PM)

Doubt he'll be in the mix as a head coach, but I'd expect him to land a coordinator job in the near future.

Keenan (Maine)

Is Alvarez calling you about the Wisconsin job?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:30 PM)

Yeah. I told him he's getting desperate.

Rod (IOwa)

Well, just had to type something with IOWA in it...not much to talk about though...I know you have been a huge supporter for Ferentz for years and you have told us time and time again he is the best thing for Iowa...but what about now? We have seen the same thing for years and it is like no one out there hears the true Hawkeye fans that see the same thing day in and day out...he is not that good at the complete game of football. Your thoughts now??

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:32 PM)

Rod, I don't think Ferentz has forgotten how to coach, but I don't know if his approach necessarily will work as well as it used to. Iowa depends so heavily on player development and vanilla schemes despite not being located in a great recruiting area. I think it's a great approach if you're in the SEC, but in the Big Ten, you need to get a bit more creative schematically to overcome some of the talent issues. That's where I think Iowa is in a bit of trouble.

Bryan (Philadelphia)

Any chance Bart Houston will be the starting QB at Wisconsin next year? Stave will be healthy, but is he actually better than BH?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:33 PM)

Hard to know until we see Houston on the field. Stave was on the cusp of turning a corner before his injury, and Curt Phillips also could be in the mix. Wisconsin should have some decent depth at QB next year.

Grant (Detroit)

How many years until Indiana becomes bowl eligible? They clearly made huge strides this year and were a few plays away from going bowling.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:34 PM)

Next season is a huge one for IU. The Hoosiers have eight home games, and they're entering their third season under Kevin Wilson. They should have more depth on defense, and they have three QBs (Roberson, Coffman, Sudfeld) with experience. Looking at their schedule, there's plenty of reason to believe they can get to 6 or more wins. It needs to happen.

Chris (Ann Arbor)

Is it fair to criticize Al Borges when hes being forced to run a less than ideal offense for him? Should we wait to see what he can do with a pro attack?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:35 PM)

Patience, what a concept! I completely agree with you, Chris, although Borges deserved to be criticized at times this season (ND game, second half against Ohio State). That just comes with the territory. But no one should write him off until he runs his type of offense with his type of players. Michigan should get a better gauge in 2013, although I really worry about the O-line if Lewan leaves.

Joshua (Columbus)

Any chance of Cincinnati to be looked at by the B1G? Good school, good sports, large fan base, opens up Kentucky, and gives tOSU an in state rival...

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:36 PM)

Not strong enough academically, not an AAU member, small football stadium. Not gonna happen.

Vinnie (ATL)

Has anyone from the Big blog reached out to Urban since the season ended? I know he is a tireless recruiter, but I still bet he is going a little stir crazy not being able to game plan for a bowl.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:37 PM)

He has a lot better things to do than talk to us. Like every other coach in America, he's on the recruiting trail right now.

Waffles (Southern California)

Adam, do you think Montee Ball won the Doak walker based on the season he had, with everything that happened to him taken into consideration, or was this decision based more on his career achievements?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:38 PM)

I understand your question, Waffles, and while it could be seen as a career achievement award, I'd hope voters looked at what Ball did this season, especially during Big Ten play. No back finished the season stronger than Ball did, and the other candidates played behind stronger offensive lines. The Pac-12 backs all were very good, too, but Ball played against much better defenses and overcame issues on his own team (O-line, QB, new coaches) to post big numbers again.

Nick (New Mexico)

Maybe you can enlighten me on this comment. I always hear that Iowa is not a great place to recruit players (Ferentz himself has even said this. However, Wisconsin can be any easier, but they get decent recruits. How is this?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:39 PM)

Let me preface this by saying I really like Iowa City. But it's not Madison. A lot easier to recruit to a college town like Madison. Also, Wisconsin has placed a huge emphasis on recruiting Florida behind assistants like Charlie Partridge. Both schools recruit the East Coast a lot, but Wisconsin seems to have a little more national reach than Iowa right now. Iowa used to do really well in Chicago, but there are a limited number of recruits and a lot of schools recruiting the Chicago area.

