While the Big Ten took its lumps last week in going 6-6, it has a great chance to get healthy this Saturday with a collection of games against largely inferior foes that all will take place in Big Ten venues. Without a doubt, the marquee matchup is Notre Dame at Michigan State. And Cal at Ohio State could be decent. After that, it’s a mixed lot.
The Heisman race still has a long way to go, but contenders already are jockeying for position. I have had a Heisman vote for over 10 years, and I am keeping my eye on players like USC quarterback Matt Barkley, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith and Oregon running back De’Anthony Thomas, among others.
The season is still in its infancy, so the bowl picture remains lucid. Very lucid. The Big Ten has tie-ins with eight bowls—and it has only 10 bowl-eligible schools, as Penn State and Ohio State are on NCAA and banned from the postseason in 2012.
Find out more about: Bowl projections
It was a tough Week 2 for the Big Ten. The conference limped to a 6-6 record, with Northwestern’s home victory over Vanderbilt being the crown jewel. See my 10 observations—some whimsical, some fact based, some opinionated—from Week 2.
Find out more about: Tom's Top 10
It’s Sunday, and that means it’s time for my weekly Big Ten Power Rankings. Where does your Big Ten team fall on my list following Week 2 action? See in this post. Disagree with my rankings? Leave your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the post or tweet me @BTNTomDienhart.
Find out more about: Power Rankings, Rankings
Before we turn our complete attention to Week 3, it’s time to look back at how we did with our Week 2 predictions. One week after Tom Dienhart, BTN.com fans and myself all went 11-1, the results weren’t as pretty. Dienhart and BTN.com fans both went 8-4, while I went 6-6, just like the Big Ten teams.
Find out more about: B1G Predictions
Week 2 is in the books. It was not a great showing for the Big Ten, as it put up a 6-6 record. This from a conference that went 10-2 during the opening week. The competition was stiffer and there were more road tests, for sure, but the Big Ten needs to bounce back next week.
Find out more about: What Tom Learned
I’ve already provided my snap reactions for today’s Big Ten early games and afternoon tilts. Now, it’s time to look at the three night games. The Big Ten went 1-2 under the lights, highlighted by Northwestern’s 23-13 win over Vanderbilt.
It was a busy afternoon of Big Ten football action, with six games during the middle block. The results weren’t exactly what the Big Ten had hoped for, either, as it went 3-3 after opening the day 2-1 in the early games. Read my snap reactions to the afternoon games in this post.
In a Penn State season that figures to be filled with many tough times, Saturday’s defeat at Virginia may rank among the most difficult.
Minnesota and Ohio State carded easy wins in early Big Ten action, while Penn State lost a one-point heartbreaker at Virginia. Read my snap reactions to the two wins and check out my column on Penn State’s defeat.
It wasn’t a pretty start for Michigan’s Denard Robinson or Michigan State’s Andrew Maxwell in the first week of the 2012 college football season. Together, the two quarterbacks completed 33-of-64 passes (52 percent) for one touchdown and five interceptions. Robinson accounted for the lone touchdown and Maxwell completed a respectable 22 passes, however that was about it. Whose performance was more concerning, though? BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina debate it in this post as they do each week in Back & Forth.
Every week, I rank Saturday’s games based on how the teams match up. Where does your game fall on my list? Come find out in my Week 2 Previews. In case you you missed anything earlier this week, here are my weekly bowl projections, reader mailbag, and my predictions. Oh, and here’s an early stab at a Heisman Trophy tracker.
Find out more about: Dienhart's Previews, Illinois vs. Arizona State, Indiana vs. Massachusetts, Iowa vs. Iowa State, Michigan State vs. C. Michigan, Michigan vs. Air Force, Minnesota vs. New Hampshire, Nebraska vs. UCLA, Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt, Ohio State vs. Central Florida, Penn State vs. Virginia, Purdue vs. Notre Dame, Rankings, Wisconsin vs. Oregon State
It turns out Ohio State and Penn State do have something to play for this season, despite being on NCAA probation and ineligible to win the Big Ten or go to a bowl game. The Big Ten has said if either team finishes first in the Leaders Division, it will be awarded with the division trophy and be deemed “Leaders champion.”
