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No team has been a bigger surprise so far than Iowa. And no player has been as surprisingly impressive as the Hawkeyes Jarrod Uthoff.
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AthlonSports.com has a very early football Top 25 for 2016. Yes, you knew it was coming because they come every year and we roll our eyes at them and then read them anyway because they’re fun to talk about. The national title game for this season hasn’t even been played and college players still can declare for the NFL draft until Jan. 18. Regardless, early, early, early Top 25 lists wait for no one.
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In Thursday’s roundup of Big Ten headlines, we’ve got a good look Ohio State’s 2013 recruiting class – how did they turn out? Plus, Michigan State has some holes to fill on offense. Rutgers has a new offensive coordinator who had a near-death experience. And a story on the legacy of Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg. Catch up in this post.
Playing quarterback in the NFL is a one of the most demanding jobs in sports. In 2015, five of the NFL’s 32 teams called former Big Ten quarterbacks their starters for more than half of their 16 regular season games. Take a moment to test your knowledge and see if you can name all five of those Big Ten names and their teams before reading the rest of my story here.
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It’s so very early but who do you see making the 2016 Big Ten football title game? What’s the outlook for Michigan in 2016? These are a few of the questions readers sent in, and BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart tackles them all in his weekly mailbag.
Indiana honored the 1976 Hoosiers squad on the 40th anniversary of that team’;s national championship season. One publication graded both the Michigan and Michigan State football teams. And Rutgers is eyeing new facilities. Those stories top our Wednesday collection of Big Ten headlines.
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Conference action is gaining steam with one week in the books, as teams look to make early statements. No squad has spoken louder than Iowa, which has knocked off No. 1 Michigan State and No. 14 Purdue. Will any team make a move this week?
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Indiana enjoyed a breakthrough season in Kevin Wilson’s fifth year in Bloomington, taking the Hoosiers to their first bowl since 2007 and just their second since 1993. Alas, IU still hasn’t finished over .500 since 1994. And it last won a bowl in 1991. But progress is being made.
Penn State is turning the page as it moves to 2016, the third season under James Franklin. Christian Hackenberg is gone, as the offense transitions under a new QB and new coordinator. Those are just two questions facing PSU. Pennlive.com has 16 Penn State-related questions.
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Not every school’s bowl experience was the same. Some teams are coming off postseason highs. Others enter the offseason on a down note. Here is a ranking of how the 10 Big Ten teams performed.
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It was not a big shock to see Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg turn pro (or DT Austin Johnson, for that matter). But it did raise eyebrows when Hackenberg thanked myriad people as he left—but he omitted mentioning James Franklin. Interesting. I wish Hackenberg would have handled it better.
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The lid has been taken off Big Ten play, and five schools are off to 2-0 starts. Two of them aren’t a shock, as Maryland and Indiana are out of the gates quickly. But it’s a surprise to see Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa also 2-0 in Big Ten action.
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The Big Ten college football bowl season is officially in the books.
Yes, the Big Ten came up short in its bid to defend the national title won last year by Ohio State. But the conference had some memorable moments during its 5-5 postseason.
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Playing vs. an SEC team is always a good measuring stick for a team. Even an SEC team that canned its head coach, as Mark Richt was fired and is now coaching Miami (FL).
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This time last year, Iowa was getting scortched by Tennessee in the TaxSlayer Bowl to cap a disappointing 7-6 season that set in motion an offseason of tumult. Kirk Ferentz examined his program and made alterations, including switching practices from afternoon to morning. But most prescient, Ferentz tabbed C.J. Beathard the QB over Jake Rudock shortly after the loss to the Vols. Rudock transferred to Michigan, Beathard became a star and the rest is history.
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Northwestern was looking to put an exclamation point on a standout 10-win season by dumping an SEC team. It didn’t happen for what has been one of the nation’s most surprising teams that opened 2015 with a win vs. Pac-12 champ Stanford.
So many storylines dominated the Cotton Bowl matchup. Michigan State was making its first playoff appearance coming off a Big Ten title. Alabama was here last year, getting upset as the No. 1 seed by Ohio State, which went on to win the championship. Protégé (Mark Dantonio) was trying to beat mentor (Nick Saban). On it went.
BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart talked to some assistant football coaches who took on Alabama this season to get an insider’s scouting report on the Crimson Tide offense and defense ahead of Michigan State’s game in the Cotton Bowl. Here’s what those coaches told our senior writer.
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When Michigan State takes on Alabama tonight, we’ll all be watching closely. BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart suggests we keep an eye out for these five keys the Spartans need to unlock the Crimson Tide and advance to the title game. You know this already, but none of them will come easily.
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BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart is watching every Big Ten bowl game, and on Wednesday night he rolled out his assessment of Wisconsin’s impressive 23-21 win over No. 25 USC in the Holiday Bowl. See his grades and his overall take in this post.
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Minnesota had lost seven bowls in a row, which tied Ball State for the longest active postseason losing skein.
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Not all Big Ten conference schedules are created equally. And, that doesn’t make for a fair and level playing field when it comes to crowning a conference champion. But, no one said life is fair.
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Nebraska was one of three teams in the postseason with a 5-7 record. UCLA also arrived in the Foster Farm’s Bowl slumping, losing two of its last three after looking like a contender in the Pac-12 South.
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The first Big Ten bowl was a doozie, as Duke took a 44-41 overtime win vs. Indiana in a Pinstripe Bowl that featured eight lead changes.