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

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:00 PM)

Hey everyone, I'm here. Happy New Year! Let's chat.

Montee Ball ({Madison})

why do you think our team has lost 3 consecutive rose bowls

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:01 PM)

Not a complete enough team in the games. The 2010 team was closest, but last year's team didn't have the type of defense to stop Oregon. This year's team had a great D, but the offense endured too many issues.

Ryan (NYC)

Dwindling attendance is plaguing most bowl games. The fact that all BCS games are pushed off of New Years Day means less fans can travel as they are more likely to have to take off. But the bigger problem are these games are all meaningless.......any chance we see a 16 team playoff because bowl attendance will only further drop when there is a 4 team playoff.....

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:03 PM)

Ryan, some good points. I talked with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany on Wednesday, and he said "whole business model around bowl games needs to be rethought." One thing he mentioned was not enough diversity in matchups -- same teams going to same bowl sites each year. There should be more flexibility in selections. Then again, the Big Ten had Nebraska back in the Cap One Bowl.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Even though you Cover the Big-10 in College Football, What is your Favorite NFL Team?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:03 PM)

Grew up a huge 49ers fan, but adopted the Chicago Bears since I've lived here. It's painful, but I like the coaching change.

Joe (Omaha, NE)

Would there be a chance for the B1G Championship to move to the Vikings' Metrodome?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:04 PM)

Doubt it, Joe. Lucas Oil Stadium is a better facility, and it's more centrally located. But let's see what the Vikings do with their facility.

Mike (Paris, OH)

Adam,It was so frustrating to try and switch between 3 games New Years Day (thankfully we didn't have to pay attention to Purdue). I missed almost every big play in the UM-SC game.Please tell me the Big Ten is going to address having 4 games going on at the same time in the future. It is insane. Don't they want us to watch our teams?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:05 PM)

Mike, check the blog and there's an 11 am post talking about how the Big Ten likely will diversify its bowl lineup beginning with the 2014 season. I think this will mean fewer Jan. 1 games, although the Cap One and Outback almost certainly will remain on the docket, along with the Rose. I don't think the Big Ten needs to keep Gator or Heart of Dallas. Three Jan. 1 games is enough.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:05 PM)

Mike, check the blog and there's an 11 am post talking about how the Big Ten likely will diversify its bowl lineup beginning with the 2014 season. I think this will mean fewer Jan. 1 games, although the Cap One and Outback almost certainly will remain on the docket, along with the Rose. I don't think the Big Ten needs to keep Gator or Heart of Dallas. Three Jan. 1 games is enough.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:06 PM)

Also, Big Ten teams will play in the Orange Bowl more often in future years. That one won't be as bad on Jan. 1, as the game takes place after the Rose at night.

Mick (Fort Wayne, IND)

To me the Purdue blowout was the best thing that could have happened for Darell Hazell. None of the players will be questioning how things used to be done or looking to hold on to anything Purdue "used to do." Do you agree?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:07 PM)

Wow, that's a positive spin on things, Mick. I see where you're coming from, but if I were Hazell, I'd be a bit concerned about how much work I have ahead of me. Maybe that type of performance buys him some time, but he should have been able to establish himself even if Purdue had won the game. A good coach can get the players to believe, and even before the loss, Purdue players had to be questioning what they had done a bit since they only went 6-6.

T-bone (Columbus, Ohio)

I think it would be wise if Delaney went with a regional division line-up, and have Penn State, Michigan, and Ohio in the same division as Rutgers and Maryland. This would mean that 3 of the traditional powers will have a more frequent presence in the east, and on an annual basis. That would help bring greater exposure of the Big Ten brand in that region.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:08 PM)

T-bone, I could see that for sure. The Big Ten likely would move Wisconsin back to the other division, but having Michigan and Ohio State together along with the new schools and Penn State (which could be trending down with the sanctions) would provide enough power in the division.

