Big Ten media days kick off on Wednesday in Chicago. Myriad queries will be asked by reporters, but not all of them will be posed or answered. Me? I have a long list of questions—101, to be exact–as we sit on the precipice of the 2013 season.
So, for a little fun, I shared my questions with colleague Brent Yarina to see his answers. We broke the activity into two parts, and you can see the first installment here.
Have any other questions you want me to ask a player or coach? Send it to me in the comment section at the bottom of this post or tweet it to @BTNTomDienhart.
[ RELATED: Dienhart: 101 Big Ten media questions - Part II ]
1. How will Ohio State handle great expectations now that it is off of probation?
BY: Very well. The schedule certainly helps, too.
2. Can the Big Ten end the SEC’s seven-year run of national title dominance?
BY: Ohio State is the Big Ten’s best shot, of course. But will a one-loss Ohio State team even get a shot, considering its schedule and the SEC mystique?
3. Is this the start of a new “10 Year War” between Michigan and Ohio State?
BY: The way the two teams are constructed, plus how Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer are recruiting, it sure seems like it.
4. Will Michigan RB Fitz Toussaint regain his 2011 form?
BY: Don’t think he’ll need to with highly recruited Derrick Green now in the fold.
5. Who can challenge Ohio State QB Braxton Miller for Big Ten Player of the Year honors?
BY: Taylor Martinez. Devin Gardner. And MAYBE Venric Mark.
6. Will we get a Michigan-Ohio State Big Ten championship game? It’s our last chance before divisional realignment.
BY: We could. But it looks like Nebraska-Ohio State might be more likely.
7. Can Northwestern DE Tyler Scott be the Big Ten’s top pass rusher?
BY: Yes. His numbers last year were very similar to last year’s DPOY, Ohio State’s John Simon.
8. Will new coordinator Bill Cubit breathe life into the moribund Illinois offense?
BY: He can’t hurt the unit, can he?
9. Will the Wisconsin offense develop big-play explosiveness in the passing game?
BY: With defenses having to account for speedsters Melvin Gordon and James White out of the backfield, yes. Jared Abbrederis is a big-play guy, too.
10. Will an overhauled Ohio State defensive line that will feature four new starters play as well as last season’s unit?
BY: Sure. The new cast of characters is very talented, and it has plenty of starpower behind it at linebacker and in the secondary.
11. Will Michigan State QB Andrew Maxwell throw more accurately?
BY: Another question: Will Michigan State receivers catch more catch-able passes?
12. Will Andrew Maxwell lose his job?
BY: Yes, because Mark Dantonio is talking about Connor Cook getting reps.
13. Has Braxton Miller improved his passing?
BY: Knowing how much he improved last season, chances are, he’ll show a better arm and smarter decision-making as a junior.
14. How often will Iowa’s offense play at a quicker pace?
BY: We’ll know once we see what their to-be-named quarterback can do.
15. Is the Nebraska defense still hungover from three abysmal performances—UCLA; Ohio State; Wisconsin–in 2012?
BY: No. This is a revamped unit that gets to play a favorable schedule.
16. How many players will be ejected from games the first week for targeting defenseless players?
BY: Tough one. Grasping at straws here: 6.
17. Will Bo Pelini’s head explode the first time one of his players is ejected for targeting?
BY: I hope the camera stays on Pelini for a long time.
18. How soon into his presser will Urban Meyer be asked about Aaron Hernandez?
BY: With Ohio State’s recent player discipline, likely later than before Monday morning.
19. How soon into his presser will Urban Meyer be asked about Will Muschamp’s comments?
BY: See answer to No. 18.
20. Will Wisconsin make it four Rose Bowl appearances in a row?
21. Who will win the Iowa quarterback derby?
BY: Who knows.
22. At what point will Jerry Kill be asked about his health?
BY: When the first reporter speaks to him.
