Next up in my super-early week-by-week preview of the 2013 Big Ten football schedule: Week 8. This is a week light on marquee matchups, with predicted Big Ten title contenders Michigan and Ohio State taking on Indiana and Iowa, respectively, and Nebraska and Penn State on byes. Get all the storylines, matchups and my game rankings for Week 8 in this post.
Now comes the tough part for Ohio State: The encore to a 12-0 debut under Urban Meyer. Offensive coordinator Tom Herman knows his attack must continue to evolve if the Buckeyes are going to follow up last year’s wild success and fulfill grand expectations for 2013 that have some predicting OSU to go to the BCS title game.
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In its short two-year existence, the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year has been very kind to its recipients. The inaugural winner, Russell Wilson, went on to have an All-Pro NFL rookie season, and last year’s winner, Braxton Miller, is a preseason Heisman Trophy favorite. Not bad, huh?
Perhaps the most intriguing quarterback battle in the Big Ten will take place in State College, Pa. But the great David Jones of PennLive.com says Penn State fans shouldn’t expect massively hyped incoming freshman Christian Hackenberg or junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson to be the equal of Matt McGloin this fall.
Schedule strength will become more vital beginning in 2014, when the four-team playoff is started. Why? Because a major component of the playoff team selection process figures to be schedule strength.
The 2013 football season may still be two-plus months away, but that won’t keep me from taking an (early) in-depth look at each and every week’s top matchups and storylines. Oh, and I’m also offering my rankings of every week’s slate of games. Up now: Week 7, highlighted by Northwestern’s trip to Wisconsin.
Here’s what we know: There will be no repeat winner for the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year. Last year’s winner, John Simon, is in the NFL, leaving a pool of worthy candidates to fight for the award now in its third year. Who’s the top candidate entering the season? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina discuss it in this post.
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Braxton Miller is kind of good. We all saw what he did a season ago in his first year under Urban Meyer, and it all resulted in the 2012 Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year. Back under center as a junior, Miller is the favorite to repeat in 2013. Will he do it? Who are his biggest competitors? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina discuss it in this post.
Another day, another opportunity to take an in-depth look at the 2013 football season. Today, it’s all about Week 6 in my early week-by-week series. The first week of full Big Ten play, the slate offers some intriguing battles, including Northwestern hosting Big Ten favorite Ohio State. Get all the storylines, matchups and my game rankings for Week 6 in this post.
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It’s the time of week when I reach into my mailbag. Even with the offseason in full swing, there are some good questions this week. Thanks a lot! Let’s get started.
Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
Tackles are an inexact science, to be sure. Teams award them differently, so it’s not always as simple as comparing Player A from School A to Player B from School B. Whatever the case, the Big Ten returns several of its top tacklers, including 2012 leader Anthony Hitchens. Who will lead the Big Ten in tackles this fall? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their picks in this post.
If Big Ten football fans have a wedding to attend this fall, they probably hope it lands on Week 5 – aka Saturday, Sept. 28. Unless, maybe, you’re an Ohio State or Wisconsin fan. The Badgers trip to the Buckeyes highlights an abbreviated four-game slate, half of which includes nonconference games (Northern Illinois at Purdue; Miami (OH) at Illinois). Get all the storylines, matchups and my rankings of Week 5 games in this post.
Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE
The Big Ten is moving away from games vs. FCS foes. That’s something we all can stand and cheer about! But, many “tomato cans” remain on the schedule in 2013. In fact, a few made this list of the “15 most shameful games matchups of 2013.”
Last year was hardly the season of the sack. For the first time in at least a decade, no Big Ten player recorded double-digit sacks. Nine was good enough for the 2012 lead, shared between Northwestern’s Tyler Scott and Ohio State’s John Simon. Who will lead the Big Ten in sacks in 2013? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their picks in this post.
I’m continuing my early week-by-week look at the 2013 Big Ten schedule, and it’s all about Week 4 today. Being the final week before Big Ten play kicks off across the conference, the slate leaves some to be desired. That said, there are a few intriguing games, including an early Big Ten draw (Purdue at Wisconsin). Get all the storylines, matchups and my rankings of the week’s games in this post.
Andrew Weber-US Presswire
I’m leading Daily Links with baseball. Yes, that’s right: Baseball! It’s all a celebration of Indiana’s trip to the College World Series, the Big Ten’s first entrant in the grand event since 1984. The Indianapolis Star has a neat photo feature that looks at over 20 of the best all-time MLB players produced by Big Ten schools.
Yes, the 2013 football season still is two-plus months away. That won’t keep me from looking ahead and taking an in-depth look at each and every week’s top matchups and storylines. I’m also offering my rankings of every week’s slate of games. Up now: Week 3, highlighted by Nebraska’s rematch vs. UCLA.
David Banks-US PRESSWIRE
No category, it seems, is more difficult to predict on a yearly basis than interceptions. Sure, we know who the best cover guys are in the league every year, but that’s not always who finds himself on top of the leaderboard. Last year, there was a quartet of guys who led the Big Ten, with four interceptions. Only Landon Feichter returns from the group. Will he repeat in 2013? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their picks.
The Michigan offense is set to take the final step in its transformation from a spread-oriented scheme into a pro-style attack.
Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE
If experience matters, Wisconsin is in good shape for 2013. According to Phil Steele, the Badgers will have the most experienced team in the Big Ten in terms of having the top percentage of returning lettermen.
Raise your hand if you thought Allen Robinson would lead the Big Ten in touchdown receptions a year ago at this time. No hands, right? That’s what we thought. Robinson entered last season with a grand total of three receptions before breaking out to pace the Big Ten with 77 catches, 1,013 yards and 11 TDs. Will there be another Robinson-like breakout this fall in the receiving TD category? Or will it be a familiar name? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their picks.
Hey, who isn’t looking forward to football season? It’s only June, but I’m itching for kickoff and am starting to look ahead to each week of the 2013 season. From Week 1 to Week 12, I’ll offer the best each week has to offer and rank every week’s games. Up now: Week 2, highlighted by Notre Dame at Michigan.