Tom (Chicago)

The Vikings don't want to be in the Metrodome, let alone the Big 10.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:08 PM)

I think he meant the new stadium.

Crazy (Dog House)

I was reading about the B1G potential change in bowl lineups and I was wondering what you thought of this scenario.Say the B1G drops the Heart of Dallas Bowl in favor of a matchup with the Pac 12 (still has other bowls in Texas). Then I love the idea of the Pinstripe Bowl and that would be a great matchup against the ACC. (I miss the old Champ Sports bowl that featured some great B1G/ACC games).What do you think of that? Maybe the Pinstripe bowl with the Big East (depending on if it lives, and then change out the Gator Bowl for a matchup with the ACC). It leaves them with the 2 most traditional B1G/SEC matchups (Outback and Capital One) adds a 2nd game to the Pac 12 and gives either a Big East and ACC matchup or just the ACC.What do you think of these possibilities?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:10 PM)

Love it, Crazy. Pinstripe is going to happen. And a second Pac-12 tie-in seems extremely likely as well. Maybe it's Holiday, maybe it's Kraft Fight Hunger. But these bowl games want to be associated with the Big Ten and its fans. I also like having a bowl tie-in with the ACC (not just the occasional Orange Bowl matchups). Maybe the bowl in Charlotte makes sense?

Dan (Ann Arbor)

Has the Big Ten released the results of the survey they had on BTN.com about divisional realignment?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:10 PM)

I haven't seen it, but I'll check.

Trevor (Norfolk, NE)

Was the B1G frustratingly close this year? Minnesota almost won, Michigan should have won, Wisconsin was pretty close, and Nebraska played a good Georgia team well for three quarters. Will the B1G succeed on a national level next year and gain some respect from other conferences?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:12 PM)

The Big Ten was closer this year, but you still have to win the games. Minnesota should have beaten Texas Tech -- Gophers fell apart late. Michigan also was a play away from winning its game. I'm not going to give Nebraska too much credit, to be honest. That defense turned out to be pretty bad. You don't get respect until you start winning at the top, and the Big Ten hasn't done that for a while. But it's getting a bit closer.

Klauta (North Carolina)

Le'veon Bell's going to the NFL. Are you sad to get scooped all the time :(

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:13 PM)

Ha, not when my colleague (Joe Schad) is breaking the story. Same team.

Ariel (Chicago) [via mobile]

Don't you think scheduling all these bowl match ups so far away hurt us. There's a big difference in traveling 2000miles vs 80 miles. It'd be nice if Chicago or Indy could get a bowl going (since new ones seem to pop up every year)

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:14 PM)

Ariel, I see what you're saying, but these games are businesses. Would enough people go to a game in Indy in late December? It's possible. They would have to measure that before going forward. The bowl games are in the destinations people want to be in at that time of the year. Then again, attendance has dropped nationally, so having more regional games could make sense.

Jeff (Chicago)

Any chance the Big Ten could get in the Pinstripe Bowl and face an SEC team? I would love to see an SEC team come to NYC to play in late December but I have a feeling there is no chance of that happening.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:16 PM)

Jeff, it's really up to the SEC. That's a long way for its fans to travel, and while New York is a true destination city, the weather and the costs might not appeal to fans. On the flip side, there are a ton of SEC alums in New York, just like there are a ton of Big Ten alums. Ultimately, I think we'll see Big Ten vs. ACC or Big 12 in the game.

Tom (Chicago)

Has Michigan State blown it's opportunity to make the Rose Bowl? With Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Penn State likely to dominate the conference over the next 10 years, I don't see Sparty making a BCS bowl anytime soon.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:17 PM)

Tom, we'll find out a lot about MSU in the coming years. I can see what you're saying about the window closing, and Ohio State's rise should put the rest of the league on notice. But as we've seen, you don't always have to be the Big Ten's best team to play in the Rose Bowl. If Ohio State goes to the national title game, another Big Ten team likely will play in the Rose. Michigan State still should contend for division/league titles in years to come. Next year's schedule is rather favorable for MSU.

