Steve Helwagen, the Big Ten senior writer for 247Sports.com, conducted a Chat on Thursday on the Big Ten message board.
MSU vs. Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game.
The archive of the Chat is below. Steve conducts these Chats on a weekly basis for 247Sports.com Big Ten fans.
GBHawk9: Did Noah Spence schedule an OV with OSU? How many schollies do we have left?
Thanks Steve and staff for all you do!
Helwagen: It sounds like Spence is supposed to visit this weekend. It looks like his top choices are Ohio State, LSU and Notre Dame.
My guess is they still have another 3-4 available in this class. These numbers will really shake out in January when we know for sure who besides Taylor Graham won't be back.
shavisimo2: "Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player Of The Year – Nebraska’s David, hands down."
Helwagen: Hey, you got me there, I was pretty good on most of the awards and even with my All-Big Ten team. But I missed on that one. Congrats to Still and Penn State. He had a great year. David had a great year, too.
I will note there was one All-American team (not sure which one) that had David on the first team and didn't have Still on the first team, so at least one other source saw it the way I did. The hands down comment was wrong, though. It was not hands down (ha ha).
gessig: So, Steve...
Serious question as to our history and personality. Please elaborate if you would:
Is it possibly more factual than false that Ohio State has left it's "3 yards and a cloud of dust" reputation, behind?
Helwagen: It sounds like it. Meyer will still have the power running component (with a FB like Boren for one more year, he'd be foolish not to have it). But it looks like most of the offense will be out of the spread, which is fine with me. I've seen enough Dave play to last me until the end of time. They can retire Dave (or at least change the name ... LOL).
Bucks4thewin: What do think about the B1G in their match ups during bowl season? Who is most likely to win and what will be the final record of the conference in the bowls? Your best guess at the O/U on the Gator Bowl?
Helwagen: Well, the problem is when they put 2 teams in the BCS it messes up all of the secondary bowl match-ups.
Those teams have to face tougher teams.
Looking at the pointspreads, only three Big Ten teams are favored ... and one of them is Illinois, which as I always point out has not won a game since Oct. 8.
If they can eke out four or five wins, that would be great.
The good news is the only heavy dogs on the Big Ten side are Iowa (vs. Oklahoma) and Northwestern (vs. Texas A&M). We can probably write those 2 off.
I think Wisconsin and Michigan each have a chance to win their BCS bowls. It would be GREAT if MSU can redeem itself (on many fronts) by beating Georgia. They have been thisclose to breaking through ... they lost to Ga. few years ago, got killed by Alabama last year and lost the heartbreaker to Wisconsin in the title game.
I'm going to say 5-5, but maybe I am an optimist.
Regarding the O/U in the Gator Bowl, it is posted at 44. That may be high, though.
OlentangyBanks: Steve, your thoughts on each of the Big Ten bowl games ... all 10 of them (hardee har).
Helwagen: OK, OB, here goes ... I will have my first set of picks up tomorrow, by the way ...
I like Purdue over Western Michigan (it's great that Morgan Burke is talking extension for Danny Hope, that program needs his steady hand)
Oklahoma probably gets by Iowa, but OU is beat up. Iowa must play better than it did down the stretch to have a chance. Oklahoma was a top-2 team at one point.
I wonder if NW can upset Texas A&M in Persa's swan song. I would not rule that out.
Illinois-UCLA, wow, that's a toss-up. Illinois is better, though, provided the QBs stay away from the real bad mistakes that killed them down the stretch.
PSU defense vs. Houston offense is a great match-up. Can the Lions rein in Keenum and keep him under, say, 24 points. Even if they do, will PSU score enough points to win? They need to pound Silas Redd and then pound him some more.
I like MSU over Georgia. Michigan State is due.
Nebraska-South Carolina? Lot of questions on both sides, should be a fun game. South Carolina abused the ACC champions Clemson 34-13. Real toss-up. Nebraska needs to play well here.
OSU-Florida? It's a Florida home game, but I don't think UF beat a team of Wisconsin's caliber. Give me OSU.
Michigan-VT? Give me Michigan, Robinson will be too much for Tech's defense
Oregon-Wisconsin? I think Wisconsin gets it done. Oregon is awesome, though. First one to 40 wins.
OlentangyBanks: I know you had Indiana down the line in your bkb preview. Are you rethinking that now? Who will be dancing this year from the conf?
