Another Saturday looms. And, I have questions. Here are my most pressing queries for the 11 teams in action entering Week 5, the first week of conference play.
Looky here: After an 0-2 start, Penn State is now 2-2 as we sit on the doorstep of Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions have some mojo as they head to Illinois on Saturday. Could this team win the Leaders Division? Hmmmm. If the offense keeps playing well under the leadership of surprising quarterback Matt McGloin, it could happen. No Big Ten quarterback is passing the ball better. Simply amazing. Read those Penn State links and find more of the Tuesday headlines from around the Big Ten further down in this post.
Four weeks are in the books, but the bowl picture remains a work-in-progress—as usual To review: The Big Ten has tie-ins with eight bowls—but it has only 10 bowl-eligible schools, as Penn State and Ohio State are on NCAA and banned from the postseason in 2012.
Find out more about: Bowl projections
My Monday links include some good and provocative pieces from my various colleagues in the Big Ten press corps. Here’s one: Bench Michigan QB Denard Robinson? Are you serious? It’s an idea that the great Kyle Meinke of MLive.com discusses in this interesting piece. Yes, Robinson has had some tough outings against quality foes—including his recent five-interception effort at Notre Dame. But he’ll still leave Michigan as one of the Big Ten’s best players ever.
I have a twist on my weekly “Tom’s Top 10” this week. With non-conference play complete save for two games and Big Ten action set to kick off on Saturday, I take a look at the “best” of the non-league season. What was the best game of the non-conference season? How about the best performance? And the best moment? Find out below.
Find out more about: Tom's Top 10
Before we turn our complete attention to Week 5 and the start of Big Ten play, let’s see how BTN.com fans, Tom Dienhart and yours truly did with our Week 4 predictions. Everyone involved went 8-2, meaning Dienhart and BTN.com fans remain tied for first, at 36-10, one game ahead of me.
Find out more about: B1G Predictions
Non-conference play, for all intents and purposes, is in the rearview mirror. Yes, Indiana and Purdue each have one non-Big Ten game remaining, but conference play kicks off Saturday. It was a fast first four weeks, no doubt, and now it’s time to release our All-Big Ten non-conference teams.
Find out more about: B1G Predictions
The Big Ten is home to three 4-0 teams after nonconference play. One of the perfect teams is no big surprise (Ohio State), while the other two are close to shocking (Minnesota and Northwestern). And you’ll find all three on top of my latest Big Ten Power Rankings. See the complete list in this post.
Find out more about: Power Rankings, Rankings
Another week, another not-so pretty result for the Big Ten. The conference went 7-3, with home losses to the likes of Central Michigan and Louisiana Tech, plus Notre Dame knocked off Michigan to finish off its sweep of Big Ten opponents. But, starting next week, it’s time for Big Ten play.
Find out more about: What Tom Learned
Another big game, another loss by the Big Ten. And so it has gone the first four weeks of what has been a black-and-blue season for the Big Ten.
Wrapping up today’s action, Minnesota held off Syracuse, 17-10, and Louisiana Tech dropped Illinois, 52-24. As he’s done all day, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart offers his thoughts and analysis from the action under the lights in this post. See his early game thoughts and afternoon thoughts.
BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart is offering his thoughts and analysis from every Big Ten game today. In this post, you can find his Snap Reactions from the Big Ten’s four afternoon games. Here are his Snap Reactions to the three early games. See what Dienhart has to say about Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern and Penn State’s victory here.
BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart is watching all the games today. Here are his Snap Reactions from the first three early games. Dienhart says the Buckeyes have some work to do, the Hawkeyes have to straighten up, and the Badgers may have found some answers.
Nebraska’s Rex Burkhead sprained the MCL in his left knee during the Huskers’ season-opening victory over Southern Miss, and he hasn’t played since. The star running back says he will play Saturday in the team’s final nonconference game. But should the Huskers play Burkhead and risk further injury against Idaho State? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina debate the topic in this post.
If Penn State is going to have any shot for success in the future, it will need a strong walk-on program. Bill O’Brien recently conducted walk-on tryouts, and the turnout was good. O’Brien estimated that about 65 people tried out at the recent work out. I think the Nittany Lions may find some players who could help the program down the road in a football-mad state that produces a lot of good prospects. That’s the first of my Friday links – read the rest of this post for more.
It’s time for my weekly ranking of the Big Ten’s slate of games and Week 4 holds some intriguing matchups. See where your team’s game ranks on my list and get my complete preview of all ten Big Ten games (Purdue and Indiana are off this week).
Find out more about: Dienhart's Previews, Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech, Iowa vs. Central Michigan, Michigan State vs. E. Michigan, Michigan vs. Notre Dame, Minnesota vs. Syracuse, Nebraska vs. Idaho State, Northwestern vs. South Dakota, Ohio State vs. UAB, Penn State vs. Temple, Wisconsin vs. UTEP
Are my weekly power rankings accurate or not in your eyes? You tell me every week, so let’s discuss it in my latest mailbag. Also, will Big Ten schools adapt to a team’s strength of schedule impacting the future college football playoff? What do I think about Purdue? And when will Big Ten teams start recruiting talent as the SEC teams do?
Find out more about: Dienhart's Mailbag
Ohio State is blitzing more. Michigan wants more sacks, too. Michigan State needs receivers and Iowa welcomes a soft spot in the schedule. And what price does a coach pay in recruiting battles? Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema gives his take. Check out these headlines and more in my daily links.
Every week, BTN.com’s Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) and Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) offer their predictions for each Big Ten football game. We also provide a poll for all of the games so fans can vote for their winners. After three weeks, it’s Tom and BTN.com fans on top, at 28-8, while Brent is in the cellar, at 27-9. See our Week 4 predictions and choose your winners in this post.
As I do every Wednesday, I have questions that I hope are answered Saturday. One week away from the start of Big Ten play, here are my most pressing queries for the 10 Big Ten teams in action this week.
Find out more about: 12 Teams & 12 Questions, Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech, Iowa vs. Central Michigan, Michigan State vs. E. Michigan, Michigan vs. Notre Dame, Minnesota vs. Syracuse, Nebraska vs. Idaho State, Northwestern vs. South Dakota, Ohio State vs. UAB, Penn State vs. Temple, Wisconsin vs. UTEP
Minnesota has been one of the pleasant surprises in the Big Ten, notching a 3-0 start that has fans thinking the Golden Gophers have a good chance to play in a bowl for the first time since 2009.
Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
The Big Ten went 10-2 last week. But look closer. It wasn’t an impressive 10-2. The wins came vs. FCS Charleston Southern; FCS Northern Iowa; UMass; Arkansas State, Western Michigan; Cal; Navy; Boston College, Utah State and Eastern Michigan. And Indiana lost to Ball State.
Most Heisman straw polls were shaken up with USC losing to Stanford, which impacted the candidacy of Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley. He’s still in the race, but Barkley has work to do.