Trevor (Norfolk, NE)

Don't hurt my feelings by mentioning our abysmal defense. Not cool.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:17 PM)

Sorry, Trev.

Hank (Washington DC)

Do you think Brady Hoke will finally win a big road game next year?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:19 PM)

Hank, really good question. Hoke's teams have been terrific at home, but they've had problems away from the Big House. Michigan's top two road games in 2013 look like Michigan State and Northwestern. Will either qualify as big? It depends on how strong MSU and Northwestern turn out to be. Right now, I think Northwestern will be very good -- a definite division title contender. There are more questions around MSU because of the struggles on offense and losing Bell and Sims.

Mike (Canton, OH)

Adam,Last night during the Sugar Bowl the ESPN announcers were going on about how the Big East is 4-3 in their last 7 BCS games and how the league is a lot better than people think.Isn't the Big Ten 4-3 in their last 7 BCS games as well? What gives?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:21 PM)

Well, if you count Ohio State's win against Arkansas at the Sugar (later vacated), you're right. But most people view the Big East as a really weak conference, even though the BCS bowl record shows otherwise. I think it's more surprising that the Big East is 4-3 in its recent BCS bowls, and that's why they mentioned it. When you're the Big Ten, you're expected to put up decent records.

Tim (Columbus, Ohio)

While shuffling bowls seems to be a priority, what about shuffling dates? Or is Delaney still set on owning New Years Day? I wouldn't mind some more late-December games, or even a Jan 2nd game.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:22 PM)

Tim, I should have asked Jim about this a little more and will do so next time we talk. But I think you'll see a bit more variety in dates as well. No need to play all those games at the same time leading up to the Rose. The Orange Bowl games take place late, so that's not an issue. But having only two early games vs. four makes a big difference.

Would You Rather (B1G)

Would you rather have Nebraska's defense, or Michigan State's offense?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:24 PM)

Root canal or colonoscopy? Tough question.

Renee (Milwaukee)

I'm conflicted about Matt Canada. I'm not sure we ever saw what he could really do. I loved the play calling the Championship game, but was suspect of the calls in the Rose Bowl. Have you seen or do you have a so called final assessment of his job this season?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:25 PM)

Good call, Renee. There remains some mystery about Canada and what his tenure at Wisconsin really could have been. The QB and O-line situation wasn't ideal for him, but he also didn't help with some of his play calls. I'll never forget what he did to Nebraska in Indy and I think he would have had a strong plan for 2013. But his career has been a bit up and down, and we saw that with Wisconsin this year.

ES (NY)

Can you tell Delany that owning NYD should mean one game after another after another, not 3 games on at the exact same time... doesn't that defeat the purpose? You dont own NYD, you own 1-4pm on NYD... big diffference

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:26 PM)

Preaching to the choir, ES. You're spot on about this. You don't need four games going on at once leading up to the Rose. Drives fans nuts.

Hank (Washington DC)

Adam--Thank God I have about 15 years until my colonoscopy. Yikes!

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:27 PM)

18 and change for me. Can't go by slow enough.

Kevin (DC)

Have you read Gov. Tom Corbett's lawsuit filed against NCAA? win that suit is a long shot but I think PA have very resonable case here and ultimately I think NCAA will try to settle it b/c I know they don't want this to go to trial. your thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:28 PM)

Kevin, what does that settlement look like? I just don't see it happening. Penn State still accepted the penalties (under pressure), and the university isn't involved in the suit. It'll be interesting to see how the NCAA responds.

