The Big Ten went 10-2 last week. But look closer. It wasn’t an impressive 10-2. The wins came vs. FCS Charleston Southern; FCS Northern Iowa; UMass; Arkansas State, Western Michigan; Cal; Navy; Boston College, Utah State and Eastern Michigan. And Indiana lost to Ball State.
Most Heisman straw polls were shaken up with USC losing to Stanford, which impacted the candidacy of Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley. He’s still in the race, but Barkley has work to do.
Lots of questions in today’s Big Ten headlines. Will Rex Burkhead play this weekend? How dangerous is this upcoming opponent for Illinois? What does Michigan’s Brady Hoke think about the future of the series against Notre Dame? Find those items and plenty more in my links in this post.
Three weeks are in the books, but the bowl picture remains a work-in-progress. To review: The Big Ten has tie-ins with eight bowls—but it has only 10 bowl-eligible schools, as Penn State and Ohio State are on NCAA and banned from the postseason in 2012.
Find out more about: Bowl projections
A stay at the hospital provided Nebraska coach Bo Pelini with a new perspective. The pressure to win can be incredible in college football—especially at a place like Nebraska. Especially coming off a horrible defensive effort at UCLA. But when Pelini was taken away to the hospital during the game last Saturday against Arkansas State to be examined after not feeling well—the game didn’t seem so important. This got me thinking.
Before we turn our complete attention to Week 4, it’s time to look back at how we did with our Week 3 predictions. Following a terrible showing last week, I went 10-2 to lead the way this week, while Tom Dienhart and BTN.com fans went 9-3. Three weeks in, the standings remain tight, with BTN.com fans and Dienhart tied for the top spot, at 28-8.
Find out more about: B1G Predictions
Following Michigan State’s 20-3 home loss to Notre Dame, there’s a new team on top of my Week 4 Power Rankings. Who is it? Here’s a hint: It’s the only remaining undefeated team from the Leaders Division. Check out my Big Ten Power Rankings in this post.
Find out more about: Power Rankings, Rankings
A 10-2 record is an improvement over last week’s 6-6 clip, however the Big Ten still didn’t do itself any favors Saturday in Week 3 action. See my 10 observations—some whimsical, some fact based, some opinionated—after three weeks of the Big Ten season.
A week after suffering through the conference’s first six-loss non-conference week since 2000, the Big Ten bounced back with an 10-2 clip in Week 3 action. The victories included wins over BCS foes Cal and Boston College, one week after the Big Ten went 1-6 versus such foes. Northwestern, for the third consecutive week, notched a win over a BCS team.
Find out more about: What Tom Learned
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Before the day started, we all said that Michigan State was carrying the Big Ten’s tattered banner. The Spartans appeared to be the best team in the Big Ten and they also appeared to be the league’s best hope to be a national title contender.
Week 3 games are almost here and I take one last weekday spin around today’s headlines in this post. What do people think about Nebraska’s defense? Why does Minnesota have to watch out? And how can Fitz Toussaint regain his form? Also, if you’re interested, my game previews are over here.
Every week, I rank the Big Ten’s slate of games. Where does your team’s Week 3 game fall on my list? Find out in this post. Remember, on gameday, BTN.com editors provide Rapid Recaps with quarterly updates from every game. And at the end of each game, I post my Saturday Snap Reactions.
Find out more about: Dienhart's Previews, Illinois vs. Charleston Southern, Indiana vs. Ball State, Iowa vs. Northern Iowa, Michigan State vs. Notre Dame, Michigan vs. Massachusetts, Minnesota vs. Western Michigan, Nebraska vs. Arkansas State, Northwestern vs. Boston College, Ohio State vs. California, Penn State vs. Navy, Purdue vs. Eastern Michigan, Rankings, Wisconsin vs. Utah State
Week 2 was a rough one. Not only did the Big Ten lose six non-conference games for the first time since 2000, it went 1-6 against BCS teams. Of the half-dozen teams that lost, which enters Week 3 with the most sense of urgency? BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina debate that topic in this post.
You have questions, and I have answers. It may not always be what you want to hear, but it’s only my thoughts. Read my responses to your latest queries in this post. And don’t be afraid to send questions for future Mailbags.
Find out more about: Dienhart's Mailbag
Another Saturday looms. And, I still have questions. For example, can the Iowa offense finally get started? Here are my most pressing queries for each Big Ten team entering Week 3. Read all of my Big Ten coverage here and don’t forget to send any of your questions my way for my weekly Big Ten Mailbag.
Find out more about: 12 Teams & 12 Questions, Illinois vs. Charleston Southern, Indiana vs. Ball State, Iowa vs. Northern Iowa, Michigan State vs. Notre Dame, Michigan vs. Massachusetts, Minnesota vs. Western Michigan, Nebraska vs. Arkansas State, Northwestern vs. Boston College, Ohio State vs. California, Penn State vs. Navy, Purdue vs. Eastern Michigan, Wisconsin vs. Utah State
In my Wednesday edition of Big Ten links, I’ve found a hearty offering headlines from around the conference. Through two weekends the stats don’t look so good for the Big Ten, but there’s time to turn that around. Even if he’s able to play, maybe Illinois’ Nathan Scheelhaase should sit Saturday out. And Nebraska’s defense has struggled on third downs, but why? All that and more in this post.
Big news today as Notre Dame announced it would join the ACC in all sports but—surprise!—football. So, Big Ten fans, trash any hopes you were clinging to about Notre Dame joining your conference. The Big Ten twice has made offers in the past, only to be rebuffed. It wasn’t going to ask a third time. Now this move by Notre Dame all but seals the notion that a Big Ten-Notre Dame marriage won’t happen in a long, long time . If ever.
Find out more about: Big Ten Blast
Every week, BTN.com’s Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) and Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) offer their predictions for each Big Ten football game. We also provide a poll for all of the games so fans can vote for their winners. After two weeks, it’s Tom and BTN.com fans on top, at 19-5, while Brent is in the cellar, at 17-7. See our Week 3 predictions and choose your winners in this post.
Find out more about: B1G Predictions, Illinois vs. Charleston Southern, Indiana vs. Ball State, Iowa vs. Northern Iowa, Michigan State vs. Notre Dame, Michigan vs. Massachusetts, Minnesota vs. Western Michigan, Nebraska vs. Arkansas State, Northwestern vs. Boston College, Ohio State vs. California, Penn State vs. Navy, Purdue vs. Eastern Michigan, Wisconsin vs. Utah State
Defense rarely has been a strength at Indiana in the last 20 years. But Indiana defensive back Greg Heban is trying to change that.
While the Big Ten took its lumps last week in going 6-6, it has a great chance to get healthy this Saturday with a collection of games against largely inferior foes that all will take place in Big Ten venues. Without a doubt, the marquee matchup is Notre Dame at Michigan State. And Cal at Ohio State could be decent. After that, it’s a mixed lot.
The Heisman race still has a long way to go, but contenders already are jockeying for position. I have had a Heisman vote for over 10 years, and I am keeping my eye on players like USC quarterback Matt Barkley, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith and Oregon running back De’Anthony Thomas, among others.