Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
Before the day started, we all said that Michigan State was carrying the Big Ten’s tattered banner. The Spartans appeared to be the best team in the Big Ten and they also appeared to be the league’s best hope to be a national title contender.
Week 3 games are almost here and I take one last weekday spin around today’s headlines in this post. What do people think about Nebraska’s defense? Why does Minnesota have to watch out? And how can Fitz Toussaint regain his form? Also, if you’re interested, my game previews are over here.
Every week, I rank the Big Ten’s slate of games. Where does your team’s Week 3 game fall on my list? Find out in this post. Remember, on gameday, BTN.com editors provide Rapid Recaps with quarterly updates from every game. And at the end of each game, I post my Saturday Snap Reactions.
Week 2 was a rough one. Not only did the Big Ten lose six non-conference games for the first time since 2000, it went 1-6 against BCS teams. Of the half-dozen teams that lost, which enters Week 3 with the most sense of urgency? BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina debate that topic in this post.
You have questions, and I have answers. It may not always be what you want to hear, but it’s only my thoughts. Read my responses to your latest queries in this post. And don’t be afraid to send questions for future Mailbags.
Another Saturday looms. And, I still have questions. For example, can the Iowa offense finally get started? Here are my most pressing queries for each Big Ten team entering Week 3. 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.
In my Wednesday edition of Big Ten links, I’ve found a hearty offering headlines from around the conference. Through two weekends the stats don’t look so good for the Big Ten, but there’s time to turn that around. Even if he’s able to play, maybe Illinois’ Nathan Scheelhaase should sit Saturday out. And Nebraska’s defense has struggled on third downs, but why? All that and more in this post.
Big news today as Notre Dame announced it would join the ACC in all sports but—surprise!—football. So, Big Ten fans, trash any hopes you were clinging to about Notre Dame joining your conference. The Big Ten twice has made offers in the past, only to be rebuffed. It wasn’t going to ask a third time. Now this move by Notre Dame all but seals the notion that a Big Ten-Notre Dame marriage won’t happen in a long, long time . If ever.
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 two weeks, it’s Tom and BTN.com fans on top, at 19-5, while Brent is in the cellar, at 17-7. See our Week 3 predictions and choose your winners in this post.
Defense rarely has been a strength at Indiana in the last 20 years. But Indiana defensive back Greg Heban is trying to change that.
While the Big Ten took its lumps last week in going 6-6, it has a great chance to get healthy this Saturday with a collection of games against largely inferior foes that all will take place in Big Ten venues. Without a doubt, the marquee matchup is Notre Dame at Michigan State. And Cal at Ohio State could be decent. After that, it’s a mixed lot.
The Heisman race still has a long way to go, but contenders already are jockeying for position. I have had a Heisman vote for over 10 years, and I am keeping my eye on players like USC quarterback Matt Barkley, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith and Oregon running back De’Anthony Thomas, among others.
The season is still in its infancy, so the bowl picture remains lucid. Very lucid. The Big Ten has tie-ins with eight bowls—and it has only 10 bowl-eligible schools, as Penn State and Ohio State are on NCAA and banned from the postseason in 2012.
It was a tough Week 2 for the Big Ten. The conference limped to a 6-6 record, with Northwestern’s home victory over Vanderbilt being the crown jewel. See my 10 observations—some whimsical, some fact based, some opinionated—from Week 2.
It’s Sunday, and that means it’s time for my weekly Big Ten Power Rankings. Where does your Big Ten team fall on my list following Week 2 action? See in this post. Disagree with my rankings? Leave your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the post or tweet me @BTNTomDienhart.
Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE
Before we turn our complete attention to Week 3, it’s time to look back at how we did with our Week 2 predictions. One week after Tom Dienhart, BTN.com fans and myself all went 11-1, the results weren’t as pretty. Dienhart and BTN.com fans both went 8-4, while I went 6-6, just like the Big Ten teams.
Week 2 is in the books. It was not a great showing for the Big Ten, as it put up a 6-6 record. This from a conference that went 10-2 during the opening week. The competition was stiffer and there were more road tests, for sure, but the Big Ten needs to bounce back next week.
I’ve already provided my snap reactions for today’s Big Ten early games and afternoon tilts. Now, it’s time to look at the three night games. The Big Ten went 1-2 under the lights, highlighted by Northwestern’s 23-13 win over Vanderbilt.
It was a busy afternoon of Big Ten football action, with six games during the middle block. The results weren’t exactly what the Big Ten had hoped for, either, as it went 3-3 after opening the day 2-1 in the early games. Read my snap reactions to the afternoon games in this post.
In a Penn State season that figures to be filled with many tough times, Saturday’s defeat at Virginia may rank among the most difficult.