Here’s a quick look at Thursday night’s season opener in Las Vegas as Minnesota travels to play at UNLV. This year at BTN.com our editors are rolling out something a little different when it comes to game coverage where we create a new post for each quarter of every football game. For this Minnesota game, those posts will live in the Minnesota vs. UNLV section and that page will be updated after each quarter.
The 2012 Big Ten football season kicks off with Minnesota visiting UNLV late Thursday night. The Week 1 slate continues Friday, as Michigan State takes on always dangerous Boise State, and wraps up Saturday with the conference’s remaining 10 games, including Michigan battling reigning national champ Alabama.
When the discussion of top Big Ten running backs comes up, Wisconsin’s Montee Ball almost always is mentioned first—and rightly so, coming off a spectacular 2011 that saw him be a Heisman finalist. Michigan’s Fitzgerald Toussaint and Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell usually are mentioned next. And then there is Nebraska’s Rex Burkhead, who seemingly always gets lost in the conversation. The senior may be the top back in the Big Ten this season.
I’ve enjoyed answering questions in my mailbags since I started as BTN.com’s senior writer. Now that the 2012 football season is upon us, I’ll be posting them every Wednesday right through the Big Ten Championship.You can always send a question to me on this mailbag page 24/7 because we love to hear from fans. Don’t have a question but you do have a comment? I welcome those as well.
I have written much about the 2012 season, which starts on Thursday when Minnesota plays at UNLV. But before the first kickoff of the first game, I’m offering my look at how I think the Big Ten race will shape up this fall. My BTN.com colleague Brent Yarina did this on Monday to give you another perspective.
This is the first edition of a new weekly post where I will look at one key question for each team in a piece called: 12 Teams, 12 Questions. I’ll roll these out every Tuesday and look forward to hearing what you think about your team and your team’s games.
The BTN crew spent almost three weeks on the road travelling over 3,000 miles on visits to every Big Ten training camp. We saw a lot of football, talked to a lot of coaches and ate a lot of bananas and beef jerky on our super-deluxe tour bus that was tricked out with two color TVs, two fridges and Wi-Fi that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t work. Two cases of Red Bull and a box of Twizzlers later, I put a punctuation mark on the 2012 BTN bus tour with a fun look at our circuitous journey from Lincoln to State College—and points in between.
Our annual summer journey across the Big Ten is over, and what a trip it was. From Lincoln, Neb., to State College, Pa., we saw all 12 Big Ten teams practice and had a chance to catch up with all the coaches and players. Read our tour coverage here and watch the video here.
The final stop on our annual summer football tour was Thursday, and we spent the day in Ann Arbor, Mich., checking out Brady Hoke’s talented Michigan team. I had many observations from the practice, none bigger than Denard Robinson looked more comfortable than ever under center. He’s such a dangerously quick athlete who can legitimately score any time he touches the ball. His skills were on full display today. But more importantly, Robinson looked better as a passer—when he was able to set his feet, which always is key for him.
We’re down to the final stop of the annual BTN summer football tour. Today, we’re taking in Michigan practice, and then we’re headed back home. It’s been an incredible trip across the Big Ten footprint, and it’s been great to see all the teams, all the coaches and all the campuses. Read all my tour coverage here and check out Thursday’s web links in this post.
The BTN Football Tour took us to Michigan State practice on Wednesday, and I watched for a number of things. First, quarterback Andrew Maxwell is looking good as he threw the ball well today. Maxwell also showed nice touch on his passes. And his arm looked good on passes down the sideline and on posts.
The BTN bus is heading south from East Lansing to Ann Arbor for the 12th and final stop on our grand tour of every Big Ten training camp. Watch the Michigan Preview Show at 10 p.m. ET Friday on BTN/BTN2Go.