Friday links: Football rolls on & hoops rolls in

Thanks goodness it’s Friday. Or, in my household, it’s called “Football Eve.” Pretty nice, huh? Let’s start daily links with this way-cool look at Big Ten teams and TV. Can you tell much about a program by the TV time slots it draws? It’s something Dan Hoppen of HuskersOnline.com looked at. Hoppen went back and tracked the starting times and TV networks for Nebraska games since the program joined the Big Ten in 2011 through this past weekend.

He also did the same for the other Big Ten teams.

Check it out.

  • The team with the most “morning” starts (at or before noon CT): Iowa with 21. The least: Wisconsin with 10.
  • The team with the most “early afternoon” starts (between 12:01 and 3 CT): Minnesota and Illinois with 13; The least: Indiana with six.
  • The team with the most “late afternoon” starts (3:01 and 6:59 CT): Indiana, Northwestern, Penn State with four; The least: Purdue and Wisconsin with zero.
  • The team with the most “primetime” starts (7 p.m. CT): Ohio State with seven. The least: Iowa and Minnesota with one.
  • Who has the most ESPN/ABC appearances? Ohio State with 23. The least? Indiana with three.
  • Who has the most ESPN/ABC primetime appearances? Ohio State and Wisconsin with six apiece. The least? Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota with zero.

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Michael Spath of TheWolverine.com has his predictions for each team for the rest of the season. His choice to make it to the Big Ten title game: Michigan State vs. Ohio State. Not a bad choice. Me? I’m still staying with Nebraska vs. Ohio State.

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Who are Ohio State’s key players vs. Penn State? Bradley Roby, Joey Bose and Jeff Heuerman. How about Carlos Hyde, too? I mean, this is becoming his team in many ways.

Roby is intriguing, however. He will defend Penn State receiver Allen Robinson, who Urban Meyer called one of the nation’s top wideouts. This Cleveland.com reports says Ohio State’s secondary has been the weak link on the team. If Roby is going to live up to the potential that had scouts and draft experts billing him as an eventual first-round pick, this would be an opportunity to prove himself on a national stage against a receiver who has tallied 705 yards in six games. Meyer said Roby doesn’t need much motivation, but the coach provided it anyway on his weekly radio show.

“We need him to play his best game of the season,” Meyer said.

Enough said.

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Star Nebraska guard Spencer Long is out for the season with injury. Still, the Husker o-line is a point of strength and one of the best in the Big Ten.

Omaha.com notes that Nebraska will head to Minnesota ranked No. 10 nationally in rushing offense, with I-back Ameer Abdullah already having five 100-yard games. The front five also have played a big part in NU quarterbacks being sacked just three times all season, tied for the fewest by any FBS team. Mike Moudy will make his first career start at Minnesota in Long’s place at right guard.

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This is kinda cool: Brother will battle brother in the Illinois-Michigan State tilt, as Illini assistant Tim Salem (running backs/special teams) will take on Spartan assistant Brad Salem (quarterbacks coach).

Brad Salem, Michigan State’s quarterbacks coach, was a graduate assistant for Nick Saban’s Spartans back then. Older brother Tim was the offensive coordinator at Purdue when a funny thing happened in West Lafayette, Ind. after the Boilermakers missed a field goal on the game’s final play.

“Last time I coached against my brother it was a 35-35 tie!!” Tim tweeted on Wednesday.

The Salem’s dad, of course, was Joe, a one-time head coach at Minnesota.

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Looks like Nebraska’s quarterback starter will be a game-time decision.

Will it be Taylor Martinez? Whether it is or not, Bo Pelini has said that Martinez will play on Saturday. I will be interested to see how he runs on that toe.

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I can’t wait to see how Iowa sophomore big man Adam Woodbury develops.

Heck, I just can’t wait to see how the Hawkeyes look this season, period. This team has me excited for hoop season.

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Illinois is an intriguing team that will have an intriguing collection of newcomers. And they looked pretty good in the Fighting Illini’s exhibition opener. Illinois is a mystery team with so many new faces. Still trying to figure out this squad.

More newcomer news: Here is a nice piece on an influx of Wisconsin freshmen who are starting to acclimate.

There is Aaron Moesch, Bronson Koenig, Vitto Brown, Nigel Hayes, Riley Dearring and Jordan Hill. Madison.com notes that this class represents an interesting group of players from different backgrounds. Hayes and Brown are from Ohio; Moesch and Koenig are from Wisconsin; guard Riley Dearring is from Minnesota.; and guard Jordan Hill is from California but played last season at a prep school in New Hampshire.

“We have a lot of things in common, but we’re so different in so many ways and I feel like that’s what makes us really connect with each other,” Dearring said. “It just allows us to just grow with each other a lot better.”

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TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: Their time is coming.

My take: Incredible.

My take: Incredible, No. 2.

My take: Replacing Trey Burke will be tough.

My take: Well, Michigan State manages to play excellent defense in this “age of offense” with players who aren’t as decorated as the Ohio State recruits.

My take: My guesses: offensive coordinator Tom Herman, defensive coordinator Luke Fickell and/or co-offensive coordinator/o-line coach Ed Warinner.

My take: No doubt, he will help in trying to stop the Iowa run. And that will be key to NU’s hopes.

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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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2 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (2 Comments)
Doug on 10/25/2013 @ 11:38am EDT Said:

Mr. Spath, thank you for being an informed U-M writer, first one I’ve seen ! I also like MSU-OSU in title game.

Big Brother on 10/25/2013 @ 8:24pm EDT Said:

the question is, if MSU and OSU do meet in the Big Ten title game, would it be because both teams are good or because both teams’ schedule are softer than bananas? I would go with the latter