One week of Big Ten action is in the books, as Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State continue to lead the way. Illinois is a surprising 2-0 and thinking big, while Michigan has overcome injuries to forge a 2-0 start. Minnesota may be better than expected, while 1-1 Iowa is still formidable after a tough loss at Wisconsin on Sunday.
It’s not even lunchtime, and Iowa already has issued apologies for Fran McCaffrey’s outburst and subsequent ejection from last night’s game at Wisconsin. McCaffery was ejected eight minutes into the second half of the eventual loss after getting hit with back-to-back technical fouls.
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Joshua S. Kelly
The Orange Bowl was billed as a battle of big-time quarterbacks, pitting Braxton Miller vs. Tajh Boyd. It certainly lived up to its billing as a shootout, as Clemson won a wild 40-35 contest that featured four lead changes and 1,003 combined yards. Miller finished with 269 total yards; Boyd had 497 in one of the best games of the postseason.
It’s finally here: My first edition of Big Ten Three-Pointers, my weekly fun and informative look back and forward around the Big Ten hardwood. We offer up scoreboards and other features like BTN Connect daily, of course, but I like to take a concentrated look at the week in one special take. I also have a few notes for you to keep in mind before we dive in.
Time for today’s top Big Ten stories. Let’s start in cold and snowy Wisconsin, where the end to the Badgers’ football season has sent a chill down the spins of many fans. Wisconsin ended the season with consecutive losses to Penn State and South Carolina, as a season with BCS promise melted into a disappointing finish. Does a 9-4 record and bowl loss equal a successful season for Wisconsin?
The New Year is here. And, what better way to kick it off than by answering some of your question in a mail bag. Warning: This is college football bowl-heavy content as fans critique their team’s performances as well as a few of my latest posts.
Penn State made it official today: Bill O’Brien is leaving after two seasons. Now, the search is on for his replacement, which was a point of today’s press conference by Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner.
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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.