Helwagen: I am rethinking that. My top down in the preseason was: OSU, Wisconsin, MSU, Michigan, Purdue, NW, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Penn State.
This is a real good basketball league.
Lunardi just did a new bracketology today and he has 8 Big Ten teams dancing:
OSU 1 seed
Indiana 4 seed
MSU 4 seed
Wisconsin 4 seed
Illinois 6 seed
Michigan 7 seed
Purdue 10 seed (man I'd hate to see them in a 7-10 or 2-10 game to get to the Sweet 16)
NW 10 seed (would be first ever bid)
Indiana plays Notre Dame Sat. at Conseco Fieldhouse. We'll see where they are after that. Their Dec. 31 game with OSU at home is already looming large.
OlentangyBanks: What is Penn State going to end up doing? It seems like they are just letting their program die on the vine?
Helwagen: They are in the same part of the cycle Ohio State was a few months ago ... dead in the water and just hoping for a tugboat to come along and rescue them. But as time goes on, things will alleviate themselves ... they will get a new coach, they'll get a new staff and, heck, they'll probably still salvage some semblance of a recruiting class.
It looks bleak and PSU is going to be dragged through the mud.
I love the sanctimony coming from the Big Ten and NCAA about Penn State. They aren't turning their back on PSU. They just have to act like they might turn their back on PSU for appearance sakes.
This is the same NCAA that was going to rethink the Fiesta Bowl's sanction. Yeah, it's a multi-million dollar deal with 2 annual bowl games out there and 3 some years. They were going to pull their sanction. Right, when donkeys fly. Same thing here. They will act and talk tough to distance themselves from PSU. But PSU is getting plenty of punishment in the court of public opinion.
IOWA_tklinks: Any updates on Quanzell Lambert? Does he have a time frame for his decision, and who do you think lands him?
Helwagen: We had this update from the Nebraska site.
Says he will decide in early January and its between Iowa, Nebraska and nearby Rutgers. He says distance from home won't impact him. Iowa and Nebraska are great destinations for LBs. I don't know the kid, so I can't predict it. Somebody is getting a good one, though.
buttesnake: Any insight on what's going to happen with Pharaoh Brown in respect to where he ends up?
Helwagen: Brown was a Michigan verbal, but when he visited Oregon he was told he was no longer a UM verbal by the staff there. I honestly don't know what's up. I know MSU is also involved. Sounds like Nebraska and Oklahoma are also involved. This could go any direction. Oregon wants him for TE, while UM was looking at him as a DE.
Ottobuck-Mo: Will Urban win a NC in his first 3 years? Does he win multiple at tOSU?
How do you see the hoops Buckeyes doing in the BIG?Nationally?
Is tOSU Hockey still in 1st place?
Can tOSU Men's Volleyball team repeat as NC?
Helwagen: Urban's first 3 years coincide with the remaining 3 years for Braxton Miller at QB. I think the bigger question is whether anybody will break the SEC's stranglehold on the national championship. Ohio State was 6-6 this year, so they have a ways to go to get back into that race (even if 5 of the losses were by a combined 25 points).
I think he will win at least one NC at OSU. I'd say it is 50-50 that the first one happens with Miller. He needs some help (RBs, WRs and OL) to make that happen.
Regarding hoops, yes, Ohio State wins the Big Ten. Nationally? I think they have a good chance at the Final Four, provided Sullinger stays healthy. To win it all, they have to be really special. I question whether this 7-man team can get it done. That is a long, hard grind. Players 8, 9 and 10 showed last night they can contribute, too. Jent needs to lobby Matta to play those guys, too.
Hockey? Yes, OSU is in first place by 5 full points. Buckeyes are playing well. I think they're on break now until the 30th, I believe.
Volleyball? I have no idea how many seniors they had last year. That was neat they won it last year. That was a big part of OSU's No. 2 finish in the Directors Cup.
Helwagen: Garnett has Stanford as a slight leader, good that Michigan and ND had him in for visits. He is a west coast kid.
Looks like Michigan and Rutgers are the teams to beat for Wright. Could be a toss-up. He is a NJ kid.
I think Reeves is taking a wait-and-see approach. If he doesn't like the direction of PSU in January, he could end up at ND or Michigan. Click here for the latest update on him.
spongeworthy: 1. Is Ohio State going to finish ahead of Michigan in the 2012 class recruiting rankings? Who else from the Big Ten is having a good year recruiting (except for OSU and UM)?
