Not all non-conference schedules are created equal, as you can see from my rankings, from 1-12, of the Big Ten non-league menus. Some are high calorie. Some are low-calorie. So, who has the toughest slate? And the easiest? Find out in this post. You can find all of my Big Ten football coverage here. Oh, and if you like rankings like this, you’ll want to check out this archive, where I’m ranking 2012 games, players and schedules.
Three more spring games are in the books, as Ohio State, Penn State and Minnesota punctuated their drills with games on Saturday. Michigan State and Wisconsin are the only schools left playing, with each conducting a spring game this Saturday when the NFL draft still will be going on.
There’s a new leader at Minnesota. His name is Norwood Teague. And he arrives from VCU with a reputation as an astute handler of people who has business acumen and the all-important ability to raise money. Looks like a home run hire for an athletic department that needs good news, as its football and basketball programs have struggled in recent years.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer has talked about the need to find players who can make things happen. He calls them “wow” players. Well, the first-year Ohio State coach found one in the spring game today in receiver Michael Thomas.
You have questions, I have answers in this week’s mail bag, which is dominated by spring football questions. Why not? Ohio State, Penn State and Minnesota play their spring games this weekend. Wisconsin and Michigan State play April 28. Here we go.
Everything is new at Penn State. New coach, new schemes, new hopes, new era. It’s exciting … and a little scary for a program that was led the past 46 seasons by Joe Paterno. What’s gonna happen? I talked to Bill O’Brien as spring drills were coming to end with the Nittany Lions’ spring game this Saturday.
Spring drills are winding down, with Ohio State, Penn State and Minnesota conducting games this Saturday, so here are my newsy links for today. Wisconsin and Michigan State will finish April 28. I will be at the Ohio State game and there are two things I’m most interested to see. On offense, Urban Meyer has said he wants to throw the ball. How will quarterback Braxton Miller look? Which receivers are stepping up? And on defense, the linebackers lagged in 2011. The defense needs better play to take the next step in its development.
Is there a hotter or better program in the Big Ten right now than Wisconsin? The Badgers are coming off back-to-back Big Ten championships and Rose Bowl appearances. And the good times are primed to continue to roll as Bret Bielema enters his sixth season in Madison with lots of mojo.
Last year brought us some epic Big Ten games. We soon won’t forget Michigan State over Wisconsin; Ohio State beating the Badgers; Nebraska rallying over Ohio State. What classics are waiting to be hatched in 2012, you ask? Good question. Get out your red Sharpie and circle these games that land on my Top 15 Big Ten clashes of 2012. Earlier, I ranked the top 15 nonconference games. Did I miss one? Tell me which Big Ten games have you fired up the most. I’m on Twitter and Facebook, too.
Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is a genius–at least when it comes to spicing up spring football games. Let’s face it: These spring “games” often are little more than glorified scrimmages to appease and tease fans. The interest? Minimal—aside from the true cognoscenti. Many coaches don’t like them, preferring to run a scrimmage or just conduct another practice for fear of injury. Lack of depth is another reason many coaches don’t like intrasquad scrimmages, as it often makes it difficult to split teams into even squads.
What’s being said about Big Ten football on this glorious Thursday? Here are the top stories. Enjoy.
One of the best things about college football bowl games is the inter-sectional matchups we typically never get to see. Well, it’s only April but the Big Ten features some non-conference games that already have the look and feel of bowl games. So I compiled my top 15 non-conference football games coming our way next fall, the first in a series of occasional off-season “Rank It” posts.
Seven Big Ten spring games down, five more to go. We’ll see three teams in action this week, as Minnesota, Ohio State and Penn State take to the field Saturday for the final time this spring. BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is all over Big Ten spring football. Read Dienhart’s daily links for Tuesday in this post and watch our highlights from Iowa’s spring festivities this past Saturday right now.
Wisconsin never has won three Big Ten titles in a row, but that will change if it can finish on top again this fall. Still, Bret Bielema’s squad has issues to address this spring. The chief one: assimilating six new assistant coaches. Still, this is a program with lots of momentum that presses on without offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, who left to take the head coaching job at Pitt. The year before, defensive coordinator Dave Doeren left to coach Northern Illinois, so Bielema is used to change.
A look at some top Big Ten football news as the dust settles on spring football at seven schools.
Spring football games broke out across Big Ten territory Saturday afternoon, with Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern and Purdue all in action. Weather played a big role all day, forcing the Hoosiers and Boilermakers inside and resulting in Nebraska canceling its game. Find out what I learned from Saturday’s action in this post. Also, don’t forget to check out our Big Ten spring roundup.
You have questions, I have answers in this week’s mailbag. Plenty of questions about football with some spring drills about to conclude this weekend. But I start off this week with a hoop questions. Why? Because I can. Thank you.
Spring games offer fans that first opportunity to sneak a peek at their team. What are the key areas of concern? And are they being filled? Or will a lot of work remain in the fall? Don’t expect any big resolutions, as coaches typically play things very pedestrian and vanilla so as not to show opponents anything new they are working on that could be compromising down the road.
As with my Daily Big Ten Links, here are some of the bigger items buzzing in Big Ten territory with spring exhibitions looming this Saturday at Michigan, Northwestern, Purdue, Indiana, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois.
As a handful of Big Ten Spring Football games approach, I found out what’s making news on Big Ten gridirons. Which team does Montee Ball see as the favorite in the Leaders Division? Who can help Rex Burkhead carry the load at Nebraska? How has Iowa freshened up the offense? Plus, get my takes on a few Big Ten-related tweets.
Here’s what is buzzing in Big Ten football circles on this glorious Wednesday, as we barrel toward the first batch of spring games this weekend.
Michigan State is coming off consecutive 11-win seasons. The Spartans won a share of the Big Ten crown in 2010 and captured the Legends Division title in 2011 before falling to Wisconsin in the inaugural Big Ten title game. Some heady accomplishments under Mark Dantonio. But something is missing—a trip to a BCS bowl, which is a destination that Michigan State never has enjoyed. In fact, the Spartans haven’t been to the Rose Bowl since after the 1987 season.
Just four years ago, Brady Hoke was coaching in the MAC at Ball State. Now, he’s leading one of college football’s most storied programs. And Hoke has Michigan on the precipice of big things as he enters his second season in Ann Arbor. Hoke is riding the momentum and mojo of a smashing debut at Michigan in 2011, forging an 11-2 record and second-place finish in the Legends Division. The Wolverines capped the season with a victory over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.
Take a spin around what is making news across the Big Ten football landscape on this day. Among other things, Michigan looks like it has a tight end … Ohio State may have a star safety … and more is revealed about the recruiting dust-up between Urban Meyer and Bret Bielema.