Alex (Michigan)

With Devin Gardner fulfilling the type of offense that Al Borges seems to be more comfortable coaching, a number 1 receiver in Gallon, an Oline full of extremely talented but young players, and a young defense that will likely be better than this year's- why are some people leaving Michigan out of their 'way-too-early top 25' for 2013, esp after their valiant bowl game effort?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:29 PM)

Alex, I think we'll have Michigan in our version, albeit in the 20-25 range. The offensive line is a big question mark, especially if Lewan leaves. Not a strong enough group, in my view, and they never really blocked well for a RB. I think the depth will be better on defense, but are there enough difference-makers on the team? We'll find out.

Mark (Kalamazoo)

How good do you think Purdue will be in 2013 with Hazell in his first year? I'm concerned because my Buckeyes always play very poorly against Purdue (especially in W. Lafayette where the game is next year). Do you think Purdue will once again challenge the Buckeyes in W. Lafayette, or will the coaching change and rebuild make that game less worrisome?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:31 PM)

If the bowl game was any indication, Hazell has a major rebuilding job ahead of him. Remember, Purdue had the most returning starters in the league this year and still struggled to win six games. I think Hazell is a good hire, but Purdue likely will struggle in 2013.

Doug (KC)

Glad to see Delany moving some bowls around. Really tough to be successful in so many "away" games. That being said, I've heard in the media that people think the BIG did alright given the matchups. Despite winning the big one, what do you think would be a solid record for the BIG next year in the bowls (given similar matchups) to keep the needle going up instead of down? I'm saying just get to .500

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:32 PM)

Doug, while we love to do stupid predictions on the blog, I'm going to pass on this one. Way too early to predict a bowl record without knowing the matchups.

Rob (Columbus, Ohio)

Adam,Enjoyed all the bowl coverage recently. I have been watching the bowl season debacles for the past 6 years and have identified a few things that are the main differences in the game (where the SEC has advantages): big plays of 40-70+ yards, it seems in every game the opponent has a punt or kick return for a touchdown, dropped passes and losing leads late in the 4th quarter when the B1G team played even with and/or outplayed them the whole game. It seems to me small details/miscues are hurting us in these close games. I understand the SEC might have a few more athletes than the B1G but the NFL's New England Patriots who were seemingly over-matched athletically and in team speed in several playoff appearances have found ways to win Super Bowl's. What are your thoughts? How does the conference learn from all of this?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:35 PM)

Rob, some really good observations from you. The special teams miscues really stood out to be throughout the Big Ten's bowl season. You can throw in the Texas Tech TD return against Minnesota, too. Although Michigan State won its game with a long Dan Conroy field goal, most of the special teams play -- and the details -- weren't strong enough from the Big Ten teams. The SEC has more elite athletes for sure, but I didn't see any total mismatches other than Purdue-Okie State.

WolverineMarine (San Diego/CA)

With most likely 8 bowl tie-ins, after the Rose Bowl, what would be your ideal next 7 bowls in order of importance?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:37 PM)

I'd go like this: Cap One, Outback/Holiday, Holiday/Outback, Buffalo Wild Wings, Pinstripe, Kraft Fight Hunger, Little Caesars

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:38 PM)

Actually, you need one game in Texas in there. So I'd keep Meineke and toss out Kraft maybe.

Tim (Columbus, Ohio)

So who is ready to start talking recruiting with national signing day about a month away? When can we expect coverage to pick up on this?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:39 PM)

Tim, we have a recruiting staff that covers it year-round, so I'd definitely check out their coverage. We'll have recruiting items from time to time, especially in the next month, but our bread and butter is team/league coverage, not recruiting.

Hank (Washington DC)

Clowney's hit on Vincent Smith..best you've ever seen?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:39 PM)

Has to be in the top 3. Felt a little bad for Vince.

