Iowa fans are aching for a good season. Who can blame them? The Hawkeyes have seen their win total drop each of the last four seasons, from 11 wins to eight, to seven to four.
The spread offense is all the rage. Just look around. More and more schools are using the scheme—and playing at an up-tempo. Oregon is the standard. But not at Michigan. Nope. It officially is dumping the spread now that Denard Robinson is gone. Truthfully, the Wolverines began a transition to a more pro-style attack in 2012 when Robinson got hurt and Devin Gardner took over for a program whose trademark for years before Rich Rodriguez was hired in 2008 was a conventional scheme.
Kevin Wilson is making progress at Indiana. He debuted with a 1-11 mark in 2011 and improved to 4-8 last season. This season, Wilson’s Hoosiers are a trendy pick to be a Cinderella team in the Big Ten. It’s true. Indiana, a team that hasn’t been to a bowl since the 2007 season, is viewed by many as a team on the rising.
One of the biggest early-season stories in 2013 will be the new penalty for targeting a defenseless player. Last year, the penalty was a 15-yard infraction. This year, the penalty is ejection from the game. It’s all about player safety. But Nebraska’s Bo Pelini has some concerns.
Illinois coach Tim Beckman said he won’t let negativity infiltrate his program. That’s a good thing—because there is a lot of it surround the Fighting Illini program.
Who will play quarterback at Purdue? It’s a key issue that must be answered for new Boilermakers coach Darrell Hazell, who has energized a struggling program in a few scant months.
Big Ten media days kick off Wednesday at the Hilton Chicago. There will be no shortage of questions, but not all of them will be posed or answered. I have a long list of questions—101, to be exact–as we await the 2013 season.
The debut of the Tim Beckman era was, well, disappointing. The Fighting Illini went 2-10 overall and 0-8 in the Big Ten, pushing the school’s league losing skid to 14 games. The arrival of new offensive coordinator Bill Cubit has increased optimism for what was a moribund attack.
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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.
David Banks-US PRESSWIRE
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.