23. What impact will RB Carlos Hyde’s suspension and uncertain future have on Ohio State?
BY: Bigger than most are thinking, because he was as good as it gets at punching it from in close. Six points is better than three, after all.
24. How often will Kirk Ferentz be asked if he’s on a hot seat?
BY: As much as he’s asked about that Stewart Mandel article.
25. How big of an impact will the new penalty for targeting a defenseless player have on the game?
BY: Very big. Football is reactionary, and now players will be thinking more.
26. Can Indiana’s defense go from bad to average?
BY: Doubt it. Baby steps is more like it.
27. Who will carry the rock for Michigan State?
BY: Le’Veon Bell. Wait, I’m so used to typing that name when talking Michigan State’s offense. Riley Bullough.
28. Will Illinois win a Big Ten game? Its losing skein stands at 14.
BY: No guarantee. Easiest games both come on road, at Indiana and at Purdue.
29. Will Christian Hackenberg win the Penn State quarterback job?
30. Year Three on a job traditionally has been a big breakout season for Jerry Kill. Well, he’s entering Year Three at Minnesota. Does a breakout loom in 2013?
BY: It’s going to be a lot harder at this level, in the competitive Legends Division.
31. Is there a pass rusher/difference maker on the Michigan defensive line?
BY: Looks like it will either be Frank Clark and Taco Charlton.
32. Who will be Purdue’s quarterback?
BY: See answer to No. 21.
33. Even more pressing for Purdue: What will the offense look like?
BY: Akeem Hunt is exciting, so he better be featured. A lot.
34. Will Urban Meyer finally coach a 1,000-yard running back?
BY: Probably not after the Carlos Hyde dismissal.
35. Can Penn State’s Zach Zwinak rush for 1,000 yards—again?
BY: Can he? Yes. But he hit 1,000 on the dot last year, and now he’s known as a 1K rusher. It’ll be tough.
36. Is this the best Northwestern defense … ever?
BY: Pat Fitzgerald would know better.
37. Are there any difference makers at receiver for Iowa?
BY: Does tight end count as receiver?
38. Are there any difference makers at receiver for Michigan State?
BY: Yes, Aaron Burbridge.
39. Are there any difference makers at receiver for Purdue?
BY: Not right now.
40. Is Michigan’s Devin Funchess the best tight end in the Big Ten?
BY: It’s a loaded field, but there isn’t a better one at going up and getting it in the red zone, that’s for sure.
41. Will Wisconsin have an edge on foes with its new, attacking 3-4 defensive scheme?
BY: The Badgers have talent, led by Chris Borland, but it’s too early to tell if the new scheme will give them a big lift.
42. Can the maligned Illinois offensive line get a consistent push?
BY: It would help if Nathan Scheelhaase can stay healthy and keep defenses honest.
43. Is Minnesota’s Ra’Shede Hageman the best defensive tackle in the Big Ten?
BY: He’s the last guy I’d want to see in front of me if I was a center.
44. Does Indiana have the best receiving corps in the Big Ten?
BY: Let’s see: Latimer. Wynn. Hughes. Bolser. Yes.
45. Who will win the Wisconsin quarterback job?
BY: I’m partial to Joel Stave, because he can stretch the field and showed promise last season.
46. How many passes will Penn State’s talented collection of tight ends catch?
BY: How about 75? A few less than last year, due to the fact there will be a new signal-caller.
47. Can anyone make a run at Ohio State in the Leaders Division?
BY: We’ll know Sept. 28, when three-time reigning Big Ten champ Wisconsin visits Columbus.
48. Who will win the Legends Division?
BY:Nebraska, mostly because its schedule is more favorable than Michigan or Northwestern’s.
BY: It can, as long as Derrick Green is as good as the hype, Jake Ryan returns to being Jake Ryan at some point, and the defensive line finds a consistent pass rush.
BY: It has the talent, but the schedule is grueling.
51. Michigan State?
BY: With that offense?!
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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