You have questions, and I—as usual—have answers. It may not always be what you want to hear. But, find my responses to your questions in this post. And don’t be afraid to send questions for future Mailbags. Are you ready for Week 2? BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina and myself offered our predictions for all 12 Big Ten games Saturday. Vote for your winners, too!
Find out more about: Dienhart's Mailbag
BTN.com’s Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) and Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) love to talk football, and that includes prognostications. Every week, the duo gives their predictions for each Big Ten football game, plus includes a poll for fans to vote for their winners.
Find out more about: B1G Predictions, Illinois vs. Arizona State, Indiana vs. Massachusetts, Iowa vs. Iowa State, Michigan State vs. C. Michigan, Michigan vs. Air Force, Minnesota vs. New Hampshire, Nebraska vs. UCLA, Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt, Ohio State vs. Central Florida, Penn State vs. Virginia, Purdue vs. Notre Dame, Wisconsin vs. Oregon State
Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short thought about turning pro after last season, but he didn’t like what he was hearing from the NFL advisory board. So, he’s back for a senior season. And the affable Short just may be the top defensive tackle in the Big Ten.
In today’s Big Ten Links I found a number of must-reads, including a good one on Penn State. Which direction is this fragile Penn State going to go after its gut-wrenching season-opening loss to Ohio? To keep the team together, coach Bill O’Brien has to stress the positives. Really, there is no other choice.
The second weekend of the season is approaching. And this Saturday is highlighted by three games vs. Pac-12 foes—all on the road: Wisconsin at Oregon State; Illinois at Arizona State; Nebraska at UCLA. And how will Penn State (at Virginia) and Michigan (vs. Air Force) respond coming off losses? There also are two rivalry games, with Purdue playing at Notre Dame and Iowa State visiting Iowa. We also have an SEC-Big Ten clash, with Vanderbilt playing at Northwestern.
Week 2 is here, and questions loom for each team following the opening weekend. Can Indiana score more? Will Rex Burkhead play? Those are just a few of the pressing questions I have for each school as we head toward Saturday. Read all of my Big Ten coverage here and don’t forget to send any of your questions my way for my weekly Big Ten Mailbag.
Find out more about: 12 Teams & 12 Questions, Illinois vs. Arizona State, Indiana vs. Massachusetts, Iowa vs. Iowa State, Michigan State vs. C. Michigan, Michigan vs. Air Force, Minnesota vs. New Hampshire, Nebraska vs. UCLA, Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt, Ohio State vs. Central Florida, Penn State vs. Virginia, Purdue vs. Notre Dame, Wisconsin vs. Oregon State
There were a lot of positive things from Nebraska’s 49-20 win over Southern Miss. But special teams? Well, some adjustments are coming. A big issue was a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The good for the Huskers, according to special teams coach Ross Els: These things can be fixed. That’s good, because this could be a special season in Lincoln.
One week is in the books, but not much has changed in my Big Ten bowl projections (posted here every Monday). Remember: The Big Ten has tie-ins with eight bowls—and it has just 10 bowl-eligible schools, as Penn State and Ohio State are banned from the postseason in 2012.
Find out more about: Bowl projections
Started off this holiday Monday surfing the Big Ten headlines and came across a handful of great pieces, including a look at the blueprint for stopping Michigan’s Denard Robinson after Alabama muted the star in a 41-14 dominance of the Wolverines on Saturday night. The secret? The key? Make Robinson a pocket passer. In his game against the Crimson Tide, he hit just 11-of-26 passes for 200 yards with two picks. Even worse, Robinson ran 10 times for 27 yards. As Kyle Meinke of MLive.com points out, this strategy seems to have been perfected by Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi.
It was an entertaining opening week of Big Ten football. See my 10 observations—some whimsical, some fact based, some opinionated—from the Big Ten’s 10-2 performance.
Find out more about: Tom's Top 10