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Has there been a bigger surprise player in the Big Ten than Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky? Of course not. The 7-0, 234-pound junior has been a revelation. He always possessed a sweet shot, but Kaminsky has expanded his game to become a better-rounded player. He’s able to put the ball on the floor and has become a better rebounder.
Great win for Michigan State in the Rose Bowl, as the Spartans punctuated a 13-1 season with a dominating 24-20 triumph over Stanford in the 100th “Granddaddy of them All.” What’s next for the Spartans? A national championship run, of course. Hey, it could happen.
Michigan State arrived at its first Rose Bowl in 26 years as an underdog to Stanford. But the Spartans left as champs in a thoroughly dominating performance that left no doubt about Michigan State’s status as one of the nation’s top teams.
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Nebraska needed this 24-19 win over Georgia in the Gator Bowl. It doesn’t matter that this was an undermanned Bulldogs team. The Cornhuskers had to taste victory after closing the regular season with two losses in their last three games. And the season-ender vs. Iowa was ugly on many fronts.
Yes, Iowa lost, 21-14. But it’s no shame in falling to an uber-talented LSU team, which took the opening kickoff and went 79 yards on 12 plays—all runs—in taking a 7-0 lead en route to a 14-0 halftime edge. That set the tone in a game that was more lopsided than the final score indicated.
Penn State’s Bill O’Brien has reached a contract agreement to be the new head coach of the Houston Texans, according to foxsports.com and other sources.
So, the postseason hasn’t gotten off to a stellar start for the Big Ten. The league is 0-2, as Minnesota lost to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl and Michigan got drubbed by Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. But all is not lost. The Big Ten has five bowls left, offering plenty of opportunity for redemption and image rehabilitation.
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News flash: The Ohio State defense has holes, but Urban Meyer thinks coordinator Luke Fickell can fill them. We shall see. A big Orange Bowl clash vs. Clemson and its high-flying offense looms on Friday. I am expecting a shootout. How can the Buckeye defense be fixed in a few weeks? Exactly. It can’t.
There are 12 games this week to open the Big Ten season. And many of the matchups will go a long way toward shaping the race, with Iowa’s trip to Wisconsin being the headliner. In fact, it could be one of the better games of the season. Here’s a ranking of this week’s games.
The calendar is about to flip from 2013 to 2014. And the hoops season is about to flip from non-conference play to Big Ten action. For the most part, that means good-bye to games vs. East Timbuktu State. Thank, goodness. And the first week of full-bore league action features some interesting and intriguing matchups. Here’s what to look for in my first edition of Whiteboard.
Mark J. Rebilas
The calendar flipped to December, but Michigan’s misery continued. This 31-14 loss to Kansas State on Saturday night in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl was the Wolverines’ third defeat in succession and fifth in six games.
Bret Who? Exactly. By most measures, Gary Andersen’s debut was a rousing success in Madison, as he guided Wisconsin to the precipice of a BCS bowl after Bret Bielema unceremoniously dumped the Badgers for … Arkansas? That’s in the past. The future in Badger Town is bright.
Minnesota’s memorable 2013 season came to an unsatisfying close Friday night with a 21-17 loss to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl. Leading 17-14 with just over two minutes remaining in the game, Syracuse got a 70-yard punt return from Brisley Estime, which eventually set up the game-winning score for the Orange with just over a minute remaining.
First-year coach Darrell Hazell surely had no idea about the size and scope of the mess he was inheriting from the ruinous Danny Hope era. Hazell and Co., tried. They really did. But the talent level never has been lower in the history of the program. And, it showed in what was arguably the worst season in school history.
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Bill O’Brien continued to deliver results in his second season in State College, Pa., despite being hampered with severe NCAA sanctions. O’Brien debuted with an 8-4 mark (6-2 Big Ten) in 2012 and followed with a 7-5 record (4-4 Big Ten) this season.
It was shocking to see the news release from Michigan State. It was so pragmatic, so succinct, so short, so to the point and so disappointing. “Max Bullough has been suspended for the remainder of the season for a violation team rules.”
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Urban Meyer has set the bar high in Columbus since arriving prior to 2012, winning his first 24 games. But he didn’t get win No. 25 in succession, as Ohio State lost in the Big Ten championship game which cost OSU a trip to the BCS title game.
Northwestern experienced one of the most bizarre descents in the nation, watching a 4-0 start melt into a 5-7 record and last-place finish in the Legends Division. The low-light was a numbing seven-game losing skid that followed the 4-0 start. The pain finally ended with a season-ending win at rival Illinois.
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Weird. No other word better describes this season. The campaign dawned amid great promise, as Nebraska was coming off a Legends Division title. Much of that same talent was back, fueling hopes for the program’s first league title since 1999. Alas, the defense often looked a lot like it did in 2012, getting gashed for big yards/points after the staff made myriad vows to “fix things.”
Minnesota was one of the best stories in the nation in 2013, showing resiliency in the face of adversity as the team dealt with health issues to Jerry Kill that forced him to leave the program at one point. The reins were handed to defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, who thrived as the acting head coach in keeping the team on course with Kill tending to the seizures that are brought on by his epilepsy.
On Thursday’s #BTNLive, at 6 p.m. ET, it will be all about the seniors. The show will release its 2013 All-Senior Team, which is littered with big-time talent all over the field, and include interviews with select senior stars. See the show’s complete team in this post.
No one needed to remind Mark Dantonio of the pain of 2012, when Michigan State finished 7-6 and lost five games by a combined 13 points coming off consecutive 11-win seasons. The Spartans embarked on a redemption tour of sorts in 2013, marching through an 8-0 Big Ten season that saw them win every game by double-figures.
“Disappointing” is the only label to put on this season. Yes, this largely is a young roster under construction for a program that probably is still a year away from blossoming.