2. When OSU and Mich have a rematch one freakin' week after The Game next year -- and mark my word it's going to happen -- is that good or bad for the Big Ten? How much does it cheapen the OSU-Mich rivalry if at all? And do you agree that OSU will win the Leaders Division in 2012 and Michigan will win the Legends? I honestly don't see any teams that will give them a serious run.
Thanks Steve! You do a great job.
Helwagen: Sponge, thanks for the nice comments ...
1. No, I can't imagine Ohio State will catch Michigan and, really, none of that matters anyway. Michigan is 3rd in the current rankings with OSU 10th. This late run with Pittman and Schutt helps and securing Dunn as well. But they still need more to move up any farther.
Click here for the latest rankings.
2. I can understand how purists would like OSU-Michigan to remain a once-a-year tradition. To play that game somewhere other than Columbus or Ann Arbor is something that would have been unthinkable in years past (even though I guess they could have been rematched in 2007 NC game). I am OK with it, though. It would be something huge for them to play again.
Yes, I like OSU in the Leaders and Michigan in the Legends next year. The Legends will be tight between UM, Iowa and Nebraska (all have QBs back). I think Leaders is OSU-Wisconsin battle. I think UW falls off a touch without Wilson and likely without Ball.
Outstanding: Do you think Fragel or anyone else not currently playing Otackle will be moved to that position?
Helwagen: No, I think they will be OK there with Norwell and possibly Hall or Underwood. Starters could be Norwell, Mewhort, Bobek, Linsley and Hall. Those 5 have the most experience with Underwood, Carter, Brown, Boren, Elflein and maybe Dodson and Diamond providing support. If I was Dodson or Diamond, I'd look at OSU and plainly see I can play right away. Hall and Linsley do not have a death grip on their spots.
Buckramegaette: Do we know why we did not return calls from Vandalia-Butler regarding Dekker? Was the old staff not interested at all?
My inside contact says OSU dropped the ball. Why would we let an Ohio guy go so easily? Dekker wants to be a man of his word so he is sticking with Notre Dame. We cannot fault him for that.
Helwagen: I don't know. Bollman must not have liked him. Everything I hear about him is positive, though.
rjzeller: Shotty WR and DB play this year. How much improved can we expect our wideouts to be and how much better will the offense perform with Braxton having a full off-season as the number 1 guy?
Will the DB situation improve significantly enough next year to get us back to a top 10 or top 20 defense?
Helwagen: I didn't think the DB play was that bad. Of the three lines of defense, some might say the secondary was actually better than the inconsistent pass rush of the DL and the here-one-play-and-not-the-next play of the LBs. They simply disappeared when some of the opponents wanted to grind meat.
The secondary didn't come up with picks. But they didn't give up a bunch of big plays either.
Have to hope the WRs will be better in 2012. Can't be any worse. Not possible. Worst season for receivers at OSU probably since '87 (when Carter was lost to extra benefits before season).
westm41: Bowl Predictions-Who will win?: (My Predictions)
Little Caesars Bowl Purdue vs. Western Michigan (Purdue)
Insight Bowl Iowa vs. Oklahoma (Oklahoma)
Meineke Car Bowl of Texas Northwestern vs. Texas A&M (Texas A&M)
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Illinois vs. UCLA (UCLA)
Ticketcity Bowl Huston vs. Penn State (Huston)
Gator Bowl Ohio State vs. Florida (Ohio State)
Outback Bowl Michigan State vs Georgia (Michigan State)
Capital One Bowl Nebraska vs. South Carolina (South Carolina)
Rose Bowl Wisconsin vs. Oregon (Wisconsin)
Sugar Bowl Michigan vs. Virginia Tech (Michigan)
Big Ten Bowl Record 5-5
Helwagen: You are putting me on spot.
I like Purdue, Oklahoma, TAM, Illinois, Houston, OSU, MSU, So Caro, Wis, Mich.
That's 6-4. I must be high (LOL).
slickwillie: Steve, can you confirm that Michigan football fans might as well pick a different sport to follow (or become OSU fans) because they will never win again.
Helwagen: I cannot confirm that (LOL). I know the rivalry just got interesting again. Denard vs. Braxton II next year will be must-see TV, hopefully it's for something really big for both sides.
