Mick McCall’s offense is ticking at Northwestern. The Wildcat offensive coordinator, who is in his fifth season on the job, has developed one of the more consistently potent offenses in the Big Ten under Pat Fitzgerald. Last season, the attack ranked second overall in the Big Ten (420.9).
I love lists. And I bet you do, too. With that, did you see Athlon’s ranking of the Top 50 Big Ten players? No shock to see Wisconsin running back Montee Ball No. 1 and Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson No. 2. But, honestly, that’s too obvious.
At Ohio State, it’s about turning the page. A new era has begun—and the possibilities seem limitless. Last season was difficult, as the Buckeyes endured the program’s first losing season (6-7) since 1988, which was John Cooper’s first campaign. The program also was shackled with NCAA probation stemming from the Jim Tressel era.
The USAToday preseason poll is out. And, stop me if you have heard this before: LSU is No. 1 followed by Alabama—the teams that played for the BCS title after last season. Please, football gods, don’t give us a rematch. Interestingly, Bama had more first-place votes (20) than LSU (18).
In case you were wondering, here is the official NCAA document that spells out the ifs, ands, buts and whatnots about Penn State players transferring to other schools. You may want to print this, cut it out and put it in your wallet—assuming you are a crazy college football fan. (If you are reading this, you are one.)
Nebraska’s maiden voyage in the Big Ten has to be considered a success on many fronts. The Cornhuskers finished 9-4 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten. But along the way, Nebraska found out it needs to get bigger and more physical on defense to better deal with Big Ten offenses. And the Husker offense must improve its passing game to give the attack better balance.
After Don Treadwell left to be head coach of Miami (Ohio) after the 2010 season, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio turned to offensive line coach Dan Roushar to be offensive coordinator. And that has proven to be a good move. Last season, the Spartan attack ranked fourth in the Big Ten, averaging 390.4 yards during an 11-3 season that included a Legends Division crown and triple-overtime Outback Bowl victory over Georgia.
Hope your week is going well. If not, here are some of the best Big Ten links that I found from around the web. Get to reading!
News of star running back Silas Redd leaving Penn State for USC isn’t a shock, but it will be a blow to a Nittany Lion offense that already figured to be challenged even with Redd.
It’s four bowls in a row and counting for Northwestern. And that’s a school record. The next goal: Win the program’s first postseason game since claiming the Rose Bowl after the 1948 season. If you are scoring in Evanston, that’s nine bowl defeats in succession. Pat Fitzgerald knows all of this. And it keeps him motivated. His offense has been clicking and doing its part in recent years.
Northwestern received good news Tuesday from the NCAA, which ruled USC transfer receiver Kyle Prater will be eligible to play this fall.
Good morning. It’s Tuesday, and it’s time for the best daily links from across the Big Ten.
Last season was one of transition for Minnesota. Tim Brewster was out after three-and-a-half years and a 15-30 overall record (6-21 Big Ten). Jerry Kill was in, arriving after a successful three-year run at Northern Illinois that produced a 23-16 overall mark and three bowl bids.
Feuds are what help make college sports great. They get fans fired up. They create additional interest in already great games. So long those lines, the fellas at Lost Lettermen compiled a list of their top 10 college football coaching rivalries, and the Big Ten is well-represented. As you read, you’ll notice one coach who appears more often than some others.
It’s the Monday following Big Ten Media Days, we’re getting closer and closer to the college football season, so there’s plenty of terrific Big Ten web links from around the web. Get all of Monday’s top clicks in this post.
Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE
Michael Mauti looks like he’s ready to hit somebody or something. The Penn State linebacker sports slicked back hair that covers his neck, his suit coat pulled tight across his arms and shoulders as he leans forward answering questions and staring at a water bottle in front of him. They are tough questions about teammates transferring, and Mauti speaks with passion. He speaks from the heart. It’s refreshing.
I’m at the Big Ten Media Day & Kickoff Luncheon and I’m covering Friday’s player and coach media availability so I’ll have more on that later today. Joining me is BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina, and we both on on Twitter (@BTNTomDienhart & @BTNBrentYarina). Tonight BTN airs a 90-minute Big Ten Football Kickoff Luncheon Special at 8 p.m. ET, hosted by Dave Revsine, with analysis from BTN’s Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith. Watch it live on BTN/BTN2Go.
Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald is a smart man who calls himself the “youngest ‘old school’ coach” in the nation. But he had one of the most radical ideas today to deal with the perceived competitive imbalance between the Legends and Leaders Divisions.
Reid Compton-US PRESSWIRE
Like every other conference, the Big Ten is trying to catch the SEC. The Big Ten hasn’t won a national title since Ohio State claimed the crown in 2002. Before that, Michigan won a share of the 1997 championship. But since then, the Big Ten has come up empty with Ohio State losing the BCS title game in 2006 and 2007.
With Illinois sending coaches to State College, Pa., to be available to talk to Penn State players interested in transferring out of the Nittany Lions program, there could be a growing rivalry between the schools. Does Beckman think things will be more intense than usual when Penn State plays at Illinois on Sept. 29?
Most coaches were asked about recruiting Penn State players after a recent report that Illinois had assistant coaches at Penn State, presumably to recruit Nittany Lions who are eligible to transfer to any school and play immediately. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer isn’t doing it. Neither is Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema. But other Big Ten coaches are recruiting Nittany Lions—or wouldn’t be opposed to it.