To call Mike Riley’s debut in Lincoln “bumpy” would be an understatement. His trial run was filled the agony of several close, crushing defeats. There was a loss vs. BYU on a Hail Mary … there was an overtime setback at Miami (Fla.) that squandered a gutty comeback … and on it went in a season noteworthy for its soul-ripping losses that ended 5-7. [ MORE: 2015-16 bowl schedule | Best of the Bowls | Ranking bowls, 1-40 | Big Ten bowl bags | Big Ten bowl factoids | Bowl storylines | Get all of our bowl coverage ] But
Minnesota is one of three teams in the nation that is in a bowl despite having a losing record. Regardless of your opinion about 5-7 teams bowling, it’s a chance for the Golden Gophers to finish the season on an up-note after they lost five of their last six games coming off consecutive 8-5 seasons that had fueled optimism. [ MORE: 2015-16 bowl schedule | Best of the Bowls | Ranking bowls, 1-40 | Big Ten bowl bags | Big Ten bowl factoids | Bowl storylines | Get all of our bowl coverage ] Minnesota also is looking to end
Illinois’ season took a bizarre twist before the first kickoff, as Tim Beckman was fired a week before the opener amid allegations he had mistreated players. The school quickly turned to sage offensive coordinator Bill Cubit, who did a good job keeping the program on track. Alas, he was unable to get the Fighting Illini back to a bowl game after making it in 2014. There were issues on both sides of the ball. The offense struggled to run the ball, ranking last in the Big Ten in rushing (129.3 ypg) with only 13 TDs on the ground. That short-circuited
The Big Ten has 10 bowl teams, headlined by Michigan State’s trip to the playoffs to take on Alabama in the Cotton Bowl. And each team has one guy, one solitary figure who most likely needs to have a big game if his team wants to win. [ MORE: 2015-16 bowl schedule | Best of the Bowls | Ranking bowls, 1-40 | Big Ten bowl bags | Big Ten bowl factoids | Bowl storylines | Get all of our bowl coverage ] Here are my picks for those players: Indiana: QB Nate Sudfeld. The senior is No. 1 in the
It was neat to see Michigan State recognize the program’s 1999-2000 national title team. It’s difficult to believe this is the last time the Big Ten has won a national championship. “The memories, they take you back to a special place,” Mateen Cleaves said. “As you get older, it gets better and better. The more and more I think back, I’m just happy to be part of something that was very special.” The group came back as Michigan State is ranked No. 1 in the country, with realistic hopes of becoming the next Spartans team to win a title. ***
The Big Ten has 10 teams in bowl games, with Michigan State vs. Alabama (Cotton), Iowa vs. Stanford (Rose) and Ohio State vs. Notre Dame (Fiesta) leading the way. And there will be no shortage of quality opponents for conference schools to contend with. [ MORE: Full 2015-16 bowl schedule | Best of the Bowls | Ranking the bowls, 1-40 | Big Ten bowl bags | Big Ten bowl factoids | Get all of our bowl coverage ] Heading the list are the top running backs in the nation in Alabama’s Derrick Henry and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, who are No.
As we approach the end of the season, it’s fun to reflect back on predictions. It can be revealing, insightful … and painful. Here is a glance back at my first Big Ten power ranking for 2015 written shortly after I complete our annual tour of all 14 Big Ten football summer training camps. I hear a bunch from our readers all season long – some notes are fun, some note are very angry. It’s all part of the gig. By now you probably now that I’m on Twitter and Facebook, but you can always reach me via email by using
Maryland and Michigan appear to have lined up key new additions to their football staffs. Michigan hoops could use a spark. What about Nebraska vs. Kansas State in football? And here's one writer's look at the season of QB play at Ohiop State. Get your Thursday Big ten headlines in this post.
You have questions? I have answers in my Big Ten Mailbag. Is Michigan State’s offense better than Alabama’s? Did I rank the Iowa-Stanford Rose Bowl matchup too low in my bowl rankings? Will Nebraska whip UCLA in its bowl? I address those topics and others. [ MORE: Full 2015-16 bowl schedule | Best of the Bowls | Ranking the bowls, 1-40 | Big Ten bowl bags | Big Ten bowl factoids | Get all of our bowl coverage ] Will Michigan State be better off running screens and draws instead of running into the teeth of Alabama’s defense? – Jeff
Every game has a storyline, right? So what are they for the 10 Big Ten bowl teams? From Michigan State and its playoff matchup with Alabama in the Cotton Bowl to Minnesota and its battle vs. Central Michigan in the Quick Lane Bowl, here is what to watch for. [ MORE: Full 2015-16 bowl schedule | Best of the Bowls | Ranking the bowls, 1-40 | Big Ten bowl bags | Big Ten bowl factoids | Get all of our bowl coverage ] Indiana. Just getting to a bowl is a big deal for the Hoosiers, who last went in