Buckramegaette: All my UofM husband wants to know is after signing day where does UofM rank? Is it truly an indicator of how successful a team will be?
Helwagen: No, one great ranking is not an indicator at all one way or another. To be truly successful, you have to stack one top-10 class on top of another. Do it over 3-4 years and then you can expect a bunch of wins and championships. Have to have players to win.
meckwell: how many scollies does Urban end up giving in this class?
Helwagen: My guess is they have 18 now and end up around 22 or 23. We still do not know definitively who all is leaving. Once we know that, we'll have a better idea.
westm41: Steve, do we know how bowl practice is going and what the atmosphere has been like for Ohio State players and coaches?
Helwagen: Players we talked to today saiid it is going really well. They said players and coaches alike are into it. They are competitors and they want to go out with a win.
nalancia: Steve, Recruiting: 1. On the heels of the Brionte Dunn and Tyvis Powell stories, do you see any of our 18 current verbals not being included in next year's class (academically ineligible, voluntarily decommitting, etc.)? I suspect perhaps Ricquan Southward as being one.
2. Judging by the offers Coach Meyer has given out and the recruits he is courting, it doesn't appear to me that tOSU will use any of the self-imposed schollie reduction this year. Thoughts?
Helwagen: 1. Yes, Southward committed on the eve of the Meyer announcement ... and is now looking at Florida. I need somebody to explain that to me (ha ha). I will count him in this class when they get the signed LOI.
2. Again, we do not know who all is leaving and opening spots. Until then, hard to say when or what they will impose for this year.
deerhurst: Some of these bowl games are really down as far as ticket sales by the schools. So much so that is looks like it will cost the schools money to participate. Do you think conferences might reduce the number of bowls they are affiliated with because of the cost of unsold tickets?
If not, do you see (or is there any talk) of changes being made to reduce this penalty on the schools for not selling their allotment of tickets?
Helwagen: No, they will not reduce the number of bowl affiliations. They look at money losing bowls as a loss leader for the program. It's an infomercial for the school to play in a bowl game. The bowl payouts are predicated on them selling near capacity. If that doesn't happen, it's only right that the school rebates some of the payout.
I just wish we had a full disclosure up front on all this.
bourney22: Steve, Forget the fact that OSU needs OL and specifically OT. What three players are your (must gets) in terms of guys who have not committed anywhere yet, and how early do you seem those 3 players contributing?!?
Looking forward to your answers.....
Helwagen: If they could get Stefon Diggs to visit, maybe him. I'd say Dodson and Diamond right now and Spence if he visits this year. I think the OL have the best shot to play right away.
nalancia: Another recruiting question:
A quick count of the Ann Arbor Community College recruiting class verbals reveals 1 Iowan, 8 Michiganders, and 9 Ohioans. The rest (5) are from "non-B1G states." Judging by the talent available in the state of Ohio next year, Jabba the Hoke will certainly be looking to increase those numbers (and already has 1)... do you think next year we will see more Ohioans leave to go up north, or less?
Corollary: Will Coach Meyer's broader recruiting ability make Hoke's "invasion" a moot point? Where do you see this balance eventually equilibrating?
Helwagen: Ohio State won't have a big class with just 14 seniors next year, so, yeah, guys are going to leak out. It is what it is. Get the best 15-18 and be done with it.
daddyact: Steve, I don't understand the love going to A&M in this game. The Aggies are simply not very good. Great first half team, and a truly horrible second half team. I just can't see them winning with the amount of turmoil that will follow losing their coach.
Also, there appears to be major problems right now in Norman. The staff apparently has lost their players. Probably not enough to lose to Iowa, but it's going to be closer than many think.
Let's not forget that the SEC also has two teams in the BCS Championship. That drops their teams down a level as well.
I've taken my lumps for it, but I maintain that South Carolina is a highly overrated SEC team. I think the Cap One Bowl is no better than a toss-up, and if the Huskers can resolve some of their defensive issues,they have a very good chance of winning.
Helwagen: Good points on all counts. We agree on a lot there. When I study NW-A&M I may pick NW. Oklahoma has injury issues and some discord, but I can't see them losing to Iowa. Landry Jones against their secondary should be a good match-up.
See what you're saying on SEC, but even with LSU-Alabama in title game, they still have Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina ahead of Big Ten's also-rans (at least in polls).
This was fun. Thanks to everybody for participating!!
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