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We’re 23 days from the 2013 football season kicking off. Indiana (Indiana State) and Minnesota (UNLV) get things started for the Big Ten on Thursday, Aug. 29 on BTN/BTN2Go. To help count down the days to kickoff, BTN.com is ranking the top 25 players. Join us as we count it down, from 25-1, every day.
The arrival of Darrell Hazell from Kent State has energized Purdue and given fans hope for the future. He inherits a team that went to a bowl last season under Danny Hope, but the roster is still a bit talent poor. Regardless, Hazell has a nice plan and a strong staff. Here is my best- and worst-case scenarios for the Boilermakers.
Training camps are buzzing across the Big Ten. Where to begin? How about East Lansing? One of the biggest issues facing Michigan State in its camp is the search for a running back with Le’Veon Bell gone a year early. (Was there a bigger loss for any Big Ten team?) Co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner shares his early impressions of the freshmen backs here.
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Expectations are teeming in Bloomington, as Kevin Wilson enters his third season on the job. A high-powered offense gives the Hoosiers a chance in just about every game. But how will the defense perform, as Indiana looks for its bowl since 2007? Here is my best- and worst-case scenarios for the Hoosiers.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
We’re 25 days from the 2013 football season kicking off. Indiana (Indiana State) and Minnesota (UNLV) get things started for the Big Ten on Thursday, Aug. 29 on BTN/BTN2Go. To help count down the days to kickoff, BTN.com is ranking the top 25 players. Join us as we count it down, from 25-1, every day.
It’s about time for me to kiss my son, Calvin; daughter, Veronica; and wife, Robin, goodbye. I also need to rub my dog Gizmo’s ample belly one last time before I finish packing my bags.
Expectations were big for Michigan State entering last season, as the Spartans were coming off consecutive 11-win seasons and an appearance in the Big Ten title game after the 2011 season. Alas, a sluggish offense was a big culprit in a disappointing 7-6 season. But hope springs eternal for MSU in 2013, thanks to what looks to be another stout defense. Here is my Best Case/Worst Case for Michigan State.
Iowa product Chuck Long has a long history in college football. He was a star quarterback at Iowa from 1981-85 who led the Hawkeyes to the Rose Bowl after the 1985 season, when Long also was runner-up to Auburn’s Bo Jackson for the Heisman Trophy.
Michigan is the pick of many to win the Legends Division in Brady Hoke’s third season in Ann Arbor. There is a lot to like about the Wolverines, who continue to accumulate an impressive collection of talent. But how will the d-line develop? Will the running game get back on track? Here’s my look at the best- and worst-case scenarios for Michigan this season.
Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE
The season is about a month away. That’s music to my ears. And from the volume of my mail, I can tell you all are getting excited, too. Let me reach into my mailbag and answer some of your questions. Keep the cards and letters coming. I love hearing from you all.
Urban Meyer’s 12-0 debut in 2012 stoked the fires for a program that was shackled by NCAA probation last season and couldn’t win the Big Ten or go to a bowl. Now unencumbered by probation and with most of that roster back—including quarterback Braxton Miller–expectations are enormous at Ohio State.
Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
There are several Big Ten quarterback situations that are rock solid as teams enter training camp. Without a doubt, Braxton Miller will start for Ohio State; Taylor Martinez for Nebraska; Kain Colter for Northwestern; Devin Gardner for Michigan; Philip Nelson for Minnesota; and Nathan Scheelhaase for Illinois.
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Bill O’Brien surprised many by debuting with an 8-4 record. In fact, he went 8-2 over the last 10 games after an 0-2 start. The Nittany Lions still are dealing with severe scholarship sanctions because of NCAA probation, which will threaten to compromise the team’s thin depth. Still, the front-line talent is top-notch; and if it stays healthy, this could be another successful season in State College.
Expectations are big in Lincoln for a program looking for a big breakthrough under Bo Pelini, who is in his sixth season. Led by QB Taylor Martinez, the offense should be among the best in the Big Ten. The defense? It will determine the season after looking awful in three big games last year: at UCLA; at Ohio State; vs. Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. Is the rebuilt front seven up to the task?
Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports
Well, it looks like former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema just can’t get the Big Ten out of his system, even though he’s transplanted to Arkansas. Check out this recent dig at Ohio State that Bielema dished out via Twitter recently.
The smoke has cleared—Big Ten media days are over. The last word has been uttered, at least for now. Teams have begun to report to camp, and the season is just around the corner. And it’s a big one for the conference, as it chases the SEC and its seven national championships in a row. In fact, the Big Ten is entering a no-excuse season. At least that’s what Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal thinks.
It’s that time of week where I reach into my latest mailbag. And, to no surprise, it’s stuffed with cards and letters about the new penalty for targeting a defenseless player. It’s not all about player safety, though, as there are questions regarding Indiana and Wisconsin. So, let’s get started.
If there was a darling at Big Ten media days, it was Northwestern. Expectations are at an all-time high in Evanston, where talk of winning the Big Ten is legit for a program that has eight starters back on offense and seven on defense from a 10-win squad that won the program’s first bowl game since the 1948 season.