Obama (Hawaii)

Adam, I know this may be very difficult to agree with, but I think that O'Brien is very overrated as an NFL head coaching candidate. This 2012 PSU team had a great amount of talent, especially on defense, so 8-4 is fitting. Offensively, he simply implemented the New England system. Yes, McGloin looked a lot better, but I think that was much more due to an infinitely better offensive scheme than an improvement in his game. Having wide open receivers from a modernized system made McGloin look impressive, but O'Brien is receiving too much credit for "developing" quarterbacks. Plus, Brady was already great when O'Brien entered New England.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:41 PM)

Isn't O'Brien responsible for that "infinitely better offensive scheme" you're talking about? You've got to give Bill credit for that, and he already was on track for an NFL head coaching gig with the Patriots. This makes sense. I agree we don't know enough about him as a head coach, but a lot of NFL teams hire NFL coordinators, which is what O'Brien was until this season.

Paul (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)

Give me a reason to not give up on the B1G? I am a proud B1G alumnus but live in SEC country and simply can't defend the product the B1G Conference puts on the field anymore. I am tired of excuses. After 6 years, the losing has become a trend and these excuses no longer hold merit. It's put up or shut-up time for this conference. I can't defend the conference any longer. Not sugarcoat it, it's absolutely laughable. We saw the Big East beat the SEC last night in a BCS bowl game....

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:42 PM)

Paul, understand your frustration. There are no excuses for the Big Ten's struggles in recent years. There are some explanations -- unprecedented coaching turnover, etc -- but ultimately, you have to win the big games and the Big Ten just hasn't gotten it done. But I think we're seeing several Big Ten programs make improvement, and the overall bowl performance wasn't that terrible. It's baby steps for a league that certainly isn't nationally elite any more but could be getting there eventually.

Jeff (Ames, Iowa)

Do you think Iowa, Illinois, or Indiana can turn themselves around and be bowl eligible in 2013? All 3 programs (along with Penn State) seem to be going in the wrong direction while the other 8 Big Ten programs seem to be trending upward.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:44 PM)

Indiana has the best chance, Jeff. The Hoosiers should have won more than four this season. They have eight home games next fall, three quarterbacks with significant experience and a lot of playmakers on offense. Once again, it comes down to having the players on defense. The depth there simply isn't good enough. But you only need six wins to get to a bowl, and Indiana should expect at least six next fall.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:44 PM)

Indiana has the best chance, Jeff. The Hoosiers should have won more than four this season. They have eight home games next fall, three quarterbacks with significant experience and a lot of playmakers on offense. Once again, it comes down to having the players on defense. The depth there simply isn't good enough. But you only need six wins to get to a bowl, and Indiana should expect at least six next fall.

Vinnie (ATL)

When will the Rittenberg placard appear on Northwestern's sideline?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:45 PM)

When the Wildcats win a Big Ten title. That's the missing piece, clearly.

Tony (Denver,CO)

Couldn't more bowl games sell out if the tickets were soo pricey. Especially, for the lower tier bowl games. It's a shame seeing half empty stadiums all through the holidays.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:45 PM)

Tony, good point on ticket prices. And with the secondary market, why would you spend so much on the allotted tickets? It's definitely a concern for bowls going forward. They need to make things affordable.

Lance S (Greensboro, NC)

Why not keep the bowl locations and change the opponents - play SEC teams in CA and AZ, Pac 12 teams in TX, and Big 12 teams in FL? I'm sure the fans of a lot of the other conference schools would appreciate less local bowl trips, too.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:47 PM)

Lance, you're acting as though you assume those leagues want to play in those states. The Big Ten's position is unique because it has to travel no matter what. The good thing is that Big Ten fans travel. Pac-12 fans do not. SEC fans likely wouldn't travel to the West Coast. They'd prefer to stay in Florida and the surrounding states. That's what Mike Slive has to consider. So it's not like you just pick your opposing conference and your location. It takes two sides to agree.

Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)

I may be in the minority, but I like the Big 10 dominating (at least in terms of coverage) the New Year's Day bowl games. For a conference that makes its living off of tradition, isn't there something to be said for having a vast majority of the premium conference bowl games on the day they have traditionally been played?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:49 PM)

In my proposed lineup, you'd still have Cap One and Outback to go along with Rose -- and, in some years, Orange. That seems like enough premium bowl games, and besides Cap One/Outback, they're staggered throughout the day a bit better. You don't need four games in basically the same TV window (noon/1 ET).

