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This is a big week in the Big Ten, with myriad big games beginning with Minnesota’s contests at Illinois and at Indiana. Along those lines, I take a look at the seven Big Ten games that will go the longest way in determining who will win the conference championship.
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
With the 2012 bowl season in the books, let’s take a look back at the best of the postseason for the Big Ten. The bowls didn’t go like the conference and the members had hoped, as the Big Ten posted a 2-5 mark with a 1-4 record on New Year’s Day. From the best game to the best defensive stop, here’s a look at my Big Ten Bowl Honor Roll.
Alabama put the finishing touches on the 2012 season with an annihilation of Notre Dame in the BCS championship game. And, never in the history of college football has a 42-14 score been so misleading. Truth be told: It wasn’t really that close. So, that’s three BCS titles in four years for Bama, and then seven in a row for the SEC. Maybe Ohio State can put an end to this SEC dominance in the near future. Until then, let’s kick off the daily links with a gander at the final polls, which still mean something in college football.
So many good games, so little time. That’s the quandary for the second week of conference action, which will go a long way in helping to shape what should be a terrific Big Ten race.
Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports
Buckle up, this is gonna be a big week, a week that goes a long way toward determining the early pecking order of a Big Ten race that should be spectacular. And, know this: The team that can win road games is going to win the Big Ten. So, here’s the formula: go unbeaten at home; and go 6-3 or 5-4 on the road. That should get you at least a share of the Big Ten championship.
Bill O’Brien is a terrific coach. We saw that in just one season of work at Penn State. He walked into an untenable situation and promptly led a shorthanded team to an 8-4 record (6-2 Big Ten) when most forecast gloom. But, much heavy lifting remains. And O’Brien is going to be around for it.
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
Still have football percolating on my mind as I open today’s edition of the daily links. Why not? The BCS national title game is tonight. Surely, Michigan wishes it was in Miami playing. But, it’s just a dream for now. If it’s gonna happen next season, it will be because of these 10 players, says Kyle Meinke of MLive.com.
Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
Welcome to the first installment of “Three Pointers,” a fun, informative and informal spin around Big Ten men’s basketball every Friday afternoon. There is a lot to explore with the start of Big Ten action this week. Early signs indicate the conference will be as good as advertised, as six Big Ten teams are ranked in the Top 20. And four are in the top 13.
First he’s gone, then he’s staying. It has been a crazy few days tracking the saga of Penn State’s Bill O’Brien. But, according to many reports last night, O’Brien is staying in State College, Pa. So, let’s begin Friday’s daily links right there.
Reid Compton-US PRESSWIRE
The time is now for Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble. This is his Hawkeyes team. He must be a leader and he must show the way if the program is to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006.
Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports
It’s that time of the week when I reach into my mailbag and answer the best of your questions. This time of year, the bag is jammed with both football and hoops questions, and I have few of each this week. That includes one on Ohio State’s shooting struggles.
Andrew Weber-US Presswire
Please tell me you aren’t shocked by news that Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell is going pro a year early. Running backs have only so many carries in their body. And Bell already has used up a lot of them at Michigan State. In three years, he ran 671 times for 3,346 yards and 33 touchdowns. He also caught 78 passes, which surely will impress NFL scouts.
No doubt, Wisconsin’s loss to Stanford in the Rose Bowl was disappointing. But, hopes are high for 2013, says Tom Mulhern of the Wisconsin State Journal. And that’s where I’m gonna start my daily links.
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
The Big Ten has a nice collection of freshmen who already are making a big impact. Michigan has the best group, with the likes of Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas already shining.
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
When it comes to motivation, few push buttons better than Barry Alvarez. Heading into the Rose Bowl vs. Stanford, Alvarez had bracelets made for players that read “I’m In” and “I’m On.” But the players had to earn the rubber jewelry through their position coach.
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
Every week this season, Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) and myself (@BTNBrentYarina) offered our predictions for each Big Ten football game and provided polls for fans to pick their winners. We continued it this bowl season, and BTN.com fans and Dienhart each went 7-0, meaning the former claims the 2012 crown.
Happy New Year! It’s Jan. 1, the high holy day for college football. Before kickoff, check out my daily links, which begins with looks at the Big Ten and the five bowls it’s involved with today. And one of the most interesting will be the Outback Bowl clash between Michigan and South Carolina. Here’s a nice breakdown of the game from Kyle Meinke of MLive.com.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The start of conference play began on Monday with two key matchups: Michigan State at Minnesota and Indiana and Iowa. But more interesting games loom this week, including Ohio State at Illinois and Iowa at Michigan. Here’s my ranking of the week’s games.
Peter Casey-US PRESSWIRE
The Big Ten takes the lid off of conference action this week. Now, we really will discover what these teams are made of. The Chicago States, Slippery Rocks, North Floridas, Bryants and Nebraska-Omahas are being replaced with trips to places like Bloomington, Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Champaign and Minneapolis.
This may be the last day of 2012, but it’s the first for Big Ten league hoop action. What a great place to begin my daily links!
If you like tough, physical, smash-mouth football, you’ll love this game. Wisconsin and Stanford are mirrors of each other in many ways. The Badgers are in the Rose Bowl for a third season in a row. The last Big Ten team to pull off that feat was Michigan after the 1976-78 seasons.
Michigan came close to winning the Legends Division but still is in search of its first league title since 2004. A win here would prime the program for a strong run in 2013, as this is a young roster. Three of the team’s four losses were to the top three teams in the nation: Notre Dame; Alabama; Ohio State. The other was to 10-win Nebraska.