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.
Previous reports of Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde being dismissed from the team were proven inaccurate when Urban Meyer announced Monday afternoon that the senior running back has been suspended from all team activities pending the outcome of the student code of conduct and criminal investigations.
The Badgers have become the bellwether for the Big Ten, advancing to the last three Rose Bowls. Their quest to make it four in a row is complicated by Leaders Division rival Ohio State being eligible to win the Big Ten and play in a bowl after being on probation last season.
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Expectations. Every team deals with them. And, of course, they differ from team to team. Right now, in late July, the possibilities seem endless for each Big Ten team. That’s where I come in with a bucket full of confetti—and one full of cold water. I will begin to take a look at my best-case and worst-case scenarios for each team this season.
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One of the Michigan players I am most intrigued about is sophomore tight end Devin Funchess. The guy is an athletic freak who showed flashes of big things last season as a true freshman and could end up being one of the best in the Big Ten at his position in 2013.
Last summer, BTN.com hosted a football mock draft featuring a beat writer for every Big Ten team. It was a fun project. This summer, your friends at BTN.com held their own draft.
Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
I can’t think of anything better to do on a hot July day than to drink a tall, cool Arnold Palmer and wade through my deep mail bag and answer your questions. And there is a lot to talk about even though none of the footballs or basketballs have been inflated. So, let’s get started.
It’s important to know your opponent—especially your opponent’s quarterback. You know how it goes: A team typically will go only as far as its quarterback is able to take it. Well, here’s my ranking of the top 10 quarterbacks that Big Ten teams will face in the non-conference this season.
The impact of little Jack Hoffman’s scintillating 69-yard touchdown run in the Nebraska spring game continues to reverberate. Last night, the inspiring run by the 7-year-old cancer patient won an ESPY award for “Best Moment.” Fitting and appropriate.
Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
The 2000s saw plenty of great players in the Big Ten. One, in fact, won the Heisman: Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith (2006), who arguably is the top player from the 2000s. Yesterday, I looked at the best of the best offensive players in the Big Ten since the calendar flipped to 2000. Next up: Defense.
They lurk on every team’s schedule. They are the “trap” games. What’s a trap game? It’s a contest that your school probably should win—but may not, for various reasons. Here is my pick for each team’s trap game for 2013. You have been warned.
Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
The 2000s saw plenty of great players in the Big Ten. One, in fact, won the Heisman: Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith (2006), who arguably is the top player from the 2000s. Over the next couple days, I’m going to take a look at the best of the best in the Big Ten since the calendar flipped to 2000. First up: Offense.
I attended a clinic for officials in the Big Ten, MAC and MVC last weekend in the Chicago area. During one part of the clinic, Big Ten director of officials Bill Carollo gave attendees an exam to complete. Here is a copy (with the answers) of the exam I received. Take a look at the questions—and feel free to test the college football rules knowledge of your friends and family.
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Typically, a team will go only as far as its quarterback takes it. Well, listen up, Nebraska fans: Sam McKewon of Omaha.com has ranked the Huskers’ quarterback opponents. This is a fun exercise that you may want to do with your favorite team, as it may give you a good idea on how many victories to expect.
Big Ten officials coordinator Bill Carollo didn’t hesitate when I asked him what the point of emphasis was going to be for officials this fall: blows targeted above the shoulders at defenseless players.
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Back in April, the Big Ten announced it was going to implement a nine-game conference schedule, starting in 2016. Thursday, it unveiled the first such schedule—along with the 2017 Big Ten league slate.
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I know your time is precious in the fall. Between driving to soccer games, raking leaves, making cider and carving pumpkins, your schedule is packed. That means finding spare time to watch TV is difficult. No worries. I have ranked every game involving a Big Ten team for the 2013 season. As you can see, not all matchups are created equally.
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Let’s say time and money are no object to you. You have plenty of each. Plus, you are a huge fan of Big Ten football. Well, you have come to the right place. Let me plan for you this season’s “Ultimate Big Ten Road Trip” that will put you at every week’s top game. Pack your bag!