Taylor Lewan (Ann Arbor)

You know none of the negative plays on defense were my fault right?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:50 PM)

No bad days, right, Taylor?

Obama (Hawaii)

Adam, any offensive system remotely close to modern would have "infinitely" improved Penn State's ancient, outdated offense. It's not as if he thought up the system himself or has a patent on it. Leaders such as Mauti and Zordich were responsible for keeping this team focused, and although O'Brien also played a role in this, I think its easy to overrate him as a motivator just from this single year. Past Belichik assistants have had minimal success as NFL head coaches (McDaniels, Saban, Weiss, Schwartz). Other than simply implementing this offense, he has not proven himself to be an effective NFL head coach (and lacks any experience with defense). He would be a very risky choice for any team at this point, especially with that $18.4 million buyout.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:52 PM)

I see what you're saying, and I agree there's some risk to hiring O'Brien right now, especially with that hefty buyout. But NFL teams have made riskier hires in the past -- McDaniels comes to mind, and he failed miserably -- and some have worked out. I'm just saying I wouldn't be floored if an NFL team hires O'Brien. Would I do it? Probably not. I like a guy with a longer track record as a head coach. But it wouldn't be a shock.

Yooper (Minneapolis)

All the talk about more athletes in the south...if so, how come that doesn't transfer to NCAA Basketball?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:54 PM)

Two different worlds, Yooper. You're talking about rosters with 85 scholarship players vs. 15 scholarship players. You get 2-3 star players in basketball, and you're set. The northern areas produce enough of those, especially major cities like Chicago.

Paul (Albany, OR)

I can't speak for the flights to Florida, but I know that to go to San Antonio air fare was close to $1,000. If you want to enjoy the bowl experience with your family buying tickets to the game combined with getting there make it impossible. IF the bowls want visitors, shouldn't they find a way to make the whole package affordable for the fans? Thanks.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:56 PM)

Paul, it's something the bowls have to consider if they want the attendance numbers to improve. The TV money is great, but they have to find ways to make it easier to attend the game. As Delany told me, the business model has to be re-evaluated.

Mike (Columbus)

I know this is speculation but if Ohio State and Penn State would have been bowl eligible and the rest of the Big Ten teams would have been slotted properly what do you think the Big Ten bowl record would've been? I am guessing 5-4 with Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota getting much easier games and Ws.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:57 PM)

I agree on 5-4. Ohio State would have won the Rose Bowl in my view, and Penn State would have had a great chance to record a win, too.

Melvin Gordon (Madison, WI)

Hey Adam, do you think I have a chance to explode onto the national scene next year and contend for the Heisman?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:57 PM)

Depends on how the carries are distributed between you and James White. He deserves a chance, too, and it might be tough to get national attention with another really good back on the roster. Gordon for 2014 Heisman? Sign me up.

WolverineMarine (San Diego/CA)

Any chance of more neutral site non-conference games early in the season? Games like Cowboys Classic, Chick-fil-a kick-off, that could possibly be in B1G territory during the only time of football season where the Southern teams would travel North?

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:59 PM)

These games aren't going away, and I think we'll see more of them in Big Ten territory in the future. Lucas Oil Stadium should make a play for some.

Adam Rittenberg
  (12:59 PM)

OK, last one for the day ...

Mr. Hankey (South Park)

Adam, how many recruits do you see decommitting from Penn State if O'Brien bolts for the NFL? You would expect Hackenberg to decommit, but how much of the recruiting class would stay on board?

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:00 PM)

I'd like a guy like Adam Breneman would have to think about his future as well. But let's see what happens. I still think there's a decent chance O'Brien stays.

Adam Rittenberg
  (1:01 PM)

OK, time's up. Thanks for the chat. Let's do it again soon.