Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short thought about turning pro after last season, but he didn’t like what he was hearing from the NFL advisory board. So, he’s back for a senior season. And the affable Short just may be the top defensive tackle in the Big Ten.
In today’s Big Ten Links I found a number of must-reads, including a good one on Penn State. Which direction is this fragile Penn State going to go after its gut-wrenching season-opening loss to Ohio? To keep the team together, coach Bill O’Brien has to stress the positives. Really, there is no other choice.
The second weekend of the season is approaching. And this Saturday is highlighted by three games vs. Pac-12 foes—all on the road: Wisconsin at Oregon State; Illinois at Arizona State; Nebraska at UCLA. And how will Penn State (at Virginia) and Michigan (vs. Air Force) respond coming off losses? There also are two rivalry games, with Purdue playing at Notre Dame and Iowa State visiting Iowa. We also have an SEC-Big Ten clash, with Vanderbilt playing at Northwestern.
Week 2 is here, and questions loom for each team following the opening weekend. Can Indiana score more? Will Rex Burkhead play? Those are just a few of the pressing questions I have for each school as we head toward Saturday. Read all of my Big Ten coverage here and don’t forget to send any of your questions my way for my weekly Big Ten Mailbag.
Find out more about: 12 Teams & 12 Questions, Illinois vs. Arizona State, Indiana vs. Massachusetts, Iowa vs. Iowa State, Michigan State vs. C. Michigan, Michigan vs. Air Force, Minnesota vs. New Hampshire, Nebraska vs. UCLA, Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt, Ohio State vs. Central Florida, Penn State vs. Virginia, Purdue vs. Notre Dame, Wisconsin vs. Oregon State
There were a lot of positive things from Nebraska’s 49-20 win over Southern Miss. But special teams? Well, some adjustments are coming. A big issue was a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The good for the Huskers, according to special teams coach Ross Els: These things can be fixed. That’s good, because this could be a special season in Lincoln.
One week is in the books, but not much has changed in my Big Ten bowl projections (posted here every Monday). Remember: The Big Ten has tie-ins with eight bowls—and it has just 10 bowl-eligible schools, as Penn State and Ohio State are banned from the postseason in 2012.
Find out more about: Bowl projections
Started off this holiday Monday surfing the Big Ten headlines and came across a handful of great pieces, including a look at the blueprint for stopping Michigan’s Denard Robinson after Alabama muted the star in a 41-14 dominance of the Wolverines on Saturday night. The secret? The key? Make Robinson a pocket passer. In his game against the Crimson Tide, he hit just 11-of-26 passes for 200 yards with two picks. Even worse, Robinson ran 10 times for 27 yards. As Kyle Meinke of MLive.com points out, this strategy seems to have been perfected by Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi.
It was an entertaining opening week of Big Ten football. See my 10 observations—some whimsical, some fact based, some opinionated—from the Big Ten’s 10-2 performance.
Find out more about: Tom's Top 10
Andrew Weber-US Presswire
It’s Sunday, and that means it’s time for my weekly Big Ten Power Rankings. Where does your Big Ten team fall on my list following Week 1 action? See in this post. Disagree with my rankings? Leave your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the post or tweet me @BTNTomDienhart. Read all my Big Ten coverage here, and don’t forget to send me any questions you may have for my weekly Big Ten Mailbag.
Find out more about: Power Rankings, Rankings
Week 1 is in the books. The Big Ten compiled a 10-2 record on the opening weekend, with Michigan and Penn State suffering the lone hiccups. But what did I learn from the first week of action? As I will do every Sunday morning during the college football season, I share the five things I learned from that week’s games. I learned a lot from Week 1, none bigger than Michigan and Brady Hoke have some work to do. See all five things in this post.
Find out more about: What Tom Learned
A.J. McCarron passes two yards to Michael Williams for a touchdown. A.J. McCarron passes 51 yards to DeAndrew White for a touchdown. Eddie Lacy rushes nine yards for a touchdown. And just like that, Alabama was ahead, 21-0, over Michigan. And there still were two minutes left … in the first quarter.
