This shapes up as an interesting week, with two key Legends Division clashes on a Big Ten menu that has six games. The headline clash is Nebraska at Northwestern.
Northwestern became the first Big Ten team to reach bowl eligibility with its 21-13 win at Minnesota. Wisconsin also enhanced its bowl prospects with a dominating 38-14 win at Purdue, as the Badgers now look like the clear favorite to represent the Leaders Division in the Big Ten title game.
Looks like the Iowa running back hex continues. Sophomore sensation Mark Weisman didn’t appear on the depth chart released today by the school. He apparently hurt his right ankle in the Hawkeyes’ 19-16 double-overtime win at Michigan State last week after running 26 times for 116 yards.
My first Big Ten Links of the weeks takes a look at how Wisconsin reloads on the offensive line. Losing star left tackle Ricky Wagner with a knee injury at Purdue hurts, but the Badgers front didn’t skip a beat with left guard Ryan Groy slipping into the spot. The result: Wisconsin ran for almost 500 yards on the Boilermakers.
Montee Ball and the Wisconsin offense sure look like they are back. While still not nearly as explosive as last season’s unit, the offense has found its footing. After all, it went for 645 yards of offense in its 38-14 win at Purdue.
Before we turn our attention to Week 8, we need to review how BTN.com fans, Tom Dienhart and yours truly did with our Week 7 predictions. Dienhart led the way, at 4-1, good enough to move him into sole possession of first place in the season standings. BTN.com fans and myself both went 3-2.
Another week of Big Ten football in the books, another chance to offer some thoughts from around the conference. See my 10 observations—some whimsical, some fact based, some opinionated—from Week 7.
It’s safe to say, the two teams in Michigan are headed in opposite directions. And it’s happening just in time for the annual rivalry game. Fresh off a 45-0 victory over Illinois, the Wolverines are beginning to assert themselves, while the Spartans suffered their third home loss of the season. See what else I learned in Week 7 Big Ten action in this post.
Every Saturday during the Big Ten football season, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart offers his Snap Reactions to all the Big Ten games. Get Dienhart’s thoughts from today’s earlier games here and read his analysis from Michigan’s 45-0 victory over Illinois in this post.
Wisconsin sent a loud message today. Did you hear it? Surely you did. I know it resonated with me.
The time is now for Michigan State. There is a sense of urgency around this week’s visit from Iowa. In fact, the game almost has a “must-win” aura about it. The Spartans are 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten. After this game with the Hawkeyes, Michigan State will embark on its most arduous phase of the season, playing at Michigan and at Wisconsin before coming home to play Nebraska and Northwestern.
Is there a conspiracy theory as to why Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti was snubbed by the Lombardi Award in the quarterfinal round of balloting? Or maybe it wasn’t a snub. Maybe it was just plain, good old incompetence. David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News explores as only David Jones can. That’s one of the many Big Ten Links I present to you on this wonderful Friday.
Having taking a long, hard look at each Saturday’s five Big Ten football games, I’m offering up my weekly rankings of the games here. Wisconsin at Purdue is a big one in a weird season for the Leaders Division while Iowa at Michigan State offers up two Legends Division teams looking to stabilize their seasons.
You have questions, I have answers in my weekly mail bag. Keep the great questions coming as we enter Week 7 of this Big Ten season.
We’re officially halfway through the 2012 Big Ten football regular season. That means it’s a good time to start debating such things as early Big Ten Player of the Year and Coach of the Year candidates. Today, we’re going to focus on the latter.
The Wisconsin offense appears to perhaps be turning a corner after some early season tumult that saw the offensive line coach fired and the staff make a quarterback change. There have been many keys to the slow ascent. One key: quarterback Joel Stave is given the option to “tweak” plays—not necessarily totally change them—at the line based on the defense he sees.
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.
The Wisconsin offense has had its ups and downs this season. It’s no secret. Wideout Jared Abbrederis knows it. But the unit may be coming to life after a solid effort in a 31-14 victory vs. Illinois last week that saw the Badgers notch 427 yards.
In today’s Big Ten Links, we’ve pulled together a number of stories, including a look at the possibilities for Penn State for the rest of the season. Penn State is 4-2. And few—if any—envisioned that. Now, with six games to go, it’s time to dream big in State College, Pa. Or, is it? Also, learn more about another player named Watt at Wisconsin, the youth movement at Minnesota, Ohio State tight ends, and running quarterbacks in the Big Ten.
Is anyone gonna catch Braxton Miller as the Big Ten’s top Heisman contender? It may be difficult. The Ohio State quarterback has a great chance to enhance his Heisman dossier playing this Saturday at Indiana, which has the worst rushing defense in the Big Ten (196.8 ypg).
Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
Week 7 is at our doorstep, but the questions keep coming. Here are my most vexing queries for each Big Ten team with Saturday just around the corner. 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.
This isn’t a great weekend for games, especially with Nebraska and Penn State off. And the league’s two best teams appear to be in mismatches, with Michigan hosting Illinois and Ohio State visiting Indiana.
Six weeks are in the books, and the bowl picture is coming into a bit sharper focus … a bit. 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 banned from the postseason in 2012.
Some strong opinions are emanating from Nebraska after that 63-38 loss at Ohio State. Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald thinks Bo Pelini needs to shake up things. Big Ten writers are covering a number of other stories today, including a disappointing showing by Illinios, an Ohio State team apparently ahead of schedule, and a Penn State team that has shown real resilience. Read it all in Monday edition of Big Ten Links.
How about them Wolverines? Michigan went into West Lafayette and dominated a pretty good Purdue team Saturday afternoon. The performance was exactly what Michigan needed in its first action since struggling at Notre Dame. But what did the 44-13 victory do for the Wolverines’ stock in my latest Power Rankings?