The formula for building a non-conference schedule is pretty standard: play one challenging game vs. a team from a Power 5 league (ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten) and three games vs. foes from “lesser” conferences. And ideally, three of the four games are at home. But, as you can see, not all non-conference games are created equally.
Wanna see Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill dance (sorta)? Check out this video, in which Kill tells students to dance after delivering the commencement speech.
We’ve reached the right side of 100 when it comes to the countdown to the college football season. Three months from now, there will be football. Get excited! Until then, we’re previewing the season. It’s time for Tom Dienhart to single out your team’s toughest non-conference game.
The Gary Andersen era began with success in 2013. In fact, Wisconsin had BCS bowl aspirations before losing the finale to Penn State at home.
Here’s some more news that won’t shock anyone: Christian Hackenberg already is on the radar of NFL teams. “Hack” had a boffo debut in 2013 and figures to be the first Big Ten quarterback selected in the first round of the NFL draft since … Kerry Collins in 1994!!! I still can’t believe that fact.
I had to laugh a bit when I read where SEC coaches were hacked off about Penn State taking part in a football camp at Georgia State. Read here, and here.
Rutgers is ready to take the lid off of its first Big Ten season. And excitement permeates the campus. Great potential looms—as do great challenges.
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As far as debuts are concerned, Darrell Hazell endured a rough one at Purdue. His maiden voyage in West Lafayette included myriad blowouts along the way to a 1-11 season that saw Purdue go winless in the Big Ten. And the lone victory came vs. FCS Indiana State. And even that was a close call. Add it all up, and it may have been the worst season in school history.
When discussing schedules, seven home games often are mentioned as a magical benchmark for schools. Well, the Big Ten is not set on it, apparently, according to this piece by Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald. The coming move to nine Big Ten games in 2016 is one factor causing schools to rethink scheduling. The other is lucrative neutral-site games.
Lots going on in recent weeks, with the NFL draft, Big Ten moving its hoop tourney to Washington in 2017 and the announcement of the Gavitt Tip-off Games with the Big East. My mail box is getting full. Let’s answer some questions.
There is much anticipation around the unveiling of the James Franklin era. Franklin brings endless energy along with an impressive resume to State College, Pa., making Vanderbilt into a winner prior to his arrival.
The start of the football season is less than 100 days away, if you can believe it. And there are few more anticipated non-conference games than Michigan State’s visit to Oregon. The Spartans are using the summer as prep time to get ready for that high-flying Duck offense led by Heisman contending quarterback Marcus Mariota. MSU will need the extra prep work. Everyone does.
Ohio State came oh-so-close to greatness last season in Year Two under Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes won their first 12 games after going 12-0 in 2012. But Ohio State lost the Big Ten championship game to Michigan State, which ruined its national title hopes.
Last year began amid much hope for Northwestern, which opened 4-0 with No. 4 Ohio State coming to Evanston for a prime-time national TV. Alas, Northwestern lost, 40-30, and never recovered.
Hopes are high in Lincoln for the program’s first conference championship since 1999. The defense looks like it could be the strongest part of Bo Pelini’s seventh Nebraska team. The front seven looks especially stout. The offense has some great building blocks, paced by a nice collection of running backs and receivers.
The hype surrounding the Ohio State defensive line already is building. And with good reason. The unit may be the best in the nation, headlined by Noah Spence, Michael Bennett and Joey Bosa. In fact, all three of these guys could be first-round draft picks.
Jerry Kill has Minnesota on the rise. His win total has improved in each of his three seasons in the Twin Cities, going from three, to six to eight victories with bowls in each of the last two seasons. The best looks like it is yet to come.
Everything came up roses, literally and figuratively, for Michigan State last season. The Spartans won their first Big Ten title since taking a share of the 2010 crown. And Michigan State went to its first Rose Bowl since the 1987 season, beating Stanford to finish 13-1 overall en route to ranking No. 3 in the polls.
Oh, boy. You know the football season isn’t too far away when someone starts a countdown of some sort. Well, here’s one from the Lincoln Journal Star counting down the Top 25 Big Ten players of 2014. Here are Nos. 11-25. Check back for the rest.
There is a sense of urgency around Ann Arbor as Brady Hoke and his short-sleeved shirts enter their fourth season at the helm.