David (Chicago)

When will we know about Illinois coaching changes? Why do they always wait so long to make changes and watch talented coaches go to other places. cough Monken cough, and im coughing as a HC not an OC

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:41 PM)

David, you typically see staff changes either right after the regular season or right around the coaches' convention in early January. Since Illinois hasn't announced anything yet, we could see some changes right after Jan. 1. Or we could see none at all, which would be surprising after such a down year. You're not alone in wanting Monken for the Illini HC job.

Mochila (Grand Rapids, MI)

Supposing Le'Veon Bell leaves for the NFL, who is he replaced by? Doesn't seem like Hill can be an every down back, and Caper graduates. And young guys able to make the next step?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:42 PM)

Mochila, see your point, but a lot of folks didn't think Venric Mark could be an every-down back at Northwestern and look what he did. I see some similarities between Hill and Mark.

Beckman (Recruiting trail)

Will B1G fans ever forgive my recruiting transgressions?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:42 PM)

Penn State's certainly won't.

Spencer ( Madison, WI)

Betting odds of Bucky getting Chris Petersen (pipe dream)? Bob Diaco? Someone else?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:43 PM)

Diaco much more realistic than Petersen, but would think Barry tries harder for sitting head coaches than coordinators.

Fried Chicken (Northern California)

Adam, do you think Braxton will be an early favorite for the Heisman next season?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:44 PM)

Yum, love fried chicken. Yes, Braxton will be on the Heisman radar along with Manziel, Marqise Lee and others. He'll definitely be in the mix after the season he had.

Chuck (Kingston.Pa)

What do you think of the Penn State recruiting class so far?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:45 PM)

Really impressed. Addresses a lot of needs and includes several superstars like Hackenberg. Penn State can't afford to miss on many players, if any. This class is definitely a good start to the four-year period of offering only 15 scholies.

DT (Marquette, NE)

Would the Huskers beating Georgia be a no win situation for Nu/ B1G? Would it be looked upon as a fluke? Or Georgia not getting up for the game?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:45 PM)

People could spin it however they'd like, but a bowl win against a top 10 SEC opponent is always good for the Big Ten, no matter how it comes.

Dan (Lincoln)

who are your #1 NFL picks from the Big ten from offense and defense?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:46 PM)

Ohio State DT Johnathan Hankins for sure. On the offensive side, would lean toward Michigan's Taylor Lewan if he declares for the draft after the bowl game.

Spencer ( Madison, WI)

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or Family Matters?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:47 PM)

Best/toughest question of the chat so far. Gotta lean toward Fresh Prince -- if only for theme music. Naw, forget it, yo, holmes, to Bel-Air!

Moses (Mount Sinai)

God told me that Wisconsin will go back to the Rose Bowl next year. What has to happen to make this true?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:49 PM)

Wow, that's a pretty good source, Mo. Can you tell us if we'll all still be here in two weeks? For Wisconsin to go back to Pasadena, the new staff has to click, first of all. They have to build on what's happened this season rather than endure a transition. The offensive line must be a lot more consistent. More playmakers must emerge along the defensive line to complement Borland and the linebackers. And special teams must get better. Ohio State is in Wisconsin's way, so the Badgers need to find a way to win in C-Bus.

Ryan (Indianapolis)

Let's make this interesting: as a reporter covering sport and the B1G, what is YOUR biggest pet peeve?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:50 PM)

Ah, so many ways to go with this, but have to choose dumb expansion suggestions. We've told you guys a million times what the Big Ten is looking for, and yet we still get the, "What about West Virginia or Oklahoma State?" questions.

Jeff (Madison, WI)

Adam, give us one name if you had to predict right now who Wisconsin hires.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:51 PM)

Jeff, the way this search has gone, I'm not going to make predictions and look stupid later. One coach I'd like to see them contact is Paul Rhoads from Iowa State. Has done a great job there, knows the area and runs a system that fits into what Barry wants for Wisconsin.

Thom (GR MI)

Who got it worse in the Home Alone movies? Marv or Harry?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:52 PM)

Gotta be Marv. I shudder thinking back to what Kevin did to him.