Throughout Saturday’s Week 1 action, I offered my snap reactions to all the Big Ten games. Here are my thoughts from the Big Ten’s early games and the afternoon games. Under the lights, Indiana held off instate foe Indiana State to match its 2011 win total, while Michigan was no match for reigning national champ Alabama. See my snap reactions to Indiana’s victory in this post.
Earlier Saturday, I offered my snap reactions from the Big Ten’s first four games. With the afternoon games now in the books, it’s time to share what I learned from Iowa, Nebraska, Purdue and Wisconsin’s wins. Nebraska and Purdue cruised to victory, however Iowa and Wisconsin both received stiff tests that went down to the wire. See my snap reactions from the afternoon games in this post.
With two Big Ten games under my belt from Thursday and Friday, I locked in on the four early Big Ten games Saturday. Here are my Snap Reactions, where I list the three things I learned from each game. What did you learn? Come tell me in the comment section at the bottom of this post.
Andrew Weber-US Presswire
BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart weighs in with his snap reactions from Michigan State’s 17-13 comeback victory over Boise State in Friday night’s season opener at Spartan Stadium. See all his thoughts in this post. And don’t forget about Saturday’s slate of 10 Big Ten games. BTN/BTN2Go will air four games, starting with Ohio State vs. Miami (OH) at noon ET. You can track all the action on our BTN.com scoreboard.
Every week, I’m ranking Saturday’s games, from the best to the worst. Which game is No. 1 this week? See my Week 1 Rankings in this post.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke announced that running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and defensive linemen Frank Clark won’t make the trip to Arlington, Texas, for the Alabama game to be played on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
Most pundits agree: Michigan is an underdog—perhaps a big underdog—in its game vs. Alabama this Saturday in Arlington, Texas. But, history has shown us that the Wolverines can succeed vs. the mighty SEC, winners of the past six BCS national titles. Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com has taken a neat look at five memorable Wolverine games vs. SEC foes, the first of a handful of Big Ten news links you should read the day before our first college football Saturday of the season.
In a great non-conference matchup of ranked opponents, Michigan State hosts Boise State on Friday night. Let’s take a look at some quick notes. This year at BTN.com our editors are rolling out something a little different when it comes to game coverage where we create a new post for each quarter of every football game. For this Minnesota game, those posts will live in the Michigan State vs. Boise State section and that page will be updated after each quarter.
The Big Ten has gone four consecutive seasons without fielding a team in the BCS title game. Is this the year the streak gets snapped? The Big Ten enters the 2012 season with four teams ranked in the top 16 of the Coaches Poll, led by No. 8 Michigan, so the opportunity is there. But which team is most likely to make this season’s BCS title game?
Find out more about: Debate It
Here’s a quick look at Thursday night’s season opener in Las Vegas as Minnesota travels to play at UNLV. This year at BTN.com our editors are rolling out something a little different when it comes to game coverage where we create a new post for each quarter of every football game. For this Minnesota game, those posts will live in the Minnesota vs. UNLV section and that page will be updated after each quarter.
The 2012 Big Ten football season kicks off with Minnesota visiting UNLV late Thursday night. The Week 1 slate continues Friday, as Michigan State takes on always dangerous Boise State, and wraps up Saturday with the conference’s remaining 10 games, including Michigan battling reigning national champ Alabama.
Find out more about: B1G Predictions
When the discussion of top Big Ten running backs comes up, Wisconsin’s Montee Ball almost always is mentioned first—and rightly so, coming off a spectacular 2011 that saw him be a Heisman finalist. Michigan’s Fitzgerald Toussaint and Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell usually are mentioned next. And then there is Nebraska’s Rex Burkhead, who seemingly always gets lost in the conversation. The senior may be the top back in the Big Ten this season.
Find out more about: Big Ten Q&A, Rex Burkhead
I’ve enjoyed answering questions in my mailbags since I started as BTN.com’s senior writer. Now that the 2012 football season is upon us, I’ll be posting them every Wednesday right through the Big Ten Championship.You can always send a question to me on this mailbag page 24/7 because we love to hear from fans. Don’t have a question but you do have a comment? I welcome those as well.
Find out more about: Dienhart's Mailbag