Can the Big Ten win the national championship? Can Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers be as good at linebacker as he was at safety? Who are the sleeper teams? BTN's Tom Dienhart lays out 70 questions as he heads off to cover Big Ten Football Media Days in Chicago Monday and Tuesday.
Long before his infamous “They are what we thought they were” rant in 2006 as coach of the Arizona Cardinals following an epic press conference meltdown, Dennis Green cut his teeth as a player and coach in the Big Ten. Now, he has passed away at age 67. A native of Harrisburg, Pa., Green matriculated to Iowa, where he was a diminutive halfback under Ray Nagel from 1968-70 who ran for 699 yards and caught 24 passes while showing a love and thirst for the game. And he channeled that love and thirst into a successful coaching career that traced
Who could have been the Nebraska football a few years ago? The answer may surprise you. Also, breakout players at Penn State, updates on Purdue's search for a new athletic director, and more. Read Friday's round up of Big Ten headlines.
It’s hot … it’s late July … let’s do a mailbag to cool down! The football questions are coming hard and fast. Should I have ranked Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers among the Big Ten’s top 10 linebackers? Can Iowa start 12-0 again? What is Minnesota missing from getting over the hump? I look at those questions … and more below. If you’re going to hand out honors, they should go to players who have numbers that support their inclusion. For that reason, Jabrill Peppers, no matter how special a talent he is, shouldn’t be on your ranking of top 10 Big
Is there a better defensive back in the nation than Iowa’s Desmond King, the reigning Jim Thorpe Award winner? Probably not. He emerged last year as a special talent for a Hawkeye defense that helped the program race to a school-record 12-0 start en route to winning the Big Ten West and earning the school’s first Rose Bowl bid since the 1990 season. [ MORE: Top 7 quarterbacks | Top 10 wide receivers | Top 10 running backs | Top 10 offensive linemen | Top 10 defensive linemen | Top 10 linebackers | Full unit rankings ] King is so talented,
Every schedule has one—a must-win game. Look. You’ll find one. It’s a game that you feel your school MUST WIN if it wants to have a successful season. It can’t slip up. Victory must be accomplished. [ MORE: View Tom Dienhart’s 2016 Ultimate Big Ten Road Trip ] Well, I perused each 2016 Big Ten schedule. And here is my “must win” game for each school. Illinois: vs. Purdue. If the Fighting Illini want any shot at a bowl game, they must win their Big Ten opener on Oct. 8. Big Ten victories will be difficult to come by. And
With Bri’onte Dunn getting the boot from Ohio State, Mike Weber has a clear path to No. 1 running back status. Weber figured to win the job at some point this season. But now, with Dunn gone, Weber is the clear No. 1 back from the start of camp. He is supposed to be a stud. We shall see as works behind a line with three new starters. The No. 2 back could be true freshman Antonio Williams. Dontre Wilson and Curtis Samuel also could get carries. And J.T. Barrett may run more, too. *** Don’t be shocked if Penn
Linebackers have to be a special breed of athlete, able to be strong enough to play the run and quick enough to drop in coverage and play in space. The Big Ten is loaded with some promising linebackers who fill the bill. [ MORE: Top 7 quarterbacks | Top 10 wide receivers | Top 10 running backs | Top 10 offensive linemen | Top 10 defensive linemen | Full unit rankings ] Here is my ranking of the league’s top 10 linebackers. 1. Anthony Walker, Northwestern, Jr. He announced his arrival as a superstar last year when he led the
Let’s kick off this party with a nice Q&A in the Minneapolis Star Tribune with Gopher AD Mark Coyle. Coyle has a lot on his plate as he looks to stabilize an athletic department that needs leadership … and fund raising. *** It was great for Michigan to add Notre Dame back to its sked in 2018 and 2019. But the return of the rivalry created a scheduling quandary. The Wolverines will have road trips to both Michigan State and Ohio State in 2018, along with a junket to Notre Dame. Whoa!!! The following year, the Wolverines will play all
If time and money weren’t issues, which Big Ten games would you want to attend this season? Let me help you out. I have built the ultimate Big Ten itinerary for 2016, identifying what I feel will be the biggest game in each of the 13 weeks of the upcoming season. You’re welcome. [ MORE: Relive Tom Dienhart’s 2015 ultimate roadtrip | And 2014 ] Now, pack your Zubaz, tank top, flip flops, bucket hat and Red Bull … and let’s go! Week 1, Sept. 3: Wisconsin vs. LSU (Green Bay, Wis.). No Big Ten team has a more daunting