If this is what life without Rayvonte Rice (out indefinitely with a broken hand) is going to be like for Illinois, then things may be A-OK in Champaign. The Illini got a monster effort from Malcolm Hill en route to shocking Maryland on Wednesday night. This was a huge win for Illinois—it also was its first of Big Ten play after suffering some tough losses earlier in league action. This could be a spark. *** The staff of new Nebraska coach Mike Riley is taking shape. And it has an “Oregon State” feel, if you know what I mean. Including
When Oregon and Ohio State meet in the national championship game on Monday night in Arlington, Texas, each offense will feel like it’s looking in the mirror.
With the football season hitting its apex and the Big Ten playing a major role, I reach into my Big Ten Mailbag to answer your queries. The Jim Harbaugh hires continues to resonate.
This is a fun piece: ESPN.com writer Mark Schlabach wrote an apology to the Big Ten, a conference he buried earlier this year. *** Looks like D.J. Durkin reportedly will be defensive coordinator at Michigan. He was with Jim Harbaugh at Stanford and most recently ran the defense at Florida, where he was interim head coach for the Gators’ bowl win. *** The great Mike Griffith of Mlive.com has a good recap of Michigan State’s 11-2 season in photo and extended cutline fashion. *** Nice piece from Tom Shatel of Omaha.com on Jack Hoffman’s appreciation for meeting Stuart Scott, who
The breakdowns and analysis of the national title game have begun in earnest. Who has the better offense? Defense? Special teams? Well, here's a more whimsical comparison.
The comeback was swift. It was impressive. It was decisive. There are no better ways to describe Michigan State’s effort vs. Baylor in the Cotton Bowl.
I caught up with Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez recently for a story I’m working on. While I had him on the phone, I had to ask him about Michigan’s hiring of Jim Harbaugh. “It didn’t surprise me,” Rodriguez said. “The time in San Francisco is done. I think he’ll do well. They have a lot of resources. He’s a ball coach … and he wins.” Rodriguez knows there can be pitfalls coaching his alma mater, which he did at West Virginia and had great success from 2001-07. But that doesn’t have to be an issue. A key is having unity
Attention, Nebraska fans: Here is a good look at Mike Riley’s offense at Oregon State from Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald. This much is certain: Riley knows he needs to change his attack. McKewon points out that teams in the Pac-12 – perhaps the nation’s strongest conference this year – averaged 33.5 points per game. Oregon State was last in the league at 25.7 points per game. Last in the league with 23.7 points per Pac-12 game. Last in the league with 25.4 points per game against FBS teams. Miserably last in third-down conversions at 31.74 percent. Last in
Historic? Tide turning? However you wanna label the Big Ten’s bowl season, it sent a message that the conference still carries a big stick and may be primed for a run of domination.
It should be a fun and entertaining second week of Big Ten play. Tonight on BTN: Indiana at Michigan State (7 ET; watch on BTN2Go) & Nebraska at Iowa (9 ET; watch on BTN2Go). See my best of the week ahead below. GAME OF THE WEEK: Indiana at Michigan State, Monday. The Spartans have been an early-season disappointment and still are in search of an identity. Here come the Hoosiers, who will arrive in East Lansing coming off a recent nice win at Nebraska in which they showed good maturity. MSU is coming off a tough Big Ten opener, losing