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.
Welcome to the Big Ten, Maryland. But beware: Your maiden voyage may be a bumpy one, so buckle up. Playing in the rugged Big Ten East is hazardous to the health of a developing program like Maryland.
If it’s Friday, it must be time for another football-is-bad-for-your-brain story. (That’s your cue to act shocked.) Then again, these stories are churned out seemingly every day. And, for good reason. THIS JUST IN: Football is a dangerous sport and really can’t be made into a safe sport, no matter how hard P.R. folks or the NFL try to convince you.
Earlier this week, at the annual Big Ten spring meetings, Purdue AD Morgan Burke had some interesting—and refreshing–comments on the subject of the cost of attendance and player stipends.
If you see Kirk Ferentz smiling a lot, you’ll know why after looking at the Iowa schedule. No Iowa coach would admit it, but this is a schedule to die for, a chance to get fat, happy and maybe win Iowa its first Big Ten championship since 2004. Heck, even master cupcake scheduler Bill Snyder of Kansas State has to be jealous of this low-calorie menu.
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The Big Ten athletic directors are meeting in Chicago. Envision pitchers of water sitting on tables covered in linen clothes with the smell of Drakkar Noir in the air. Not much big news has emerged from the confab. The topic of the Big Ten’s move East was a hot one.
Indiana hasn’t been to a bowl since 2007. Kevin Wilson is getting the Hoosiers closer, going from one, to four, to five wins in his three seasons in Bloomington. A postseason trip almost happened last year, if not for tough losses to Navy and Minnesota. Just like last season, Indiana will be propelled in 2014 by one of the Big Ten’s top offenses. But will the defense be better?
As Year Three of the Tim Beckman era downs, a sense of urgency has set in around Champaign-Urbana. When will Beckman deliver a bowl?
The Big Ten has gone six years without a top-10 NFL draft pick. Think about that for a moment. As a point of reference, the SEC has had 23 top-10 picks in that span. We won’t even mention the Big Ten’s 2-7 Rose Bowl record and 27-47 bowl mark over the past decade. Oops. Why the struggles? This story tries to explain.
The Big Ten has altered divisions for 2014, going to an East-West format that is geography based after three seasons of the “competitive-balanced” Leaders and Legends Divisions. Each school will play the six other schools in their division, plus two cross-division foes. Not all cross-division foes are created equal, though, and I rank the draws in this post.
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The dust hasn’t even settled on the 2014 NFL draft and some pundits already are looking ahead to the 2015 draft. Oh, brother. Needless to say, a lot can change between now and next May. But, take a gander at a few of the early, early, early 2015 mock drafts in this post.
One of the most stunning revelations of the NFL draft was the fact Michigan State had just one pick (CB Darqueze Dennard) off a 13-win team that won all nine Big Ten games by double-digits. This was one of the top squads in league annals!