We recently looked at the best- and worst-case scenarios for the Big Ten East. Here’s a look at the Big Ten West. [ MORE: Get all of Tom Dienhart’s preseason Big Ten coverage ] ILLINOIS Best case: The arrival of co-defensive coordinator/d-line coach Mike Phair has the desired impact for a moribund defense that too often under Tim Beckman is equal parts punching bag/piñata. This defense finally has honest-to-goodness teeth. QB Wes Lunt stays healthy and puts it all together for an offense with underrated wideouts and the best line yet under Beckman. Say “hello” to the Pinstripe Bowl. Worst
Remember how Cardale Jones performed vs. Alabama in the Sugar Bowl? Impressive. Turns out, the Tide didn’t respect Jones. “Looking back, when we had exit interviews with our players where you look in hindsight, I asked every kid, Landon Collins, Nick Perry, Jarrick Williams, the really smart (players) on our team, ‘Where did we go wrong? What did we do wrong?’ All three of them said ‘We did not respect the quarterback.’ Our job as coaches was to make them respect the quarterback,” Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart told 680 The Fan. Let that be a lesson to you, kids.
Every school needs them. They are breakout players. They may come out of nowhere to become key contributors this fall. Or, expectations may be big for these “breakout” players.
It’s July, and hopes run high across the fruited plain of the Big Ten. The possibilities seem endless from Lincoln to Piscataway. Now is the time to dream big.
The NCAA, EA Sports settlement is in. And athletes could receive thousands. According to legal documents obtained by USA Today, many athletes are “likely” to receive “at least $1,000” and some could receive “$6,700 or more.” *** Fun piece from SI.com, which wonders what is your program’s brand? And what should it be? *** So, with Bo Ryan poised to leave after this season, who is his likely replacement? Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says current Wisconsin assistant Greg Gard is the one to watch. Makes sense to me. Why stray from the Ryan family tree? Gard deserves
News that the 2015-16 season will be the 15th and final run for iconic Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan shook the college hoops world last week. So, we gathered around the Keurig machine in the break room of the Big Ten Network skyscraper and thought: Who are the five best players who have toiled under Ryan since he arrived in 2001-02? I asked six media members who cover the Badgers for their opinion. I awarded five points for a No. 1 vote, four for a No. 2 and so on. Cue “On, Wisconsin!” The results … 1. Frank Kaminsky, 2011-15: 29
Ohio State senior quarterback Braxton Miller created a stir last week when he tweeted that he had a good appointment with a doctor and his surgically repaired right shoulder looks good. Now, the question begs: Will he remain in Columbus and compete with Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett? Urban Meyer expects Miller back. Miller is expected to make a statement this week. Stay tuned. *** Indiana is moving its national championship banners in Assembly Hall. It’s all in the name of facility progress. *** Great read from Jesse Temple of FOXSports.com on how Barry Alvarez transformed Wisconsin football. It is
Time for me to dig into my Big Ten Mailbag and answer some of your pressing queries as we prep the grill for a Fourth of July cookout.
With Bo Ryan about to ride off into the sunset, Tom Oates of Madison.com thinks that recruiting could be a tough sell for Wisconsin. That’s an impact of not knowing who will be Ryan’s successor. Badger coaches can’t tell recruits who will be their coach in 2016-17. The school needs to name assistant Greg Gard as Ryan’s heir. Why break from the Ryan family/mold? Hey, Tom Izzo was Jud Heathcote’s assistant. See where I am going with this? *** More Wisconsin from Oates … Here is a good look at what Bo Ryan has done at Wisconsin. And, Ryan has
There is no denying the impact Bo Ryan has had at Wisconsin. Now, he’s poised to retire after the 2015-16 season, his 15th at the helm. Let's take a look at how other Big Ten schools have fared replacing a legend.