Ohio State and Urban Meyer face some big challenges as they try to reclaim the Big Ten title with 12 NFL draft picks gone and just eight starters back. Meyer has lived a charmed life since taking over Ohio State in 2012, posting a 50-4 overall record and a 31-1 Big Ten mark. His crowning feat was winning the 2014 national championship, and last year’s team looked poised to repeat before a late-season stumble at home vs. Michigan State. The goal is to get back to summit. [ MORE: @BTNStatsGuys: 5 fun Ohio State facts ] Here is what I’ll
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Let’s get this out of the way right now: This is the most talented team in Kevin Wilson’s tenure in Bloomington. He has continually improved recruiting and has enhanced speed over the years. But Wilson continues to look for a breakthrough win—and a winning record, something IU hasn’t had since 2007. [ MORE: Dienhart: 5 things I learned at Indiana practice ] With that out of the way, let’s get to my best of Indiana practice. Most impressive player: Dan Feeney. The All-American guard didn’t disappoint. He plays with the hard, aggressive edge of a defensive lineman.
The BTN 2016 camp tour begins on Monday in Bloomington, Indiana, where we will check out Kevin Wilson’s sixth Indiana squad in the first of 14 stops.
Going through my Big Ten Mailbag on a hot Friday afternoon. And what do I find? Questions about the 2016 records for Michigan State and Minnesota, among others. And is C.J. Beathard a Heisman contender?
Every coach looks at a schedule, scanning the list of games. Which ones figure to be tough ones? Even more vital: Which stretch of games figures to be the most daunting, a potential make-or-break run of contests? [ MORE: Best chance to pull upset | Best chance to be upset | Toughest non-conference games | Toughest conference game ] I have identified the toughest stretch of games on each Big Ten schedule. Illinois. The last four games are daunting. The season-ending run begins with a visit from Michigan State on Nov. 5 followed by a trip to Wisconsin, a visit
Believe the hype about Michigan State defensive lineman Malik McDowell—at least that’s what his teammates and coaches say. “I think that this is the year that sort of catapults him,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said last week at Big Ten media days. “So he’s got to have a great year and I think he’s poised to do that.” The hype around McDowell is reaching massive levels. I wonder if he can live up to it. Gonna be difficult. And then there is this from LB Riley Bullough. “If you just walk in the room with Malik you’ll see he’s
No coach wants to lose a game that experts think he’s supposed to win. Upsets can set a season on its ear and prove ruinous. [ MORE: Best chance to pull upset | Toughest non-conference games | Toughest conference game ] There are potholes on every schedule. And I have picked the one game on your school’s schedule in which it has its best chance to be—gulp–upset. Illinois. The visit from Western Michigan on Sept. 17 is dangerous. P.J. Fleck is an up-and-coming coaching fireball who played at Northern Illinois and is a native of the state. You know the
Last year, Iowa QB C.J. Beathard was beat up more than we all realized. He estimated he played 2 1/2 games at full strength last season. Beathard is the ultimate tough guy who fought through injury to steer the Hawkeyes to greatness. Now, Beathard’s healthy and primed for a big season. What can he do if he stays healthy all season? “I’m not curious, I’m excited to see what I can do,” Beathard said. “I know I can do things with my feet that I wasn’t able to do last season. Hopefully, I stay healthy all season long, so I
There are games on every team’s schedule that fans circle as “tough” ones, games that will be very challenging to win. Well, that’s what I did with each Big Ten schedule, identifying each school’s “toughest” Big Ten game in 2016. [ MORE: Best chance to pull upset | Toughest non-conference games ] Check it out below. Illinois. Lots to choose from. I’ll go with the trip to Michigan on Oct. 22. Jim Harbaugh has this program rolling as he enters Year Two in Ann Arbor. The defense could be the best in the Big Ten, while the offense will be
Coaches can now interact with recruits on Twitter. Oh, man. The Fanboys are gonna love this. The rule makes it permissible for staff members to like, retweet, favorite or endorse a recruit’s post in any way on public social media platforms. They aren’t allowed to tweet directly at recruits. Well, I have a feeling it won’t be long before there are no barriers involving coaches/recruits/Twitter. Just give it another year or two. *** When you think of Indiana, you typically think of a prolific offense led by a good passing game. But Kevin Wilson really has built his program on