Grant (Detroit)

Of the underclassmen who would potentially leave MSU (Bell, Sims, Gholston, Bullough), which do you think would be the hardest to replace? In my opinion it would be Sims, as he is far and away our best tight end, one of our only major receiving threats especially with our tendency to check down on passing routes. I agree that I think Hill and other backs should be able to decently fill the hole that Le'Veon would leave, and our D-Line and Linebackers are well-coached and deep. Thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:53 PM)

Grant, you make a really good case for Sims. For me, it depends on what Michigan State gets from its wide receivers next year. If there's minimal improvement, Sims' loss would be huge. If several guys emerge, MSU probably will be OK without Sims. Bell is a significant loss no matter how you look at it, although I do like what I've seen from Nick Hill. Bullough's leadership undoubtedly would be missed at LB. He's one of the best leaders in the conference.

Mochila (Grand Rapids, MI)

Who in your estimation will be the next Big Ten coaching assistant to be hired to a head coaching position?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:54 PM)

It should be Pat Narduzzi, but if he doesn't get a job this year, other assistants like Ohio State's Tom Herman could bypass him.

Thom (GR MI)

Is conducting in-home visits and bringing recruits in while all other coaches are at bowl destinations for 8-12 days an advantage? Usually this is a moot point because the coaches who are home are the worse teams. But with OSU and PSU you have to wonder...

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:55 PM)

Actually, Thom, all coaches are out recruiting right now, so it's not that big of an advantage. The dead period I believe starts Dec. 17, and most schools aren't conducting bowl practices this week. A lot also depends on how willing the recruits are to commit right now, or whether they'll let the process go on for a few more weeks.

Keith (Milwaukee)

When does a commit become official? If someone is graduating HS early, enrolls in January, and attends class, is the recruit locked in? Curious about a potential star CB from FL.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:56 PM)

Keith, it still comes down to when the national letter of intent is signed.

Jeremy (ILL)

With B1G going after possibly (ACC) schools, it more to due with t.v markets or getting back at ND?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:57 PM)

It has more to do with expanding the Big Ten brand into new and more populated regions that already include Big Ten alumni. The Notre Dame factor is grossly overplayed. That ship sailed a long time ago for Jim Delany. Trust me, he's not sitting at home sticking needles into a tiny leprechaun doll.

Guys (Big Ten Fan)

What about West Virginia and Oklahoma State for expansion?

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:57 PM)

Yep, these are the dumb questions I'm talking about.

Montee Ball (Madison, WI)

Will Wisconsin retire my number? I know I didn't win the Heisman like Ron, but neither did Pat Richter, among others...

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:58 PM)

Really good question, Montee. I think the school would strongly consider it -- all-time touchdowns king, set a bunch of records, helped the team to three straight Big Ten titles. You deserve a spot on the facade at Camp Randall, in my view.

Lou (Gaithersburg, MD)

I think you guys should've mentioned Charlie Fisher on your list of best assistants, even more than Coach Srollo. I think everyone expected the TE's to do well (or at least be targeted), but no one thought there would be a QB to get them the ball. What he did with McGloin is pretty remarkable.

Adam Rittenberg
  (3:59 PM)

Lou, as I mentioned on Twitter, Fisher did a great job, too, and we couldn't mention everyone, but we felt O'Brien had more to do with McGloin's transformation than anyone. Not discounting what Fisher did, but O'Brien's presence was huge. And the tight ends really had been non-factors until Strollo showed up.

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:00 PM)

Last one of the day ...

Bob (Chicago, IL)

Adam, do you think Bret Bielema will come to regret his decision to leave a pretty comfortable job in Madison?

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:01 PM)

Maybe, Bob, but Bret doesn't strike me as a guy with a ton of regrets. He makes really good money, wants a new challenge at Arkansas and also wanted the chance to prove himself away from Barry Alvarez's shadow. While I don't think it was the wisest move, I understand it more now.

Adam Rittenberg
  (4:01 PM)

OK, everyone, time's up. Thanks for your participation.